If your beloved dog is peeing on the carpet, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re at your wit’s end. Why is your potty trained pet suddenly choosing to urinate indoors, instead of outside?

And, most importantly, how can you stop this behavior?

When a dog suddenly decides to begin peeing on carpet, several things could be at play. Some are potentially health-related; others are behavioral.

Here are some of the most likely reasons your dog might be peeing on carpet, along with some things you can do to help fix the problem.

Reasons Why Your Dog is Peeing on Carpet

In order to come up with a plan to keep your dog from peeing on carpet, it will be important to figure out why this is happening. These are just a few of the possibilities:

Changes at home

Any sort of disruption to a pet’s routine could lead to your dog peeing where they shouldn’t. For example, your child might have moved away to go to college, or you might have brought a baby, or a new pet, home. Any sort of family change, such as a death, divorce, or even home renovations, can be very stressful for your dog. If it stresses you out, it probably stresses your pooch out, too. Your dog might be used to urinating at a certain time. If you’ve changed their schedule in any way, that could be contributing to the problem.1

Separation Anxiety

Peeing on Carpet | Dr MartySome dogs will urinate inside if they have separation anxiety. You might have started a new job, and you’re suddenly working in an office instead of home. Or you may have gone on vacation for a couple of weeks and had to leave your dog in a kennel, or had a house-sitter come over periodically. Your vet may be able to refer you to an animal behaviorist who can help address the problem.2

A Medical Issue

If you haven’t changed your dog’s routine recently, and your vet says your dog doesn’t have separation anxiety, then you’ll want to see if a medical problem could be the reason your pet is peeing on the carpet.

Your dog may be experiencing some sort of hormone problem. Many senior female dogs lose estrogen as they age. This can lead to a weakness in the urethra, ultimately resulting in incontinence.3 Kidney problems, or cognitive issues affecting older dogs, could also lead to a dog peeing inside.4 Infections, certain diseases, and bladder issues are some of the other health problems that can result in your dog peeing on carpet.5

Get your dog to the vet for a thorough medical check-up.

Previous Accidents

Dog peeing sometimes occurs because a pet will smell old urine in the carpet. Traces of urine can remain in carpeting for several weeks, even if they’ve been cleaned. If a dog can smell it, they may decide to mark territory by urinating in the same area. Check your carpeting with a black light. This will show you if there is any residual urine. If you find it, use an enzymatic cleaner to break it down completely.6

Fixing the Issue of Peeing on Carpet

If you’ve ruled out all of the above as the potential causes of your dog peeing on the carpet, the next step will be to dissuade them from doing it again. These are just a few options that may help with the issue:

1. Use a specially-made repellent

There are several different repellent products you can purchase at pet stores, grocery stores, or online. A repellent is designed to keep your dog from peeing in a certain spot. Some repellent products contain compounds that dogs will try to avoid. A dog’s sense of smell is strong. If they run across something that has a foul odor, they’ll probably steer clear of the area. Clean your carpet first, let it completely dry, and then apply the repellent.7 Just make sure the products you use contain ingredients that are non-toxic and safe for pets.

Peeing on Carpet | Dr Marty2. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is another effective repellent. While most people find the scent of lemon juice pleasant, most dogs can’t stand it. Mix a little lemon juice with water, and sprinkle it on the area where your dog is peeing. That could very well solve the issue.8

3. Vinegar

Vinegar also has a powerful odor that dogs don’t like. It also does a good job of removing any urine smell that might be on your carpeting. Mix an equal amount of white vinegar with water, and spray it in the area where your dog has been peeing on the rug.9

4. Rubbing Alcohol

Here’s yet another option that could help keep your dog from peeing on the carpet. It not only works as a disinfectant, it also kills bacteria. Like vinegar, you’ll want to mix an equal amount of rubbing alcohol and water, and spray on the affected area.10

Note: Before you spray any kind of repellent on your carpet, do a “spot test” first, to make sure it won’t damage the carpet fibers.

Peeing on Rug: What Not to Do

Hopefully, one of these options will work, and the days of your dog peeing on carpet will be over. But you should never punish your dog if they have an accident. You won’t be “teaching” the dog anything, other than that they should be afraid of you. Talk to a professional trainer about gentle, effective ways of eliminating this behavior.11

The Bottom Line

It can be incredibly frustrating if your dog is peeing on the rug. But instead of punishing your pet by rubbing their nose in the urine, try to figure out why the problem is happening. Then, take the steps necessary to keep this issue from happening again. If you’re still at a loss, it’s time to talk to your veterinarian!

Learn More:
Dog Biting Nails: What It Means & How To Stop It
Why Does My Dog Howl When I Play Music?
Do Dogs Need Beds? (surprising benefits of dog beds)