Good Samaritan Veterinary Hospital Newsletter


The News from Good Sam                                                   March 16, 2016

Cece has a little crush on Mia!
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Call today and book a dental evaluation or cleaning for your darling pets. (510)357-8574

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14100 E. 14th Street

San Leandro, California 94578


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In This Issue
Inappropriate Urination in Cats
Submissive Urination in Dogs
Inappropriate Urination in Cats 
How to get to the bottom of this behavior.
A cat who is urinating in the house can be very difficult to deal with. Many cats are turned outside, given away, or even put to sleep for this very common problem. The first step to take with inappropriate urination is an exam and urinalysis to rule out a medical problem such as a urinary tract infection.
If we have ruled out a medical issue, we need to start evaluating what type of behavioral issue we're dealing with.
Urine Marking/Territorial Anxiety
Cats use urination as a way of communicating with other cats "I was here, and this is mine". Cats who are not neutered are more likely to spray, but any cat can. Cats who are stressed or anxious may feel a need to reassert their territorial claim.
Signs of this type of stressed behavior are:
  • Spraying on an upright surface
  • Using the litter box sometimes, but not always
  • There has been a recent change to the household
  • The areas marked are near a door or window
  • The area marked involves the owner's bed or laundry
  • The same area is marked every time.
This type of behavior can often be solved by discovering what is bothering the cat and eliminating it. If that is not possible, anti-anxiety medications can be very helpful. Feliway spray (feline pheromones) can have a calming effect on a stressed kitty if it is applied regularly.  
Litter Box Aversion
Sometimes the litter box is simply not acceptable to the cat. It may be dirty, may not be private enough, may smell funny, or be uncomfortable.   
Signs of litter box aversion are:
  • Urination not involving vertical surfaces (not spraying)
  • Defecating outside of litter box as well
  • More than one cat sharing a litter box
  • A new brand of litter
  • The box isn't cleaned regularly
  • A covered box (cats prefer a light, well-ventilated area)
  • The litter box is in a heavy traffic area of the house
  • The litter box is located near a noisy appliance, or near the food/water bowls
Sometimes litter box aversion is solved as easily as moving the litter box, changing the brand of litter, or cleaning it more often. We recommend at least one litter box per feline family member. Even better is one more litter box than the number of cats. Don't use scented litters. Cats have very sensitive noses. Boxes should be scooped at least once a day, and completely cleaned once a week with unscented soap. If the litter box is more than 6 months old, it may need to be replaced.
Whatever the underlying issue is, it's very important to clean the areas that have been soiled with specific odor elimination cleaners such as Nature's Miracle, or Anti-Icky-Poo. These types of cleaners break down the enzymes and remove the odor even to a cat's superior sense of smell. If kitty can still smell the urine, she may want to continue to use that spot.
Call for an appointment anytime your kitty is having an inappropriate urination problem, and we will take you through the steps so that you and your feline friend can continue to live in harmony.   


Submissive Urination in Dogs  

Learn the best way to respond to this behavior.
While submissive urination may seem like a bad behavior to us, it really is a form of communication for dogs. When a dog submissively urinates, he's trying to convey that he is not a threat. Submissive urination usually will occur when a dog is greeting people or other pets, when he/she is excited, being petted, or when being scolded or punished. The urinating is usually accompanied by submissive postures such as cowering, lowering the body, tucking the tail, and flattening the ears. Submissive urination is most common in puppies, but some adult dogs do it as well, especially those who seem to lack confidence.
Submissive urination is a behavioral issue, but if you have a dog who suddenly starts urinating inappropriately he/she should come in for an exam. Some medical conditions cause an increase in thirst which can lead to bladder control issues. Older dogs, especially females, sometimes suffer from urinary incontinence which is treatable. Urinary tract infections can cause frequent urination.
Other behavioral issues to rule out would be an untrained puppy, incomplete house training, urine marking (to claim territory, or in response to stress and anxiety), and separation anxiety (watch next week's newsletter for more on this subject!).
Most puppies will grow out of this behavior, but some never do.  

 Here are some tips to manage and/or minimize the problem:
  • If possible, greet your dog outside.
  • Toss treats or favorite toys in his direction when he runs to greet you.
  • Ignore her when you first come through the door. Wait for her to completely calm down, then greet her very calmly.
  • When you greet your dog stay calm, look off to the side instead of straight at him, and sit or squat so that you are not looming over him.
  • Teach your dog to sit (first practice the behavior outside of the greeting context) when she greets people.
  • Pet him under the chin or on the chest, rather than on the top of his head.
What NOT to do:
  • Do not look at your dog, touch him, bend over him, or speak to him if he starts to submissively urinate, or if you think that he might.
  • Do not hug your dog or pat her on the top of the head when greeting her.
  • Do not scowl or frown at him in response to submissive urination. Even making frustrated comments can make the behavior worse.
  • Do not scold and punish your dog. This will make matters worse. The more you yell at your dog, the more she'll feel motivated to submissively urinate in an attempt to make you less angry with her.
Remember, that submissive urination is very different from other types of inappropriate urination. Any time a dog begins soiling in the house, call for an exam so that we can get at the cause, and give you the advice you need on how to handle the situation. 

Good Sam Dental Special
 15% Off!

We're extending our Dental Special through March! Save 15% on all of our dental services, including pre-anesthetic lab-work. Call today to set up a dental cleaning for your fur-baby! (510) 357-8574
Offer Expires: March 31, 2016