When your dog pees in her sleep, it can be more than an inconvenience. It could also be downright worrying if you don’t know why it’s happening or how to stop it. If you care for a dog who regularly pees while she’s sleeping, you may be wondering, why and what should you do.
If your dog pees in her sleep, it means the muscles that normally keep the urine inside relax or are too weak to work properly. This lack of control could be the result of:
- Spinal disease
- Bladder infection
- Bladder tumor
- Being spayed
- Kidney disease
- Hormonal imbalance
- Toileting habits.
Conditions that lead to a dog peeing in its sleep can be deadly, so prompt action on the owner’s part is crucial. In this article, we will examine each of the conditions that could be to blame and what to look for. If you’re interested in learning more, then keep on reading!
What to Do When a Dog Pees While Sleeping
When a dog owner notices that a dog has peed in their sleep, it is important not to ignore it.
You might think that a few drops or a dribble of urine is not worth the worry, but it is. This is because of the hidden conditions that could be causing this symptom.
The first step is to contact your vet to let them know of the issue. They will ask you some questions about your dog’s health and recent behavior. They may recommend that you bring your dog into the office for an examination.
My Dog Pees In Her Sleep, Why?
In a healthy dog, the urge to pee will wake a dog up and they will go to the toilet.
It is not normal for a dog to pee in its sleep.
Chances are you’re curious about the conditions that could cause your dog to display this behavior. In this section, we will cover each condition that could be responsible.
1. Spinal disease
Female dogs could have a lessened sense of feeling in her bladder area because of a spinal cord disease.
This condition could mean your pet has incontinence whilst awake and asleep.
Spinal cord disease is a degenerative disease.
2. Urinary Tract (Bladder) Infection (UTI)
The most common cause of a weak bladder in female dogs is an infection of the urinary tract.
A UTI (short for urinary tract infection) can cause a dog to leak urine while she sleeps without ever feeling the urge to urinate.
In some cases, there could be leakage of urine at all times, whether the dog is sleeping or not.
Combined with urinary incontinence, here are some other symptoms of UTI in female dogs include:
- Licking of the urethra;
- Appearing unwell;
- Bloody urine;
- Urinating frequently; and
- Urinating around the house or without warning.
The reason why a UTI causes incontinence (leakage of urine) in dogs is that the infection causes inflammation that can irritate the dog’s urethra and surrounding urinary structures.
There are several complications that can arise if a UTI is left untreated:
- Kidney stones
- Blood poisoning
- Kidney infection
- Prostate gland inflammation
- Kidney failure.
The above conditions are serious enough already, but some of them can lead to long-term injury or death.
This is why it’s important to have your dog examined immediately when she pees in her sleep combined with other signs of a UTI.
3. Bladder Tumor
A rarer cause of urination while sleeping is a bladder tumor.
When a tumor grows in the bladder, it can put pressure on the bladder, making it impossible for a dog to hold its urine.
When a tumor is a cause, you may also notice bladder leakage during the day. However, even if the leakage only happens at night, a tumor could still be to blame.
If your dog has a tumor, other signs could be present, like:
- Blood in the urine.
- Difficulty urinating.
- Urinating often.
When you take your dog to the vet, make sure that they rule out any tumors. A tumor in the digestive tract could turn out to be cancerous, and if it is, prompt removal and treatment may be necessary.
To check for urinary abnormalities and conditions, the vet may do one or more of the following tests:
- Urine culture
- Blood work
While these diagnostic tests may be costly, they could be necessary to rule out potentially life-threatening conditions.
4. Being spayed
About 20% of female dogs will experience spay incontinence. This typically occurs when your dog reaches middle age.
Estrogen and progesterone the hormones that strengthen the muscles around the bladder to keep the urine in. When a female dog gets spayed, the levels of hormones estrogen and progesterone drop dramatically.
Spay incontinence can be treated with prescription drugs from your vet.
Female (and male) dogs with diabetes may experience excessive thirst. With a greater need for water, these dogs drink more and need to urinate more.
In addition to urinary incontinence, dogs with diabetes will lose weight and feel lethargic. Their appetite may also increase.
6. Kidney disease
A sign of kidney disease is also excessive thirst.
This leads your dog to drinking more water than normal.
The disorientation and weakness that comes with kidney disease means your dog could lose control of her bladder and she pees in her sleep.
7. Hormonal imbalance
A hormonal imbalance in the bladder affects this organ and the muscles (sphincters) around it.
This can cause a slow leakage of pee while they are sleeping or even as they walk around your home.
Your vet can provide medication to address this hormone imbalance.
8. Improper Toileting Habits
The previous conditions may be frightening, being that they can have negative health consequences, but it’s important to know that there are some causes that are not life-threatening.
Sometimes, dogs may pee in their sleep because they are having difficulty coping with their home situation. For instance, if a dog lives in a frightening environment, they might hold their pee in as long as possible. Once they fall asleep and are unable to consciously hold the urine in, it is finally able to come out.
Even if you think that your dog is voluntarily holding their pee, it’s good to get them checked for other conditions that could be to blame.
Is The Issue Sudden?
If your dog has surprised you by suddenly peeing inside your home? That’s another set of possibilities you need to review. And we’ve covered everything you need to know in this article.
My 8 week old puppy peeing in sleep. Is that normal?
Whether it’s an 8 week old puppy peeing in sleep or 4 month old puppy peeing in sleep, you may notice they pee in their sleep unknowingly. With puppies they might be too tired to notice their bladder is full and so they pee in their sleep.
Puppyhood is a critical time for potty training. You need to take your puppy for potty breaks during the day (every hour) and sometimes at night time when they are young.
Puppies should grow out of puppy incontinence while sleeping. Their bladder muscles will strengthen over time and they will develop more bladder control. However, if they don’t, speak with your vet as they might have a urinary tract infection or other cause.
Why did my dog pee on my bed all of a sudden?
If your toilet-trained dog starts peeing on your bed all of a sudden, then please take your dog to see your vet. One of the 8 conditions of urinary incontinence that we’ve detailed in this article could be the cause.
When the moment comes when you think “Help, my dog pees in her sleep”, you now know a range of potential reasons. The next step is to take her to the vet for a detailed examination. We hope that this article is helpful to you as you deal with your dog’s urinary issue.