Has Your Adult Dog Ever Started Peeing in the House for No Apparent Reason?

I waited until it was dark and turned off all the lights in the house, then I searched with a blacklight -- sure enough, I found pee.
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All dogs pee. It’s a healthy part of life. I can appreciate that. What I can’t appreciate is a dog peeing indoors. Now, I’m not talking about a new puppy or newly adopted dog who is still learning the ropes of indoor life. And accidents happen, even with longtime housebroken dogs.

But within the past month, our three-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier, Axle, decided to start peeing in the house again. These weren’t “oh my dog, I just can’t hold it anymore” kind of pees. It didn’t matter if I left him alone for one hour or for six, I would come home to pee — the “hike your leg and mark multiple spots” sort of pees. Even after cleaning up the mess and going back to crate training, I smelled pee.

But determining if it really was Axle who was peeing — and exactly where he was peeing — turned out to be much harder than I thought. You see, Axle’s pee smells eerily similar to the weed-eater after I get done weed-eating the dandelions, clover, and the other miscellaneous weeds that insist on taking over my yard. If you walk through the freshly mowed lawn, your boots will bring in the same scent. So when I kept getting a whiff of this faint, only slightly offensive odor, I couldn’t determine if it was pee (ew) or our shoes. After sniff-checking the shoes, I concluded the scent was, indeed, pee. The problem was that I couldn’t isolate the scent. It seemed to be everywhere. Well, when a scent is “everywhere,” it’s more than likely located close to your air return for your air conditioning unit. Sure enough, the cat tree was marked. I tossed it in the dump and cleaned the floor around it. Problem solved, right? Think again!

I’m not a nasty person. I try to keep a clean house, although it can quickly get cluttered with baby gear, pet toys, and my husband’s many “projects.” I try to keep everything swept, dusted, and mopped, so the thought of some dog pee residue in my house just makes my skin crawl. It didn’t help that no one else seemed to notice the smell (which kept occurring). Was I going crazy? I was bound and determined to find the source, eliminate it, and go back to enjoying my house sans odor.

I waited until it was dark and cut out all of the lights in the house. With a blacklight, I started searching. Every room I checked came back “clean.” Remembering the cat tree, I decided to check back around the air return. Sure enough, there was pee. Apparently, Axle had decided to mark the whole corner, not just the cat tree. The amounts were clearly small enough that they would be dry before I ever had a chance to notice them, but the odor remained. I broke out the enzyme cleaner and went to spraying and scrubbing. I’m pretty sure I also scrubbed off the top layer of paint, but there was no more dog pee. Satisfied that I had solved the problem, I went back to enjoying my day.

Later than night, as we were watching Capt. Picard and his crew explore deep space, the air came on and it hit me. Dog pee. OH. MY. DOG. Could nothing eliminate the smell? Had he crawled into the air system itself and peed? (Highly unlikely, as the AC runs through the attic.) I took to my hands and knees and started sniffing the floor. Yep, nose to floor, nose to wall, nose to furniture, I was going to find this offensive thing. My husband thought I was crazy. Axle thought it was a game, and the cat thought I had found something to eat and would run and check every spot behind me. After much crawling and searching, I came to the end table across from where the cat tree had been. Axle had marked the legs on it. How gross! Back to the enzyme cleaner I went. Of course, I finished sniffing around the entire house before I was satisfied that this time the odor was gone for good.

Today, I put Axle in a crate when I’m not home. He doesn’t have a UTI, and his food/water intake hasn’t changed. I think it may be a territorial thing because of the neighborhood dogs who like to roam through our yard and mark the trees and the front door, but I can’t help that. Whatever the issue, Axle has been very agreeable about the return of his crate, and I don’t have to come home to any pee.

What about you? Have you ever had an issue with your dog peeing in the house? How did you find it? Tell me below in the comments!

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About Meghan Lodge: Fits the Aquarius definition to a fault, loves animals, and is always pushing for change. Loves ink, whether it’s in tattoos, books, or writing on that pretty sheet of blank paper. Proud parent of Toby (cat) and Axle (dog). I’m a former quiet nerd who’s turned bubbly animal-obsessed advocate.

