Are you wondering why do dogs drink their own urine because you’ve caught your pooch drinking its own pee? Has it been happening too frequently?
Then this guide will answer your questions.
Here we will discuss:
- 6 effective tips to stop your dog from drinking its own urine
- 12 reasons why do dogs drink their own urine
- And more….
Why Do Dogs Drink Their Own Urine?
Dogs sometimes drink their own urine because of dehydration or extreme thirst. Sometimes, the urines’ smell may be very alluring to your pet. If your dog is lacking nutrients, then too it might lick its own urine. In rare case, medical issues may be the cause of the behavior.
Let us find the exact reasons behind this strange behavior:
12 Reasons Why Dogs Drink Their Own Urine
Here are some common reasons behind the urine-drinking behavior in dogs
According to the AKC, there are some dogs that simply do not drink enough water unless they are encouraged by their dog owner. If such dogs happen to lose more body fluids than they take in, they might end up dehydrated.
A dehydrated dog could get confused and disoriented and might lick or drink its own urine. Often, the dog does not even know what it is doing. Dehydrated dogs also show other clinical signs like:
- Loss of appetite
- Dry nose
- Pale gums
- Reduced energy
If you suspect your pet is dehydrated, give it some cool water or an electrolyte solution to drink. You can also squeeze in some water in its mouth using a syringe. Do not ignore serious signs of dehydration like vomiting and take your pet to the vet right away.
Observe your dog after the first urine-drinking episode. If the behavior repeats, then too, you must speak to your vet.
2. Extreme thirst
In abandoned or stray dogs that do not have access to clean drinking water, drinking own urine is a common behavior. Such dogs are driven to doing so, because they do not have access to clean water.
In domesticated dogs, drinking urine could be a sign that your pet is very thirsty. If a dog owner has forgotten to leave fresh water out for their dog, then the pooch may resort to urine licking, drinking out of the toilet bowl and other harmful behaviors.
Note that signs like excess thirst could indicate a serious health issue like diabetes or kidney disease in dogs. If your dog is thirstier than normal, please have your vet examine it. Some blood tests can show if your dog has any of these conditions.
3. Lacking nutrients
Nutritional deficiencies can also contribute to urine drinking behavior in dogs. Your dog might not be getting adequate electrolytes like sodium and potassium in its diet or drinking.
A low-quality diet can also cause vitamin deficiencies which could prompt it to lick its own urine.
Drinking urine might be the dog’s way to make up for the loss in nutrition. Check with your vet and start feeding your dog a healthy diet and supplements as advised.
4. Urine has an interesting smell/taste
According to the Blue Cross– a pet re-homing organization in the UK – dogs lick their own or other dog’s urine because of their heightened sense of smell. This sense lets them sniff out things which we humans cannot.
Licking their environment helps dogs get deeper information about the smell they find interesting. For example, a dog’s diet might have interesting stuff that could get passed on in its urine. Licking urine helps the dog get a taste of that interesting stuff.
It is important to put a check on this behavior otherwise; it could become a recurrent thing.
5. To get rid of evidence
Often, dog owners use harsh methods of punishment to scold a dog that has indoor accidents.
There are negative training methods like rubbing the dog’s feces or urine on its nose and other such harsh tactics which are frowned up these days.
If a dog owner has used such methods in the past, the dog might drink their own urine to hide the evidence.
6. Some dogs like to clean after themselves
Some dogs are simply very fastidious groomers and cleaners. Any mess in their surroundings might stress them out. They have the natural instinct to groom themselves and clean up after doing their business.
If a dog is used to covering up its urine in the yard, then peeing on the floor and drinking it up could be its way of cleaning the mess it has made indoors.
Most dogs would use an absorbent carpet or rug to relieve itself. But if you have hardwood floors or tiles without carpeting, then your pet might pee on it and then drink it up for not having better solution to cleaning up.
7. Behavioral problems
It is very normal for young puppies to lick or drink their own urine as a part of seeking attention from the owner. In the past, the behavior may have gotten it its human’s attention and so the pup might use the same tactic again and again.
A pet owner may have picked up the dog, kissed it, or treated it to distract the pet. This might end up reinforcing the behavior.
Dogs with separation anxiety are also known to indulge in negative behaviors like indoor urination, excess barking, and furniture chewing, and so on.
Also Read: 4 Signs Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety
Some dogs go a step further and might lick their own excreta.
Often, dogs with separation anxiety tend to show such destructive behaviors. Mostly, these are dogs that dislike a lack of supervision and use their alone time to indulge in all kinds of negative behavior.
If your dog’s urine drinking gets out of hand, please see a dog trainer or an animal behaviorist.
