The term incontinence can be referring to an inability to control the bladder or the bowels. This condition can range in severity for a dog, from small leaks to large amounts of urine or fecal matter being discharged at any given time. It’s essential to understand the possible causes of this condition and ways to address canine incontinence to help your pup and maintain a clean home environment.
Causes of Incontinence in Dogs
There are many reasons for incontinence issues can arise in canines. Being able to pinpoint why this condition is occurring may help you come up with a plan for treatment. Warning signs are pooling, spotting, or wet spots on the dog or flooring and furniture, especially when the dog is sleeping or relaxed.
Age Related Incontinence in Dogs
As a dog enters middle age, depending on the breed, incontinence issues may start. Smaller breeds tend to have a longer life span, so middle age may come sooner for larger breeds. Older dogs may experience inappropriate urination due bladder stones (uroliths), excessive water consumption because of conditions such as diabetes, or inability to get up and moving in a timely manner. Walkin’ Pets offers an array of senior pet supplies such as support equipment and disposable pet diapers to help control an uncontrollable bladder or bowel.
Disease Related Incontinence
As touched on briefly, health conditions can play a large role in dog incontinence. Common issues that can cause these issues are not only uroliths and diabetes mellitus and insipidus, but also kidney failure and hyperadrenocorticism, also known as Cushing’s disease.
Cushing’s disease or syndrome is when the body experiences high levels of cortisol for an extended length of time. It can be caused by corticosteroid medication or by the body making too much cortisol. Tumors and cancer have known to cause incontinence in male and female pups. Moreover, something as minute as a urinary tract infection can also cause this condition. Urinary tract infections are very common in paralyzed dogs.
Physical Damage and It’s Impact on Your Dog’s Bladder
There are many physical injuries that can lead to incontinence in dogs. A spinal injury or degeneration affects many dogs this way. Damage to the urinary tract or bladder can make control an issue. Some dogs that experience pressure, pain, and damage in their hips and joint regions may find it difficult to move and use the proper areas to relieve themselves. Damage can also be done during the spaying process and should not be overlooked if symptoms begin after that procedure.
Behavior Related Urinary Accidents
Incontinence can be related to over-exercising if the dog forgets that he needs to use the bathroom. Additionally, stress, anxiety, or fear can be causes for your dog to lose focus on his potty needs. When your dog’s bladder or bowels reach their limit, involuntary functions happen to relieve the pressure. Maintaining control of your dog’s environment and being aware of changes in behavior will help avoid this.
Sometimes the circumstances surrounding canine incontinence are unforeseeable. Spontaneous incontinence can be the result of a sudden bladder rupture, abdominal trauma that’s blunt of penetrating, or an issue due to catheterization. These tie into physical damage, but since dogs cannot communicate through speech, you should pay special attention to changes that may pop up.
Common Drugs for Canine Incontinence
Some of the commonly used drugs used to treat incontinency are phenylpropanolamine and estrogens. Estriol and diethylstilbestrol (DES) are examples. With good response to medication, leaking should cease within a week after the medication is started. Incontinence medications help about ninety percent of patients who use them.
Some natural remedies that are used to help with dog incontinence are phytoestrogens, corn silk (for supportive treatment and remedy), saw palmetto (for anti-inflammation), implementing a grain-free diet, and even acupuncture.
Expressing a Dog’s Bladder
If your dog loses control of being able to hold urine or urinate, you may need to express your dog’s bladder. It’s important to ease into touching your dog while locating the bladder without the dog tensing up. Additionally, going slowly will help to calm nerves as you begin. Over a dog pad, apply gentle and constant pressure with flat fingers by pressing up into the bladder to expel.
Expressing is also a term used in the process of squeezing out liquid from a dog’s anal glands. Typically dogs express anal gland secretion during defecation. It can also happen if the dog becomes nervous or excited. If a dog is having trouble doing so, the buildup will need expressing to avoid leaking. This is done externally, by squeezing cheeks together about one inch apart on either side of the anus opening, or internally, by gently inserting one finger into the anus and squeezing one side with the thumb an inch from the opening.
Preparing a Home for a Dog Prone to Accidents
Incontinence is out of your dog’s control and even with medication and your efforts, you’ll want to set your home up for success to decrease your stress, avoid irreversible damage to furniture, and support your pup during this time.
Create Safe Areas
Consider specific areas to keep your dog, especially when you can’t keep a close eye on him. Limiting the areas that your dog may have accidents will help take the guesswork out of location puddles or piles that need to be cleaned up. When possible, it’s best to keep him in an area with easy access to the outdoors, especially if your pup is experiencing mobility issues.
To ease issues with clean up and retaining pet mess and odor, consider installing or keeping your pet on laminate or vinyl flooring. Carpeting or hardwood can be damaged easily with incontinence problems; however, keeping your pup on moisture-resistant flooring will help keep your home cleaner as you figure this out.
For supplies that can help control urine and feces getting on areas of your home, investing in pet pads that can be put down is worth the money spent. Additionally, using the products Walkin’ Pets offers to either relieve pain that is inhibiting your dog from making it outside or using the pet diapers at this time will give you peace of mind while you help your pup work through this.
There are many ways to address canine incontinence. Working with a veterinarian to understand possible causes and treatment will help both you and your dog get through this time. It’s essential to understand that there can be many contributing factors to why this is happening with your dog and to ensure your dog isn’t suffering or in pain.