How can I encourage my dog to pee .. cold weather edition
December 8, 2013 11:33 AM   Subscribe

So, it's been around -30c (-22f) daytime with windchill of -40c (-40f) and my shih tzu is protesting. This is his first winter in these temps. He is puppy pad trained, but will not use the pads during the day. For five days he has been relieving himself only at night (on training pad), and I am worried he will do damage to his health.

He has a warm coat, and boots, but even with those on, refuses to pee outside in these temps, just runs back to the door. Unless I am gone for many hours at a time, he won't use a training pad daytime. He is ten years old and always been finicky about toileting issues. He is also a rescue that we have had for 6 years, and in previous owners apparently were abusive if he relieved himself indoors. I am at wits end, how do I encourage him to go on the pads inside during the day? Or outside in frigid temps?
posted by batikrose to Pets & Animals (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Any chance that he's developing arthritis? My mom's dog grew increasingly prissy about peeing outside as she got older and her joints got achier. On cold days, we'd have to give her pain medication to get her to pee outdoors.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:35 AM on December 8, 2013

Otherwise, I suspect the solution is to stay outside with him until he pees, and give lots of praise and a treat when he does it. A mid-day walk might help, rather than just letting him outside alone.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:37 AM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I always take him out on a leash, as we live in an apt. complex. At temps around -20c (-5f) he loves a nice long walk and it's not an issue ... but by -25c (-13f) with windchills is when it has become a problem.
posted by batikrose at 11:40 AM on December 8, 2013

Best answer: Can you take him "outside" in a covered parking garage or other sheltered area? Keep in mind when he pees the last of the urine probably freezes to his hairy little penis and it may be uncomfortable. (Bonus business idea - greenhouses with trees and grass and squirrels for dogs to go walkies indoors during the winter).
posted by saucysault at 11:58 AM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

I used to have a Jack Russell and for a while took him outside wearing a fleece coat. It was cute as hell but eventually I realized that between the slush and snow and him relieving himself, it was rubbing and causing skin irritation on his little part. You might check the fit of his coat.
posted by Beti at 12:13 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: -22F? My little guy starts shivering at 30F. Are you using the pee pads that look like real grass? It sounds like he still thinks he is doing a naughty thing when he pees inside-- so you need to differentiate it from "inside" as much as possible.
posted by snarfles at 12:35 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

We have much milder conditions, but it's still really cold here for my dog.

What I discovered is that he WILL NOT relieve himself if I make him wear anything other than the leash or collar, no matter how much he's shivering. Clothes/boots = no potty.
posted by trip and a half at 1:12 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Another possibility is that the now-frozen ground doesn't feel like the ground he knows it's OK to pee on.

Solution — quarter a potty pad and bring it outside. Fling it on the ground/snow and direct it to him. This may give him explicit permission to pee.

Our dog grew up in typical Wisconsin weather, and neither she nor we ever liked standing in the backyard to pee in the cold. When it's brutally cold, we will rev her up first (laps around the couch with a squeeky) which leads to copious drinking which pretty soon leads to full bladder and then it's bundle up and go for a walk up and down the block.
posted by Jesse the K at 2:20 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Your dog sounds like ours -- she will use the pad, but only at night as a "last resort." The only thing is that our little wonder will usually pee when it's cold, but she often refuses to poop... until late at night, or when no one is home, which is when when she will pee on the pad but poop next to it. She won't do either when it's raining.

One thing that has helped us is that I guide her to the same spot, with lots of positive reinforcement, so I think psychologically she associates a certain area on the walk with "go" time. The other thing is that I stay out with her until I can't stand it any longer. If she "knows' I want to go back in to, she won't use the bathroom. You have to outwit, outplay, outlast.
posted by sm1tten at 2:42 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

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