Why Does My Dog Only Squat to Pee?

1436019951k0rrcIn both male and female dogs squatting and leg lifting are acceptable behaviors. Some males may squat to relieve themselves, while some females may choose to lift a leg. But many may be wondering—why?

The Truth Behind Squatting

Often times, squatting to urinate is normal and is not a sign of a health problem. In fact, according to Board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Karen Sueda, DVM, of the VCA West Los Angeles Hospital, “I wouldn’t worry unless it’s a change. Say, if a male dog who has always lifted his leg suddenly stops, and starts squatting.”

While there is not a for sure reason why leg lifting started, there are theories about urination styles — including one that suggests that males lift their back legs to better mark territory, as well as to spray higher and appear bigger to other pups who sniff their urine. Other theories suggest that leg lifting evolved as a way for dogs to simply avoid urinating on themselves.

Personal Preference in Peeing Style

Many studies have shown that regardless of whether or not a canine is spayed or neutered, some dogs will choose to only squat when it is time to do their business. Much of this depends on how they were raised. According to ASPCA, if your male dog doesn’t lift his leg to pee, he might not have had a male dog to mimic at the point in his physio-psychological development when he would have been impressionable to the behavior, usually around 8 to 12 months. Or if he is kept in the backyard without contact with anyone but you, he may not feel the need.

When Squatting Should Be Taken Seriously

A change in the way a dog relieves himself may be a sign of a medical issue, including arthritis, orthopedic problems and even a hormonal or neurological condition.

Squatting may also be a symptom of urine incontinence, Dr. Sueda adds. “The dog may not realize that he is urinating and only squats in reaction to a stream of urine coming out,” she says.

It is important to visit your veterinarian if you do notice a change. The root cause of the problem may be revealed with a physical exam and bloodwork.

Business as Usual

Just like humans, dogs have personal preferences, many of which he’s carried with him since puppyhood. If it’s not a new behavior, don’t worry. Unless your pet shows signs of pain or discomfort, he is probably doing his business as usual.


If your dog has a change in the way he relieves himself, or if you believe he is experience pain or discomfort don’t hesitate to contact us here at All Pets Veterinary Medical Center with the link below!

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