Lifting Legs to Urinate
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

Q. Why do dogs lift their legs to urinate?
A. A Beagle lifting his leg to urinateDog's urine is used as a scent marker for other dogs. Many male dogs and some female dogs will urinate in multiple places to establish their scent on their territory and say "I was here."

A male dog lifts his leg so he can urinate on vertical surfaces (the proverbial fire hydrant). Why urinate on a vertical surface? Bruce Fogle, DVM, in his book Know Your Dog, suggests the scent of urine on a vertical surface will generally last longer than the scent on a horizontal surface. The scent is also more at nose level, so the next dog coming by will be less likely to miss the scent.

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