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Why does my dog pee while lying down?

It’s distressing when your dog gets up after napping and you discover a puddle of pee or wet spot where she laid. You worry about what’s going on with her, you worry about the ever present pool of pee in her bed, or worse, the puddle she leaves after sleeping in your bed. Known as urinary incontinence, there are many possible causes of why your dog pees while lying down.

Why does my dog pee while lying down?

The main symptom of urinary incontinence is that your otherwise fully housetrained dog begins to urinate inside the house, in her sleep, and has urine dribble down her legs. If you have a dog who is incontinent, you know that when she awakens from sleep, her bedding has a wet spot or pool of urine. As a result of lying in urine, her skin can become irritated, she will probably smell of urine, and she may lick at herself constantly.

Here are some of the causes of why dogs pee while lying down.

Urethral Disorders

Mostly a congenital defect, some dogs have ureters that run past the bladder, to which they are supposed to attach, and instead connect to another, incorrect area, such as the urethra. When this happens, the dog is also more susceptible to other issues that cause incontinence, such as urinary incontinence caused by hormone responses, urinary tract infections and inflammation, prostatic disease in male dogs, and vaginal disorders in females.

Some breeds are more prone to this defect, including Siberian Huskies, Welsh Corgis, Wire-haired Fox Terriers, West Highland White Terriers, Collies, Labrador Retrievers, and Miniature Poodles.

Urinary Tract Infection

Believe it or not, urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are the most common infectious disease of any in dogs. In addition, they are most common in females. A dog who has a UTI has the urge to pee more frequently than normal. You may also notice that she strains to pee. A UTI is caused when bacteria travel up and into the bladder. Sometimes, after a dog has been treated for a UTI, the muscles that control the flow of urine from the bladder become more sensitive, which in turn can cause leaking and dribbling when the dog is sleeping. In addition, if your dog has had previous bladder infections, the bladder may become scarred which affects its ability to stretch, another reason she may leak urine when sleeping.

Since your dog will feel uncomfortable if she has a UTI, it’s important for you to recognize its symptoms, which include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Dribbling of pee
  • Straining or crying when trying to pee
  • Peeing in the house
  • Bloody, pink or cloudy urine
  • Smelly urine
  • Tiredness
  • Thirstier than normal
  • Fever

Hormone-responsive Incontinence

Hormone-responsive incontinence occurs mostly in females but can occur in some male dogs as well. In females, it can occur right after spaying or when she reaches middle and old age. The explanation for this is that when her estrogen levels decrease, the dog’s muscles that control urination weaken. Spayed dogs lose estrogen from the removal of their female organs, while older dogs experience a natural decrease in the muscle-strengthening hormone. Without the ability to control peeing as she once did, you may find urine in her bedding when she wakes up.

Age-related Incontinence

In addition to aged female dogs having to deal with the weakening of muscles that control urinating, they may also suffer from senility which makes them unaware that they are peeing. This last is also true for elderly male dogs.

Spinal Cord Disease or Injury

A severe spinal cord issue may result in your dog being unable to control her bladder at all, whether awake or asleep.


One classic symptom of diabetes in both humans and canines is constant thirst. If your dog is always thirsty, her bladder quickly fills, meaning she must pee often. This may also result in peeing or dribbling while she is lying down. Diabetes is serious, so also look for lethargy and weight loss and be sure to get to the vet as soon as possible.

Kidney Disease

One symptom of kidney disease is thirst and excessive drinking. It can also cause a dog to become weak and confused, both of which can cause her to have accidents.

Prostate Problems

If a male dog’s prostate becomes enlarged, it can result in incontinence. You may also notice blood in the urine. Medicine and castration can alleviate this problem.

Bladder Stones or Masses

Stones, tumors, and polyps in the bladder can interfere with the flow of urine, which can affect the muscles’ ability to pass pee, resulting in incontinence.

Why does my puppy pee while lying down?

With puppies, although there could be a physical for peeing while lying down, most often it’s simply a matter of being a puppy. Training a puppy takes time and until she becomes fully housetrained, peeing and pooping where she sleeps is normal.

You need to be patient while you are housebreaking your puppy. Don’t yell or rub her nose in her poop and pee. Be sure to clean up any messes thoroughly, which means using enzymatic cleaners to completely neutralize odors and eliminate the temptation to go in the same place again.

What to do about my dog peeing while lying down?

Establishing a game plan for deterring your dog’s peeing while lying down should begin with a visit to your vet to rule out any serious cause. Try to catch a sample of your dog’s urine to bring with you. Be sure to refrigerate it until your appointment.

You can expect your vet to test the urine for bacteria as well as to give your dog a good physical examination. Based on the findings of this appointment, further testing may be indicated, such as x-rays or ultrasound.

In the meantime, make sure your dog’s bedding is always clean, which means extra laundry. You can also purchase pee pads to place in her sleeping spots to absorb urine. Dog diapers are another option. These work well, come in different sizes, and are relatively inexpensive. You can find them at pet stores and online.

More frequent potty breaks can help the amount of peeing that escapes when your dog is lying down. Take her out as late as possible and right before you go to bed and be sure to take her out again as soon as you wake up.

If your dog’s issue is infection, try giving her cranberry juice, which is known to help keep UTIs at bay.