My Dog is Taking Potty Breaks in the House

My Dog is Taking Potty Breaks in the House

Your terrier mix Rocco seems like the poster child for good canine behavior. Rocco heels nicely during his walks, doesn’t jump on unsuspecting strangers, and even tolerates your crotchety old cat Max. However, Rocco might need a potty training reboot, as he’s recently begun urinating and defecating in your house. Since four-year-old Rocco was housetrained early in life, you were shocked at this unwelcome development; and you were even more shocked when you stepped in a pile. Clearly, this is unacceptable, so you’ve asked your Park County veterinarian to figure out Rocco’s strange behavior and make it stop now.

Hidden Medical Problem

While Rocco’s inappropriate eliminations seems like behavioral issues, your vet knows an underlying medical problem could be at fault. Perhaps Rocco suffers from an intestinal parasite infestation or a strange reaction to something he ate. Rocco might have developed bladder stones or a bladder infection; or he could have fallen victim to an unhealthy kidney or even kidney failure. Finally, Rocco might have contracted an adrenal gland or liver disease; or he might have developed a diabetic condition.

Diagnostics and Detection

First, your vet will give Rocco a top-to-bottom physical exam, and he’ll request urinalysis and Complete Blood Profile results. By analyzing this data, your vet can determine whether Rocco’s internal organs are functioning correctly. Your vet can also tell whether Rocco has developed a blood, urinary tract, thyroid, or adrenal gland problem. A fecal exam indicates whether Rocco is battling a nasty intestinal parasite infection. Your vet might also request X-rays and/or ultrasound tests; as these tests can show the presence of kidney or bladder stones, tumors, or other internal organ malfunctions.

What About Behavior?

Assuming Rocco’s healthy, your vet turns his focus to behavior. He’ll ask about Rocco’s habits, and whether your assertive pooch has ever urinated submissively or when he’s overly stimulated. Tell your vet if you’ve seen Rocco urinate or defecate when he’s afraid or anxious; or if he’s been marking his territory. Note if Rocco has experienced separation anxiety symptoms. Alert your vet to any changes to Rocco’s normal routine, even if they seem minimal.

Treatment Choices

Once your vet treats Rocco’s underlying medical condition, your pooch will likely stop his indoor eliminations. If your vet determines that Rocco needs to change his behavior, your vet might prescribe a behavioral modification program combined with medication. If Rocco’s still an intact male, your vet will strongly recommend neutering your dog immediately. Unneutered male dogs are responsible for a hefty percentage of in-house marking incidents.

Your Park County vet will check on Rocco throughout his treatment. If Rocco takes medication, your vet will periodically repeat his blood work to ensure the meds are working correctly.

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