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My Female Dog Keeps Squatting But Not Peeing

 
María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. Updated: November 27, 2023
My Female Dog Keeps Squatting But Not Peeing
Dogs

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If your dog is squatting to pee, but is unable to, it is likely a physical health problem which is preventing them from doing so. A dog should pee regularly throughout the day to eliminate waste from their food and water intake. Female dogs squat down to pee, but we may see them squat without eliminating any urine. While psychological stress can be a factor, it won't stop them peeing at all. When a dog is trying to pee, but can't, it means there is a problem with their genitourinary system. The underlying cause can be varied, ranging from urinary stones or urinary tract infections, to tumors or kidney disease.

At AnimalWised, we find out why my female dog keeps squatting, but not peeing. We look at the possible reasons a dog has stopped urinating, as well as what we can expect in terms of treatment and prevention.

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Contents
  1. Dysuria in female dogs
  2. My dog is trying to pee, but can't
  3. Urinary tract infections
  4. Trauma
  5. Urinary stones
  6. Tumors
  7. Kidney disease

Dysuria in female dogs

When a dog cannot pee or has trouble urinating, it is known as dysuria. Often they can only pee a little amount or they experience pain when they urinate. For male dogs, if they lift their leg to pee and nothing comes out, we can suspect they have dysuria. When a female dog squats to pee, but little to nothing comes out of their urethra, the same applies. When a dog cannot urinate at all it is known as anuria.

We can tell the difference between a dog refusing to go and being unable to go by the fact she keeps squatting, but is not peeing. A potty trained dog will go outside when we go for walks, usually eager to do so if they have been inside for a prolonged period.

There are psychological reasons why a dog will not be able to pee, but these will not cause the dog to not pee at all. When a dog's bladder is full, being unable to pee will cause them discomfort and pain. When sufficient time has passed, the situation will become a veterinary emergency. This is the case if the dog hasn't peed for over 24 hours, but has been eating and drinking as normal.

When a dog is psychologically stressed, they may have trouble peeing, but they won't stop peeing altogether. They are more likely to do so in inappropriate places, such as when the dog pees on your bed. This is possibly because their stress and anxiety is causing them to neglect their potty training and act out of feelings of insecurity. Of course, urinary incontinence in dogs could also be causing them to pee where they shouldn't.

My dog is trying to pee, but can't

It is important to make the distinction between peeing inappropriately and having trouble peeing. When a female dog has dysuria, they will squat down and try to pee, but nothing will come out. When this has happened for a sufficient length of time, they will start to show various physical and behavioral symptoms. This will be due to either the physical pain caused by the buildup of unreleased urine or by the underlying cause.

Generally speaking, you can tell your dog has dysuria if they:

  • Want to go out to pee more often
  • Seem desperate to pee
  • Become generally agitated
  • Strain when urinating
  • Make noises as if they are in pain
  • Have a little blood in the urine they do release (hematuria)

Looking out for these signs, we can see the dog has clear trouble peeing. You will also likely be able to see the dog's abdomen has bloated due to the accumulation of urine. It is important to differentiate between this problem and other reasons why your dog's belly is hard such as gastric torsion. If your dog has stopped peeing and they have the following symptoms, it is vital you take them to a veterinarian:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty moving
  • Pain

Whether due to a genitourinary problem or another internal health issue, it is likely your dog needs emergency treatment. Delaying diagnosis and treatment administration can be fatal.

Now we know how to tell if a dog has stopped peeing or is having trouble peeing, we will look at the most common reasons a female dog keeps squatting without peeing:

My Female Dog Keeps Squatting But Not Peeing - My dog is trying to pee, but can't

Urinary tract infections

One of the most common reasons why a female dog keeps squatting but doesn't pee is due to urinary tract infections (UTIs) in dogs. This is even more so than male dogs as there is a higher incidence rate of UTIs in female dogs than males[1].

Urinary tract infections can lead to cystitis, i.e. inflammation of the bladder. They are caused by pathogens entering the urinary tract and resulting in an infection. Said pathogens can be viral or fungal, but these are rare. It is much more likely the dog will have a bacterial infection. The inflammation caused by the infection will put pressure on various parts of the urinary tract, narrowing passageways and preventing the dog from peeing.

