Canine Urinary Incontinence - The Leaky Dog - HomeoPet (2024)

Why your dog may be leaking urine and what to do about it.

Canine urinary incontinence is when a house-trained or litter-box trained dog loses control of his or her bladder and so ‘leaks’. This is extremely unpleasant for both you and your dog and it can affect animals of any gender, age or breed. There are a number of common causes of canine incontinence and fortunately importantly for your sanity and the cleanliness of your house, there are treatment options. Tom Farrington MRCVS., MVB., VetMFHom, gives an overview of the possible causes of incontinence in dogs and your treatment options.

Symptoms of incontinence in dogs

• Involuntary urine leakage. It’s important to note that puppy incontinence is generally temporary and usually only involves leaking when the puppy is excited or submissive. Most puppies grow out of this
• Wet hair on the lower abdominal area, or between the rear legs
• Wet spots or puddles in the bedding or sleeping area
• Urinary tract infections
• Inflammation of the skin around the genitals
• A smell of ammonia from the stale urine
• Staining on the hair on the lower abdominal area, or between the rear legs • Wet spots left as the dog rises
• Constant licking of the area between the hind legs or behind them in females and in males constant cleaning of the penis due to what one would assume is a trickling sensation

Causes of incontinence in dogs

There are several possible common causes of urinary incontinence in dogs, the six most common of which include:
Hormone imbalance – In middle-aged to older spayed females, a hormonal imbalance can cause incontinence. One out of 5 spayed female dogs can be affected by incontinence, which usually develops about 3 years after the surgery. It is seen less frequently, but is also possible, in young females and older neutered males where hormonal incontinence is caused by a deficiency of estrogen (in females) or testosterone (in males). Both of these hormones are important in maintaining muscle tone of the urethral sphincter.
Infections – Urinary tract infections (UTI’s) will make your dog feel an increasing need to eliminate urine more frequently than usual. Apart from this, the whole urination process can become very difficult and uncomfortable for him or her, which can cause anxiety and stress which further amplifies the problem. Bladder infections can also be included in this category where a prolonged bladder infection can actually scar the bladder and deter it from holding urine normally.
Spinal column and spinal cord injury or disease – Problems of the spine, including arthritis, deficient alignment of the vertebrae or other disc issues can cause neurological problems which interfere with the proper functions of the urinary tract and the intestines.
Old age is another common cause of incontinence in dogs, not only from probable urethral sphincter weakness but also possibly from the onset of senility.
• The presence of other diseases that cause excessive water consumption, such as diabetes, kidney disease, hyperadrenocorticism. A high salt or sugar intake. Cancer at the neck of the bladder preventing the sphincter closing.
Obesity – a common risk factor for incontinence in dogs, obesity influences incontinence in two ways. First, it’s a determining factor for diseases like diabetes, kidney failure and kidney stones which cause an increased water intake. Obesity can also mess up the hormone levels in your dog’s body, which act like neurotransmitters and tell the bladder when it’s full. Apart from this, obesity is also correlated with an increased risk of infections that are directly linked to incontinence.

What to do if your dog becomes incontinent

The first thing to do if your dog starts to exhibit symptoms of incontinence is to pay a visit to your veterinarian, so he or she can assist in an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. Your vet will ask you a lot of questions and perform a complete physical exam and will more than likely order tests on your dog’s urine to check for signs of urinary tract infection and other abnormalities, as well as blood work to rule out conditions such as diabetes.


Imaging such as X-rays or an ultrasound may also be needed as it can even be related to certain cancers due to a condition which is known as the hypercalcemia of malignancy – a condition that is easily overlooked in a dog that otherwise may appear healthy. Your vet’s diagnosis will determine the treatment plan put in place for your dog. For example, antibiotics may be prescribed to tackle a causal infection; hormone replacements may be advised if your dog has been neutered or has developed urinary incontinence because of old age; or for serious medical cases, surgery may be performed to remove a bladder or tract obstruction, for reparation of the bladder or urinary tract or to tackle a spinal cord injury. However, there are several other steps that you can take to help to manage your dog’s incontinence naturally and comfortably.

Weight management

As with humans, obesity is a very serious health issue for dogs and can lead to life-long and life-threatening illnesses. Several of these can contribute to or directly cause incontinence issues, as the excess fat leaves no space in the abdomen for the bladder to fill normally. Diet is only part of the health equation however, and in order to maintain (or lose) weight, an increase in activity is also necessary in order to meet any weight loss goals, but be careful with overweight dogs who have spinal problems!

