Many dogs eventually develop issues with bladder control. More commonly referred to as 'urinary incontinence', this can be a bothersome yet easily-treated problem. No matter the red flags it may raise for the owners, it is imperative that veterinary assistance be sought for this issue.
Urinary incontinence can be caused by many factors, including:
- Urinary tract infections
- Increased water consumption
- Spinal cord damage/trauma
- A weak bladder sphincter (most common in female pets).
Your pet may be suffering from urinary incontinence if urine is found on bedding after lying down for prolonged periods of time, or if urine is constantly 'leaking' from your pet’s penis or vulva.
Treatments for urinary incontinence include:
- Medical treatment with medications such as estrogens, alpha-adrenergic drugs, or gonadotropin-releasing hormones.
- Surgical treatment has also been explored in extreme cases of urinary incontinence.
How should I handle my incontinent dog?
Many dog owners get frustrated and angry that their previously housetrained dog is now reverting to regular accidents in the house. This is not only unfair to the dog, but can also cause behavioral problems from fear and stress.
- Do not punish an incontinent dog for toileting in the house. In most cases, the dog has no physical control over its bodily functions.
- Consider using potty pads for a senior dog with incurable incontinence issues. This will make things easier and less stressful for both you and your dog.
- Many dog owners choose to use a belly band to prevent urine from leaking inside the house. If you choose to use one, make sure you change the pad regularly to prevent further infections from developing.
- Give your incontinent dog as much opportunity as possible to get outside. It is as stressful for a housetrained dog to toilet indoors as it is for you to deal with cleaning it up.
Be sure to consult with your veterinarian if you fear your pet is suffering from incontinence. You may be surprised at the ease of treatment.
If your veterinarian can find no medical reason for the lack of bladder control, the problem may be behavioral in nature.
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