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If Your Old Dog is Peeing In the House, It is Time to Put Your Dog Down?

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caring for an older dog

This article was updated on August 29th, 2022

We get a lot of questions from dog owners who are worried about their old dogs peeing in the house and becoming incontinent. It can be a very frustrating situation for owners who suddenly need to clean up after their pets, and, naturally, for their senior friends who used to be house-trained and suddenly are no longer able to control their bladders. Several owners experiencing these challenges with their older dogs have asked us if incontinence is a sign that they should put their dogs down.

We know how deeply dog owners agonize over the decision to put their old dogs down, in particular in very challenging times when their old friend’s health is declining. There are so many personal factors to consider. Before you make the decision to put your dog down, you should consider the following questions:

Is There a Veterinarian Treatment that Could Prevent Your Dog from Peeing Inside?

If your dog has become incontinent as a result of an an already known medical condition, and a medical treatment can’t help, you can click here to skip to the next question.

However, if your old dog has suddently started peeing in the house and you don’t know what is causing this, you should know that an old dog peeing in the house is often the result of a serious medical condition. If you have not done so yet, we highly recommend that you visit your veterinarian to give your senior dog a full medical exam. Your veterinarian might be able to put a treatment in place that can help your senior dog (Learn more about treatment options for old dog incontinence or continue reading).

Let’s look at the most common reasons for senior dog incontinence: read about the top 8 reasons, or simply take a look at the infographic below:

After a full exam, your veterinarian will be able to diagnose why your old dog is peeing inside the house, and help come up with a treatment plan. You might be able to solve the situation for your canine friend to ensure a long and happy life, and avoid having to put your old dog down simply because of incontinence.

WATCH: 3 Important Tips To Care For an Old Dog [VET VIDEO]

If your vet does not think that there is an effective treatment plan to help prevent your senior dog from peeing inside the house, there might be dog incontinence products and solutions that can help you manage this challenging situation.

If Treatments Can’t Help, Would These Incontinence Solutions Help?

While you work with your veterinarian on treatment options to solve your dog’s incontinence, there are many things you can do to help manage your old friend’s incontinence and make living with an incontinent dog easier. You can view our page about managing old dog incontinence or read about these 5 solutions below:

1. Dog Diapers: Dog diapers will help protect your carpets, bedding and furniture from constantly being dripped on or flooded when your old dog is peeing in the house. Read more about dog diapers.

dog in a diaper

2. Dog Urine Clean-Up Products: having the right urine odor and stain removal products at hand can make it a lot less frustrating. We have tried just about all the most popular products and have included the ones that have passed in-home testing in our list of recommended urine cleaning products.

3. Waterproof Dog Beds: If your old dog is peeing while sleeping, a water-resistant bed (or crate pad) can make life easier for you and more comfortable for your dog. Learn more about waterproof dog beds.

4. Waterproof Blankets: If your old dog is using your couch, bed or expensive area rug, consider additional protection. Waterproof or rubber-backed sheets or blankets can protect your furniture. View our recommended waterproof blankets / sheets to protect your home.

5. Waterproof Car Seat Covers: if you take your old dog with you in the car, think about adding a waterproof seat cover. You can buy one for less than $40-50 and it might save you a lot of troubles. See our recommendations for waterproof car seat covers.

waterproof car seat cover

Learn about other solutions with our recommendations for the most helpful dog incontinence products.

If Treatments or Incontinence Solutions Won’t Help, Is It Time to Put Your Dog Down?

If your old dog is suffering from a serious disease such as cancer or dementia, and simply cannot manage peeing or pooping in the right places, it might indeed be time to consider putting your dog down. There are definitely other factors you should consider (beyond your old friend’s incontinence) to help you evaluate the situation and make this challenging decision.

Incontinence & peeing inside the house are part of the evaluation process to help determine if you should put your dog down. Here are the other main factors that we recommend you take into account in your decision process:

Disclaimer: This content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your vet for health decisions. Learn more.

  • How easy is it for your dog to eat?
  • Is your dog in pain?
  • How easy is it for your dog to stay hydrated? 
  • Does your dog seem happy? (your dog shows excitement and is responsive to the environment)
  • Does your dog need assistance to move?

You can take our Quiz: Is it Time to Put Your Old Dog to Sleep? to answer all of these questions (on a scale of 1 to 5) and get our personal opinion, or you can view our page on Putting Your Dog To Sleep – A Heart-Wrenching Kindness to learn more.

Remember though that, as the dog owner, you are in the best position to make the decision that is right for your best friend.

There’s often a relationship between dog and owner that is more ‘sixth sense’ than it is physical communication, and your ‘gut’ may well guide you when it comes to choosing the right, or best, time to help him reach the Rainbow Bridge.

There’s no single way to make this difficult decision as every dog, every owner, and every situation (and combination of these three) is different.

Helpful Links About Putting an Old Dog to Sleep

We encourage you to view our page: Putting Your Dog To Sleep – A Heart-Wrenching Kindness to help you with this challenging situation and view resources to help you through the process. You can also click directly on the following links below:

Related posts about dog peeing issues:

dog peeing inside What to Do if Your Old Dog Suddenly Started Peeing Inside Because of Emotional Reasons - We have reviewed in depth the reason causing old dogs to suddenly start peeing inside the house. Most of the… [...]
Old Dog Incontinence - Old dog incontinence is more common in spayed females, but leaky plumbing can affect dogs of both sexes. It also… [...]
dog pee on the floor Old Dog Peeing Inside: Our Veterinarians Explain What to Do - When a previously house-trained older dog is peeing in the house, and it's not just a one-off 'accident', it's easy… [...]
Best Dog Incontinence Products - Dog incontinence products are designed to make life with a leaky-dog easier for everyone. It doesn't matter whether your dogs'… [...]


  • Dr. Winnie, Veterinarian

    Dr. Winnie earned a Master in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria's Veterinary School. She is a full-time Veterinarian specializing in internal medicine for companion animals.


  1. Anyone that would put their dog down because of incontinence is a MONSTER. Would you euthanize your elderly parent if they start wetting themselves, or if they have dementia??? I think not! Why is it okay to take a dog’s life for such silly reasons? There should be some sort of law in place to protect these animals from being euthanized for ridiculous reasons. Unless your dog is in excruciating pain that cannot be managed, or is in the end stages of an incurable disease such as cancer or liver disease and is suffering, you should NOT have the right to take his or her life indiscriminately! A dog being “old” is NOT a reason to take his or her life. So what he can’t get around like he used to. That happens to almost all elderly peopole. Does that mean we should eliminate them? Why is that okay to do to our pets???

    • I’m in that situation at the minute, just had new carpet laid all over the house. My dog is 13 and peeing everywhere, I’ve put some puppy pads down, I don’t want to let her go at all (I couldn’t give a fiddlers about the carpet it can always be cleaned) she is fine in every other aspect eating sleeping playing etc, but she gets so stressed when she pees in the house as she knows it’s wrong. I know the time I’d coming and it’s breaking my heart but I will be holding onto her as long as possible.

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