Fluid Intake

This should never be restricted without consulting your veterinarian as it can have serious consequences for patients with diabetes, kidney disease and even on certain conventional drugs. That said, it can be a useful method to stop overflow incontinence at night in dogs with weak bladder control where you take away the water a few hours before bedtime and reintroduce it as soon as your dog wakes up. An even less restrictive approach is to put out a block of ice that slowly melts overnight, allowing some access to water but not enough to cause overflow.

Toilet Trips

If your geriatric dog has intentionally stopped going out or using his litter box, help him out a bit by adding more litter boxes to the environment, or move the bed closer to the door out or to the litter box. By doing this, your dog will have a shorter distance to travel and it will be easier for him to relieve himself properly. If your dog has forgotten where the litter lives, remind him from time to time by taking him there. For older dogs, make sure you include more frequent walks – especially first thing in the morning when your dog awakens and last thing before bedtime. Pile clean blankets and towels in your dog’s favorite sleeping spots and consider putting waterproof pads under bedding to absorb any moisture and of course some plastic sheeting to protect the surface underneath all the protective measures

Pet Diapers

Consider using doggie diapers, which are available at many pet stores. Although your dog may not be particularly fond of wearing these at first, we would highly recommend them over the need to clean furniture or carpeting frequently or put an otherwise happy dog to sleep. The good news is your dog will adjust relatively quickly to wearing these and a natural helping hand from HomeoPet’s Anxiety Relief can help him or her get over any anxiety humps during the early days.

Canine Urinary Incontinence - The Leaky Dog - HomeoPet (2)

Natural Medicines

There are a number of natural medicines available from your local pet store, or through many good online retailers that can help tackle the issue of incontinence in your dog.

HomeoPet Feline UTI+ helps provide relief from symptoms of urinary tract disease in cats by easing burning, supporting kidney function and tackling the anxiety often at the root of the problem. While this product is designed specifically for cats, in my own personal experience and through use in my veterinary practice I have found that it can work equally well in dogs under similar circ*mstances and being fully homeopathic, is perfectly safe.

The ingredients in Feline UTI+ have drug monographs covering burning straining, difficult or inappropriate urination; urine with a range of abnormalities from having blood through mucous and pus to odor and color changes, either with or without the presence of crystals gravel or stones. Chronic and acute complaints such as cystitis and nephritis may also obtain relief from the addition of Homeopet Feline UTI+ which can be used in combination with conventional medications or in less severe self-limiting cases (those which would recover naturally) on its own, helping reduce chemical toxicity and the systemic disturbance caused by medications. Feline UTI+ is easily administered and should be dropped directly on to the mucous membrane of the mouth, including the lips, by raising the head until the mouth opens. Where an animal finds this distressful or you are unable to comply, the medication can be put in the food, water, or as a last resort well-diluted milk as in some cases milk can aggravate bladder conditions.

Canine Urinary Incontinence - The Leaky Dog - HomeoPet (3)

HomeoPet Leaks No More is a natural medicine that can provide relief for urinary incontinence or leaking that occurs in older dogs and spayed females/neutered males. Easily administered in a similar manner to Feline UTI+ above, Leaks No More is a great way to support any other treatments that your veterinarian may recommend for your dog as there are no known adverse effects or contraindications, other than the reversible effect of over dosage. Leaks No More contains a unique combination of homeopathic ingredients which have been used for centuries to support health and wellbeing and can help to support your pet through the challenge of incontinence.

HomeoPet Joint Stress is a natural medicine and might seem an odd addition to an article on Urinary Incontinence. However, those who have had back pain would be able to tell you they do occasionally leave it too long before going to the toilet…and the same is often true for our pets. Such delays can lead to your cat being unable to get to the toilet area in time, which often leads to sudden large spills on the floor. HomeoPet Joint Stress supports joint mobility right across the body and can provide relief in some such cases of “incontinence”.

Urinary incontinence in dogs can have many causes and accurate diagnosis by your vet is key to effective treatment. Fortunately, there are many things that can be done to help alleviate the situation and improve your dog’s quality of life. If you have any questions regarding the natural health care of your pet, please contact our customer service team, we’re here to help.

Canine Urinary Incontinence - The Leaky Dog - HomeoPet (2024)

FAQs

What is the best medication for urinary incontinence in dogs? ›

Medications that increase urethral sphincter tone such as phenylpropanolamine (PPA), or hormone replacements such as estrogen or diethylstilbestrol (DES), are commonly used alone and in combination. Many dogs that respond poorly to PPA alone will benefit from a combination of PPA and DES.

How do I treat my dogs urine leakage? ›

A weak urethral sphincter is treated with phenylpropanolamine. In cases like bladder stones and congenital abnormalities, your vet may recommend surgery. Surgical treatment is important especially when medication alone does not solve the problem.

