Urination Likely a Sign of Separation Anxiety

If medical causes are ruled out, consider behavioral issues.


Q. I need a second opinion about my 10-year-old Cocker Spaniel-Poodle mix. About a month ago she started drinking a lot of water and acting kind of crazy and aggressive.

One day she urinated on our bedroom carpet while we were at work. I took her to the vet, and he did blood tests and X-rayed her stomach. It showed nothing. He said it was something intestinal and to put her on a chicken and rice diet for 10 days. She seemed to get a little better but is still wetting in the house. She has also shredded our paper window blinds. I don't know what to do. I really think she may have a bladder or kidney problem.

A. This sounds like an interesting case. Your little dog is displaying what sounds like classic signs of separation anxiety in tearing up the window blinds, and her urination on the carpet may also be signs of her displeasure at being left alone.
However, if her urination is a medical problem, I would say your little dog has a urinary tract infection. It sounds like your veterinarian did blood work and X-rays, but I see no mention of a urinalysis being done.
Female puppies and middle-aged dogs are very susceptible to urinary tract infections, due to the anatomy of the urethra. In females, the urethra, the tube that connects the bladder to the outside world, is relatively short, and is prone to contamination due to its proximity to the excretions from the intestines (feces). Male dogs rarely get urinary tract infections.
Most urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria like E. Coli, and respond well to appropriate antibiotics.
Other possible causes of frequent urination, or straining to urinate, include bladder stones (which would have been seen on X-rays), kidney failure and diabetes (which would have been detected with bloodtests). A bladder tumor is also a possibility, and would require ultrasound to detect.
So there you have it. If your veterinarian has already done a urinalysis, and it was normal, it is probably a behavioral problem.
I enjoy the challenge of doing electronic diagnosis over the Internet. However, I always recommend that dog owners follow up with their regular veterinarians.
Good luck and thank you for your interesting question.

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Pat Dollard   Lynn, Massachusetts

11/11/2014 12:42:45 PM

I have a 4year old poodle. He is very affectionate and always wants to lay on my lap or stretch out beside me. But it is so different when my husband and I leave our house. We are only gone for 2-3 hours, but he cries all the time we are gone. He has just recently started to urinate and poop at will everywhere but where he has been trained (successfully) . It seems that when we are not taking him down the beach ( which he loves) or taking him out in the yard, he acts out. I'm sure it has to do with his separtation anxiety, but its not that we're angry with him, but more like its too cold or we just can't bring him out every single day. He has urinated on our bed and rugs and even on his crate. How can we (other than what we are doing) make him understand this? We have trained him to go on a mat in the corner of the kitchen and this has worked for four years. But every once in a while, he displays this behavior. He is a toy poodle. Do you have any thoughts on what we might try. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

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