Our furry friends provide us with hours of entertainment and companionship. They often feel like members of the family. Unlike our human family members, however, our pets are not toilet trained. If your pet is doing its business on your carpet instead of its cage, litter box or outside, it could be a sign of trouble. Here’s how to identify and correct this problem.
- Dog’s like to announce their presence by marking Dogs that pee on furniture, doorjambs, the leg of the coffee table, etc., are marking their territory. This is usually in response to a change in the environment, such as new furniture, a new baby, or partner moving in. Marking can also be triggered by the scent of other animals on your clothing. The marking defense is your dog’s way of saying “I was here first”. Some dogs only mark occasionally when stressed. For others, it’s a chronic problem.
While neutered males and female dogs mark on occasion, this behavior is most commonly seen in unneutered males. Early neutering is one of the best ways to prevent a male from marking. Another method is to watch your dog closely and when you catch him in the act, punish him in a safe an appropriate manner. A firm “no” while pointing out the wet area shows him your disappointment. Your dog wants to please you, so affirm his good behavior when he urinates outside.
- Cats mark too: Dogs are not the only animals that are territorial. If a cat feels threatened or uncomfortable in its environment, it will spray to calm itself down and to mark its territory. When this happens, it’s very important to clean the scent off your carpet or furniture completely, or the cat will come back to the same spot to spray again.
In addition to making sure your cat feels safe and comfortable by having its own space away from other critters (a cat tree, the corner of a closet, etc.) have an extra litter box in the house. In fact, if you have more than one cat, have a litter box per cat, plus one extra. Cats like to have their own space, especially at potty time. Make sure the litter boxes are easy to access and if kitty refuses to use it consistently, change its location, try a new litter or buy a larger box.
Also, remember that cats are very tidy critters. If their litter box is dirty, they may prefer your clean carpet over their smelly box.
- Little critters just don’t know any better: Smaller pets, like hamsters and guinea pigs, just go when nature calls them. Unlike a dog that can ask to go outside or a cat that can be litter trained, rodents eat and poop without giving it any thought. If you want to play with your small critter on the carpet, avoid doing so right after it’s had a meal, and if there is an accident, clean it up promptly.
- Anxiety: Urinating on the floor is a common sign of anxiety in most pets. When you are gone for an extended period of time, your pet misses you. The smelly surprise is their way of saying,
“Don’t leave me like that! I thought you weren’t coming back.” If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time, have a trusted friend or family member check on your pet. In addition to making sure they have enough food and water, your pets need to be cuddled, petted, walked and played with. They are social animals; your unexplained absence stresses them out.
The high concentration of ammonia in cat and dog urine can irritate the lungs and trigger asthma or allergies. Even if the surface of your carpet appears to be clean, urine can quickly soak into the underpad. Animal feces should always be cleaned up from household surfaces promptly and thoroughly to prevent health hazards and staining.