While the direct cause will be the pathogen causing the UTI, dogs suffering from other issues may be more prone to developing them. These influencing factors can include poor hygiene, obesity, immunosuppression and even diabetes[2]. Treatment for bacterial UTIs will be antibiotics, plus any necessary pain management medications. For this reason, it is important we take them to a veterinarian.

Trauma

It is possible your dog has suffered physical trauma which has caused tissue damage to their genitourinary tract. In this case, it is likely they will show other physical symptoms such as pain or trouble walking. It is rare for the trauma to only affect their urinary tract, but it is possible. Swelling or tissue damage cause the blockage of urine and can lead to a buildup.

If you see your dog has been in an accident and stops peeing, take them to a veterinarian. Even if they do not show other signs, their internal damage could be causing a serious problem. The vet will examine them with an ultrasound and/or x-ray and determine the treatment cause. This will require surgery in serious cases.

Urinary stones

Uroliths are the buildup of certain minerals which are not properly processed during digestion. They can develop in the bladder (crystoliths), kidneys (nephroliths) or other parts of the urinary tract. They can be of varying size and we may first notice them due to the presence of crystals in the dog's urine. Once the uroliths are sufficiently large, they will cause blockages and prevent the dog from peeing or cause dysuria.

Urinary and kidney stones in dogs can be due to many reasons, but there is a genetic influence since dog breeds such as the Shih Tzu and Miniature Schnauzer are more prone than others. Dietary changes can help the dog pass the urinary stones on their own. However, if the blockage is sufficiently large, surgical intervention will be required to remove them.

Tumors

If the dog is suffering from a tumor, it means an inappropriate buildup of cells has occurred. These cells can be benign or malign, depending on the cause. Due to the swelling and inflammation of the tumor, it can result in the restriction and narrowing of the urinary tract. This can cause a blockage and means the female dog keeps squatting without peeing.

There may or may not be other symptoms accompanying the tumor. This will depend on the cause, as will the treatment. Take the dog to the veterinarian for diagnosis. Surgical removal will likely be necessary, although the dog may need chemotherapy or radiography if the tumor is cancerous.

My Female Dog Keeps Squatting But Not Peeing - Tumors

Kidney disease

The kidneys of a dog can fail for various reasons, both acute and chronic. In chronic cases of prolonged renal failure in dogs, we will see symptoms such as drinking more water, vomiting, losing weight and others. In acute cases, the dog will stop peeing abruptly and we will see serious symptoms start to develop after 24 hours of not peeing. If we see the dog does not pee, but vomits, it will be considered a veterinary emergency.

Vomiting may be due to gastric damage caused by toxins that accumulate by not being eliminated in the urine. In these cases, veterinary treatment should focus on emptying the bladder, controlling vomiting and hydration, in addition to assessing the Kidney damage. We will need to go to a veterinarian to both diagnose the problem and provide clinical treatment which we cannot provide ourselves.

Renal failure is classified into four phases of greater or lesser severity. Treatment will be prescribed according to the stage of kidney disease the dog is experiencing. Dogs with acute kidney disease can recover completely or become chronically ill. In the cases of chronic illness, the dog will need dietary changes for dogs with kidney disease, as well as other symptom management solutions such as improving hydration so they do not intake more than they can evacuate.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to My Female Dog Keeps Squatting But Not Peeing, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

References

1. Ling, G. V., Norris, C. R., Franti, C. E., Eisele, P. H., Johnson, D. L., Ruby, A. L., & Jang, S. S. (2001). Interrelations of organism prevalence, specimen collection method, and host age, sex, and breed among 8,354 canine urinary tract infections (1969-1995). Journal of veterinary internal medicine, 15(4), 341–347.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11467591/

2. McGuire, N. C., Schulman, R., Ridgway, M. D., & Bollero, G. (2002). Detection of occult urinary tract infections in dogs with diabetes mellitus. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, 38(6), 541–544.
https://doi.org/10.5326/0380541

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My Female Dog Keeps Squatting But Not Peeing