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Do Puppies Wee In Their Sleep?

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Puppies may wee in their sleep due to a weak bladder, but frequent bed-wetting is not normal.
  • Taking a puppy to the vet is recommended if they are housetrained or seem unwell and frequently pee in their sleep.
  • Reasons for frequent peeing in sleep include weak bladder muscles in young puppies, spaying/neutering, urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney diseases, and spinal cord disease.
  • Treating an underlying condition as quickly as possible is important, and cleaning/replacing bedding regularly is necessary.
  • Incontinence in puppies can be managed with veterinary treatment and training, and it is not necessary to euthanize a dog for incontinence alone.
Written by Jay
BsC (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare graduate with a passion for advocating for misunderstood animals.
Zoo and wildlife doctor in veterinary medicine passionate about animal welfare and preventive medicine.
Published on
Monday 28 December 2020
Last updated on
Monday 6 November 2023
do puppies wee in their sleep
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Caring for your new puppy is a fun but daunting process and naturally, you have a lot of questions about how to raise them. One of these questions may be whether a puppy should pee in their sleep or not?

As you already know, housebreaking your new puppy is one of the most important steps of training. But what is considered normal during this process? And do puppies wee in their sleep? If a puppy frequently pees in their sleep, an underlying condition could be to blame.

Do Puppies Wee in Their Sleep?

While a puppy might wee in their sleep due to a weak bladder, frequent bed-wetting is not normal. If your puppy is already housetrained or seems unwell, peeing in their sleep could be a valid reason for concern. Taking your puppy to the vet for a check-up is the best way to figure out what your puppy needs.

Until a puppy is four to six months of age, their bladder muscles are not yet fully developed. This means that young puppies may struggle to go to the toilet outside in time, and will be unable to hold their urine for long periods of time. As your puppy grows older, the amount of time they can spend holding their urine will increase. They will also prefer to urinate away from where they sleep and should leave their bed to do so.

In case of an accident, remove all pee stains and smell using a quality dog pee removing spray.

puppies weeing in their sleep
An underlying condition might be the reason why your pup is always peeing in its sleep.

Reasons Why a Puppy Would Wee in Their Sleep

Puppies do not have properly developed bladder muscles until they reach four to six months of age. This means that young puppies often have weaker bladders and may be incontinent for some time. However, most puppies prefer to urinate away from their sleeping quarters. If your puppy frequently urinates in their sleep, there are several potential reasons for it.


Recently spayed or neutered puppies are prone to having accidents in the house. This is because of the rapid change in hormones that occurs after spaying or neutering. Hormonal changes cause the urethral sphincter to relax and release urine involuntarily. This is especially common during rest as the muscles are most relaxed at this time. This behavior typically passes in 10-14 days.

If your puppy has accidents in the house after their procedure, do not punish them. Instead, make sure that you continue to teach them to urinate outside with gentle leash exercise during their recovery. Encourage your pup to eat and drink in little and often bouts, rather than one large amount at one sitting.

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can happen to any breed of dog at any age. Both males and females get UTIs but they appear to be most common in females. This is because the urethra of the female is wider and shorter, making it easier for bacteria to set in. A puppy with a UTI might: strain to pee, have bloody urine, increased thirst, frequent urination, and accidents in the house. If a puppy has a UTI, they might struggle to control their urine due to the pain. They can also cause a puppy to leak urine after they’ve been to the toilet. Other signs of a UTI include strong-smelling urine, reduced appetite, and vomiting.

It can be difficult to determine if your puppy has a UTI. Puppies tend to urinate more frequently than adults, and accidents due to a UTI can be mistaken for housebreaking mistakes. If your puppy is housetrained but still urinates inside, it’s a good idea to take them to your vet to rule out a urinary tract infection. Your vet will physically examine your pup, including examination of the kidneys and bladder. This might also include a urinalysis, blood work, and ultrasound. Use cranberry supplements to help with UTIs in dogs, they are amazing UTI supplements.

Kidney Diseases

Acute kidney failure is an abrupt decline in kidney function. Dogs are stuck with acute kidney failure when they ingest toxins like antifreeze and pain pills. Severe kidney infections can occur spontaneously, but there is usually a pre-existing condition that compromises a dog’s immune system as well. In addition, any condition that decreases blood flow through the kidney can cause kidney failure. Signs of kidney failure in dogs include: increased thirst, increased urination and accidents, decreased appetite, and lethargy.

Acute kidney failure is treated by addressing the underlying cause. For example, your vet might prescribe your puppy with antibiotics to quell an infection. The kidneys might be supported through dialysis, which helps to remove any toxins from your pup’s blood. Without quick treatment, acute kidney failure is fatal for puppies.

