4 Common Reasons Your Dog Pees On Himself/Herself

When it comes to peeing, dogs can be quirky – some pee on their owners, others lick pee, and there are those that pee on other dogs. However, one of the weirdest scenarios is when a dog pees on himself. 

My dog pees on himself – why? A dog peeing on himself is not such an unusual scenario as it sounds. There are four main reasons why a dog would pee on himself – submissiveness, not taking the proper peeing position, urinary incontinence, and urinary tract infections. 

In this article, we will cover the different reasons dogs pee on themselves. We understand the nerve-wracking aspect of the situation, and therefore, we will give tips on managing the problem. 


As mentioned, there are four main reasons why dogs may pee on themselves. Each is different and requires specific attention. Let’s briefly review the potential reasons for the unusual peeing.  

Reason number 1: Submissive peeing

Submissive peeing occurs when dogs want to appease another dog or person they perceive as socially dominant or when they want to escape the situation without being punished or scolded. 

Submissive peeing is more common in young puppies because they lack experience and are learning how to behave. It is also common in older dogs with histories of rough treatment and abuse (rescued dogs).

 In terms of presentation, submissive peeing is similar to excitement peeing. This peeing issue is more common in hyper and overly social dogs. Such dogs pee when approached or greeted by someone (that someone can be a person or another dog). 

Reason number 2: Inappropriate position

Some dogs may pee on themselves simply because they are not taking the proper posture or position necessary for peeing. Obviously, this is more common in puppies that are still learning how peeing works in general. 

Both males and females are prone to peeing on themselves due to incorrect urination postures. If they do not squat deep enough, chances are they will pee on themselves (females on their hind legs and paws and males on the front legs and paws). 

It should be noted that senior dogs may pee on themselves too. In such cases, the inadequate squatting position is due to arthritis issues – the joint pain prevents them from taking the normal peeing position. 

Reason number 3: Urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence is described as involuntary urine leakage, and it can be caused by an array of reasons, including urinary tract infection, old age, and trauma. Spayed female dogs are at higher risk of becoming urinary incontinent as they age. 

Urinary incontinence is by far most common in senior dogs with advanced age-related canine cognitive dysfunction. Such dogs will manifest additional worrisome signs and symptoms. 

Reason number 4: Urinary tract infection

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are painful and potentially dangerous infections of the different parts of the urinary system – they can affect the upper or lower parts of the urinary organs. 

Several issues can cause urinary tract infections, but the two most essential culprits are urinary stones (also known as uroliths) and ascending infections by fecal bacteria. 

The telltale signs of urinary tract infections are difficulty and painful peeing, urinary incontinence, and producing blood-tinged urine. Because of the pain and lack of control, dogs with UTIs are prone to peeing on themselves.  


To help your dog stop peeing on himself, you need to identify the underlying reason. Once the culprit behind your dog’s behavior is revealed, you can take adequate steps to manage the problem. 

Dealing with submissive peeing 

When managing a pet with submissive peeing, the most important thing is not to scold, punish, or hit the dog after peeing. In addition to being ineffective, these activities are counteractive – they only add to the submissiveness problem. 

If the submissive peeing is manifested toward other dogs, there is not much you can do, nor should you. It is best to leave your dog to find its place within the pack (group of dogs in the park, doggy daycare).

However, if your dog is showing excessive submissiveness toward you, it is advisable to build its confidence by teaching it tricks and interacting using non-dominant body posture and gestures. 

Dealing with inappropriate peeing positions 

There is not much you can do in the case of puppies peeing on themselves because they do not know how to stand correctly. You can try supporting your dog’s body in the proper position and carry tons of wipes with you to clean up the mess. However, do not worry – the issue is transient, and your dog will learn how to pee properly. 

Dealing with arthritis is more complicated. The condition is progressive and impossible to treat – only manage. To help your arthritic dog, you need to use joint supplements and anti-pain meds if the pain is severe. 

While peeing (and pooping), you can also help by supporting your dog (hold it under the belly), which will relieve the pressure on the achy joints.  

Dealing with urinary incontinence 

Some urinary incontinence causes are self-limiting and transient. For example, if the problem is triggered by an infection, solving the infections will stop the incontinence. 

However, urinary incontinence may also be caused by permanent issues. For example, senile cognitive dysfunction can make the dog pee on himself without being aware of what it is doing. 

Since there is no cure for this, you can only try managing the situation – pee-proofing the house and cleaning your dog each time it pees on him. 

Dealing with urinary tract infections 

The treatment of urinary tract infections is based on antibiotics. Since there are various microorganisms responsible for such infections, the vet will prescribe a broad-spectrum antibiotic. 

In the case of uroliths, it may be necessary to have them surgically removed. This is highly recommended if they cause frequent UTI bouts. 

In addition to antibiotics, some dogs with advanced and complicated UTIs may require adequate pain management. It is critical to stick to the vet’s instructions and not give your dog any human pain medications. 

Finally, to ensure faster recovery and prevent similar problems in the future, the vet may recommend diet changes. 


All in all, a dog peeing on himself is a red flag and a cause of concern. If your dog suddenly starts peeing on himself, you need to get to the bottom of things and identify the underlying cause. 

Tackling the underlying problem can be challenging and sometimes require close collaboration with a professional – a dog trainer or behaviorist if dealing with submissiveness or a veterinarian if your dog has a urinary condition. 


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of bulldogpapa.com. Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!

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