Why Dogs Drink Own Urine (11 Reasons) – Palmy Paws (2023)

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While we might love our pets (okay, we are completely enamored with them), there is no denying that some of the things that they do can be weird, slightly disturbing, or even sometimes downright disgusting. However, in the animal world, these seemingly distasteful habits can usually be an indicator of something else. For instance, the dogs that seemingly enjoy drinking their own urine. Sure, it’s gag-worthy but the question that needs to be asked is why they do this. Why do dogs drink own urine?

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When a dog drinks his own urine, it means he is dehydrated or lacking nutrients. If your dog knows urinating in the house is not allowed, he may be trying to hide the scene. Other reasons may include behavioral issues and medical problems.

The truth is, as with most canine behaviors, there is typically much more to it than simply being a gross habit (still icky though!). Because our dogs cannot communicate verbally, they tell us everything in their own unique doggy type of way, which could very well include a display of self-urine drinking. They tend to rely almost solely on body language to communicate.

The act of drinking his own urine could be his way of saying anything from ‘I’m thirsty’ to “I need to investigate your last meal’. The following are just a paw-ful of the most common reasons for your dog drinking his own urine.

Why Dogs Drink Own Urine

11. Dehydration

One of the most common, and obvious, reasons for lapping up his own urine could be that he is dehydrated. The experts say that as a general rule a dog should be drinking at least one ounce of water per every pound of body weight daily. If he is not being offered an adequate supply of fresh water he might resort to drinking his own urine.

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10. Insufficient Diet

While some experts might disagree, many do believe that a big reason for a dog ingesting their own urine is because he is missing some much-needed nutrients in his diet. Although the majority of pet foods claim to have the appropriate amounts of vitamins, minerals, and overall nutrients, it is always a good idea to do your research. You want to ensure that your dog is getting a whole and complete diet.

09. Getting Rid Of The Evidence

Much like a child might hide the pieces of the lamp he accidentally broke, this could very well be your pup’s way of getting rid of the evidence of his indiscretion. If your boy has been housebroken then he knows that having an accident in the house is frowned upon. If he happens to have an accident, drinking the pee to eliminate the evidence would not be out of the realm of possibility.

08. Cleanliness

Most of us have heard about, or seen, (and been completely grossed out by…) a mother dog eating her babies feces and urine. This is completely natural and is done for a few reasons. One of those reasons is their natural instinct for cleanliness. Out of instinct your dog might feel the need to make his den (home) as clean as possible. Even if it means drinking his urine.

07. Behavior Issue

When your dog is drinking his own urine, and it is in addition to other odd or negative habits, then it could be a behavioral issue. Behavioral issues can develop for a multitude of reasons. Behavioral therapy and consistency in training could help curb negative ways. Depending on the severity, you might need to call in a professional animal behavioralist.

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06. Result Of A Neglectful Background

Dogs that come from abusive or neglectful backgrounds, those from puppy mills, in particular, tend to develop the habit of drinking (and sometimes eating) their own excrement. This is due to an insufficient supply of food and water. Their urine and feces may be the only thing they had to eat while in horrid conditions and eventually acquire a taste for it.

05. It’s Just A Stage

In short, animals sometimes go through bizarre stages. If the urine drinking is, in fact, a stage, he will likely grow out of it, although this is not always the case. Using distraction methods and positive reinforcement could help train your dog not to drink his urine. Also if your pooch is still intact (not spayed/neutered) this may be the perfect time to do so as urine drinking could very well be associated with being in heat.

04. Improper House Training

Dogs that have not been trained properly can sometimes develop the habit of drinking their own urine. This can be down to something as simple as the inability to hold it in or rebellion for the younger pups. Having a consistent training plan can help eliminate any urine drinking behavior.

03. He Needs More/Longer Potty Breaks

Too few potty breaks, or ones that are too short, timing-wise, can cause accidents. And, it is not abnormal for your dog to want to ‘clean up’ after having an accident. Luckily, this particular situation is easily rectified. Offering more and longer access to bathroom breaks will typically remove the need to lap up his own urine.

