Why is my dog drinking his pee after he urinates inside?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

So you’re sitting on your bed when you notice something strange:

Your dog just peed on the floor and is now trying to drink it.

Obviously, your first instinct would be to yell at them. But let us tell you, that’s not going to work. You need to find the reason for this behaviour first.

So what causes dogs to urinate and then try to drink it back? A dog drinking back their pee after urinating inside can be briefly due to either a bad habit or a medical issue. Luckily both of these are solvable with just a little effort.

If you’re still curious, read on below as we fully explain the causes and solution to this habit so you can put an end to it in no time!

Causes of dogs drinking their urine

Dogs are curious creature and can show some really disturbing habits that can often confuse owners. A common one of them is a dog drinking their own urine. Although this might worry or even panic some owners, we can assure you that this isn’t probably that big of a deal, and is not an emergency. But we’ll discuss that later.

Here are some of the most common reasons why dogs might drink their urine:

1. Your dog can’t pee anywhere else

Most owners have trained their dogs to pee outside of the house in the garden or porch. Most owners will typically have a dog door which their pooch will use to go outside on their own and empty their bladder.

At night, most owners have the habit of closing these dog doors to prevent any critter from invading their house. Or maybe, your dog isn’t comfortable going out alone at night to urinate. Therefore, they might intentionally or accidentally pee on the floor.

When they do this, your pooch will probably be ashamed of their mistake and will try to hide the evidence by trying to drink it back. This is a common practice in dogs and is due to a lack of proper training, which can be corrected quite easily.

2. Your dog isn’t housebroken yet

If it’s only been a couple of weeks since you got your new dog, chances are they’re going to be urinating all around the house. Because your dog is relatively new to your home and its surroundings, they don’t know where they can pee and where they can’t.

So, they might just pee somewhere around the house and lick it back out of embarrassment. It’s your responsibility to designate a specific area for them to pee and train them to urinate at that spot.

3. Your dog is dehydrated

Dehydration is also a reason for why your dog might be drinking their own pee, however, it’s a little uncommon. If you’ve got a healthy dog, chances are they’re going to use their water bowl to hydrate themselves.

However, in the case of puppies and especially older dogs, dehydration can become an issue. Puppies usually need some training before they use their bowl for hydration, so they might simply pee and drink it to quench their thirst.

Senior dogs also tend to suffer from dementia and can often forget where their water bowl was placed. And so, they’ll just drink their pee to keep themselves hydrated. Check to see if your dog’s pee is dark in colour or not, as dark coloured urine is a very accurate indication of dehydration.

4. Your dog was raised in a puppy mill

A puppy mill is a place where puppies are raised in large numbers in poor conditions. These puppies are often locked in small cages or boxes where they get fed and they have to excrete as well.

If your dog has been raised in similar conditions, chances are they would have developed a habit of eating their poo and drinking their urine along with their food and water. This habit can also continue into adulthood, causing them to drink their urine after they pee inside.

Medical causes of dogs drinking their urine

Although bad habits can cause dogs to drink their urine, so can any underlying health issues that you might not be aware of. The good news is, most of these health issues can be treated with a course of medication. Here are the most probable health issues which cause dogs to drink their urine:

5. Your dog might have a urinary tract infection (UTI)

Bacterial UTI’s are a rather common occurrence in dogs and can cause symptoms like blood in urine, more frequent urination, fever and accidental urination around the house.

When they accidentally urinate somewhere around the house, they’ll try to clean up by drinking it back. They’ll also feel thirstier, which might also cause them to lick their pee. Try to look for other symptoms of a UTI as mentioned above, particularly cloudy urine.

6. Your dog might have Cushing’s syndrome

Somewhat rare but still possible is Cushing’s syndrome causing your dog to drink their urine. Excessive thirst and the need to pee more often are two of the very first symptoms to appear in dogs with Cushing’s syndrome.

Obviously, the constant need to urinate is going to cause your dog to accidentally pee inside the house, and the excessive thirst will cause them to drink it back. However, the disease causes other symptoms as well. And even with multiple symptoms being present, Cushing’s syndrome can still be difficult to diagnose.

Stopping your dog from peeing inside the house

Before you stop your pup from drinking their pee, you must first eliminate their habit of urinating inside the house in the first place. Correcting bad habits is typically easier, but getting your dog checked by a vet is essential.

So, probably the first thing you should do is to take your dog to your veterinarian. Tell them about their habit of peeing inside and drinking it back, along with any other symptoms that you may have noticed. Your vet might conduct tests on your dog for any UTI’s.

