It’s never fun when your dog has accidents in the home, especially at a friend’s home. I tend to carry around a bunch of cleaners whenever I visit other people just in case something happens. Regardless, there are some important bits of information we all need to be aware of.
Don’t Punish Your Dog For Having Accidents
I see some folks punish their dog for potty accidents by doing things like rubbing their nose in the mess. That’s the worst thing you can do! Instead of learning that doing their business inside the house is wrong, all it will tell your dog is that people are erratic and unsafe.
In fact, the likely outcome of doing this is your dog will be afraid to go potty in front of you (even outdoors) and it may make indoor accidents more frequent. The right approach is to manage their environment and train for better behavior. Remember, dogs naturally want to keep their personal spaces clean.
The Main Cause of Accidents: Your Dog’s Anxiety
Potty accidents typically boil down to two things:
- Separation Anxiety. Simply put, they can’t handle being away from you for too long.
- Noise. Some dogs are scared of noises like thunderstorms, traffic, fireworks, and construction. If that’s the case, they may simply not want to leave the house which can obviously lead to indoor accidents (after all, when you gotta go, you gotta go!).
How to Stop the Accidents
If you think your dog’s accidents are due to separation anxiety, it will likely be related to the length of time you’re gone. So, if you know you’ll be gone for a longer than normal period, consider having a neighbor look after them, hire a dog walker or take them to doggy daycare. This will provide your dog company and give them a chance to relieve themselves outside while they’re waiting for you. Note that you can also ask your vet to refer you to a veterinary behaviorist to help you work through the issue.
For dogs with a fear of noises, consider taking your dog somewhere else like doggy day care if the noise is temporary (for example, during a construction project). If the noise is consistent like outdoor traffic sounds your best bet is to create a relaxing and enjoyable environment to keep them occupied. A simple way to do this is by playing calming music (do a search on YouTube or Spotify for “Relaxation Music for Dogs”), and use dog food puzzles.
The bottom line: dealing with your dog’s anxiety will result in a happier and more stable dog, which should reduce the chance of accidents.
Repeat Offenders: The Importance of Enzyme Cleaners
If you dog can smell past accidents inside the house, they might think it’s the right place to do their business. That’s why dog enzyme cleaners that get rid of smells are must-haves for dealing with messes. There are plenty of brands out there. Just do a Google or Amazon search for “Dog Enzyme Cleaner”.
When You Should Definitely Check With A Vet
This one’s important. If your house-trained adult dog starts having accidents in the home, there may be some underlying medical reason such as a urinary tract infection, canine cognitive dysfunction or something else. Please get a vet to check them out before exploring other options.