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02. Odor

Some dogs are more sensitive to odor than others. The scent of the urine itself could also be intriguing and enticing to your pup. They use their Jacobson organ (which can be found in the roof of the mouth) to ‘sniff’ out pheromones. If you notice your dog drinking both his and other dogs’ urine, it could be caused by this.

01. Medical Problem

There are some medical conditions that can cause your dog to start swigging his own urine. Diabetes Mellitus, Cushing’s, and kidney failure are just a few of the serious conditions that can cause excessive thirst resulting in possibly drinking his own pee. If you suspect that there is an underlying medical condition, make an appointment with your dog’s veterinarian.

Should I Allow This Behavior?

Well, it is completely gross, so probably not. However, the real question is, can you successfully correct the behavior. Depending on the origin it might be hardwired into their brain and therefore, quite possibly nearly impossible to change.

How To Stop My Dog From Drinking His Own Urine

Where there’s a will there’s a way though, amiright? If you truly have your puppy loving heart set on correcting Fluffy’s habit of urine drinking (and who could blame you!), certain training techniques might do the trick. If all else fails you could always call in the professionals.

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  • Positive Reinforcement: Instead of disciplining when he does drink his own urine, offer praise, and/or treats when he resists the urge. Your dog wants nothing more than to please you.
  • Bribery is Not Frowned Upon: If need be a bribe is always a good idea (okay, maybe not always). If your dog is about to start having a nice puddle of warm pee, distract him with a favorite toy or snack.
  • Consistency is Key: With any behavioral therapy, consistency is absolutely key to success. Stick with it and never waver. You do not want to confuse your pooch.
  • Be Patient: Most things take time, especially if it is attempting to correct a behavior that has possibly been ingrained in them since puppyhood. Don’t get discouraged. Be patient.
  • Don’t Get Your Hopes Up: Unfortunately, you might have to accept that your dog is simply a urine-licker. Some habits cannot be broken but it doesn’t hurt to try.

What Not To Do:

  • Never, ever, rub your dog’s snout in his ‘accidents’. Although it is a discipline, it could very well have the opposite effect. Many dogs that are reprimanded by literally ‘rubbing their nose in it’ end up developing a taste for it. If they regularly need to lick it off their nose, they’re likely going to get used to, or even end up enjoying, the taste.
  • Hitting and Yelling rarely help the situation. In fact, a lot of dogs will urinate out of fear in response to the yelling and/or physical punishment. Instead, here’s an article on how to not get angry at your precious pooch.
  • Don’t give up. True, your precious pooch might never lose his appetite for urine but as long as you are doing it the right way, the training just might help.

Final Thoughts

While acknowledging the ick factor, the good news is that drinking his own urine isn’t likely to be harmful to your pet. The dogs’ digestive system actually sterilizes it. So while it might not be the most pleasant experience, it is normal, not dangerous, and in many cases, can be completely (or almost completely) corrected. Even if you are stuck with a pooch who enjoys a tipple of pee every now and then, remember all of the positives they bring to our lives. They are more than worth a few, somewhat repulsive, moments, no?

Why Dogs Drink Own Urine (11 Reasons) – Palmy Paws (1)


Why would my dog drink his own urine? ›

Although the exact cause of urine drinking is unknown, this behaviour has been observed in pooches that have urinary tract infections (UTI). These infections would make them feel really thirsty, so they often end up drinking whatever liquid that they're able to find.

Why do animals drink their own urine? ›

Auto- urine drinking has been documented in captive animals, although such behaviour is typically associated with the stressful conditions associated with over-crowding or pathology.

Why do dogs refuse to pee? ›

Obstructions in your dog's bladder or urethra can lead to urinary retention. These obstructions can be the result of bladder stones, urethral plugs, blood clots, a narrowing of the urethra (called stricture), or even cancerous tumors. Also, if minerals accumulate in the urinary tract, it can also cause an obstruction.

