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House Soiling (Marking) by Dogs

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Treatment

 

If your veterinarian has found any underlying medical conditions, they will be treated first. Sometimes, that is all that is needed to resolve the house soiling problem.

 

If your dog does not have a medical problem causing the house soiling, it may be treated with a combination of medication and training (behavioral modification therapy). Your veterinarian will recommend a training program which will help your dog learn to eliminate its body waste at the right time and in the right place. If your dog is reluctant or is responding with anxiety to the training program, your veterinarian may prescribe anti-anxiety medication, which will help to lower your dog's aversion to the program and encourage it to respond more easily to the training. In some cases, if your dog has not been neutered, your veterinarian may recommend this surgery. This procedure can help up to half of male dogs that urinate in the house to mark their territory.

 

Living and Management

 

When first starting a training program with medication, your veterinarian will want to talk with you frequently to make sure that things are going well. If your dog is on medication, follow-up complete blood counts and biochemistry profiles will be needed to make sure the medications are not affecting any of your dog's internal organs. It is important that you give the medications exactly as directed by your veterinarian and that you not change the frequency or amount without first consulting with your veterinarian. Also, make sure that you do not give any other medications at the same time without your veterinarian's approval.

 

How well your dog responds to the behavioral therapy will depend on how dedicated you are to teaching your dog the new behavior. It is important to be patient with your dog while it is in the learning stage. This can be a slow process. In some cases, it may take several weeks for your dog to start responding to treatment, and several months to achieve full success. Some dogs may need long term medication and training.

 

Dogs that eliminate in the house because of a medical problem will usually improve once the medical condition has been treated, but in some cases, the house soiling problem may continue after the medial condition is treated.

 

Prevention

 

It is important to start early and be consistent with house training. Early, intensive house training will help your dog to understand where and when it is appropriate to eliminate its waste. Your veterinarian can help you to develop a consistent training program to house train your dog. To prevent territory marking behavior, it is important to spay or neuter your dog as soon as it is old enough. Observing your dog for behavioral and physical changes and acting on them quickly will allow you to resolve the issues quickly, before your dog falls into patterns that require more intensive treatment methods.

 

Image via Shutterstock

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