Many dog behaviors seem strange to humans and sometimes even downright gross. One of those behaviors is dogs licking other dogs’ pee.
If you have multiple pups at home, you may have noticed that your dog sometimes licks your other dog’s pee, leading you to ask, “Why does my dog lick my other dog’s pee?”
Here, you’ll learn the answer to that question, how to stop it, and more.
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Why Do Dogs Lick Pee?
When asking, “Why does my dog lick my other dog’s pee?” it’s important to understand that dogs don’t just lick familiar dogs’ pee; they will lick any dog’s pee too. Heck, they’ll even lick other species’ pee.
So, why is this? The olfactory system! Dogs have around 300 million olfactory receptors.
This is incredible compared to a human, as a human only has about six million receptors. Additionally, dogs have something called a vomeronasal organ, also called Jacobson’s organ, in their sinuses, allowing them to smell pheromones.
The smell of urine is often referred to as “pee mail” in the world of dogs because urine contains so much significant information for your pup, and it’s all fascinating to them.
Here are a few things dogs can learn from the smell of urine:
- Gender: Dogs can tell whether an animal is male or female through urine.
- Spayed or neutered: Your pup can tell if another dog is spayed or neutered or when a dog is in heat through urine. So your dog may be particularly interested in intact or unspayed dogs’ urine during specific hormonal cycles.
- Health: Dogs can tell whether an animal is sick through its urine. They can also discern information about the animal’s diet.
- Stress level: Dogs can tell how stressed an animal is by the amount of cortisol present, changing the smell of the urine.
These factors could be why your dog is licking your other dog’s pee. It’s more likely to happen if you have recently adopted a new dog since your other dog wants to learn as much about them as possible.
That said, if your dog suddenly starts licking your other dog’s pee, and they’ve lived together for a good amount of time, then it could be a signal that your other dog has something going on health-wise, its diet has changed recently, or it’s more stressed out than usual.
Can Licking Pee Cause Any Health Problems?
Although you may find it disgusting and unsettling, there’s nothing wrong with your dog licking your other dog’s pee. That is, as long as you know your other dog is healthy.
When stranger dogs come into the picture, some health concerns can arise. There are a few infectious diseases that can be passed through urine. These include:
- Leptospirosis: A bacterial disease that causes flu-like symptoms and can lead to liver and kidney failure. Leptospirosis can be passed from dogs to humans too.
- Intestinal parasites: Including heartworms, whipworms, roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms.
- Parvo: A highly contagious disease usually contracted by puppies without their complete vaccines caused by the canine parvovirus.
- Capillaria plica: A rare bladder parasite in which dogs urinate the eggs of the parasites and pass the parasites on.
Since you don’t know the health status of unfamiliar dogs, it’s best not to let your dog lick urine it comes across around the neighborhood, in the dog park, or elsewhere.
How Can I Stop My Dog From Licking Pee?
As mentioned above, you’ll want to keep your dog from licking unfamiliar dogs’ urine as well as the urine of other animals. Below are some tips to help you with that:
Keep Them on a Leash
Keep your dog on a leash when walking at the park or around your neighborhood. You’ll have more control over your pup, so if it goes to lick urine, you can quickly correct the behavior by pulling it away. This will also help teach your pup that licking urine isn’t something you approve of.
Keep a Watchful Eye
Suppose you’re somewhere where your dog is better off-leash, like the dog park, be sure to watch them closely. If you see your dog is very interested in a spot and about to lick it, call them back or give it a command that will redirect its attention.
Teach Them “Leave It”
The “leave it” command is great for numerous situations where your dog may pick up, eat, or lick something harmful to them.
To teach this command, do the following:
- Get two types of treats; one that your dog absolutely loves and another that is somewhat boring.
- Put one of each treat in your hands and close your fists.
- Place the fist holding the boring treat in front of your dog to sniff.
- Say, “leave it,” and wait for your dog to stop sniffing.
- As soon as your dog stops sniffing, affirm the behavior by saying “yes” and giving them the high-value treat in your other fist.
- Repeat this until your dog immediately stops sniffing whenever you say, “leave it.”
- Then, progress to throwing the boring treat on the floor and saying, “leave it.” Once they do, affirm and reward.
If you still have questions about your dog’s strange behaviors, here are some questions related to “Why does my dog lick my other dog’s pee?”:
Is it normal for dogs to lick other dogs’ privates?
Yes. Licking private parts is a normal way for dogs to greet each other. Contrary to what we may think – that it is a sexual behavior – it’s actually a polite way that dogs introduce themselves.
You’ll commonly see dogs lick the privates of a dog they’ve met for the first time. It’s a signal your dog wants to get to know the other dog better and is offering up some grooming to the other dog as a goodwill gesture.
Why does my male dog lick my female dog’s pee?
If your male dog is intact and your female dog isn’t spayed, he will be attracted to your female’s urine when she is in heat. This is also true even if your dog is neutered.
Your female dog may also have a change in their health or diet, or be stressed out, so your male dog is learning more about these changes by smelling and licking your female dog’s urine.
Why does my dog try to eat other dogs’ poop?
There are a couple of reasons why a dog eats other dogs’ poop or even other animals’ poop. If your dog is a puppy, it could take after its mother’s example of cleaning up puppy poop by eating it. It will usually grow out of this behavior, though.
If you have an adult dog that eats poop, it likely has something to do with its diet. Eating poop is a way for dogs to get the nutrients they lack.
However, poop carries a lot of bacteria, so you shouldn’t let your dog eat poop. Instead, take them to the vet to ensure they get the proper nutrients they need from the food you provide.
Dogs will lick another dog’s urine to discern various things about it, including their gender and health. There are some risks to allowing your dog to lick pee, so it’s best to teach them a command such as “leave it,” and reward them when they do so.
For the most part, licking urine is just a way for dogs to learn about the world around them, and isn’t something to be too concerned about.