Housetraining: The Link Between Medications & Your Dog’s House-Wetting Accidents

Some medications cause a dog to drink more and thus produce such copious amounts of urine that the dog can’t wait as long between outdoor breaks or leaks while relaxed. If wetting accidents occur shortly after a dog starts a new medicine, double-check with your veterinarian to see if increased thirst or urination are side effects.


Warning: Don’t abruptly halt the use of a medication without first consulting your dog’s veterinarian. Abrupt cessation could be dangerous.

The most commonly used medications that cause these side effects include:

1) Cortisone-type Medications

This includes prednisone. Veterinarians routinely use cortisones for their anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory effects in a wide variety of conditions. Injectable, oral and topical cortisones such as ear medications or eye drops can cause increased thirst and urination.

2) Phenobarbital

This is the most commonly used anti-seizure medication in veterinary medicine. Side effects may be either temporary or permanent. There has been almost a 90% decrease in urination problems once this medication was stopped. But if your dog must have it to stop seizures then the house-wetting is just something you will have to live with.

3) Thyroid Supplements

If a dog receives more thyroid replacement than needed (their requirements may actually change over time), the dog may experience increased thirst and urination, as well as other side effects, such as GI upset (gastrointestinal), vomiting and/or diarrhea, hyperactivity, restlessness, or weight loss.

How To Take The Correct Steps

Obtaining the accurate diagnosis is an important factor for a successful outcome, regardless of the reason for your dog’s soiling in the house. Treatment and prognosis depend, of course, upon the cause of inappropriate elimination and how severely affected the dog is. Sometimes, finding and addressing the cause is pretty simple and straightforward; other times, it can be challenging and take some time.

The bottom line: If your puppy’s housetraining isn’t going as it should or your adult dog has begun having repeat accidents, before you begin remedial housetraining, check with your veterinarian to make sure there is nothing medically wrong with your pooch.

What will your dog’s veterinarian look for if you come to him or her with a housetraining complaint? A thorough examination and history and checking of a fecal sample. With a young dog, your veterinarian might not do blood work or urinalysis right away unless there are other abnormal signs.