There are a lot of reasons for a dog peeing on the bed.
Puppies might pee on the bed if they are not fully potty trained, of course.
Adult dogs could pee on the bed because they are marking or because of a urinary tract infection.
Your dog also might pee on your bed if he is confused on where to go to the bathroom. For example, if you’ve recently moved into a new house.
I’ll go over some more details below and some ideas on what you can do if your dog has started peeing on your bed.
9 Reasons for a Dog Peeing on the Bed
1. The dog is not fully potty trained
The first thing to ask yourself, especially if you have a puppy, young dog or newly adopted dog is, “Is my dog truly potty trained?”
In general, dog and puppy owners seem to set too high of expectations for potty training. It can take several weeks or months of consistency. So be honest with yourself.
If your puppy or dog has had any poop or potty accidents anywhere else in the house in the last month, then the answer is no, he is probably not fully potty trained.
If you adopted the dog within the last couple months, he might not be fully potty trained. Just because the shelter told you he was potty trained does not mean he is potty trained in YOUR house.
2. Health reasons for a dog peeing on the bed
Your dog might be peeing the bed for any number of health reasons. For example, she could have a urinary tract infection or a bladder infection that makes her have to urinate more frequently.
Your senior dog may be having trouble “holding it” as long as she used to. The same could be true if your pup was recently spayed or neutered.
Certain medications can cause dogs to urinate more frequently, such as prednisone.
Our fellow blogger, Colby and his dog, Stetson had a few pee pee accidents on the bed when he was on prednisone. He observed Stetson drinking a lot more water when (equals more pee) on prednisone.
And there are so many other health-related possibilities that could be a factor. Maybe your dog had a seizure when you were not there. Maybe your older dog is starting to have issues with dementia.
3. Your dog is marking the bed
If your dog is intentionally lifting a leg and peeing small amounts on your bed, he is probably marking. Note that some female dogs also mark by lifting a leg or squatting. It’s not just the boys that do this.
4. Submissive or excited urination
Some dogs urinate when they are overly excited or if they are “submissive.” If your dog crouches or cowers and urinates or if he rolls onto his back and urinates, it may be “submissive urination.”
If you notice your puppy or dog squatting and peeing when he greets people or dogs, this is what I mean by “submissive” or “excited” urination. It’s almost like he’s “leaking” urine.
My weimaraner did this until he was about a year old. It’s normal and a lot of puppies grow out of it.
5. The dog was left in your bedroom too long
Obviously, if your dog has been left in your bedroom for over 8 hours, especially during the day, he might not be able to hold it that long!
This is not a potty training problem, this is a scheduling problem. If your dog has been left in your bedroom all day while you’re at work and he relieves himself, you can’t really blame him!
6. Stress or life changes – new baby, new partner, new pet
My weimaraner had never marked in the house before but the first thing he did when we moved to a new condo four years ago was jump on our bed and pee right in the center of our mattress!
He’s never done it since, thankfully. We think he did it this one time out of stress and adjusting to the new environment or possibly because he was trying to mark the new area.
Some examples of life changes that could cause stress for your dog could include a new boyfriend has moved in with you, you had a baby, you started a new job, you had family staying with you or you got a new pet.
It could also be something much less significant (to you) that is causing stress for your dog.
For example, perhaps your neighbor has started a project in his garage every afternoon and the noise is stressing out your dog. Or maybe the neighbor’s children have started skateboarding and the sounds from that are stressing out your dog.
7. Changes to your actual bed
If you got new pillows, a new quilt or your actual bed is new, some dogs may be more likely to try to “mark” the new items.
The same may be true if you’ve had someone new sleeping in your bed, whether it’s a partner, a family member visiting, a baby or a new pet.
8. Confusion on the rules due to travel
If you are traveling or staying somewhere different like a friend’s house or a hotel, your dog might be confused on where he should relieve himself.
For example, if he’s used to peeing in the grass and there’s only dirt, concrete and fire hydrants around, he may not know where he’s supposed to pee.
He might end up holding it longer than usual because he doesn’t know where to go. Then, he ends up peeing on your bed because he can’t hold it anymore or he finally feels comfortable there.
Dogs are also more likely to “mark” the bed in different environments such as hotel rooms because there are smells from previous dogs in the room (and other dogs have probably peed in the room).
9. Dog peeing on the bed for attention
I think this is the least likely reason for a dog to pee on the bed, but it could be the reason, especially if your dog has not been getting the same amount of attention from you that he’s used to getting.
What to Do if Your Dog is Peeing on Your Bed
First, work on potty training – back to basics
If you suspect you have a potty training issue, go back to square one and supervise your dog as though he is a puppy. Pretend you just adopted him and you don’t know if he is potty trained or not.
Take him outside regularly for frequent potty breaks, a bit more often than you already are. Don’t wait for him to ask to go out. Some dogs just don’t ask to go out.
