Incontinence in Dogs

If your dog has a leaky bladder, it not only adds to your cleaning workload but it is
concerning - is there something wrong and can you do anything about it?

Dogs with incontinence tend to develop scalding in the areas where their skin is
constantly wet with urine. The skin can become infected and painful.

There are several causes of incontinence in dogs and each is treated in a different

However, you need to make sure your dog is actually incontinent first. Dogs with this problem tend not to even notice when they are urinating, and usually leave a wet patch on their bed when they get up

Some conditions cause your dog to urinate in inappropriate places or more frequently than normal, and this isn't incontinence. These need to be ruled out and your vet can help with this.

Diabetes will make your dog drink more than usual, and all the water she drinks needs to go somewhere. She'll have to urinate more often than usual just to get rid of it.

Bladder infections tend to occur more commonly in female dogs. They are painful and your dog will pass small amounts of urine frequently. The urine may also have blood in it. Some dogs form stones in their bladder that need surgical removal. This is another cause of leaking.

Behavioral problems are often a source of urinary problems. If you have a new dog in the neighborhood your male dog may feel the need to mark his territory more frequently. Also, elderly dogs can suffer from canine cognitive dysfunction, or dementia, and they often forget all their potty training.

Diagnosing and Treating Incontinence

Your vet can do tests to rule out many of these causes of inappropriate urination, and if everything is normal and there's no behavioral cause for your dog's unusual urinary habits, then it's time to treat for true incontinence.

Older dogs, particularly females, can develop incontinence because of a weak bladder sphincter that doesn't tighten up and stop the flow of urine. If this is what's happening in your dog's case, then medication can help. Drugs such as phenylpropanolamine and stilbestrol will tighten the sphincter and make it less likely that urine will leak out while she is lying down.

Dogs of any age can suffer spinal injury or inflammation that can put pressure on nerves that control the bladder and its sphincter. Treatment usually involves either anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation or surgery to relieve pressure on their spinal cord.

If you find that your dog's incontinence isn't managed by medical treatment and she isn't a candidate for surgery then you may need to resort to diapers.

These will help to keep your home clean and prevent puddles of urine being left behind. Keep an eye on your dog's skin under the diaper to make sure there is no painful scalding.

You don't need to put up with the extra cleaning associated with an incontinent dog. Your vet can help you get to the bottom of the problem and work out a solution that keeps your dog dry.