Young male puppies often pee by squatting but is that a cause for concern?
Why do puppies squat?
Puppies typically squat because it’s the most comfortable way to pee and the most natural for them.
Male dogs can start raising a leg to pee when they are a few months old. They can also learn it from other fellow adult dogs earlier when given the chance.
My male puppy first started raising his leg to pee when he was around 9 weeks of age. He was probably influenced by my other adult male dog as he always raises his leg to pee.
Generally male puppies start raising their leg at as early as 12 weeks but of course, every dog is different, some may start when they are a year old. Some may choose not to raise their leg at all.
Marking Vs. Peeing
Male dogs tend to pee in both “girl” and “boy” style with each serving their own purpose. It all depends on personal preference as well as if the dog is neutered or not.
Some dogs will squat to do actual peeing (relive themselves) and they will raise a leg to mark their territory, while other dogs raise their leg for both peeing and marking their territory.
Marking of the territory is usually done on their daily walking route, yards of friends and sometimes also their own yard. The aim is to cover up the markings of the previous dog and leave the message that he was here behind.
Dogs sometimes also raise their leg when marking as they are trying to seem like a larger dog by marking as high on a tree, wall or fence as possible. The higher the marking the bigger social status the dog typically has in the dog community.
Not only male dogs can raise a leg but female dogs can do it too, especially when they are in heat.
Communicating With Other Dogs
Dogs pee against things to mark them because this way the scent will stay in place longer than if the dog just peed on the floor.
On the floor people would cover the scent up, it will sink into the earth and rain can wash it away. It’s harder for the scent to disappear when it’s vertically peed against an object.
Dogs have noses that can smell things a lot better than we can which is why they use their urine to communicate with each other.
By smelling other dogs markings dogs can tell the gender of the dog if he’s neutered as well as the social status and the health of the dog.
When dogs are marking their territory it’s different from peeing. Markings are usually just a few drops to leave a message and are not meant to fully empty your dog’s bladder.
Squatting In Older Dogs
If your older dog suddenly starts peeing “girl style” he might be having pain.
Try lifting his leg carefully to check if that causes him any pain or discomfort. There could be a problem with the tendons in his hind legs or he could have an infection.
Squatting while peeing can be (but certainly doesn’t have to be) an indicator that your dog could have an infection or something else is wrong.
Squatting in dogs can be a symptom of different infections including:
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
To be able to diagnose your pup with a UTI you need to closely observe him. You will typically see changes in his peeing behaviors, he might take longer than normal to pee or even have pinkish urine.
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:
- Whining/straining when peeing
- Blood in the urine
- Peeing inside the house
- Frequent licking of the privates
- Peeing more than usual
Whether or not your pup has blood in his urine can be hard to see if he is peeing outside so try to observe him closely.
If your dog has these symptoms and you go see your vet they will most likely need a urine sample for analysis and to establish a treatment plan.
Arthritis describes abnormal changes to a joint including the degeneration of cartilage which could lead to your pup not being able to raise his hind legs to pee.
The symptoms that your dog could be displayed will be very subtle but they include:
- Less motivation to play around
- Weight gain due to less exercise
- Laying around and sleeping a lot
- General different behavior
If you have noticed that your dog is less mobile than usual, has less energy and generally doesn’t want to move as much as before this could mean that you should visit your vet.
- If your puppy is choosing to squat instead of raising his leg when peeing it could just be a matter of time until he figures out how to do it.
- Female dogs can sometimes also raise their leg when peeing but some dogs don’t do it at all.
- If your pup is showing other symptoms along with squatting a vet visit could be needed.
- Both of my dogs were squatting as young pups and at some point just learned how to pee with raising their back leg.
- Squatting could just be a harmless thing puppies do.