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Why Does My Dog Pee When They Are Excited? Is This Behavior Normal For All Dogs?

If your canine companion seems to pee every time they get excited, you aren't alone! This behavior happens frequently in submissive or nervous dogs. But there could be some underlying urinary tract issues that need to be looked at by your veterinarian. In this article, Veterinary Technician Amber LaRock examines why this behavior happens, and when it's time to call your local vet.

Amber LaRock

Last Updated: June 7, 2021 | 8 min read

Dog Pees When Excited

There is nothing better than an excited pup waiting at the door, eager to greet us when we get home. While our dog’s happiness warms our heart, the joy can quickly fade when you step in a puddle of urine. This isn’t something to get upset about, and it’s actually quite common.

So why do some dogs pee when they are nervous or excited? Does it come down to the breed? Or is it related to certain learned behaviors? You may be surprised to learn that there may actually be a few reasons why a dog may piddle during periods of nervousness or excitement.

Still curious to learn more? In this article, we will discuss the details of this strange behavior in our canine friends and help you figure out how to stop it!

Is it Normal For Dogs to Pee When Excited?

Happy Black and White Dog With Tongue Out
It is considered normal behavior for a dog to urinate when excited.

This may not be a desirable behavior, but it is not uncommon. It commonly occurs in dogs that are both shy or lacking confidence. It’s most common during periods when they are overwhelmed with emotions. It can also be a sign of underlying health conditions, meaning you should always pay close attention if it does occur.

Inappropriate urination can have multiple causes, ranging from behavioral issues to developing medical conditions. This behavior may be “normal” for some pups, but there is always a way to resolve the behavior.

Peeing Behavior in Males & Females

Long-Haired Dachshund Laying on a Yellow Rug
Peeing when excited happens just as commonly with males as females.

Inappropriate urination is equally common in both males and female dogs. While the dog’s sex doesn’t seem to be a factor, it is much more common in young dogs than in old dogs. This can be due to not being properly potty trained. It could also be due to a lower confidence level. And lastly, it could just be that your pup hasn’t learned how to control their bladder when they are overwhelmed.

Why Dogs Pee When Excited or Nervous

To best address your dog’s inappropriate urination, you must get to the root of the cause. To help you better understand your canine friend, let’s discuss the many reasons why your canine companion may pee when they are nervous or excited.

They Are Submissive

Gold Retriever on Its Back
Submissive dogs will sometimes roll on their back and shower you when excited.

If your dog always urinates when you are in a dominant position, your pup is likely experiencing submissive urination. This dominant position could mean you are standing above them during the interaction, or even using a stern tone with them. This can be because your dog is naturally shy, not properly socialized, or even being inappropriately disciplined.

Submissive urination will often be accompanied by fearful body language such as a tucked tail, pinned back ears, or any other form of submission. Most dogs will grow out of this behavior as they begin to develop a more confident attitude. However, if their submissive urination continues with no end, they may require training to help kick this habit.

They Are Overly Excited

Happy Gold Retriever on Its Back
There are some instances where dogs are so excited they literally cannot contain themselves or their urine.

Some dogs simply cannot help themselves when they become overly excited. Some excited pups will pee each time their owner walks in the door, when they meet new people, or even when greeting new furry friends. Excited urination is not fear-based like submissive urination, and you will not see fearful body language when this happens.

This is another type of inappropriate urination most common in young dogs and will often resolve as they get older. This is also most common when a pup has not had a potty break in a while, as this makes it harder for a dog to control their bladder.

They Have Separation Anxiety

Mixed Dog Leaning on its Owner
Being separated from an ower can casue untimely urination in our furry friends.

Some dogs with separation anxiety will be so overwhelmed when you finally walk in the door they experience inappropriate urination. These pups may be so stressed in the time you are away, causing them to be overcome with nervous energy when they are reunited with their owner.

If your dog is peeing inappropriately due to separation anxiety, you will likely see other signs of stress in your canine friend. They may turn to destructive behavior, howl when you are away, or whine uncontrollably when you step in the door. It may be ideal to invest in a dog crate good for your anxious pup.

They Have a UTI

Husky Puppy Being Checked by a Vet
The cause behind your pup’s sudden lack of bladder control could be a urinary tract infection, or UTI.

If your dog suddenly begins to pee when nervous or excited, it may be experiencing a UTI or other urinary complications. Sudden onset of inappropriate urination should always be taken seriously, as this means your pup had already mastered controlling its bladder. This is especially worrisome in older dogs that have never struggled with housetraining. This usually means something is making it challenging to hold their pee.

If your dog is urinating inappropriately due to a UTI, there are some other symptoms you may notice. They may be peeing more than usual, peeing small amounts multiple times, urinating around the house, experiencing strong-smelling urine, and even having blood in their pee. If your pup is suddenly peeing each time they get excited, it’s time to visit your veterinarian for a urine check.

They Struggle With Incontinence

Senior Gold Retriever Laying on a Pink Blanket
As our canine companions age, they often experience loss of bladder control.

