Q: We rescued our dog Abbey from an unhealthy and abusive home. We have had her for a year, but she still frightens easily and if you go to pick her up, scratch her, or if you raise your voice she drops down and starts urinating. We hoped this behavior would stop after we provided her with a loving home, but the problem has only gotten worse. She’s now peeing in my bed as well as the carpet at any time. Any ideas?
A: From your description of Abby’s behavior, it sounds like there’s more than submissive urination going on here. Though that may be what you were dealing with at first, now Abby is peeing “at any time,” which means it’s not just a submissive behavior.
The fact that she is now seeking out comfortable spots, like soft furniture and carpeting, to pee, points to the possibility of an unhealthy urinary tract. Persistent peeing on beds (or other comfy places) and frequent urination can often be clues a health problem in the urinary system. You mentioned that the home she lived in before you adopted her was not a healthy environment. It’s possible that Abby had picked up a urinary tract infection from living in that unclean environment. It would be a very good idea to ask your veterinarian about this possibility, and if she or he thinks a urine culture would be advisable – do it.
In the meantime, you should treat Abby like a dog that is not yet housetrained. Keep her with you and take her to an appropriate potty spot whenever she shows signs of needing to eliminate. Keep doors to bedrooms closed or use baby gates to manage where Abby is allowed to spend time, keeping her where you can observe her. When you must leave her alone, limit her to a room with an easily cleaned floor.
Please do talk with your veterinarian about this problem. If it turns out to be an infection, Abby needs medicine to help her gain control of her urination, so she can be “clean” in the house.