There are a few different reasons dogs display inappropriate urination. If your dog is a puppy, then house training might not be complete yet. House training can take a while, and you might need to revisit the steps. If your dog is definitely house trained and the inappropriate urination started well after house training was complete, then there are other potential reasons we will explore here. First and foremost, it is essential to rule out a health problem before you look into a behavioral problem.
Urinary Tract Problems
If your dog suddenly starts peeing in the house (or other unacceptable places) then it could be a urinary tract infection. Before you get mad at your dog, go see your vet. Most likely, your vet will want a urine sample from your dog in order to perform a test called a urinalysis. This test is done to look for bacteria and abnormal cells in the urine. If your vet diagnoses a UTI, the next step is a course of antibiotics. Other possible urinary issues that might be found include cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), crystals in the urine and/or bladder stones. Most urinary issues can be treated with medications, supplements and/or diet changes. However, bladder stones sometimes require surgery. If a urinary tract problem is not found, then we look to other potential causes.
Urinary incontinence can happen at any age, though it is often seen as dogs reach their senior years.
However, many dogs develop urinary incontinence in young adults. Incontinence is usually seen as urine leaking or dribbling on and off. Sometimes, incontinent dogs leave urine puddles in their beds or the floor during rest or naps. Bottom line, they don't realize it's happening. Dogs who consciously pee large quantities in inappropriate areas are probably not incontinent.
Good news: incontinence can often be treated with medication. Talk to your vet to learn more. Some owners also choose to use "doggie diapers" or layout absorbent pads.
Other Health Issues
Health problems like kidney disease, Cushing's disease, diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus and more can all lead to urinary issues. Your vet may recommend additional testing to rule out one or more of these diseases depending on your dog's other symptoms if any. Treatment will depend on the diagnosis.
You know that puppies may still have accidents when they are being house trained. We also touched upon senior dogs and incontinence. But old age can bring on other causes of urinary accidents. Forms of dementia or senility can occur in aging dogs, leading to house soiling. These dogs simply forget their housetraining or just forget where they are. Other health issues like kidney failure tend to crop up in old age. This is yet another reason to get your veterinarian involved. In some cases, dementia can be treated with medications and supplements. However, many people living with senior dogs who have urinary issues choose to keep their dogs in diapers or keep them in areas where they lay down absorbent pads.
Once all of the health issues have been ruled out, you can pretty much know you are dealing with a behavioral problem. Some dogs (especially males) exhibit marking behavior even after being altered. Or, your dog might be exhibiting submissive/excitement urination. Examine the situation in your home: have you gotten a new pet? Has there been an addition to the family, like a new baby? Has someone in the home left or passed away? Dogs are more affected by these things that many people realize. What can you do? Repeat the steps of house training. Also, try to figure out if there is a stressor in your dog's environment. Eliminate it if possible, or teach your dog to live with it. Consider getting a dog trainer or behaviorist involved. Whatever you do, please don't give up on your dog and give him away!
You can work through this, you just might need to get some experts involved.