Once pets learn to urinate where appropriate, whether it’s outside or in their litter box, it can be frustrating for owners if their pet urinates elsewhere in the house. While your first instinct is to reprimand them for unwanted behavior, you should first consider whether they are marking or if there is a larger health concern at play.
Urine marking, a natural behavior of dogs and cats, is when pets release small amounts of urine in several places, whether it is on new things in the house or in their favorite place. Marking usually occurs when pets relieve stress or signal ownership of their territory to other animals.
Urinary tract infections, on the other hand, are an unwanted and often painful experience for pets that may require veterinary attention. But since urinary disorders result in increased urination, similar to urine marking, it can be difficult for owners to distinguish between the two.
Dr. Genna Atiee, a clinical assistant professor of small animal internal medicine at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, says owners can differentiate between urine marking or urinary tract infections by watching their pet’s bathroom habits.
Urinary health concern signs
“There are some easy more again to owner informed the owner that there is a medical error, such as blood in the urine, visible pushing or straining to urinate, crying in pain when urinating, bad smelling urine, or urinating near the door or around the litter box, Atiee explained.
“Increased drinking can also indicate kidney problems,” Atiee said. “The kidneys are responsible for maintaining water balance by pulling water from what they filter from the blood, leaving waste in the urine. But when the kidneys lose function, they can no longer pull water effectively, so pets need to drink more to prevent dehydration and urinate more as a result.”
In addition, the amount of urine released by a pet at one time helps to identify the type of urinary tract infection.
“Dogs and cats with inflammation of the lower urinary tract, such as the bladder or urethra, may often urinate in small amounts,” says Atiee. “On the other hand, dogs and cats with kidney disease may urinate large amounts of urine because they cannot filter urine properly.”
Vet visit for urine testing
If an owner notices symptoms of a urinary problem or is concerned about their pet’s urination habits, Atiee encourages them to take their pet to their veterinarian because a urine test will reveal if there is a health concern.
“A urinalysis can show us a lot of things,” Atiee said. “For example, what is the concentration in the urine, because a low concentration can indicate that the kidneys are not working well; if there is evidence of infection or inflammation; what is the pH of the urine because a high pH can indicate a condition in the urine such as UTIs or kidney stones; if there is protein in the urine; and sometimes it can even show us evidence of cancer.”
Avoid urine marking
If the veterinarian rules out any medical condition that causes a pet to urinate more often, owners may consider behavioral training for marking, as this will help them spot abnormal bathroom behavior in the future that may be the result of a medical issue. Atiee specifically suggests that owners work with a licensed veterinarian or reputable trainer to modify the marking behavior.
“Marking is a very disruptive behavior that can cause anger and unnecessary costs when marking damages furniture, carpets, or hardwood floors, which can result in an owner changing their pet’s living situation, either by moving them outside or by rehoming them,” said Atiee.
“A behaviorist or trainer can help change this behavior, preserving the human-animal bond. Veterinary behaviorists achieve board-certification in the specialty of veterinary behavior, so an owner can find a veterinarian who specializes in that field.”
Another way to prevent dogs or cats from marking involves using products that are intended to smell unappealing to pets, usually with scents such as citrus or mint. Atiee recommends that owners be careful when using these products because they can irritate sensitive animals.
Understanding the difference between marking and urinary health problems when pets urinate more than usual can prevent any urinary disorders from getting worse. However, urine marking and urinary problems should be treated so that your pet can live a stress-free and healthy lifestyle.
Provided by Texas A&M University
Citation: A look at the difference between urine marking and urinary problems in pets (2023, July 21) retrieved 21 July 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-07-difference-urine-urinary-problems-pets.html
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