But if you have a strong suspicion that they have Cushing’s syndrome, mention the symptoms and push your vet to still carry out a test. They will usually take blood samples and urine samples to find out if this habit is being caused due to any medical or health issue.

If any test turns out positive, chances are your vet will assign you some medicines. Medication can solve both UTI’s as well as Cushing’s syndrome in less severe cases. You have to complete the course as instructed by your vet and after a few days, you’ll start to see the habit go away on its own.

Ways to stop your dog from urinating inside and drinking it

In order to stop this repulsive habit of your dog, you need to start training them and giving them more care. Here are the following steps you should follow to help your dog quit the habit of peeing inside and drinking it:

1. Take them out to pee more frequently

When dogs don’t have access to a place where they can urinate or that path is blocked, accidents are bound to happen. If it’s your responsibility to take your dog out to pee, start doing so more frequently.

Take them out to pee throughout the day after every few hours. Also, make sure you regularly take them out to urinate before you go to work and before you go to sleep. Because your dog won’t have any other place to urinate during these times, it’s important that their bladder is empty.

Or better yet, train your dog to pee on their own. You can designate an area for them and then get them to urinate there, and treat them afterwards for doing a good job. This will relieve you of responsibility and your dog is very less likely to pee inside the house after that.

2. Reinforcing good habits

If you find that teaching your dog to pee outside is not solving the problem, and they’re still urinating inside, then they might be doing so purposefully. But it’s nothing a little training can’t solve; you just have to be patient with them.

Start by noticing the time when your dog usually urinates inside the house. When that time comes again, catch them after or while they’re peeing and call them outside. You can call out their name and say something like “Hey [name], come check this out!”. Do this in an excited manner so your dog immediately follows you.

Then, take them to the area where they pee so they can urinate over there. If they pee over there, give them a treat so they get encouraged to pee outside only.

Another method you can try is to catch them while they’re urinating inside and use a firm ‘No’ to make them realize that what they’re doing is not okay. Most dogs will understand the tone and will assume what they’ve done is wrong.

3. Keep them hydrated

As dehydration is also a reason why your dog might be drinking their pee, it’s important that you keep them hydrated at all times.(Here is a excellent product on amazon to keep your dog hydrated). Make sure that they always have a bowl of water near them at all times, especially when you leave them unattended.

This is particularly important for older dogs as they tend to forget where the water is kept due to dementia. So make sure there’s always a bowl near them and near the place where they sleep so they can drink at night too.

Common misconceptions regarding dogs drinking their urine

Because the problems seem to be quite prevalent among dogs, multiple solutions have come up by different people. Although a few of those might work, many will probably do more harm than good to your dog. Here are some of the things you should probably avoid when getting rid of this habit:

Nose ‘Rubbing’ Technique

The nose rubbing technique is recommended by many people across the internet to fix a dog’s habit of urinating inside the house. Basically, what it says is that you have to purposefully rub your dog’s nose in their own urine so that they get disgusted and leave the habit.

Not only is this technique cruel and harsh, but also delivers the opposite result of what you want. When you rub their nose in their urine, they’ll probably have to lick it off and will start developing a preference for it. So basically, they’ll start urinating inside more often and even drink it if they didn’t do so before.

Dangers of dog urine

A quite common belief amongst dog owners is that urine is actually harmful to your dog health. In reality, urine is actually sterile because it is different from faeces. So although seeing your dog drink their own pee is quite repulsive, it’s doesn’t actually do them any harm. Despite this, you still have to find the cause and get rid of this habit of theirs.

Scolding/Shouting at your dog

Many owners resort to shouting and screaming at their dogs when they urinate inside the house or try to lick it. But let us tell you, that not only is this method extremely vile, but its effectiveness is also almost close to zero.

The reason is that most dogs have the same mental capacity and understanding as a young toddler. When you yell or scream at them, they don’t understand why you’re angry at them. They just become sad, fearful and more anxious because they just see you yelling at them.

So basically, you’re just hurting your dog instead of teaching them manners. A good approach would be to use firm directions, like saying the word ‘No’ in a firm voice and while your dog is peeing, so that they can understand what they’re doing wrong.

Conclusion

Having your dog pee inside the house and then drink it back can be a disgusting sight for many and a very worrisome situation for most dog owners. However, it’s actually not that big of a deal, and in most of the cases, this habit is usually a phase that some dogs go through and it passes naturally. Still, in some cases, you might need to train your dog and have a lot of patience, and usually, your dog will naturally get over this habit in no time!

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