I have a female german shepherd that is eleven years old, she has been neutered last year due to pyometra. She has exostosis on her hind legs that sometimes cause her minor pain and discomfort. To those wondering, it wasn't common in my country to neuter dogs back when she was young, now it is.

The problem

A few months after the operation, she started having issues with holding her bladder. The tricky part is that she is fully able to hold it as long as she is in the apartment, but as soon as we go out for a walk, she usually pees on the stairs.

Provided that we live in an apartment complex with other families that means cleaning pretty much every time we go out for a walk, as she doesn't hold to the park that is two minutes away and just pees in front of people's apartments as we descend the stairs.

It's not about the frequency either, she have done it a few hours after a main walk when I walk her out again, minimum quantities of urine but still.

On the good days she will not pee the stairs but rather in the middle of the road after a few steps outside which is still not pleasant because it's an urban area and people frown upon the sight of my dog peeing in the middle of the small streets - which I completely understand.

Then she stopped out of the sudden for half a year.

And now she started again, we ruled out bladder infections but we found out some minor signs of calcium oxalate and very minimal traces of blood which our veterinary doctor wasn't worried about that much. He guessed that some crystal sand in the urine might have irritated the walls of the urinary tract.


Currently, none.

We have discussed hormonal therapy, because it is often than neutered old dogs have similar issues related to hormones. However, we ruled that out because she doesn't accidentally pees in the house or randomly leaks small quantities which is common for that cause of problems. She simply pees in the building stairs and she knows she doesn't have to because she is very guilty after.

My doctor suggested that her exostosis problems might be the primary cause, because it's causing her pain and it is irritating the nerves in the whole hind legs area, especially when she is descending the stairs which requires some physical load.


We are trying a short course of some non-steroid pain killers to see if that will help but I would really like to hear more opinions or people that have had similar issues.

  • Are there other dogs in the building? Does she fully empty her bladder on the stairs or does she just urinate a little? Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 11:28
  • There aren't other dogs. She nearly fully empties it for the main walk. She usually pees twice in the regular days, once for 90% of the amount and a second times few minutes later for just a little bit more. The stairs accident is usually her 90% one now, and then she does one more time as we reach the park.
    – Peter
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 11:33
  • 1
    That would seem to rule out territory marking behavior. Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 11:34
  • She never ever done it for 11 years so I wouldn't ever consider territory marking. We lived with another dog in the building in our previous apartment complex and it was all good, but that was three years ago.
    – Peter
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 11:36

1 Answer 1


More of a comment (but I don't have enough reputation to comment): I can't explain what's causing your dog to do that, but I suggest you clean up the urine on the stairs with vinegar. This will neutralize the odor, which will prevent your dog from realizing that she previously urinated in that spot.

  • Appreciated, pain killers solved it. My veterinarian was right. The pain in the hind legs when she descends are irritating the area and trigger the urinating. But if it happens again I will use vinegar as you suggested.
    – Peter
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 17:09
  • Great to hear that you were able to solve this problem. You're a good friend to your dog.
    – gesher
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 20:46

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