10 thoughts on “Has Your Adult Dog Ever Started Peeing in the House for No Apparent Reason?”

  1. My 12 year old female dachshund is peeing in my house. I’ve had her for 4.5 years and there has never been an issue. And she’s not marking. She will literally hold it all day – no matter how many times she’s let out (which is usually every 1-2 hours with my 14 year old chihuahua). She will end up leaving a puddle fit for a Great Dane on my moms bedroom floor. This behavior has been going on for almost a month and I’m about at my wits end! The only change is that my mother quit walking the dogs in the evening (around 8-9 pm) so I’ve been bringing them out at that time, but she won’t pee. She’ll poop outside all day long and sometimes she pees, but she’ll still pee on the floor. Now that it’s getting to be winter it’s just too cold to walk them at that time. But if I walk them earlier she will still pee, even a small amount. I’m about to put her in a crate at night, but she’s not even crate trained. I have never met such a stubborn animal. Help?!?!

  2. I have the same problem .. We adopted a Husky over 2 years ago. We also had adopted another dog a happy Mutt, about 3 and 1/2 years ago. The Husky was adopted against my better judgement, to please my kids. Now, over 2 years later, she is peeing in the house whenever the mood strikes her! (on floors on rugs etc). She also sheds an incredible amount!. Her fur is everywhere , I e find it floating in the dishwasher or fridge Disgusting.. The family never walks her, just lets her out to pee. She also poops all over our patio, rather than in yard.. They also don’t brush her. The dog is obese and just lays around all day. I can’ t walk her as she is too strong for me ( I have a chronic pain issue)… I want to return her to the shellter.! Hubby is starting to agree!.. Our daughter, the child who wanted the Husky most) just started college out-of -state. We have one adult child at home who does not walk or brush her, just wants to cuddle with her. I cannot deal with the peeing or shedding much longer.. Very stressful! How can we return this dog without our kids hating us for it?

    1. Hi Kathy,
      Sorry to hear you’re experiencing this. We suggest talking with your children before giving your dog up to a shelter. A vet might provide some good alternatives to dealing with your dog’s issues as well.

      These articles might provide some insight into your dog’s behavior, too:
      https://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/is-your-dog-peeing-a-lot-should-you-worry
      https://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/ask-a-vet-why-is-my-dog-wetting-the-bed
      https://www.dogster.com/dog-training/how-to-deal-with-your-dog-peeing-in-the-house
      https://www.dogster.com/topic/grooming/
      https://www.dogster.com/dog-food/dog-obesity

    2. Did you not do any general research on huskys at all before rescuing? Don’t return her to the shelter, at least do her a service by finding a reputable rescue that will take good care of her. Returning her to the shelter is a death sentence for her, all because you didn’t do any research on huskys.

    3. Who’s house is this? ADULT children will just have to suck it up. I’d make a short video of all the issues you’ve been through, show it to your ADULT children and call it a day. It’s not fair to the dog and to yourself to care for a pet that really isn’t wanted. Do the right thing.

  3. This just started happening to us. The only difference is Melvin is 4 and he does not mark, he just GOES! It is driving me bonkers. I thought I had it fixed the other day, but I woke up to a golden mess this morning! The kennel does seem to work, but I have to put both dogs in otherwise I end up with a giant mess!

  4. Our dog is 7 years old. He was an easy potty trainer and we have never had issues until like last month. He has peed on my daughter’s comforter, my comforter and now the couch (that I have found). It’s just like a marking pee. I have not idea what to do but put him in his crate again. I hate that because he is a big dog , but I’m at wits end here. Nothing has changed in our house so I cant pinpoint the reason.

  5. We have a miniature fox terrior called Wully, he must be 9 years old, he was really difficult as a puppy to toilet train. He never barks to tell he needs to go out for a pee. You can take him outside to go to the toilet and he does nothing and then does it indoors… Today I have just about had it…. He peed on the sofa and then on my daughters bed. He loves my husband, and if he is home he has nothing to do with me…. But vto be honest I have just about had enough of his peeing and poohing, we have just had new carpet and I are always sniffing for dog pee odour….. What to do, I need a bloody miracle.

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