Before starting a housebreaking program, please be sure your dog has a clean bill of health. A veterinary exam including a fecal exam (stool sample) will allow you to be sure that none of your puppy’s housebreaking issues are caused by a medical problem. This is important for all dogs, but especially for new puppies, senior dogs or dogs who have symptoms of digestive problems or other health issues.

If your dog has digestive issues caused by parasites, allergies or other medical problems, he may have a hard time controlling his bowels, which will make it hard for him to get to the right place every time he needs to go. Some symptoms to watch for:

NOTE: Your dog may have worms even if they’re not visible in his stools. Sometimes the only evidence that your dog has a parasite infestation is the presence of microscopic worm eggs in the stool that can only be detected by having your vet test a stool sample.

Urinary problems caused by bladder or urinary-tract issues can make housebreaking nearly impossible. Some symptoms to watch for:

Your dog’s housebreaking can also be adversely affected by other medical issues, including arthritis, hip dysplaysia or any other kind of painful condition. If he appears to be in pain, work with your vet to resolve the issue so you can be sure he is healthy and comfortable enough to be successfully housebroken.

If your puppy is on any kind of medication and is having housebreaking issues, check with your vet to see if your housebreaking problem might be a side effect of his medication. If it is, your vet may be able to switch him to a different medication, change the dosage or offer other suggestions to lessen the impact of the side effects.

Once you’re sure your dog has a clean bill of health, you can safely proceed with his housebreaking program.

NOTE: This information is for educational purposes only and is intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise and professional judgment of your veterinarian. The information is NOT to be used for diagnosis or treatment of your pet. You should always consult your own veterinarian for advice concerning the treatment of your pet.

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