Dogs can have some strange habits that make their fastidious owners cringe. From eating their own poop to sitting in their pee, owners are left scratching their heads and likely suppressing a gag. Most animals, including dogs, have the instincts to keep themselves relatively clean. This reduces the chance of developing sores and infections. This can make their desire to sit in their urine even more confusing. 

Why does my dog lay or sit on his pee pad?

There are a few reasons your dog may lay or sit on their pee pad. It usually occurs in puppies, but these reasons can apply to older dogs as well. Puppies are still learning appropriate behavior and experimenting with their environment.

Familiarity

If you’ve used pee pads since you brought your dog home, it may simply be familiar to them. If you change their sleeping arrangement by putting their bed in a new location, move them out of a sleeping crate, or get them a new dog bed, they may crave the familiarity and comfort of a pee pad. The thin material isn’t nearly as physically comfortable as a soft bed, but it can be more comforting. If your dog has recently experienced changes in its routine or environment, this might be why it is camping out on its pee pad. 

Temperature

The old adage is “If you are cold, they are cold”. Of course, this applies to heat as well. However, the optimal temperature for dogs isn’t quite that simple. Some breeds are designed for cooler temps. If you have a long-haired dog like a husky, it will probably require a lower temperature to be comfortable than a short-haired dog like a Chihuahua.

Generally, puppies require a slightly warmer temperature than adult dogs. Just like humans, many dogs prefer a cooler temperature to sleep. If you notice your dog sleeping on its pee pad, it may simply be because it is cooler than its dog bed. There’s little barrier between the dog and the floor, and the floor is usually significantly cooler than a dog bed. It’s also lower to the ground, which can further cool your dog down. 

If you notice your dog panting, laying on their back, or seeking out other cool areas like the bare floor, this could be the reason they are laying on their pee pad. 

Location

Another reason your dog might lay or sit on their pee pad is location. Dogs are social creatures, and yours wants to be close to you most of the time. If the pee pad is centrally located (aka near you), they may hang out there to be as close to you as possible. 

If your dog has a tendency to be nearby you or seek attention frequently, consider the location of the pee pad. Does it allow your dog to be closer to you?

Your dog might also be trying to communicate with you, depending on the location of the pee pad. Is it close to your front or back door? Your dog may want to go outside. Is it close to their food or the kitchen? They may want to be fed. 

How do I stop my dog from laying on the pee pad?

Getting your dog to stop laying on its pee pad will depend on the reason your dog is laying on it in the first place. Let’s look at each of the reasons, and what you can do to get your dog to hang out in a more sanitary location. 

Is it Unhealthy For Your Dog to Lay On Its Pee Pad? 

In most cases, your dog sleeping on a pee pad results in them smelling like urine assuming it’s a used pad. This isn’t pleasant for you or your pet, and they will require frequent baths to keep their coat and skin healthy.

If it’s a clean pad, there aren’t any health issues. However, if they become accustomed to laying on a clean pad, they may lay on a soiled one as well. It is possible for your dog to develop a skin infection if they frequently sleep on a dirty pee pad, particularly if they lay on it for long periods of time, generally overnight. 

Familiarity

If your dog is seeking familiarity or comfort, you can trade the pee pad for another comfort object. You may need to move their bed closer to yours. If they have a favorite blanket or toy, placing that near their bed can make them more comfortable. You can also add an item of clothing that you’ve worn to their bed. This provides your scent, which is one of the most comforting things to your furry friend. Just make sure it’s an item you don’t mind getting ruined, because they may pee or chew on it. 

Temperature

If your dog is laying on its pad because it’s cooler, consider lowering your thermostat. You can also purchase a cooling dog bed if your dog prefers a cooler sleeping temperature than you do. These beds usually have a cooling gel interior and a cooling fabric top. You may want to move your dog’s sleeping location closer to an air vent for extra cooling. 

Location

If you suspect its the location of the pee pad your dog prefers, you’ll just need to switch the location. If you have a puppy, switching the location can cause some temporary confusion. Move it as little as possible while still making it a less prime location. Don’t place your dog’s bed where the pee pad was, because it can cause further confusion. Once your dog is used to peeing in a certain area, they may continue to do so, even if their bed is now in that location. 

Eliminating Pee Pads

Pee pads are a great training tool, but most owners want to transition their dog to use the bathroom outside. There are extenuating circumstances. If your dog is elderly or you are gone for a long period of time during the day, you may need to continue using pee pads. However, if you want to move away from using pee pads, it’s a sure-fire way to ensure your dog isn’t laying on it. 

Start by taking your dog outside frequently for bathroom breaks. Leave the pee pads for accidents during initial training. Once your dog is consistently going outside, you can remove the pee pads. You’ll want to monitor your dog closely and watch for signs they need to potty for the first few weeks after removing the pads. 

Why does my dog sit in its pee?

There are a few reasons your dog might sit in its pee. In general, dogs don’t find sitting in their pee any more appealing than humans do. Their instincts come from being feral animals. These canine ancestors had plenty of room to roam and do their duty. It seems that sitting in their pee goes against their natural instinct, but this isn’t always the case.

Crate Training

Crate training is a useful tool for house training, but it does have a downside. If your dog is left inside the crate for too long, they may have no choice but to urinate in their crate. Since the space is confined, they are essentially sitting in their pee. Just like humans, dogs can become accustomed to a less than ideal situation and develop a bad habit that extends beyond the initial context. In other words, if your dog gets used to sitting in its pee, it may continue to do so outside the crate as well. If you haven’t left your dog inside a crate for a long period, consider if it’s possible that a previous owner did so.

Former Stray

Ironically, dogs that were once strays are more likely to sit in their pee as well. Stray dogs have the entire world to urinate on, so why would they sit in their pee? It can be a form of comfort. Going from being a stray or an abusive situation to a loving home is a huge change for a dog. Despite all the wonders it brings, your dog may have some difficulty adjusting to the new rules, environment, and even affection. You may notice them peeing in a certain spot and then sitting in it. 

Stress and Submissive Urination

Stress urination occurs when your dog is stressed or anxious. They may pee when encountering a new environment, person, or scent. The smell of their own pee is familiar to them and the best way they have to mark out unfamiliar scents that cause them anxiety. If you have a favorite smell that evokes calm positive feelings, you understand the power scent can convey. Now consider that a dog’s nose is much more sensitive than ours, and a key way they interact with their environment. It’s no surprise they use it as a comfort mechanism. They may then sit in the pee as a way to stay near the familiar scent. 

Submissive urination often occurs in puppies, but it can happen with older dogs as well. It’s their way of saying “You’re the boss”. If you notice your dog dropping its head, rolling over onto its back, or putting its tail between its legs, submissive urination could be the culprit. 

Peeing When Sitting

If your dog has a UTI or other medical condition, they will have a hard time controlling urination. They will pee at inappropriate times and places because they simply can’t stop themselves. If you notice this behavior, you’ll need a check-up at the vet. Particularly if your dog was completely house trained and starts peeing inside. Medical conditions are usually easy to identify or rule out, so it’s a great first step.

If your dog can’t control their urination, they may be peeing while sitting instead of sitting in their pee. Sitting in their pee implies that they are purposely taking a seat in their urine. Peeing while sitting means that they are peeing unintentionally while sitting down. 

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.