Urinary tract infections are common in pets who can no longer control their bladder. Expressing a dog’s bladder helps handicapped pets to avoid bladder infection and unnecessary urinary tract infections. Any dog who’s body is unable to pee normally needs to have their bladder manually expressed to avoid bladder infections. Pets with spinal cord injuries and disc disease can not urinate on their own and need to have their bladders manually emptied throughout the day to keep their bladder healthy.
Tips to Make Expressing Your Dog’s Bladder Easier
Learning how to manually express your dog’s bladder can take time and practice. Your veterinarian will be happy to demonstrate how to express a dog’s bladder, with a little practice you’ll get the hang of it in no time! This process can be overwhelming, but understand that it only takes 10-20 seconds to manually empty a dog’s bladder. Here are a few simple tricks to make expressing your handicapped dog’s bladder a breeze:
1. Use Steady, Even Pressure
Place a hand on either side of your dog’s bladder and apply pressure. It’s normal for there can be a delay between the time you apply pressure and when the urine comes out. This delayed reaction is normal, continut to apply pressure for three to six seconds before repositioning your hands.
2. Rely on a Verbal Command
Just like in dog training, using a single verbal command consistently can help your pup to respond. This verbal pattern helps your dog to relax and creates a conditioned response that encourages them to pee.
3. Stay Calm and Consistent
Your dog will pick up on your behavioral cues. By staying calm and relaxed it encourages your dog to relax as well. A dog who is stressed may tense up making it more difficult to express. If your dog’s abdomen muscles are tense, try a simple massage to release their muscle tension.
Remember expressing your dog’s bladder has to be done numerous times throughout the day, the experience needs to become a part of your daily routine. Setting a specific location where you always express your dog, will help to normalize the process.
How Often Should You Express a Dog’s Bladder?
The frequency your dog’s bladder needs to be expressed will vary from dog to dog. A dog’s bladder is proportional to their overall size. For example a toy-sized dog may need to be expressed more frequently than a larger dog. Work with your Veterinarian to determine the best plan for your dog. As a general rule of thumb, a dog’s bladder needs to be expressed every six hours. Never go longer than eight hours without expressing a dog’s bladder. At night, express a dog’s bladder right before going to bed and again first thing in the morning when you get up.
How Do You Express a Dog’s Bladder?
Step 1: Locate your dog’s bladder
On a male dog the bladder is located above the center of a dog’s penis. For female dogs the bladder is located further back, towards their rear end. The bladder will fill and extend depending on how much urine is there. A full bladder will be rounded and about the size of a lime and feel similar to a water balloon.
Step 2: Support your dog
For paralyzed dogs, you will need to support your dog in a standing position as you express their bladder. For larger dogs, it may take two people or the support of a lifting harness to help them to stand. Alternatively, some pet owners find it easier to lay their large dog down on their side as they express their bladder.
Step 3: Express the bladder
Squeeze the bladder gently. Apply slow, steady pressure on the bladder, gently pushing backward slightly until you get a steady stream of urine. Continue to express the bladder until the stream turns to dribbles and then release the bladder. Wait 30 seconds as the bladder reforms itself, then apply pressure again. Expressing the bladder more than once helps to ensure that all urine is released and lowers the risk of bladder infection or a UTI from occurring.