We have all had to deal with our dog having an accident in the house at some point, but when it happens on your brand-new white carpet, it can be even more frustrating! Luckily, there are effective cleaning methods available to deal with the mess, but if your dog is properly house trained, and still having regular accidents inside, then there is another reason for their behavior. Determining the cause of the accidents is the first step in preventing future ones.
Why is my dog going in the house & what can I do?
1. Medical Problem
Incontinence can accompany serious health problems, including Cushing’s Disease, diabetes, and kidney disease, as well as less serious issues, like urinary tract infections. Bringing a urine sample to your vet is the best first step so they can determine if it is just a UTI and not something more serious.
Diseases, intestinal disorders, and viruses are just several health problems that may increase a dog’s need to go more frequently, potentially doing so in the house if they are unable to hold it in. Having your vet run tests is important to rule out any potentially serious health conditions.
2. Outside Time
You may not be letting your dog out frequently enough, and/or the time that they have outside may not be sufficient.
In addition, over-stimulation, whether from engaging in play, or all the enticing smells in the yard, your dog may be too distracted during their time outside, and simply forget to go.
Make sure you are taking your dog out frequently enough, and allowing them sufficient time. To prevent distractions, refrain from engaging in any play until after your dog has done their business.
Monitor outside time closely so you can be sure your dog has gone, and reward with tons of praise when they do so. Giving a treat as a reward is also a good idea, anything that tells them they did the right thing, and you are very happy with them!
3. Stress and Anxiety
Peeing and pooping in the house is a very common sign of a dog acting out due to separation anxiety. Dogs are social animals and if they could, they would spend every moment of every day with you! So, it’s not surprising that they may feel anxious when left alone.
Providing engaging toys, hiring a dog walker or asking a friend to stop by while you are at work can help with separation anxiety. You may also consider an all-natural calming product such as Dog Calming Chews, and Dog Calming Chews with CBD.
In addition to separation anxiety, disruptions to a dog’s normal routine can potentially cause unwanted behaviors, including having accidents in the house. Changes, like the loss of another pet, bringing a new pet into the home, moving, or the death of an owner are all considered major disruptions and can have serious implications for a dog.
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4. Age – Puppies & Seniors
Puppies usually require house training, especially if they have never been in a home before. Providing consistent and effective house training will determine how quickly they learn, as well as whether they retain the training throughout adulthood.
For senior dogs, health issues associated with aging can be the cause of having accidents inside. Or it may simply be that in their older years, they are not able to hold it as long.
In addition, like humans, dogs can develop a form of dementia called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, a condition that is also associated with disorientation, confusion, irritability, and anxiety.
Talk to your vet if you think your older dog is exhibiting signs of dementia. They may be able to suggest a medication or advise you on other options.
6. Temporary Digestive Issues
Maybe you recently changed your dog’s diet, or maybe they ate something they should not have. Temporary digestive upset is very common, and can lead to unexpected accidents that can be as upsetting to you as they are to your dog!
Getting your dog back on track starts with feeding a bland diet for 2-3 days until symptoms pass. If acute diarrhea is present, treating with an anti-diarrheal is suggested. And if your dog is suffering from occasional, but more chronic stomach upset, and/or soft stools, they may need a regular probiotic to restore and maintain gut balance.
5. Previous Accidents that Were Not Properly Cleaned Up
Dogs have an incredible sense of smell. They also prefer to go in places they have gone before. This is why, if prior accidents have not been thoroughly and effectively cleaned up, it is quite likely that your dog will consider that area acceptable to go again. For this reason, it’s extremely important to know how to properly clean pee and poop from carpets.
Carpet Cleaning For Pets
Cleaning Up Accidents, Rule Number One
ALWAYS clean up accidents as soon as you find them! The longer they sit, the more difficult it becomes to remove stains and odors.
Carpet Cleaning for Removing Urine
- If the area is still wet or damp, blot it dry with paper towels. (Hint- place paper towels over the spot and step on them, pressing down with your shoes.)
- For this next step, you can use a store-bought cleaner, or if you prefer products without any chemicals, you can easily make your own.
- Combine one part white vinegar and one part water and pour over the area.
- Without applying heavy pressure, lightly scrub the area with a soft bristle brush.
- After cleaning, to help deodorize the area, pour a layer of baking soda over it and leave for 24-48 hours.
- Once dry, vacuum the area thoroughly.
Carpet Cleaning for Removing Poop
- Start by removing all of the poop. You can use whatever you think will work best, a shovel, paper towels, rubber gloves, etc. (Hint- if you have them, using 2 paper plates is helpful when “scooping” stool that is not firm.)
- Combine two cups warm water, with one tablespoon vinegar, and one tablespoon dish detergent. Use a rag or a sponge to apply, pressing the solution into the carpet. Repeat this process if necessary.
- As with removing pee, after cleaning, deodorize by pouring baking soda over the area, leave for 24-48 hours to dry, and vacuum thoroughly.
What if my carpet still has orders or stains from my pet?
If vinegar and baking soda have failed to completely lift the odor and/or the stain, you can retreat your carpet using the following methods.
Treating Carpets for Lingering Odors
Combine one cup water, one cup vinegar, and two teaspoons baking soda. Leave for at least 5 minutes, then blot dry.
Treating Carpets for Lingering Stains
Option 1: Saturate the area with vinegar, then pour a layer of baking soda over the vinegar and leave for 24-48 hours before vacuuming.
Option 2: Combine half a cup vinegar, two cups water, one tablespoon dish detergent, and one tablespoon of salt. Apply mixture to the area with a rag or sponge and allow it to soak in before removing by blotting dry.
Dogs do not act out of spite, so no matter what is causing accidents in the house, scolding or punishing your dog will NEVER help, in fact, it will only make things a lot worse. Whether it’s medical or behavioral, it is our job to determine the cause and address the issue appropriately.