Spinal Cord Disease

Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), also called “slipped disc”, occurs when a disc in your dog’s spine ruptures. When this happens, the disc cannot act as a shock absorber. The most common causes of this condition are conformation, age, and severe injury to the back. Symptoms of IVDD include neck stiffness, back pain, paralysis, and incontinence.

It’s important that you get your pup to the vet quickly if you suspect IVDD. Your veterinarian will physically examine your puppy and take their complete medical history. They are likely to perform additional tests. These may include X-rays of the spine, a complete neurological exam, and a myelography. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Your pup may be prescribed with medications, strict crate rest, and physiotherapy.

kidney diseases in dogs
Kidney disease can cause your dog to pee in its sleep.

What to do If Your Puppy Pees in His Sleep?

If your puppy is frequently peeing in their sleep, it’s best to take them straight to the vet. If your pup just has a weak bladder, you can rest easy knowing that they will grow out of the incontinence. Treating an underlying condition as quickly as possible will prevent any further problems and potentially stop your puppy from becoming very ill.

Until you get to a vet, make sure that you frequently clean and replace your puppy’s bedding. A damp bed will be uncomfortable and can harbor bacteria that will worsen any infection that your puppy has. During this time, do not punish your puppy for their incontinence. It is possible that they can’t control their bladder and punishment will not resolve the issue.

Your vet may need to carry out a urinalysis on your pup. This is a routine test that reports the properties of your puppy’s urine. There are four parts to a urinalysis: measuring the concentration, pH (acidity), assessing color and turbidity (cloudiness), and examining the cells and any solid material in the urine. If your puppy is struggling with a UTI or kidney disease, a urinalysis will help to diagnose it. If there is a different condition causing your puppy’s incontinence, urinalysis can help to rule out a UTI or kidney problem.

Do Puppies Wee in Their Sleep – FAQ


Have any more questions or concerns about your puppy peeing in their sleep? Our Frequently Asked Questions section will have all the answers you’re looking for. If in doubt, always ask your vet for advice.

Is it Normal for Puppies to Wee in Their Sleep?

As a puppy, your dog will have weak bladder muscles and will be unable to hold their urine for extended periods of time. This makes them more prone to accidents. Accidents can happen with any puppy, so a one-off occasion probably isn’t a cause for concern. However, it’s not normal for your puppy to not wake up to urinate on a frequent basis. If your puppy frequently soaks their bed while asleep, there could be an underlying cause for the problem.

Why did my Puppy Pee in Their Sleep?

Puppies might urinate in their sleep for several reasons: having a weak bladder, urinary tract infection, kidney disease, spinal cord disease, or recovery from a recent spay or neuter procedure. At the same time, one-off accidents aren’t a cause for alarm. If your puppy urinates in their sleep just once, it’s likely that your pup simply has a weak bladder. The only way to be completely sure of the cause is to get your pup tested by a vet, so book your appointment as soon as possible.

Can Dogs Have Nightmares and Pee?

Dogs definitely dream and this can cause incontinence for some. Most owners have observed their dogs twitching and vocalizing during sleep. Some dogs, however, seem to have sleep disturbances and exhibit more extreme behaviors during sleep such as screaming and growling. Veterinary behaviorists suggest that dogs experiencing extreme “nightmares” are actually in the grips of a REM sleep disorder.

Dogs with REM Behavior Disorder experience physical activity during sleep. For some, this behavior can become extreme or violent, resulting in incontinence. Fortunately, treatment with clonazepam reduces physical activity during sleep.

Is Incontinence a Reason to Put a Dog Down?

It is not necessary to euthanize a dog for incontinence alone. If the only problem your pup has is a weak bladder, then this can be managed with veterinary treatment and training. If your pup is struggling with incontinence, be sure to arm yourself with a waterproof dog bed and doggie diapers. It should also be mentioned that vets are free to conscientiously decline inappropriate euthanasia. If an owner hints that caring for their pet is simply inconvenient, or if the pet is healthy and there are viable options for treatment, your vet is free to decline your request to put your pet down.

With that being said, it’s important that you are aware of the problems associated with incontinence so that you can protect your pup from them. Incontinent females are at a greater risk of urinary tract infections, and both males and females are at risk of secondary skin problems from burns and fur mats.

nightmares and peeing in dogs
Nightmares can cause incontinence in some dogs.

If your puppy is frequently urinating in their sleep, a vet check-up is in order. A range of conditions can cause incontinence, such as urinary tract infections and kidney diseases. Your vet might carry out a urinalysis to diagnose your puppy.

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