Ask the Vet Archive

Your chance to ask Dr. Mindy Cohan, VMD, our resident pet health expert, what's on your mind!

Topic: Canine Inappropriate Defacation

Question from Jenny in Wilmington:
We have had a dog for a little more than 2 months. He is 2 years old and has been housetrained. Recently, he has been relieving himself in our living room and/or family room at least once a day. We have not changed anything and are letting him out quite often. The first time he had diarrhea and we figured that maybe he wasn't feeling good. Then about a week later he started doing it regularly. Is there something we should do to get him to stop doing this?

Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
Your mention of diarrhea leads me to believe that your dog is defecating and not urinating in your house. It is not unusual for a pet with diarrhea to have an accident in the house. With intestinal problems, dogs simply may not be able to give owners enough warning to relieve themselves outside. If your dog's bowel movements are formed and normal at this time, his inappropriate pooping will need to be corrected with behavioral modification.

I recommend buying a crate if you do not already have one. He may need a refresher course on housetraining and a crate is a great tool for this purpose. Keep him in the crate when you are out of the house or not able to closely supervise him while at home. Limit the crate size so he cannot relieve himself at one end and lie at the other side. When he has a bowel movement outside, praise him both verbally ("Good boy") and give him a small treat. Do not punish him if he has an accident in the house. If he was previously housetrained, it should not take long to get him back on track. If his bowel movements are abnormal, consult your veterinarian.

Posted December 7, 2006

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