If your senior pup begins to dribble urine throughout your home, they may be struggling with incontinence. Similar to humans, dogs can begin to have a hard time controlling their bladder as they age.

This can make it difficult to refrain from urinating when they get excited, especially if they are not getting enough potty breaks. If your pup seems like they are having a hard time holding it, it’s time to speak with your vet.

They Are in Pain

Shiba Inu Laying on its Owner
Your pooch may be experiencing soem type of pain if there is suddenly puddles of pee around your home.

Dogs can do strange things when they are in pain. A painful pup may experience heightened anxiety due to their discomfort, leading to many potential changes in their behavior. Dogs can experience pain due to several reasons, each of which will come with its own set of symptoms.

If your dog is suddenly experiencing inappropriate urination, along with any other changes in their behavior, they may be experiencing some type of pain. It’s best to contact your veterinarian for further advice in this situation.

Other Medical Conditions

Dog Being Checked at the Vet
There are a number of medical conditions that may contribute to inappropriate urination.

There are many types of medical conditions in dogs that can cause a dog to urinate more than usual. They may also experience other abnormal urinary habits. This can be due to conditions causing a dog to drink more, which puts a strain on their bladder, or even those affecting their kidneys.

If this is the case, a dog will usually begin to experience inappropriate urination suddenly. They may display other changes in behavior as well. Their urination may not only occur when they are excited or nervous but rather around your home and at any time.

If you think an underlying condition is the cause of their peeing, it’s best to contact your vet for further advice. Your vet can perform diagnostics to get to the root of the issue. they will then determine the best plan of action going forward.

Stopping The Behavior

We may love our canine friends, but inappropriate urination habits can get old quickly. Though many dogs will outgrow this behavior eventually, there are ways to help your pup kick this habit for good.

Treat the Underlying Medical Issue

Puppy Next to a Puddle
Getting to the root of the problem and findin a solution is a good start for your pup’s peeing.

The first way to ensure your dog breaks this habit is by ruling out any underlying medical conditions. Training will not help if they are actually struggling with any urinary complications, and will just make the issue drag out even longer. The best way to rule out any potential health complications is by visiting your veterinarian.

Redirect Their Excited Energy

Chocolate Labrador Outdoors
Taking your dog outside immediately when you come home can redirect them to urinate outdoors instead of inside.

If your dog’s inappropriate peeing only occurs at a certain time, you can attempt to redirect their excitement at that moment. For example, if your dog pees each time you walk in the door and crouch onto the floor to greet it, you can try immediately walking to its favorite toy and engaging in play.

You can also do this by immediately giving it a treat. You can also walk directly outside with it to allow it to pee before the big greeting. All of these avoidance tactics should help keep your pup’s attention on your actions and make them less likely to piddle indoors.

Understand Their Triggers

Golden Retriever Happily Greeting a Human
Pay special attention to learn what triggers your dog’s excitement that turns into urine.

Another way to help your dog stop peeing when they are excited is by understanding their triggers. Pinpointing their triggers will help you better understand your pup, and also help to bring an end to the behavior. Every dog is different, so it’s up to you to analyze their behavior to determine what causes them to inappropriately urinate.

Desensitize Their Triggers

Happy Border Collie on its Back
Once the triggers have been established, it is best to find a way to desensitize them.

Once you are aware of your dog’s triggers, you can then desensitize them. This will help bring an end to the behavior. For example, if your dog only pees when meeting new people, you can address this behavior by offering more socialization.

The more they interact with new humans, the less likely they are to be overwhelmed with excitement and unable to hold their bladder. If your dog has a specific trigger, desensitization can help make inappropriate urination less likely going forward.

Build Their Confidence

Happy Dog Being Pet by a Human Hand
Lots of praise, pets, and treats can boost your dog’s confidence, making it less submissive.

If your dog pees any time they are nervous, they may need a confidence booster. Insecure dogs often benefit from obedience training, as it helps to build their confidence in their own skin.

You can help prevent nervous peeing by teaching commands such as sit, lay down, stay, come, shake, and any other tricks you are interested in. Learning basic obedience commands can make a world of difference for an uneasy pup.

Avoid Any Negative Reinforcement

Human Scolding a Puppy for Peeing Inside
Avoiding any negative or harsh punishment will yield better results.

It may be frustrating to step in a puddle of urine each time your dog is excited or nervous. But, it’s important to avoid punishing them in any way. Negative reinforcement can be confusing for a dog in this situation, especially if they are truly having a hard time controlling their bladder.

Punishment is especially dangerous for dogs already struggling with confidence, as this can knock them down even further. Helping your dog ditch their inappropriate urination may take time, but it’s important to practice patience throughout the process.

Final Thoughts

Excited or submissive urination is a common struggle in our canine friends. The important thing is to remember to be patient with your pup. Avoid disciplining your dog too harshly, and reward good behavior with positive reinforcement techniques. By sticking to these steps, you can slowly put an end to your dog’s inappropriate urination!

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