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Three Things You Should Know About Incontinence In Older Dogs

Updated on May 12, 2009
Darlene Norris profile image

Darlene Norris loves cats and dogs. She has worked as a vet assistant, and draws on this experience when she writes her hubs.

As your pet ages, incontinence in older dogs may become a problem.
As your pet ages, incontinence in older dogs may become a problem.

If you're getting frustrated with all the puddles your aging pet is leaving behind, the problem may be due to incontinence in older dogs. This problem is upsetting, but there are three things you should do.

First, you need to find out why your pet is incontinent. Second, decide on a treatment plan. And third, you may need to make environmental changes to make life easier for your pet as she ages.  

1. Reasons for Old Dog Incontinence

One of the most common reasons for an incontinent dog is a canine bladder infection. A bacterial infection can cause such severe irritation in your pet's bladder that it's nearly impossible for her to "hold it" long enough to get outside. You may notice her straining to urinate, and blood may be present in her urine.

Canine bladder stones can also irritate the bladder walls, leading to a canine urinary tract infection. If your companion has repeated urinary infections, bladder stones might be the reason.  

Cancer in the form of tumors in your pet's bladder may cause incontinence in older dogs. One symptom is persistent bleeding from her urinary tract. If you notice this symptom, don't ignore it. Take her to the vet as soon as possible. 

A common problem in older female dogs, especially those who have been spayed, is urine leaking out. This usually happens when she's asleep or very relaxed. She may leave behind wet spots or puddles of urine when she gets up from a nap.  

As your pet gets older, estrogen levels drop, causing a decrease in muscle tone. This includes the muscles that control her urinary sphincter.  

2. What Treatments Are Available For Incontinence In Dogs?

Canine cysititis is usually treated with antibiotics. Many dog owners are quite successful in treating bladder infections with natural remedies for dogs.  

Chemotherapy and radiation, along with surgery, are becoming more and more common for treating canine cancer.

Female dogs who are leaking urine can be treated with hormone therapy. This rebuilds muscle tone, and helps to reduce or even eliminate the problem.

3. Making Changes To Your Pet's Environment

You may want to provide a waterproof pad for your pet to sleep on. This will protect your carpets and furniture. If all else fails, "doggie diapers" may be the best solution for the problem.

Don't expect your pet to "hold it" for too long. You may want to set a timer so that you get in the habit of letting her out more often. This strategy can help to prevent many accidents in the house.

What About Natural Remedies For Dogs?

Another option to consider is the use of herbs and homeopathic remedies to support your pet's urinary tract health. The herbs uva ursi and berberis have a long history of use for human urinary problems, and they're safe and effective for pets as well. Homeopathic remedies for bladder problems include Cantharis and Staphysagris.

You'll want to find a remedy that's formulated especially for pets, not people. Deal only with a company with an excellent reputation for producing the highest quality remedies for pets.

Remember that incontinence in dogs doesn't have to mean the end of the road for your beloved canine companion. There are many treatments available that can either eliminate or lessen this problem, making life much more pleasant for both of you.


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