Dogs have all sorts of strange behaviors. Many of them involve their bathroom habits. This isn’t surprising because it’s one of the major ways they communicate with other dogs. One of the most puzzling behaviors is peeing while eating.
Why does my dog pee while eating?
It’s hard for humans to conceive of. We would never pee while eating, so it seems very strange to us. Why do dogs pee while they eat?
Dogs Toileting Instinct
You may have heard the saying, “You don’t poop where you eat”. The saying is applied to many situations, but it’s rooted in practicality. You want the area where you consume food to be clean. You don’t eliminate there.
Dogs have the same concept. They typically don’t pee where they eat or sleep. Instincts play a pivotal role in a dog’s survival. Toileting where they eat can cause them to get sick. Just like humans, they instinctively want their living area clean.
Because it goes against their instinct, your dog peeing where it eats indicates a problem.
Anxiety is a common reason dogs pee in inappropriate places. The phrase, “so scared I peed my pants” came about because fear can make a person lose control of their bladder function and pee.
The same is true for dogs. If your dog is peeing from anxiety, they may tuck their ears and tail, raise their hackles, or show the whites of their eyes. Lip licking and panting can also be signs of anxiety. Dogs tend to avoid eye contact when anxious as well.
Excitement and anxiety are closely linked physiologically speaking, so its’ not surprising dogs can also pee due to excitement. An excited dog may bark, smile, or jump. More subtle signs of excitement include panting, tail wagging, and raised ears.
Some dogs really love mealtime, and they get very excited by food. This may happen when you give them a special treat or change their food, or when they’ve had an already exciting day.
Urinary problems make it difficult for your dog to control their bladder. In this case, the peeing isn’t necessarily related to eating. It’s just where they happen to be at the time. Urinary infection, hormonal disorders, bladder stones, diabetes, and weak bladder can all cause urinary incontinence in dogs.
Age can play a role as well. Puppies can hold urine for one hour for every month of age, until they reach 8 hours at 8 months old. Older dogs can also have trouble holding their urine and maintaining bladder control.
Neurological problems can also cause incontinence. Canine cognitive dysfunction is essentially doggie Alzheimers. Elderly dogs can develop cognitive dysfunction, which causes them to forget previous training, like house training. It can also cause disorientation and confusion, making accidents a common occurrence.
Dogs use their pee as a way of claiming territory and resources. If your dog is peeing beside its food, it may be its way of saying “This is my food”. This is likely to be the issue if there are other animals in the home.
Why does my dog pee after eating?
Does your dog pee immediately after they finish eating? This behavior can be frustrating and leave you wondering what happened.
Again, marking is a common cause. Even though your dog is finished eating, they may pee on or around their bowl as a way to claim the area before leaving with a full belly.
If there are other dogs in the home, your dog may also pee on their bowls in an attempt to claim them as well.
It’s possible that your dog simply has a full bladder. Dogs tend to pee and poop on a schedule, so if they get into the habit of peeing right after they eat, they will likely continue to do so.
Why does my dog pee beside his food?
It’s a strange sight to see a dog pee beside their food, or even in their food bowl. While it does go against their instinct, there are a few reasons why this occurs.
Sensory Deprivation Syndrome
Sensory deprivation syndrome occurs when a dog isn’t given the proper stimulation as a puppy. Puppies have four stages. The neonatal period lasts for the first two weeks after birth. The puppy relies on its mother, and does little besides sleep and eat.
At around three weeks, puppies begin to explore their world and experience stimuli. The period of socialization occurs from four to twelve weeks of age.
This is when the puppy learns how to interact with people and other dogs. In short, they learn what it means to be a dog, and the rules of behavior.
Sensory deprivation often occurs when the dog isn’t properly socialized as a puppy. They don’t learn the rules of behavior or how to interact with the world around them.
They may become fearful of many situations because they didn’t learn how to process them as puppies. This causes fear, which leads the dog to urinate at inappropriate places and times, including mealtime.
They may urinate near their food because they are scared, or simply because they weren’t taught not to by interaction with other dogs and people.
Resource guarding behaviors are also instinctual for dogs. In the wild, a dog must guard its limited resources to survive. They may mark their food by peeing as part of resource guarding. They may also growl or act aggressively when another dog or even a person gets too near their food.
Why does my dog pee when I am eating?
You sit down to enjoy your meal and your dog pees. You can’t enjoy your meal in peace because your furry companion has bad bathroom manners. Why does your dog pee while you are eating?
It’s a bit ironic, but true. Dogs use peeing to mark their territory and resources as a show of dominance. However, peeing is also used to show submission.
In the wild, dogs have a pack hierarchy. The alpha eats first, followed by the dogs next in line in the hierarchy. The dogs lowest in social status eat last. In order to be allowed to eat, these dogs must show submission to the alpha, often by peeing.
Your dog should consider you the alpha of its pack. This means it may pee to show submission to you, out of instinct or hope that you will share your meal.
Other signs of submission include lowered head and gaze, tucked tail, and rolling over on their back.
As we discussed earlier, dogs will also pee when they are excited. In this case, they are likely excited because they are eyeing your food.
Your dog may also pee while you are eating to get your attention. Most dogs find negative attention preferable to no attention at all, similar to a young child. If your dog barks or nudges you while eating in an attempt to get your attention, this could explain why they pee as well.
What to do about my dog peeing when eating?
Dogs normally avoid peeing where they eat for health reasons. It’s unlikely your dog will get sick from peeing near their food, but it’s certainly not sanitary.
The good news is, in most cases, you can train your dog to stop peeing while they eat. With a little patience and practice, you’ll have pee-free mealtimes.
It’s best to let your dog do their business before they eat. This won’t solve marking and submission peeing, because dogs store a small amount of pee for this purpose. However, it can help if they struggle with bladder control. It may reduce anxiety and excitement peeing as well.
Move the Bowl
Try moving their food bowl to a different area of the house. If you have multiple dogs, feed them in separate areas. Your dog may no longer feel the need to mark its food if they aren’t near another dog.
Create Peaceful Mealtimes
One of the best things you can do to remedy this problem is to create peaceful mealtimes. Feed them in an area that’s calm and quiet. If they are very excited, let them settle a bit before feeding them. Only give your dog their food when they are waiting patiently.
If your dog is easily excited, avoid being animated or speaking in an excited voice until mealtime is over. If your home is typically busy or loud, find an area away from the activity to feed your canine companion.
Get a Check-Up
If these steps don’t work or your dog seems to have lost bladder control, a check-up is in order. Your vet will check your dog for pathological causes of incontinence. They can also discuss your dog’s behavior and help identify behavioral issues.
It’s helpful to write down when your dog pees, and any other symptoms or strange behavior that you’ve noticed, so your vet gets the full picture.