Why Is My Dog Having Accidents Only at Night?

Owners of a dog having accidents only at night must find the reason behind this behavior. Usually, house soiling in dogs is caused by:

  • A medical condition
  • Territorial marking
  • Mistimed eating/drinking habits
  • Incomplete housebreaking
  • Behavioral problems


Why Is My Dog Having Accidents Only at Night?

If you have ever successfully housebroken a dog, you know how victorious that can make a person feel.

This process can be quite challenging when you’re dealing with an old pooch, for example.

So, it’s always a shocker if a pet suddenly starts showing signs of house-soiling problems, particularly at night time.

Indeed, that can make you wonder, Why is my dog having accidents only at night?

It’s important to find the cause behind this unusual behavior because it may be related to a medical condition.

Fortunately, that’s not always the case, and the solution for this issue may be very simple. Either way, you need to get to the root of the problem as soon as possible.

Otherwise, you will keep finding “surprise packages” around the house.


Common Reasons for a Dog Having Accidents Only at Night

Urinating and defecating at night can happen for several reasons that may be linked to the dogs:

  • Physical condition
  • Mental state
  • Daily schedule
  • Housebreaking


What’s more, the cause of the problem may even be your cleaning routine. For instance, you may be using the wrong cleaning supplies for a household with a dog.

Then again, it may have nothing to do with you.

Hopefully, this article will help you find out why your pooch is not following housebreaking etiquette.

To further make things easier for you, I’ll recommend a solution for each of the common case scenarios.


A Medical Condition

While a medical problem isn’t always the cause for a dog having accidents only at night, it’s the most serious one.

As a result, it’s important to address and rule out this possibility first.

Usually, there are three categories of medical problems that can lead to house soiling in the middle of the night.

First, we have conditions affecting the dog’s urinary tract that include:

  • Bladder stones
  • Incontinence in spayed female pooches
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Bladder or prostate tumors


Another possible reason for the problem is age-related medical conditions.

For instance, if your doggy has canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD), it may not realize that it’s breaking the rules.

If your pet has arthritis, its mobility may be considerably limited. As a result, your furry friend may not be physically able to get outside on time when nature starts calling.

Certain hormonal disorders, such as Cushing’s syndrome and diabetes, can also be blamed for nighttime accidents.


Recommended Solution

If urinating and defecating in the house at night is unusual behavior for your dog, contact your vet.

To check the condition of the pooch, the veterinarian will need to run some tests. A physical examination must also be conducted.

Therefore, you will need to take your pet to the vet’s office.

Territorial Marking

One pee accident can mark the beginning of a vicious cycle. If your dog has done its business in the house, it’s highly likely to repeat the offense.

Dogs can detect the smell of their pee even when the aroma of a strong detergent masks it.


Recommended Solution

Instead of cleaning urine spots with regular house cleaning supplies, use an enzyme spray.

It will effectively remove the giveaway smell.

Dog Training Solution

Poorly-Timed Eating and Drinking Habits

Small or young dogs have smaller bladders and stomachs. As a result, they may need to go more regularly to the toilet.

Normally, that shouldn’t be a problem unless you feed them right before you go to bed.

Mistimed eating and drinking are often the causes of a dog having accidents only at night.


Recommended Solution

Avoid giving food and water to your furry friend one or two hours before your bedtime. Also, take the pooch for a walk shortly before you head to bed.

These two measures should be enough to put an end to this house soiling problem.


Incomplete Housebreaking

Incomplete or poor housebreaking is typically an issue affecting dogs that have just become part of the household.

When pooches are introduced to a new environment, they need time to get used to the new smells around them.

They experience a sensory overload, which may lead to #1 and #2 accidents.

If the new furry member of your family is still a puppy, it may not be housebroken at all.


Recommended Solution

Start housebreaking the pooch from scratch. That means that you will need to supervise the dog in the house constantly.

Also, take your pet on walks as often as you can. Don’t forget to reward your furry friend with a treat every time it gets things right.


Behavioral Problems

Behavioral problems in dogs don’t only include destructive chewing or annoying barking. They can also be the reason for a dog having accidents only at night.

Usually, such issues are caused by:

  • Separation anxiety
  • A change in environment or routine
  • Insufficient physical activity
  • A new pet in the household


Recommended Solution

Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal solution against all behavioral problems in dogs. Every case must be viewed individually.

Before you start correcting the issue, find the cause behind it. The list above may help you with this task.

Once you get to the heart of the matter, ask your vet for advice. For instance, if you have moved to a new house, you may need to re-housebreak your pooch.

If your dog lacks physical activity, it may need exercise.

One often prescribed solution to a dog having accidents only at night is crate training. This method introduces the dog to a smaller environment.

The instincts of pooches tell them not to go potty where they sleep and eat. Therefore, they are less likely to do their business when they spend the night in a doggy crate.


How to React When I Catch My Dog in the Act?

Don’t scream and shout at your pooch when you catch it in the act. What’s more, don’t punish it. The dog may not understand why you are angry.

So, aggressive scorching on your part can make it feel scared and confused.

Also, using a harsh approach won’t prevent your dog from repeating the offense. It will, however, make it seek for a more isolated spot, where it can go potty undisturbed.

The best strategy is to interrupt the pooch using a composed tone.

For instance, you can calmly say, “No, doggy! Take that outside!” You can also clap to get its attention.

Once again, don’t forget to reward your pet when it breaks a bad habit. Give your furry friend a treat to encourage good behavior.


What to Do If the Problem Persists

If you have tried everything and your pooch continues to go potty in the house at night, use expert assistance. Contact a vet or call a dog trainer.

These professionals may be able to get to the bottom of the problem.

Sadly, your hands are tied when a medical condition is a reason behind the house soiling.

In this case, all you can do is adjust to the situation by:

  • Removing some of the rugs in the house
  • Using dog diapers
  • Limiting the pooch’s movement to a smaller area
  • Investing in puppy pads


Typically, a potty problem is not a reason to put a dog down. However, if your pooch is in great pain, this may be the most ethical solution.

Still, consider all other available options before you make such an irreversible decision.


In Conclusion

To sum up, there is more than one reason for a dog having accidents only at night. Sometimes, the solution to this problem is simple.

Other times, it may require a trip to the vet’s office. Nevertheless, the first step to correcting this behavior is finding the cause behind it.

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