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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19834
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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My 9yr old shih-Tzu suddenly relieving herself in my house.

Customer Question

my 9yr old shih-Tzu suddenly relieving herself in my house. Never did this before, help.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

Is she drinking more?

Is she urinating more often?

Is there a strong odor to the urine or a change in color?

Have you moved or has anyone moved in and out of the household?

Is she spayed?

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

I was hping to get a response back, but it is time for me to retire for the night and I don't want you to be waiting until morning.

There are a couple of causes for this. Common symptoms of a urinary tract infection are frequent urination, dribbling urine, blood in the urine, squatting frequently to urinate, strong odor to the urine, inappropriate urination and straining to urinate as well as an increase in fluid intake. A dog with a UTI does not always show all the symptoms and typically displays 2 or 3. I believe you need to have your Vet check your dog out so it can get medication for the problem if your dog is displaying 2 or more of the above symptoms..

Other causes for increased thirst and frequent urination include kidney failure, diabetes mellitus, cushing, a uterine infection (called pyometra), and liver disease to name a few. You can read about this here:

Another possibility is a disc issue that makes it so she doesn't even know the urine is coming out until it is already on its way out. An intervertebral disc that has slipped or ruptured up into the spinal canal causes inflammation of the spinal cord, which in severe cases causes paralyses of the rear legs. You can read about this here:

Most of the time, dogs with a disc problem are not as quick to jump up or use stairs.

She may also have developed incontinence perhaps related to age. The bladder sphincter may not be functioning as well as it used to. This happens frequently after a dog is spayed and in older dogs as well. You can read more on it at this site as well as treatment options.

One drug frequently prescribed is phenylpropanolamine which you can read about here:

There is also the possibility that she is starting with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) which is much like alzheimers. There is a wonderful site that explains it well and also explains how to document your dog's behavior and discuss it with your vet. The good news is that there is a drug called L-Selegeline (Anipryl (R)) which has been recently approved for use in the clinical indication of cognitive dysfunction (CDS) in dogs.

Please see this site for more information and other causes that may exhibit the same symptoms.

Remember to clean any areas where she has urinated with a high quality enzymatic pet odor remover so the odor will not draw her back to the area again.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . Since I am retiring, I'll answer first thing in the morning if you need clarification. If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.