Does leak no more work? ›

Leaks no More works very well at controlling the incontinence my 16 month old pup suddenly developed shortly after her spay and UTI. The thing is, it is a homeopathic remedy and you have to keep a close eye on dosing. I started with the three dosages per day during a long weekend when I could dose her that much.

What can I give my senior dog for incontinence? ›

Treating urinary incontinence requires medications that strengthen the muscles and nerves that control urination, such as phenylpropanolamine. For spayed females, adding some hormones back (generally estrogen in the form of DES or diethylstilbestrol) may be the key.

What do vets prescribe for dog incontinence? ›

Phenylpropanolamine (brand names: Proin®, Propalin®, Cystolamine®, Uricon®, Uriflex-PT®) is a sympathomimetic medication used to treat urinary incontinence due to poor muscle tone in the urethral sphincter. Its use in cats and dogs at certain doses to treat urinary incontinence is 'off label' or 'extra label'.

What is the number one treatment for urinary incontinence? ›

Midurethral sling procedure.

This is the most common procedure for stress urinary incontinence. It is a minimally invasive procedure that places a small piece of mesh under the urethra tube.

Why does my dog leak pee when lying down? ›

Dogs with genuine urinary or urethral incontinence often pee while resting or sleeping with no obvious triggers. A relaxed or sleeping dog that can't hold their bladder is usually a sign of an underlying issue, such as age-related incontinence, urinary tract infections, or diabetes.

Can dog incontinence go away? ›

Certain medical procedures can help dogs suffering from incontinence. And the good news is that, in the vast majority of cases, these treatments are 100% successful. So if you're concerned that your ageing dog is developing an incontinence problem, talk to your vet.

What is the best home remedy for dog pee? ›

Another method adds one more household staple, vinegar. In a clean spray bottle, mix one cup of distilled white vinegar with one cup of water and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Shake it up to mix the ingredients, and then spray on the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then blot with towels until clean.

Is HomeoPet safe for dogs? ›

FOR PETS OF ALL AGES: HomeoPet's itchy dog and cat skin treatment is well tolerated, safe, gentle, and natural with no known side effects. It can be used on pets of all ages and can even be used on birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other animals.

What exercises stop leaks? ›

Do daily pelvic floor exercises. Pelvic floor exercises can be effective at reducing leaks. It's important to do them properly and include short squeezes and long squeezes. You can feel your pelvic floor muscles if you try to imagine stopping yourself peeing and farting.

What happens if you ignore a leak? ›

Damage To Surrounding Structures

Leaking pipes can cause severe damage to the flooring, subflooring, and walls surrounding the leak. Continuous exposure to moisture will cause the wood support beams beneath the floor and inside walls to rot and weaken, leading to costly repairs.

How do I stop my dog from leaking urine? ›

Urinary incontinence in dogs can often be successfully treated or managed with surgery and medications. Specific treatment of an underlying disease or condition with surgery or medications may resolve incontinence.

Should I put my senior dog down for incontinence? ›

In some cases, a dog that age no longer has control of their bladder. The same thing happens in all old animals, and when it can no longer be treated, the only thing to do is look into alternatives like diapers. As you have already thought about, euthanasia is the last option.

What is the best senior dog food for incontinence? ›

A: Brands such as Royal Canin, Purina Pro Plan, and Hill's Prescription Diet are well-known for their urinary care dog food offerings. These brands offer dry and wet food options specially formulated to support urinary health in dogs.

Do incontinence pills work for dogs? ›

Not only does urinary incontinence have the potential to cause problems for the dog, but it is a huge inconvenience for the owner. However, there are ways of treating this condition. Proin 50 Chewable Tablets (phenylpropanolamine HCl) can be used to treat the long-term effects of urinary incontinence in female dogs.

What medication is used for dogs that pee a lot? ›

These medications include diuretics (such as furosemide or torsemide), anti-seizure medications (such as phenobarbital), and corticosteroids (such as prednisone). This is a condition where your dog ingests more water than needed and thus needs to urinate more frequently.

Is incurin better than Proin? ›

Incurin and Proin are two FDA-approved medications that manage dogs' urinary incontinence. Incurin is designed for hormone-responsive incontinence in spayed females, while Proin is suitable for both male and female dogs. Both aim to strengthen the urinary sphincter muscles to improve control over urine leakage.

Can you do anything for an incontinent dog? ›

Other Ways to Help Your Incontinent Dog

For example, absorbent bedding. It's more hygienic, easier to clean, and because it pulls the urine away from your dog's skin, it'll cause them less discomfort. You can even buy incontinence pads for dogs. Certain behavioural changes will also make a difference.

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