My friend recently called me to see if I had any suggestions about a problem her dog had recently started exhibiting; peeing on her and her husband’s clothes and clean laundry.
It’s not something my own dog had done, so I decided to research it and then share my findings with the Doggysaurus readers – also includes tips on how to stop a dog from peeing on things.
Why does my dog pee on my clothes? Dogs pee on clothes, clean laundry, and other stuff left on the floor for reasons such as separation anxiety, exerting their dominance over you, or even a health issue. This could include ailments such as a bladder or kidney problem, so please consult with a vet.
That’s the short answer. With a little investigation you might be able to quickly ascertain why your dog is peeing on your clothes; whether it’s due to a behavioral or health issue. Here’s more in-depth explanation of what to look for and when to be concerned.
Why is my dog peeing on my stuff?
After researching it, I soon realized that there were many reasons why dogs pee on clothes. But there is one thing you should rule out first, and that’s the age of the dog. If you have a puppy peeing on your clothes and clean laundry, it more likely than not just an age and training issue.
Young puppies that are not yet house-trained will pee in the most comfortable place they can find, and the easiest place. That might mean they end up urinating on a clean pile of clothes you’ve left in a laundry basket.
However, with older dogs were house training has long been mastered, the reasons they pee on your stuff will be for health problems, separation anxiety, or marking of territory. It could also be an indication it is time to neuter or spay your pet.
1. Peeing on clothes due to health problems
The most concerning reason that your dog may be peeing on your clothes could be due to ill health. Many conditions could be to blame, such as the following:
- Canine diabetes.
- A urinary tract infection.
- Bladder stones.
- Kidney failure.
- Adrenal gland problems.
If your dog is suffering from such a condition, they will look for a soft item to urinate on to alleviate their pain.
If your previously house-trained dog starts urinating on your clothes or other household items, you will need to take them to the vet as soon as possible to rule out any health issues. It can also be accompanied by licking their owner’s clothes obsessively.
2. Peeing on clothes due to separation anxiety
Dog are prone to separation anxiety when their owners are away from home more often than usual. You can typically tell that a dog has separation anxiety if they are urinating inside, howling, drooling or whining when they see that you are about to leave.
Some dogs will actively try to keep their owners from leaving because it upsets them so much. They will also show a tremendous amount of enthusiasm when the owners return.
There are a few key methods of treating separation anxiety in dogs. First, do not make a big deal out of leaving and entering the house. Wait a few minutes before acknowledging your dog, and then do so calmly.
Another option is to keep your dog in a room with windows and their favourite toys, to keep them calm and happy while you are away.
If you have recently started a new job that requires long hours, consider hiring a dog walker during the day. Your dog will be much happier knowing that they will have a visitor halfway through the day. Some dogs won’t pee, but will instead sleep on clothes. I know which I prefer!
Handy Hint: Many women often report their dog follows them everywhere but never their husband, here’s why that happens.
3. Peeing on clothes to mark territory
Another reason for a dog to pee on your clothes is when they feel like they need to mark their territory. This could be caused by the owners inviting overnight guests or bringing home a new baby.
I’ve also read stories online where women report their dog has been peeing on their husband’s close, perhaps due to jealousy or a perceived threat to their attention. Don’t believe people who tell you dogs understand revenge and pee in spite. It’s not true.
The dog may feel like they are not getting as much from their owner as they were before and become upset. It may also be caused by the owners neglecting to walk the dog and letting them outside to do their business.
They may react to this by choosing something that smells of their owner and peeing on it to claim their territory – dogs will even pee on their food bowl for the same reason!
How do you stop a dog from peeing on things?
It really depends on the reason why your dog is peeing on clothing. For example, if it’s a young puppy, simply house and potty training should stop the peeing.
Consider spaying and neutering
As the dog gets older, you should also consider spaying and neutering. If your dog has not has this procedure, now might be the time to do so, for multiple reasons. First, of course, is to ensure that there are no ‘accidental’ puppies being born.
The second reason is to stop the dog from peeing in the house. This is an issue that is more common with male dogs but can also happen with females.
Handy Hint: I’ve written a more extensive guide which explains how to stop a dog peeing your indoor furniture. It’s more common than you would think.
Un-neutered male dogs will produce more testosterone than those who have been neutered. The excess testosterone can make the dog more aggressive and assertive, meaning that they will try to mark more objects as their own.
Un-spayed female dogs tend to mark their territory with urine right before and during the time when they are in heat.
The first solution to this issue is to get your dog spayed or neutered, assuming that they are old enough to do so. The typical age for dogs to get the procedure is between 6 to 9 months.
This will hopefully reduce or stop the problem altogether. If you are unable to do so, or if it has not helped, there are a few other tricks you can try.
Dealing with changes in your home
It can take time for some dogs to get used to an addition to the family, and this can often lead to them peeing on clean laundry and clothes. To prevent this behaviour, you need to keep them away from the areas they are peeing in.
Keep clean clothes and dirty linen off the floors and close doors to shut your dog out of certain rooms. You can also set up baby gates to encourage your dog to stay on the first floor of the house.
The next steps are to slowly get the dog acquainted with the change. Bring them into the nursery and let them smell everything to get used to it. This will make them feel more comfortable and reassured.
If it’s happening due to a baby coming into your home, another trick is to familiarize your dog with the sounds of crying so that they do not get startled. You can do this by quieting playing recordings of baby cries and giving the dog a treat when they hear it.
This is reinforcing the fact that the baby is a good thing. When introducing the two, bring the dog over to the baby and give them all the time they need to sniff around.
Handy Hint: Often dogs will go the other way and try to act protective towards the baby. However, this can also be problematic.
Here are some more things you can try to stop dogs peeing on your stuff inside the home.
- Make sure to clean any soiled area quickly and completely. Use cleaning products that contain vinegar, as this will deter the dog from trying again. The potent smell is unpleasant to them.
- Keep an eye on the dog for signs that they are about to urinate in the house. If you notice this about to happen, clap your hands loudly to startle them, and then take them outdoors to the correct area. After they have urinated outside successfully, give them a treat and lots of petting.
- If a certain object is consistently being urinated on (such as shoes or purses), do not leave them on the floor. Put them away in closets so the dog cannot have access to them.
- If you need to leave the dog home alone, do not allow them unrestricted access to the house until you are sure they have stopped marking their territory. Put them in their crate (if you won’t be away for too long), as they will not want to soil that area.
Finding out that your dog is peeing on your clothes can be frustrating, but please do not give up on them! If the dog is housebroken, there is something else going on with them that you need to figure out as the root of the problem.
The first thing you need to do is call or visit your vet as soon as possible. A bladder or kidney problem cannot wait, and if that is the cause, it will need to be treated right away.
After the vet rules out health issues, examine any changes that have occurred to the dog’s environment and see if you can pinpoint what it might be. It is likely a simple answer, whether it be jealousy or anxiety or the need to spay or neuter.
Your dog doesn’t mean to misbehave, so do not take it personally. As soon as you have figured out what the problem is, you and your dog will both be much happier and comfortable in the home again.
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