It’s no secret that your canine companion can do pretty quirky things, from burying bones to licking underwear. But, one habit might mess with our head and gag simultaneously–when dogs drink their pee.
Dogs drink their pee for several reasons, including behavioral and potential medical issues. Physical issues could include dehydration, a lack of nutrients in their diet, or even more severe problems like Cushing’s Disease. However, drinking their pee could be a learned behavior, or your pup’s covering up that they urinated in the house.
If your dog’s drinking urine, your first step should be consulting with your vet. It’s imperative to rule out any serious medical issues first in case your dog needs special treatment. If everything checks out, then you can move on to investigating potential behavioral or psychological reasons.
6 Reasons Dogs Drink Their Pee
Familiarizing yourself with the possible reasons for your dog’s pee-drinking habit can help you find an optimal solution.
In the animal world, there are certain behaviors that you may not understand. While we love our pets, they have some gross, instinctual characteristics. Your dog cannot communicate verbally about their needs or if they feel ill. Therefore, they find other ways to talk to us and rely solely on body language. Drinking their pee can be a way of telling you what they need.
Dogs Drink Pee Because They Lack Nutrients In Their Diet
Dogs do strange things when they lack nutrients in their diet. Chewing on cardboard, eating grass, and, of course, dogs drinking their pee can be a sign of nutritional deficit. Although dog food claims to have all the necessary vitamins and minerals your dog needs, it could be lacking.
Your dog’s body will crave certain things and, in turn, make them do something out of the ordinary. By watching your dog and recognizing odd behavior, you might find that you should adjust their diet. Researching to find all the necessary nutrients before your dog starts drinking their pee is always good.
Dogs Drink Their Pee Due To Dehydration
One of the more common and most likely reasons your dog is drinking their pee is an insufficient water source. Dogs drink a lot during the day, and if they lack water, they look for the next best thing. Their urine is a source of liquid that may quench their thirst. Experts say dogs should drink about one ounce of water for every pound they weigh. Licking their pee means your dog needs constant hydration. Though gross to us, your dog is trying to tell you something; they need more water.
Dogs That Drink Their Pee Might Have Underlying Medical Issues
Sometimes if your dog has an underlying health issue, they can only tell you by certain habits. Diabetes in dogs is discovered if they drink water and look for other ways to quench their thirst. You may think it’s mere thirst when your dog drinks their pee, but your pup may need vet care. Cushing’s and kidney disease are other problems that cause your dog to drink excessive water. If you think drinking pee is normal, this behavior may mean your dog suffers from the disease. Cushing’s and kidney disease need a vet’s care and medicine, which means a doggy doctor trip is in your future.
Drinking Pee Might Be A Learned Behavior
Sometimes drinking their urine is not a serious health issue; it may be a learned behavior. Dogs learn everything from their parents and by instinct. If a mother dog licked or cleaned her puppies and their urine, the puppies might have learned it too.
Another reason is your dog might have suffered neglect as a puppy, which means limited food and water. Drinking their urine might be a survival tactic if dogs are born in a puppy mill or found in the wild. Consulting with your vet may be necessary to find steps to help your pet live a happier, healthier life.
Dogs Drink Pee To Hide Their Mistake
Peeing inside is a behavior that is redirected during potty training in the younger months. Dogs have a way of hiding lousy behavior, especially when they are young.
Whether burying a chewed shoe or drinking their pee inside, they try to hide their mistake.
Despite being trained, every dog is capable of having a mishap inside. Your dog may try to hide an accident not to get reprimanded or receive negative feedback. Licking up and drinking urine is your dog’s way to avoid punishment.
If your dog licks their pee, it may be a stage. Your dog will eventually grow out of licking pee to avoid punishment.
When dogs learn someone will let them out, their habit will likely fade, or you’ll train it away in time.
Constant positive reinforcement and time management are vital to helping your dog be successful.
Dogs Drink Pee To Keep Their Spot Clean
You might not think your pup is the cleanest canine, but believe it or not, dogs like their space clean. Maybe this is why dogs also love soap so much.
They love to be and feel clean, and peeing in their crate upsets them as much as you.
If your dog has an accident in their crate or living area, it may clean it up. Even though this is a gross concept, this is a behavior your dog learns to maintain cleanliness. Licking up pee is a way to be safe and dry.
Because mother dogs clean the feces and pee of their young, your dog adopts this behavior too. Even though dogs like to roll in smelly spots, they do not intend to have a wet and smelly crate.
Keeping it clean is their top priority so they don’t have a messy place to sleep.
When Dogs Drink Their Pee, Can It Hurt Them?
You would think lapping up their urine might cause your pup some unpleasant side effects. But it does nothing to their health.
Dog’s bodies sterilize the urine before it passes through, and it is safe for consumption.
Although it should not be encouraged, it is usually a tactic for dogs to sense their hormones or health.
Licking their pee is a dog’s instinctual behavior to monitor their health and littermates.
How Do You Stop Your Dog From Drinking Their Pee?
Stopping your dog from licking its pee will require training and positive reinforcement. Being consistent with potty breaks and positive praise is beneficial.
Your dog wants nothing more than to please you, so high-tone praise is what they crave.
Bribery is not necessarily frowned upon in most cases. Giving treats for positive behavior is a way to get your dog’s attention. Your dog will do backflips for a snack and forget about licking their pee.
Being patient and constantly trying to help your dog succeed can be the hardest. Not seeing progress when you want it can be frustrating, but it takes time.
It is easy to give up, but helping your dog not lick pee is better for you.
Why does my dog eat their poop or another dog’s poop?
Dogs can eat their poop due to nutritional deficiencies in their diet. You may see your dog eating their own or other dogs’ poop to compensate for the lack of nutrients.
They may even neglect to create enough digestive enzymes, encouraging poop eating.
Besides health issues, your dog may just be craving warm fresh food. Is it gross? But try changing your dog’s diet to fulfill its cravings and needs.
Sometimes puppies do it to test and try their surroundings. They nibble and bite on different textures to explore their environment. Supervising your dog will prevent poop eating at home and out on walks.
What do I do if my dog drinks out of the toilet?
Dogs drink and eat all unusual things, and drinking from the toilet may be their favorite thing. A bathroom smells different and sometimes enticing to a dog; they want to taste it.
If their water bowl is constantly running dry, they look for other water sources, which means urine or toilets. The toilet water is cool and refreshing and has a constant supply.
Some dogs prefer having water raised to their level rather than a bowl on the floor.
Why do dogs eat grass?
Grass has a lot of nutritional value for your pets. To see your dog eating grass may mean they like the taste and value of grass. Certain grasses and plants have medicinal purposes for your dog.
Sometimes, if your dog goes outside and chews on grass, your dog may be sick. The grass is a natural throw-up inducer if a dog needs to vomit.
Dogs instinctively know this and will eat so much until they vomit.
Grass can harm your dog, especially if you spray it with pesticides or fertilizer. If your dog ingests too much, it can cause health issues and mean visiting your vet.
Be careful not to let your dog eat grass in unknown yards or those that have chemicals.
Stacy is a lifelong animal lover who truly believes life just isn’t complete without pets. She’s had pets her whole life (including three dogs and a cat living under the same roof, somewhat harmoniously). She currently resides in NOLA with her husband, son, and two pups, Scooby “Dooby” Doo and Zoey. Stacy always makes a point to learn everything she can about her fur babies, and she has been writing about the pet-parent life for over two years.