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How to Tell If Your Dog Is Marking or Urinating

You may be confused about if your dog is marking, or just plain urinating. These ways of dog peeing may seem the same to a lot of pet parents but they are, in fact, different.

In this article, we will help you distinguish the difference between the two, the signs to look out for, and the things you can do to help curb these concerns.

dog peeing

" Dogs are naturally dominant animals, and urine marking is your fur-baby’s way of marking and protecting his territory or things he thinks belong to him. "


Dogs are naturally dominant animals, and urine marking is your fur-baby’s way of marking and protecting his territory or things he thinks belong to him. Urine marking could also be a way for your dog to communicate with other dogs and with you.

According to Oregon Humane Society, dogs enjoy feeling safe in a particular space or area. They sometimes let other people and animals know this by marking.

But beyond these instinctive reasons for a dog peeing as urine marking, it can also mean other things:

  • Unspayed or unneutered dog. One benefit of spaying and neutering is to help curb bad behaviors in dogs, like urine marking. The Humane Society of the United States stated that spaying and neutering your dog should reduce urine-marking but not totally eliminate it. This is because it has become a learned behavior, spaying or neutering alone won't solve the problem. 
  • Another animal is in their territory. Your fur-baby’s territory doesn’t only mean your home and all their belongings, it can also mean the things that have become familiar in their daily routine - like the path you always take on walks, the park you always visit, and many others. If other dogs or animals have been to their “territory”, your fur-baby will urine mark to show dominance and assert that it is theirs. 
  • Trying to make new places feel (and smell) like home. Dog marking may also mean that your fur-baby is trying to recreate their safe place or make a new place seem like home to feel safe. 


Dog peeing may be urine-marking if:

  • the presence of urine is only in small amounts 
  • peeing is usually done in vertical surfaces (but can still happen on horizontal surfaces, too) 
  • your dog is potty-trained but pees when a guest or a stray animal have been to your house 
  • your dog pees on new objects at home with unfamiliar scents and appearances 
  • your dog has conflicts with other pets at home and marks to express their frustration and anxiety 
  • your dog has an encounter with other animals outside your home 
  • your dog is in a new place they’ve never been to before 

Dogs who urine mark might also do so in a number of situations and locations. These include while out on walks, when in your own home, when in your own yard, while traveling, or while on visits to new places.  


Urinating, on the other hand, is simply your fur-baby’s way of emptying his bladder.

If your dog is emptying his bladder where he’s not supposed to, it is called inappropriate urination. If inappropriate dog peeing happens very often, it can be a sign of some medical problems like urinary tract infections.

The inappropriate peeing by your dog at home can be because of many reasons. It can be excitement urination, where your fur-baby urinates when he gets overly excited about something. It can also be submissive urination, where your dog pees when he gets scolded, hears loud noises, experiences separation anxiety, or meets people and animals for the first time. Or simply because of poor potty training.


Now that we've finally distinguished the difference between the two, here is what you can do to help curb these unpleasant concerns:


  • Consider spaying or neutering your dog. Doing so will lessen your fur-baby’s urge to mark. But take note that spaying or neutering your dog does not eliminate bad behavior.
  • If your dog lives with other pets at home and they oftentimes get into each others’ nerves, it is best that you resolve conflicts among them.
  • Always keep your fur-baby indoors and restrict any stray animals from getting inside your lawn.
  • Clean marked areas immediately with enzymatic cleaners.
  • Provide a stress-free environment away from stressors.


  • Consider pee pad training your dog. Watch your dog at all times. When you see him about to urinate, get his attention by calling his name, whistling, or clapping. Calmly interrupt him and take him where the pee pad is or outside, where he do his thing. After he’s peed, don’t forget to praise him and give him a reward.
  • Avoid giving punishment as this will only scare him and will go on creating accidents as long as you won’t see.


If cleaning up after your dog marks or urinates is too much of a trouble, you can have them wear washable dog diapers or belly bands for dogs. Meant to keep your home clean, these reusable dog diapers and belly bands come very handy and beneficial! With these, your fur-baby can mark or pee (while still learning not to) without you having to worry about the leakages and messy cleanups after. 

Also, if you have decided to pee pad train your dog, you can use Pet Parents® Pawtect® Washable Pads for that added leakage protection. These pads have triple-stitched binding that guarantees that the pads won’t be shredded to pieces by your dog. Created from a proprietary fabric blend, the pads instantly absorb and take in more liquid than other selections in the market. Pet Parents® Washable Pawtect® Pads are also very convenient as every pack comes in two. You can use the other one while the other one is still in the wash and vice versa!  

Note: Make sure to change the pads or the diapers every four hours or as deemed necessary to prevent your fur-baby from developing urine burns and rashes. 

What even makes these Pet Parents® products the best out there? These dog diapers, belly bands, and Pawtect® Pads are washable and reusable! You are not only able to save money, but you also help save the environment for a better place for your dog to live in! 

dog peeing

" What even makes these Pet Parents® products the best out there? These dog diapers, belly bands, and Pawtect® Pads are washable and reusable! You are not only able to save money, but you also help save the environment. "

Telling whether dog peeing is marking or just emptying the bladder can be tricky, but we are here to help you lead you and your fur-baby to a happier and healthier life ahead!

The Author:

Micka V.

Micka Virtudazo is a full-time content creator at Pet Parents who lives with thirteen adorable American Bullies and a Shih Tzu-Maltese mix named Gretel. She especially enjoys writing how-to articles as she feels through this she can connect to other pet parents on a more personal level.

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