9. Just a phase in young dogs that are being potty trained
Dogs that are being potty trained could end up having an accident at home and might drink their own urine out of embarrassment.
Young puppies require at least 5-6 potty breaks throughout the day during their potty training phase. Even if you take your pet out those many times, your pup could still have an accident owing to its tiny bladder. Potty accidents can happen irrespective of a dog’s potty-training status, age, and size of the dog.
In the past, you might have rebuked your dog for an accident, and resultantly, fear might drive it to drink its own urine.
Also, some dog owners believe their dog to be fully potty trained but even if one has invested weeks or months into the training, a dog could still have accidents indoor. This phase should pass as the dog grows up and learns better bladder control.
Also Read: How Long Can a Chihuahua Hold its Bladder?
10. It is an indication that it needs more frequent potty breaks
Your dog might be trying to tell you that it needs more frequent potty breaks by indulging in urine drinking behavior.
Busy dog parents may not have the time to take their dog out for frequent walks to relieve their bladders. If you happen to live in a high-rise apartment or a home without a terrace or yard, then the dog might end up peeing indoors and may then drink it up to hide the evidence.
It is important to give enough potty breaks or provide your dog with an indoor toilet area like a litter box or potty pad to curb this behavior.
11. You might have conditioned your pet unknowingly
Potty training works best when you use positive reinforcements.
A dog owner might unknowingly ‘teach’ their dogs that they need to clean up after themselves. Some pet parents also use harsh training tactics like rubbing the dog’s nose in the urine or hitting their pet.
Fear could drive your pet to lick up the urine. This fear conditioning could also be the answer to why do dogs drink their own urine.
12. Medical issues
An older dog with urinary incontinence might also drink their own urine.
According to PetMD, urine incontinence can occur due to health issues like:
- Urinary tract infection
- Anatomic abnormalities
- Genetic condition
- Urinary stones
- Kidney disease
- Medicines like corticosteroids
- Spay incontinence in females.
Often, dogs with incontinence tend to lick their private parts. They might even drink up the few drops of urine that leak out when they sleep.
Dr. Krista Williams further explains that dogs with diabetes mellitus have excess glucose in their blood which tends to spill into the urine. They might love the taste of this sweetish urine and resort to drinking own urine.
It is best to have your dog examined by your vet. The doctor might order some more tests to evaluate the cause of the increased urination or incontinence.
6 Tips to Deal with a Dog That Drinks Its Own Urine
Here are some tips to manage your dog’s pee drinking behavior:
1. Provide frequent potty breaks
Whether you have a young pup, adult or an older dog; urine drinking is a sign that it needs to go potty more often.
Take your pet out at least 4 times a day to relieve itself. If needed, hire a dog-sitter or pet-walker for the job.
You can also provide it access to the yard or the terrace with a doggy door so your pet can come and go as it pleases.
In case of a younger puppy, you can train it to go on potty training pads .
2. Use positive reinforcements instead of punishing
Always use positive means of potty training. Do not resort to tactics like rubbing the dog’s nose in feces or urine, or hitting it. These tactics do not work and worse still, could make your dog fearful.
The key to training a dog is ignoring bad behaviors and rewarding good behavior. Each time your dog goes on the potty training pad or outside in the yard (where it won’t get a chance to drink its urine), reward, praise, and pet it.
If your dog licks its urine, say loud NO and distract your dog by clapping your hands.
Soon your pet will understand what is expected of it.
3. Use pee deterrents
Dogs often use their own pee’s scent to void over and over in the same place.
No-pee sprays can come in handy in breaking this cycle of urinating indoors.
These sprays contain strong deodorizers that break down the stench of dog pee. The best part is that they work on carpets, grass, tiles, wood, hard floors, etc.
4. Keep your dog entertained
Many dogs indulge in such negative behaviors because of boredom or lack of attention. To keep your pet entertained, exercise it daily by walking it for 30 minutes twice a day. The amount of exercise a dog needs depends on its age, overall health, and also the breed.
You can also provide it with toys, puzzles , and snuffle mats to keep boredom at bay.
5. Be consistent with potty training
In case of younger dogs, keep up with the potty training and adhere to a strict schedule. Dogs are creatures of habit and they need meals and potty breaks at fixed time every day.
Consistency and patience will help you potty train your dog and also avoid indoor defecation and other related behaviors.
6. Speak to vet and feed good food/supplements
If nutritional deficiency is the cause behind urine-drinking, then speak to your vet. The doctor can guide you in selecting appropriate balanced nutrition based on your dog’s health, breed, and age. They can even suggest supplements to overcome any vitamin deficiencies.