Some lucky dog and cat owners never have to deal with the frustrations of pet accidents. Some dogs pick up the habit of going outside perfectly and some cats would never think of using anything but the litter box. For the other less-than-lucky pet owners, here are a few tips and causes for accidents in the house.

First, find out why your pet is not urinating in the appropriate areas.

Medical Issues
If your pet was previously housetrained and has recently begun soiling in prohibited areas, a trip to the vet should be the first thing on your list. There are many medical conditions that will contribute to accidents including incontinence, urinary tract infections, bladder stones, diabetes, kidney disease, and Cushing’s disease. There are also a number of medications that can cause frequent urination, so ask your vet if the medication your pet is on can be a contributing factor.

New Puppy or Kitten
In other words, you are starting from scratch. It’s your job to teach your puppy when and where to relieve himself. Very young pups (under 12 weeks old) don’t have complete bladder control and might not be able to hold it very long. Kittens have a natural instinct to use a litter box, but may need some encouragement. After the kitten eats, place him in a shallow litter pan, hold his paw in your fingers and mimic a scratching movement. This done a few times is usually sufficient to begin the habit of using the box.

The safest method for young puppies who are not yet fully vaccinated is to use puppy pads (newspaper can work also). Using a puppy pen or confined space like a bathroom or bedroom is a good idea for the times when you cannot give your puppy full attention. Put lots of puppy pads in the pen or confined area. When the pup soils on the pad give praise, treats, and some petting or play. Gradually decrease the amount of puppy pads until you have just one or two and increase the amount of freedom your puppy has to roam. If the puppy continues to use the pads, terrific; if not, replace some of the pads and start over.

Once your pup is fully vaccinated, or if you are completely confident that you’ve not had Parvo or any other highly contagious disease in your backyard, it’s time to start training them to use the backyard instead of the pads. This can be achieved through positive reinforcement, close supervision, and a consistent schedule. Watch for early signs that your puppy needs to eliminate. Pacing, whining, circling, sniffing, or leaving the room are all signs that your puppy needs to go out. When the pup makes it outside successfully, be sure to shower him with praise, treats, and play.

PET OF THE MONTH

My name is Phoenix. You will not believe this beautiful girl’s story. Just like the bird she’s named after, Phoenix has an amazing tale of rising above challenges. Phoenix was dumped in the wilderness where she had to fend for herself for months. When she was brought to us in April, she was in very rough shape as a result of surviving in the wild. She had swollen feet, patchy hair, snake bites, and coyote punctures. We are thrilled to report that she has fully recovered from a lengthy list of physical ailments! This two-year-old Border Collie/Shepherd mix with an unbreakable spirit will make an excellent family dog. It is critical to continue her enrichment training. She knows how to sit, how to fetch, and is learning to trust again. She is very loving and protective of the rescue staff — she is learning that it’s ok to depend on human pack leaders instead of burdening herself with that responsibility. Are you Phoenix’s perfect pack leader or do you know someone who might be a great match?