As our dogs grow older and transition into the senior stage of their life, they may experience bodily and behavioural changes. If you’re wondering why your potty trained dog started peeing in the house, or if you’re experiencing your dog losing control of their bladder. This includes urinary incontinence (UI) - a common health issue where housebroken dogs are unable to control their bladder.
However, even if UI can be a common sign of ageing, it’s just as important to understand exactly what urinary or bowel incontinence in dogs refers to and why your dog might be suffering from it. Doing so will help prevent further health issues and help you understand how to manage the symptoms of UI to help make your dog feel more comfortable. Furthermore, UI will usually become worse over time if left untreated.
What is Urinary Incontinence?
As mentioned, urinary incontinence in dogs refers to a health issue where dogs are unable to control their bladder, whether it causes occasional bladder leakage in dogs or dog peeing of large amounts of urine at one time. However, canine urinary incontinence should not be confused with general inappropriate urination. UI is a physical health issue and is something your dog may not be aware they are doing.
Housebreaking a dog can sometimes be difficult. So if your pup is aware they’re passing urine at the wrong location, like your dog marking in the house with their urine, that is generally a sign that they’re experiencing a behavioural rather than a physical problem.
What causes Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary Incontinence in dogs can be a result of a wide range of issues, but the main cause of incontinence is sphincter mechanism incompetence. In other words, UI is caused by the weakening of their bladder neck that causes them to be unable to hold their urine in their bladder.
Other possible causes of Incontinence include:
- Hormonal Imbalance
- Urinary Tract / Bladder Infection in dogs
- Urinary Stones
- Spinal injury
- Other illnesses like diabetes or kidney disease
- Certain medications
While UI can afflict dogs of every age, middle-aged to older dogs, especially spayed females tend to be more susceptible to Incontinence because they can develop other accompanying health issues that result in UI - for instance, older dogs that develop senility can become unaware of when they’re passing urine. Certain dog breeds like Cocker Spaniels, Dobermans and old English Sheepdogs also tend to be more prone to UI.
Managing Urinary Incontinence
The first step to take when your dog is experiencing UI is to consult a veterinarian - especially if the cause of the canine urinary incontinence is not known. Vets will help perform physical exams and analyse your dog’s urine to pinpoint the reason for this issue and advise you on how best to help your pup overcome it.
For the most part, Incontinence is typically treated with medication and sometimes hormone therapy, depending on the underlying cause. But what should you do to help manage UI while your dog is being treated?
#1 Prepare Your Pup-proof Home
A good way of preventing too much mess is to cover your bases, and spread Pee Pads like Honey Care’s U-Play Dog Pee Pad around areas where your pup might accidentally pee such as in the kitchen, near where they sleep, and anywhere they may spend extended time. These pee pads help absorb the mess and the smell to keep your home feeling fresh.
However, incidents are bound to happen, so it’s important to arm yourself with a powerful stain remover and deodorants to clean up any potential messes, like Thornell’s Odour Eliminator Spray.
#2 UI Tools & Supplements
Dog diapers, especially for senior dog diapers, are an essential tool to help your pup avoid making a mess, but they can be uncomfortable, so it’s important to test different brands and find one that your dog is comfortable with.
A good option for female dogs is Altimate’s Female Pet Diaper as it’s 100% leakproof with highly absorbent pads that are able to withstand overflow. For male dogs, Honey Care’s excellent Dog Bands Male Wraps are made of stretchy fabric that’s comfortable while being super absorbent. If you do make use of diapers, it’s important to regularly change their diapers in order to prevent rashes and general discomfort.
Other than dog diapers, you could also try supplements like Dr. Mercola’s Bladder Support Supplements that help boost your dog’s urinary tract and bladder health.
Tammi writes articles about anything from data analytics to animal health, and loves doing the occasional craft. But most importantly, she loves hanging out and doing photo-shoots with her dog.