Living with an incontinent dog can be very messy and frustrating. Beyond the awful smells and stains, there’s also the unexpected puddles on the floor that are just waiting to be slipped on.
When you live with an incontinent dog, your house takes a hit, your wallet takes a hit (those rugs aren’t going to shampoo themselves!), and, most importantly, your dog’s health can take a hit, because when dogs chronically leak urine onto their skin and fur, infections can occur.
What Causes Incontinence?
Even the best and most house-trained dogs on the planet can lose control of their bladder. This can result in a dog having occasional leaks or completing emptying their bladder.
There are numerous things that can cause a well-intentioned and trained dog to become incontinent:
- Hormonal imbalance
- Weak bladder sphincter (common with age)
- Urinary tract infection
- Urinary stones
- Spinal injury or degeneration (frequently seen in German shepherds)
- Prostate disorders
- Other diseases that cause excessive water consumption, such as diabetes, kidney disease, or hyperadrenocorticism
- Congenital abnormalities
- Certain medications
Signs Your Dog May Be Incontinent
Incontinence often shows itself in your dog’s behavior before it shows itself on your floor. It can start by urine chronically dripping onto your dog’s skin. This can cause redness as well as cause your dog to lick that area excessively. You may also notice your dog’s bed or that favorite corner where he sleeps has a foul odor and is often damp.
How Is Urinary Incontinence Treated?
Since there are many different underlying causes of incontinence, treatment for the issue can vary. Sometimes a medication may be prescribed that prevents everyday accidents. Other treatments may focus on hormone therapy, while still others will attempt to strengthen the urethral sphincter. Collagen injections are a newer treatment that have shown promising results. However, if the incontinence is a result of bladder stones, a protruding disc or congenital abnormality, surgery may be recommended.
Are There Any Complications of Incontinence in Dogs?
We mentioned chronic skin infections earlier, but another serious complication is bladder or kidney infection.
How to Manage the Situation
The first thing you should do if you suspect your dog may be struggling with incontinence is to consult with your veterinarian who can confirm the diagnosis and try to determine a cause. He or she will want to rule out a bladder infection, which would require antibiotics. Your vet may also want to order other tests that may include a urine culture, blood work, radiographs and ultrasound.
Should your furry babe be diagnosed with incontinence, there are some things you can do:
- Place waterproof pads or clean towels on your dog’s bed or in their favorite spot to absorb any leakage.
- Provide proper hygiene to prevent any related skin infections.
- Take your dog for more frequent walks or let them out into the backyard more often for potty breaks. If you have a fenced back yard, consider installing a doggie door so he or she can get in and out as often as needed while you’re at work.
- Use doggie diapers and doggie bands, which can help keep your house dry and clean. Our washable dog diapers and dog belly bands fit all sizes and breeds and can be used over and over.
It’s important that you never limit your dog’s water intake, as this can lead to dehydration and serious complications. Always monitor your pet’s condition, since it can quickly accelerate to infection, especially in elderly dogs.
And most importantly, understand that your dog doesn’t enjoy what’s going on either. They are not trying to make you angry, they have a medical condition which they have no control over. Always, always love your dog no matter what. You’ll never find a better friend.