Dog Urinary Incontinence

This subject is something I have plenty of experience with. I am talking about  Dog urinary incontinence. Sadly, I had to euthanize 2 of my dogs (Raina & Apache), featured at the top of this article).  Both dogs were over 14 years old. It was the most difficult & painful decision we had to make.

Before anyone got the wrong idea, let me clarify that Raina & Apache had other health issues besides incontinence. As a matter of fact, their quality of life was spiraling down quickly. So we consulted our veterinarian on several occasions before making our decision.

We tried everything possible to deal with incontinence. Homeopathic treatments, incontinence diapers (which they chewed off). We laid down training pads that weren’t enough to do the job. So we went to the dollar store & bought many towels to spread out. We also blocked off most of the other areas of the house.

Dog Urinary Incontinence happens when a hose trained dog loses control of his bladder. This ranges in severity from occasional small urine leaks to inadvertent voiding of large amounts of urine.


  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Weak bladder sphincter
  •  Urinary tract infection
  • Urinary stones
  • Spinal injury or degeneration (frequently seen in German shepherds)
  • Protruding intervertebral disc
  • Prostate disorders
  • Presence of other diseases that cause excessive water consumption, such as diabetes, kidney disease, hyperadrenocorticism
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Anatomic disorders
  • Certain medications

Symptoms of  Dog Urinary Incontinence 

Dripping urine, which irritates the skin and causes redness, is one of the most recognizable incontinence symptoms. Excessive licking of the vulva or penis area is another symptom to look for. Pet parents may also notice the area where the dog sleeps is contaminated with urine.

What to Do If You Think Your Dog Is Incontinent?

1st take your dog to your veterinarian, confirm the diagnosis, and determine a cause. The vet will take a thorough history, perform a physical exam, and likely conduct a urinalysis to verify whether your dog is suffering from a bladder infection, which requires treatment with antibiotics. Other tests may include a urine culture, blood work, radiographs, and ultrasound.

Here is where we ran into trouble with our 2 dogs. They were both over 14 years old with other health issues, as I said before. Because of their age, we had to run both dogs through the full gamut of tests, which cost well over $500 per dog to get the diagnosis. “Raina” & Apache all the tests were done, which all came back negative for obvious causes. The vet prescribed some medication to help with incontinence, which didn’t help.

“Raina” was also consuming large amounts of water at which the vet suggested Diabetic testing. We have had experience with another of our pets having diabetes (which is a whole other article for me to write).  After a long consultation with our veterinarian, we discussed all the options & decided that euthanizing was the most humane option for her quality of life. It doesn’t sound enjoyable to read through this. I want to make it clear, AGAIN. This was not a decision made quickly or based on money & many tears were shed over this decision.

What Are Some Complications of  Urinary Incontinence?

Some bouts of urinary incontinence ebb and flow, but others can progress and cause more serious bladder and kidney infections. A skin infection may occur in areas that are in constant contact with urine.

Are Certain Dogs Prone to Urinary Incontinence?

Although urinary incontinence afflicts dogs of any age, breed, or gender, most often middle-aged to older spayed females, cocker spaniels, springer spaniels, and Doberman pinschers, Old English sheepdogs are among the breeds often prone to incontinence.

How To Treat Urinary Incontinence.

Treatment for incontinence will depend on its underlying cause. Medications can often effectively manage this condition and prevent everyday accidents. Some treatments focus on hormone therapy, while others, such as phenylpropanolamine, strengthen the urethral sphincter, which controls urine flow. Surgery also may be an option if medication alone doesn’t work. Collagen injections, a newer therapy for incontinence, appear to have promising results.

In incontinence cases due to bladder stones, a protruding disc, or congenital abnormality, surgery may be recommended.

How Can You Manage Urinary Incontinence?

  • Pile clean blankets and towels in your dog’s favorite sleeping spot, or put waterproof pads under her bedding to absorb moisture.
  • Take your dog for more frequent walks, including first thing in the morning, and shortly after, she wakes from a nap.
  • Consider using doggie diapers, which are available at many pet stores.
  • Please consult with your vet before limiting your dog’s water intake.
  • Provide proper hygiene to prevent any related skin infections.
  • Always monitor your pet’s condition since it can quickly accelerate infection, especially in elderly dogs.

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