Why is my dog drinking so much water? ›

If your dog is suddenly very thirsty for a day or so, it's usually not a cause for concern. Dogs may drink more if they're very hot, bored, have eaten certain foods, or have recently exercised. Very active dogs and nursing dogs drink more than other dogs.

How do I get my dog to stop licking his pee? ›

Training can help you prevent your dog from licking other dogs' pee. Practice cues like drop it and leave it so you can interrupt your dog the moment you catch him trying to eat something bad. If your dog fails to obey, use positive reinforcement rather than punishment. Redirect your dog to a toy or game.

Can dogs get sick licking urine? ›

Urine licking can result in some diseases such as leptospirosis, which affects dogs and can be transmitted via infected urine. Infection in dogs can occur when their mucous membranes or wounded skin, such as from a cut or scrape, come into contact with infected urine.

Do animals wake up to pee? ›

Do hibernating animals wake up to go to the bathroom? Some do. All hibernating mammals have periods of arousal, which may occur weekly or monthly, depending on the animal. During these periods the animals stretch, move around, and sometimes urinate or defecate.

Why do animals smell urine? ›

Dogs leave their scents in the urine deposits that they leave on pavements, kerbs, trees and lampposts. By sniffing these, your dog is gaining information on who is in their neighbourhood; the gender of the dog, its reproductive status, general status in life and exactly when it passed by.

Is it okay for dogs to have milk? ›

Milk is a safe treat in small quantities. A few tablespoons of cow's milk or goat's milk on an occasional basis can be a nice reward for your dog. But, you should probably hold off on offering your dog an entire bowl in one sitting, as it can cause unpleasant reactions, including diarrhea, vomiting, and loose stools.

How do you say hello to a dog? ›

Dogs don't shake hands like people do, they use their nose to say hello. So, hold your hand in a fist so they can approach and sniff if they choose. Don't thrust your hand at the dog. They can smell you just fine from a distance, and the sudden movement could startle them.

How long can dogs hold their pee? ›

The Importance of a Bathroom Routine

On average dogs can hold their pee for up to 10-12 hours is they have to. If the need arises and your pet will be home alone for that long, most young dogs will manage, but asking them to do this on a regular basis may have some negative consequences.

How many times a day should a dog pee? ›

How often does a dog need to pee? To put it simply, adult dogs generally need to toilet three to five times a day, and most vets will recommend a maximum window of between six to eight hours between toilet trips.

Why is my dog drinking lots of water and licking paws? ›

Why Is My Dog Drinking Lots of Water and Licking Their Paws? These signs together can be caused by dehydration, allergies, pain, or even behavioral issues, including anxiety, stress, or cognitive dysfunction (the dog version of dementia).

What are the first signs of Cushing's disease in dogs? ›

The most common symptoms of Cushing's disease seen in dogs include:
  • Increased appetite.
  • Excessive thirst or drinking.
  • Thinning of the skin.
  • Hair loss.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Enlarged abdomen, potbellied appearance.
  • Panting.
Jun 15, 2021

What are the early signs of kidney failure in dogs? ›

Symptoms of kidney failure
  • Significant weight loss.
  • Vomiting.
  • Pale gums.
  • Drunken behavior or uncoordinated movement such as stumbling.
  • Breath that smells like chemicals.
  • Significant decrease in appetite.
  • Increase or decrease in water consumption.
  • Increase or decrease in volume of urine.
Jun 28, 2020

Why do dogs lick you? ›

Licking is a natural and instinctive behaviour to dogs. For them it's a way of grooming, bonding, and expressing themselves. Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they're stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them!

Why does my dog's mouth quiver after licking pee? ›

Why does my dog's mouth chatter after licking? Dogs' mouths will sometimes chatter after they've licked something – it's usually just an impulsive reaction and nothing to worry about! Remember dogs' sense of taste and smell is much stronger than ours and sometimes this results in chattering teeth.

What are the signs of leptospirosis in dogs? ›

Signs and Symptoms in Pets
  • Fever.
  • Vomiting.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Refusal to eat.
  • Severe weakness and depression.
  • Stiffness.
  • Severe muscle pain.

