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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

We get a lot of questions from dog owners who are worried about their old dogs peeing in the house. 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 it is time to 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.

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:

  • 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.

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

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:


  • Dr. Winnie earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. She has been an animal lover and owner all her life, having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! She is a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, 2 kids and Big G.

Disclaimer: The information presented on this website is not a substitute for veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment. We recommend taking your pet to the veterinarian for a full medical exam. Do not give supplements or medication without first consulting with your veterinarian first.

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