Go outside with him if you aren’t already so you can reward/praise for going potty or marking outside in the correct area. Try to stick to a consistent routine.
Management is important!
When you’re in the house with your dog, keep him in the same room as you so you can supervise. That way there’s no “sneaking off” to pee or mark.
You can keep him on a leash and have him drag that around. Or you can step on the leash to keep him closer to you.
Close bedroom doors so he can’t access them without supervision.
Crate your dog at night and when he’s home alone. Or, use baby gates to block off certain areas of the house.
Pick up your dog’s water a few hours before bed for now.
If your dog is peeing on the bed, rule out a medical issue
If you suspect a medical issue could be at play, talk with your vet about it. The most common issue to rule out would be a urinary tract infection or bladder infection but it could be some other health reason.
Brainstorm what has changed recently
If you don’t think it’s a potty training or a health issue, sit down and really think about what has changed recently in your dog’s life.
Sometimes the changes are subtle to us but a big deal to our dogs.
For example, did you get new pillows for your bed? Did you get new neighbors recently who are making noises your dog is not used to hearing? Did you change schedules at work, even slightly? Did you change your dog’s food?
If you can pinpoint something that might be stressing out your dog, then you can help him work through these changes.
Some of the most important things you can do are stick to a consistent routine, make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and attention and make sure he has a safe place to hang out such as a crate or comfy dog bed.
Stop allowing your dog to sleep on the bed for now
I know this one is very hard for people to follow, but if your dog is peeing on your bed you really should not allow him on the bed (for now!).
Instead, have your dog sleep in a crate at night or on a dog bed. You can keep the crate beside your bed, if you’d like.
This doesn’t have to be forever! Just do this temporarily while you work on the potty training issue.
Make sure to block off access to your bed during the day by keeping your door closed.
Use a crate for your dog when he’s home alone
When your dog is home alone, you should keep your bedroom door closed so he can’t access your bed.
If you think he might mark or have accidents in other areas of the house, then it’s best to put him in a crate when he’s home alone. Another option is to use a baby gate to block off certain areas or an ex-pen.
QUICK RECOMMENDATION: We like and use the Midwest Lifestages Crate with our dogs and puppies.
What if your dog marks a hotel bed?
If your dog has peed on the bed at a hotel or at a friend’s house, tell him “no” if you catch him in the act. Then, make sure to take your dog outside more frequently until you are back home or back to your usual routine.
Go outside with him so you make sure he goes and so you can praise him for going potty outside in the correct area.
Keep him on a leash or near you when you are inside so you can keep an eye on him and prevent him from marking or having more accidents indoors.
Remember, if you are staying somewhere with different terrain than your dog is used to, he may need some encouragement to go potty outside. Some dogs are not used to peeing on rocks or wood chips for example.
Some dogs are not even comfortable peeing while they’re on a leash if they’ve always peed while off leash.
Hire a trainer to help brainstorm ideas
Sometimes it’s worth it to hire a professional dog trainer who can help you brainstorm some ideas. She might have some ideas you haven’t thought of and can observe your dog from an outsider’s point of view.
Hiring a professional dog trainer can be really helpful, especially since every situation is unique and your exact issue may not be listed in this article.
Use a belly band to contain your dog’s marking
A “belly band” is a product you can put around your male dog’s waist. It is basically a diaper that covers his penis. If he marks, the pee goes into the belly band.
For female dogs, you would have to use an actual doggy diaper or “doggy panties” designed for dogs who go into heat or have incontinence issues.
Obviously, these products will not stop your dog from marking or having accidents. These are just tools you can use while you work on training your dog.
Get a good enzyme cleaner
Buy a quality enzyme cleaner for cleaning up any marking or accidents your dog has. That should help remove the odor and reduce his likelihood to pee in the same place again.
QUICK RECOMMENDATION: We like and use Rocco & Roxie Stain and Oder Remover.
Consider neutering your dog
Sometimes spaying or neutering a dog will decrease the dog’s marking behavior. If your dog is not spayed or neutered and is repeatedly marking in the house, then talk with your vet about this option.
This is not guaranteed to stop your dog from marking but it will often decrease the behavior, especially if you keep up with your training.
What to do if you you catch your dog marking or peeing on the bed
If you catch your dog marking in the house, interrupt him with a sharp “hey!” or “no!” so he knows that behavior is not OK. Then immediately take him outside to the correct area and reward for peeing outside.
Do not punish your dog after he’s already peed on your bed
If you notice he has marked or peed on your bed but you didn’t see him do it, then there’s no point in scolding him after the fact. Dogs just don’t understand the connection. Clean it up and supervise better going forward.
What ideas would you add?
Hopefully your dog has not peed on the bed, but if he has, let us know how you managed the behavior.
Leave your comment below, it may help someone else in this situation.