What toileting in unusual places could mean…

Dogs and cats may toilet in undesirable locations simply because they’ve never learnt where it’s appropriate to go to the toilet. However, if an animal who has previously been toilet-trained starts to change their toileting habits and use your house as a latrine, it’s worth seeking help.

Why is my pet toileting in the house?

Firstly, toileting problems can have an underlying medical cause so it’s very important to speak to your vet – they may need to run some tests to find out if your pet is unable to control their bowels or bladder for a physical reason.

Dogs and cats can lose control of their bowels and/or urinate when they’re frightened, so try to find out if there’s something obvious that may be triggering the behaviour. Dogs who urinate when a person is greeting them are communicating they’re finding the human interaction a bit too intense (or perhaps found that person’s greeting behaviour overbearing in the past, so now anticipates a difficult greeting from them). The person should refrain from continuing greeting the dog as soon as the dog starts to change their body language – the first sign that they are finding it too much, before the urinating usually happens.

Some pets get territorial

Cats will mark their territory by spraying urine – this is perfectly normal around the periphery of their territory. However, when it happens within their core territory (the house), it’s a sign they’re finding something difficult. This may be living with another cat or pet in the home, a difficult relationship with one of the humans in the home, or even neighbourhood cats. They can sometimes also deposit faeces in the same way.

Depositing urine in puddles on the floor (rather than spraying up the wall) is likely due to an issue with their current toileting facilities. If the cat does not feel safe, they will avoid toileting. Neighbourhood cats, dogs or people may deter a cat from toileting outside, or a litter tray located in a busy throughfare of the home or children who disturb the cat whilst using the litter tray will cause it to be an undesirable location for them to go.

In a multi-cat household, each cat requires a tray, plus an extra one for use in case they are all occupied or dirty at the same time. And cats generally like large trays filled with deep, unscented clumping litter that is scooped daily and washed with soapy water weekly.

Hiding the evidence

Dogs may toilet in hidden places in the home if they have ever been told off for toileting in the house – this is in an attempt to hide it from the owner. Dogs and cats may also urinate when they feel stressed or anxious to surround themselves with a strong, familiar scent. Some may even choose to urinate on items strongly impregnated with their owner’s scent, or in areas that heat up (such as electrical sockets or appliances).

What can I do to stop my pet toileting in unwanted places?

As with all animal behaviour, finding out why they’re doing it, is the key to resolving it. Once you’ve identified the probable motivation, you can then make changes to help your pet. Always avoid punishing your pet if you catch them in the act as this will only serve to cause or increase stress and anxiety. Similarly, there’s no point in telling your pet off if you find toileting evidence anywhere unwanted because they’ll not associate their toileting behaviour with being told off.

Unneutered male dogs and cats are more likely to urine mark in unusual places too, so speak to your vet about castration if this is happening.

If your pet continues to toilet in unusual places, and you’ve already spoken to your vet about any possible health issues, Zylkene could help make them feel more relaxed. Discover more how Zylkene could help.