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Incontinence In Dogs

Updated on March 24, 2010
My old Beagle, Penny!
My old Beagle, Penny!

Many dogs develop problems such as arthritis and lack of mobility as they age. However, there is one problem that older dogs can develop in which YOU are more bothered by the symptoms than they are. What problem am I speaking of? Dog Incontinence, of course! If you have read any of my dog HUBS then you already know that I am a "dog person." I am passionate about dog adoption…especially older dog adoption. I have adopted two old Beagles (one of which has passed away…bless her heart) and one (Penny) that is still with me. Both of my older Beagles became incontinent as they got older.

It is not uncommon for a dog to urinate in the house if they are not taken outside enough or if they are upset about something. However, if a dog is incontinent, he will urinate in the house, well…because he simply can't control himself. That, my friends, is the difference between a dog with a "behavior problem" and one with a real "medical problem." Obviously, incontinence is a "medical problem.

Usually, incontinence happens when a dog is in a relaxed state. My old Beagle, Penny, doesn't urinate in the house when she is awake…in fact; she only "dribbles" a little when she is sleeping and doesn't even realize what is happening. Any canince can develop dog incontinence, however, it is more common in older, spayed dogs (Penny fits this description) because of the decline in the hormone estrogen. Due to the lack of estrogen in the dog's body, there is a decrease in control of the sphincter muscle. This is noteworthy because the sphincter muscle is what enables a dog to control their bladder. Make sense?

Though incontinence tends to be a problem in older, spayed dogs, this medical condition also seems to favor large, giant-breed dogs, obese dogs (another reason to keep your dog fit and healthy), and for some reason, dogs with docked tails (such as Rottweilers and Dobermans). Intact males can also develop incontinence as a result of prostate disease (so get your male dog neutered early!). In order to determine exactly what is causing your dog's "potty problem," you will need to make an appointment with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action. Thankfully, there are things you can do to not only help your dog…but save your carpet as well!

My dog Bunny. She suffered from incontinence and often wore a doggy diaper!
My dog Bunny. She suffered from incontinence and often wore a doggy diaper!

Penny's Incontinence Problem. The Solution...PROIN!

As previously mentioned, my dog, Penny is incontinent. Though not a MAJOR problem, it is still annoying (to both me and her!). Thankfully, the veterinarian told me about Proin chewable tablets. Proin chewable tablets are a supplemental product for urinary incontinence in dogs. You must have a prescription for Proin, so a trip to the veterinarian will be necessary. Penny's doctor instructed me to give her one 25 milligram pill per day (half in the morning and half in the evening). Though chewable, Penny is very smart and will simply spit the pill out....therefore, I hide it in a small piece of hotdog or lunch meat. Possible Proin side effects include rapid heart rate, elevation in blood pressure, restlessness and change in appetite. Well, I am happy to report that Penny still loves food (she is still a little Beagle piggy!), still sleeps most of the day, and is not at all restless. So, I can safely say that she has suffered no ill side effects. I know, I know…you want the answer to the million dollar question….has Proin helped with Penny's incontinence!? Well, the answer to that question is YES! Since Penny the Beagle has been taking Proin, she has not had any incontinence issues! No urinating in the house, no urinating when someone knocks on the door, and no dribbling while sleeping! If you have an older dog that has an incontinence problem, I highly recommend that you talk to your dog's veterinarian about Proin. It may just be the solution you (and your dog) are searching for!

Doggy diapers help to protect furniture and carpeting.
Doggy diapers help to protect furniture and carpeting.

Other Things to Consider!

If your dog suffers from incontinence it is very important to keep him or her clean. Most dogs that suffer from incontinence are elderly, therefore, they might not be able to clean themselves properly or "move away" from their "accident." If this is the case, their skin may become irritated or "raw" from constant contact with urine. This problem is actually called "urine scald" and is similar to diaper rash. To prevent urine scald, it is important that you keep your canine clean by wiping him or her down with a clean, wet cloth. Starting each day with a quick wipe-down is a good idea as many older pets "dribble" while they sleep. Though it may sound strange, you can also use a cream such as Desitin on your pet. Desitin will soothe and protect your dog's skin. If you dog develops urine scald, you can also apply a product such as Neosporin.

Incontinence can be a messy problem. However, with proper management, it can be controlled. Obviously, the important factors include keeping your pet comfortable while at the same time, protecting your carpet. Dog diapers not only protect your home, they draw urine away from your dog's body so that they do not develop urine scald. I know that dog diapers sound like a major pain, however, caring for your dog is very important and if they improve your dog's quality of life…they are worth looking in to! You can purchase dog diapers on the internet for a reasonable price or you can find them in most pet supply stores.

Over all, incontinence is a messy but often manageable problem. The first step is to consult with your veterinarian in order to determine the best course of action. More often than not, they can prescribe a medication that will help your dog (Penny the Beagle is a perfect example!). It is important to monitor your dog and keep him or her comfortable and dry (especially first thing in the morning).  As always, do your homework so that you have a complete understanding of what you (and your dog) are dealing with and go from there! Here's to a healthy and happy life…with your dog! Woof!

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