Second Chance: Finding Peace with Pee

Second Chance: Finding Peace with Pee

As a human, peeing at the wrong time or in the wrong place is expected when you’re an infant, and otherwise considered an act of extreme drunkenness, fear, defiance, or old age. It is not deadly, only humiliating if you’re so inclined. On the other hand, if you’re a dog or cat, inappropriate urination can be hazardous to your health. Relinquished to shelters, relegated to outdoor habitat, and sometimes even euthanized, inappropriate urination has serious implications.



But it doesn’t have to.

If your pet is suddenly peeing in the house, missing the litter box, or dribbling in the corridor, the first step is to call a vet. Sometimes inappropriate urination is a sign of illness: a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, or kidney disease. These are illnesses that can be treated with medication or, in the case of some bladder stones, surgery.

It may be that your beloved poodle is piddling because old age or just poor hormonal makeup has loosened the complex set of muscles that allows them to hold in their urine. That doesn’t mean it’s time to say goodbye. There are two very good medications available to treat urinary incontinence in dogs. Again, here your vet is your best friend.

If the problem is not physiological, it may be behavioral. Let me be clear here: behavioral does NOT mean that the animal is urinating to spite you (please see last week’s Pet Column, Animals Against Anthropomorphizing here. I can’t tell you how many people seem to think this behavior is their animal “sending them a message.”

Behavioral just means that something has interfered with the animal’s previous housetraining and needs to be addressed. In my experience, cats tend to be fairly sensitive creatures who commonly have behavioral issues that result in eliminating in the house.

Sometimes it’s as simple as the same old kitty litter suddenly being produced with a new offensive chemical. Or, it’s a power play in a multi-cat household and the low cat on the totem pole is being kept from the box. We were taught in vet school that a multi-cat household needs to have one more litter box than it has cats. So if you have three cats, you need four litter boxes. Sometimes you have to do a substrate test and give the cat a choice of litters and see which one it prefers.

Behavioral issues can be frustrating. Often because the parent has waited until they are absolutely FED UP before they ask for help. Don’t wait! Call a vet f your pet suddenly starts peeing in the house. Only when physiological reasons are ruled out, start seeking behavioral answers.

Second Chance has a variety of resources to support you. So don’t give up on your little P’er…

And now a word from the Second Chance Pets of the Week:



My name is Muffin, and at nine-weeks-young I am very friendly, socialized, and litter-box trained. Because I was homeless so early in life, I will give my utmost effort to not only use the litter box, but also I am game for learning to use the toilet. Let me be your Love Muffin…

And my name is Amedeus  (see above), a six-year-young American Bulldog Border Collie (Border Bull), whose family could no longer take care of me. I am a well-mannered hunk of loving ready for my second chance at family living – which is my happy place.

Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.

Ted Hoff & Mae

Ted Hoff &  Magnificent Mae

By the by, there is no better place to park your pup than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online:

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