Often, when a fur kid loses bladder control, it can frustrate a pet parent. Some may think the dog has a behavioral issue because they are going potty in the house when they have been trained not to; however, it could be a medical condition called incontinence, which can often be treated with medication, or can be a sign of a more serious condition.
Urinary incontinence occurs when a house-trained dog loses control of its bladder at unexpected times, such as at night when your pup is sleeping or when your dog is inside while you’re at work. This can be an occasional small urine leak, to a large amount that makes their bed soaked with urine. It can afflict dogs of any age, breed or gender; however, it’s more commonly seen in older, spayed female dogs.
As a dog ages, its urethral muscles that help your pet hold its bladder weaken. For female dogs, it can also be due to lower estrogen levels, which can lead to a loss of muscle tone in the bladder area as well. Urinary incontinence can be a symptom of a bladder infection, diabetes, kidney disease, or even a ruptured or bulging disc. All of which are serious health issues that require a vet to diagnose and treat properly.
If your pet has suddenly started urinating in areas where they typically have not done in the past, it’s best to reach out to your vet and schedule an appointment. Again, depending on what is causing the incontinence, it can likely be cured, or at least controlled with medication -- both holistic and prescribed, so be sure to ask your vet about the options. At the vet visit, be prepared to answer questions such as:
- when did you start to notice your dog was losing control of their bladder
- when does it happen -- when your pup is sleeping, cooped up for long periods of time, or when they have been active and drank a lot of water
- does your dog’s urine smell different or maybe be a different color than normal
- is your dog showing signs of having a hard time urinating
- is your dog drinking more water than normal
- do you notice your dog squats or lifts its leg to go pee when these situations occur, or does urine dribble out when they are walking, sitting or lying down
In Pepper’s situation, she has been given some medication to help with her bladder control issues, and her health is improving daily. We’ve also learned that she’s gone from being outside 24/7, to spending a large amount of time in a garage, to now spending time with her new family in their house. We're happy to report that she’s quite happy to be a loved member of a new pack.
Again, Fur Kids Foundation encourages you not to reprimand your dog when they have a bout with incontinence. Believe us when we say it’s just as upsetting to your dog as it is to you. Please consider scheduling an appointment with your vet first to rule out any health issues. For more information on incontinence, please check out the articles below.
- Dog Time: Diagnosing and treating urinary incontinence
- Mercola: Urine Dribbling - Never ever punish your pet for this ‘accident’
- PetMD: Urinary Incontinence in Dogs
- VetStreet: How I deal living with three incontinent dogs