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 veterinarian should be the first thing on your list. There are many medical conditions that can 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. 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 him/herself. 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 that 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 (baby gates are great when you have a puppy). 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 your puppy needs to go out. When the pup makes it outside successfully, be sure to shower him with praise, treats and play.

Crating & Exercise
A healthy pet is a happy pet. Exercise plays a major role in keeping your pets healthy. Taking your dog for daily walks will not only keep them physically fit, but will also help with digestive issues and constipation. Cats need active play to keep them happy and healthy. A variety of toys and scratching posts are a must for your pet cat. You can use a crate to safely contain your dog during the night and whenever you can’t monitor his/her behavior. Dogs don’t like to soil in their sleeping areas, so your dog will naturally avoid eliminating in his crate. The crate should be sized so your dog can lie down comfortably, stand up without having to crouch, and easily turn around in a circle.

Your dog will most likely need to eliminate immediately after being released from the crate. This is your chance to take him outside and reward him for going in the right place.

Valley Oak SPCA is a 501(c)3 non-profit, no-kill rescue that operates solely on donations and contributions from our local community. To make an online donation or submit a volunteer application, please visit our website:

To visit us in person, come to our Adoption Center at 29010 Hwy 99, located in the three modular trailers on the frontage road of northbound Highway 99 in Visalia. Open Monday, Thursday, Friday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Valley Oak SPCA Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic
9405 West Goshen Avenue • Visalia, CA 93291
For clinic information and appointments, please call:
(559) 741-1121
or (559) 741-0492

Valley Oak SPCA Adoption Center Hours
Monday, Thursday, Friday: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Tuesday and Wednesday

Pet of the Month

Hi, I’m Pete! Looking for a playful, energetic, and loving BFF? Well, I think I’m the perfect pup for you. I’m a very friendly, outgoing pup and would make a great companion in an active home. Am I the one you’ve been looking for? Come see me at Valley Oak SPCA!

Valley Oak SPCA Pet of the Month: Storm