Why do dogs eat grass? ›

Dogs need roughage in their diets and grass is a good source of fiber. A lack of roughage affects the dog's ability to digest food and pass stool, so grass may actually help their bodily functions run more smoothly.

How do I know if my dog has kidney failure? ›

Symptoms of Renal Disease & Renal Failure in Dogs

Drinking too much and producing large volumes of urine. General depression associated with elevation of waste products in blood. Overall weakness caused by low potassium in the blood. Increased volume of urine in the bladder.

How do you know if your dog has a bladder or kidney infection? ›

The most common signs of bladder infections in dogs include pain or difficulties urinating, blood in urine or in some cases you may notice that your pup is only urinating very small amounts but frequently. Other indications of bladder infections or urinary tract infections (UTIs) include: Straining to urinate.

What is Sundowners syndrome in dogs? ›

Those affected by "sundowning" sleep more during the day and remain awake, disoriented, and agitated throughout the night. Human patients with cognitive impairment become easily confused and are prone to becoming lost, while a dog with dementia may pace or wander out of the yard.

What are the symptoms of urinary incontinence in dogs? ›

The main symptom of incontinent dogs is the inability to control urination. Dogs may leak urine or void in unusual places. They might trail urine while walking or leave behind wet spots where they were lying or sitting down. You might also notice that your pet is often damp around the hindquarters.

What are the 3 early warning signs of kidney disease? ›

Talk to your doctor immediately if you notice any of these potential CKD signs and symptoms:
  • Changes in urination. Healthy kidneys help filter blood to create urine. ...
  • Fatigue. ...
  • Itching. ...
  • Swelling in your hands, legs, or feet. ...
  • Shortness of breath. ...
  • Pain in the small of your back. ...
  • Decreased appetite. ...
  • Puffiness around your eyes.

What is stage 1 kidney failure in dogs? ›

Stage 1 Kidney Disease

In stage one, there is a small amount to no protein in the urine, and the pup typically maintains normal blood pressure. However, diagnostic tests may indicate abnormalities in the urine concentration or irregular kidney palpation. Most dogs do not present with symptoms during this stage.

What are the symptoms of stage 1 kidney disease in dogs? ›

Signs and Symptoms of Dog Kidney Disease
  • Frequent urination.
  • Drinking more water (going paw-in-paw with the peeing)
  • Weight loss.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Vomiting.
  • Nausea.
Jan 10, 2022

How does a dog act with a kidney infection? ›

A kidney infection is a kind of urinary tract infection (UTI) that can be painful for dogs. Various dog kidney infection symptoms include excessive drinking, increased urination, and painful urination. Understanding the signs of a kidney infection in dogs will allow you to get the therapy and treatment your pet needs.

How can I strengthen my dogs bladder? ›

Management of Urinary Incontinence in Dogs
  1. Using doggie diapers.
  2. Walking the dog more frequently.
  3. Using waterproof pads under their bedding.
  4. Maintaining proper hygiene to prevent skin infection.
Feb 22, 2021

What can I give my dog if I think she has a bladder infection? ›

Antibiotics are the number one treatment for bladder infections in dogs. In some cases, your veterinarian may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or pain killers depending on the severity and underlying cause of your pet's bladder infection.

What dog breeds are prone to dementia? ›

There are no specific dog breeds prone to dementia—any dog could develop it. However, smaller dog breeds can have a higher risk of developing dementia, but this can partially be attributed to the fact that they, on average, live longer than larger breed dogs.

What does gabapentin do to dogs? ›

While for humans gabapentin is used to treat partial seizures, nerve pain, and restless leg syndrome, for dogs it is used to treat seizures, anxiety, and nerve pain. It works by blocking calcium channels in the brain to suppress overly stimulated neurons that cause anxiety, nerve pain, and seizures.

Do dogs with dementia pant a lot? ›

Canine Cognitive Disorder (dog dementia).

Dogs affected by this disorder often have disturbed sleep-wake cycles and may exhibit excessive panting and restlessness.


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