Senior dogs usually experience health problems as they age.
One of the common issues they might face is incontinence.
It is challenging for both the owner and the dog to deal with this.
Fortunately, incontinence can be treated and managed with the guidance of a veterinarian.
It helps to know more about its signs, causes, and treatments to provide our dogs’ best care.
What are the signs of incontinence?
The following signs are often associated with urinary incontinence:
1. Excessive drinking
3. Dribbling while the dog moves
4. Too much urination
5. Leakage when the dog is resting
Note that these signs may be due to a specific health problem that requires different treatment.
It is recommended to consult a veterinarian once you notice any of these signs to determine the cause of your dog’s problem.
What makes a dog likely to have incontinence?
Aside from age, a lot of factors can make a dog more prone to incontinence.
These include breed, size, diseases, and even certain medications.
Incontinence may begin in the middle of a dog’s adult life.
The age varies since dogs have different adult ages.
For example, a five-year-old Great Dane is already considered middle-aged. Meanwhile, a terrier is still regarded as young at that age.
Check whether your dog has already reached this stage. If not yet, it’s still best to prepare for incontinence so you will know what to expect and do.
Some dog breeds are more likely to suffer from incontinence.
These include Dobermans, Old English sheepdogs, and cocker spaniels.
There’s not much evidence available that explains why they’re more prone to incontinence.
Larger dogs are more likely to suffer from disorders concerning their muscles, bones, and spine.
Examples of these breeds are Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers. Problems in these areas may cause fecal incontinence.
Obese dogs are also prone to fecal incontinence since obesity causes problems in their lower spine.
To prevent these problems, make sure that your dog maintains a healthy weight.
If your dog is already obese, consider dietary changes for weight reduction.
You can also encourage your dog to exercise by walking him every day.
Diseases such as arthritis can also lead to incontinence.
Arthritis causes the spinal column to degenerate.
When this happens, the spinal nerves are compressed, making it difficult for dogs to move.
Other diseases, such as kidney failure, diabetes, and Cushing’s disease, may also cause incontinence.
Certain medications increase the amount of our dog’s urine. This increase can, therefore, lead to incontinence. Watch out for the following drugs that increase urine production:
If your dog takes any of these drugs, consult your vet for possible drug alternatives.
Decreased amount of estrogen
Some veterinarians think that spayed females are prone to incontinence due to decreased estrogen, a female hormone.
Your dog may have one or more of these factors that cause incontinence.
It might be challenging to pinpoint what exactly causes the problem.
You don’t have to do it alone, though. Your veterinarian will surely help you determine the cause of your dog’s incontinence.
The vet may take urine samples to check for possible infections.
Further tests may also be done to rule out diseases that cause incontinence. Sometimes, an ultrasound may even be required.
How do you treat incontinence?
Understanding what causes incontinence is essential so you can proceed with the appropriate treatment.
The vet may prescribe medications to prevent incontinence.
The most common remedy is a drug called phenylpropanolamine. It works by strengthening the contraction of the urinary sphincter.
This sphincter is a muscle in the bladder that helps dogs hold their urine.
Another drug, diethylstilbestrol, may also be used in spayed female dogs. It works by providing them with hormones that help manage incontinence.
Unfortunately, these drugs aren’t actual cures. These only solve the problem for a limited time.
Changing your dog’s medication
If your dog was prescribed with medications that increase urine production, consult your vet for possible alternatives.
Please do not stop giving your dog medicines or make any adjustments to the dosage without discussing it with your vet.
Your vet may consider giving alternative drugs or changing the dose of the medication to address the incontinence.
There are cases when dogs may need to undergo surgery to solve the incontinence.
Examples include spinal cord injuries involving a ruptured disc between the spines.
Surgery may also be required in instances when there are stones in the bladder.
What can I do to manage my dog’s incontinence?
Besides consulting a veterinarian, here are some things you can do to manage your dog’s incontinence:
Walk your dog more frequently
You may do it once your dog gets up in the morning and again before going to bed.
Exercise in this form helps prevent obesity in dogs. Incontinence may also be challenging for your dog.
Walking may help your dog cope better with this bodily change.
Use beddings that are easy to wash
You may also use waterproof pads so it could be easier for you to clean up.
This ensures that your dog stays clean and comfortable.
Doggy diapers may help
Your dog can use diapers if he needs to take a medication that temporarily increases urine production.
There are lots of doggy diapers available in the market.
If your dog had never used one before, it might take a while to get used to it, so be patient.
Wash your dog when they urinate on themselves
Chronic moisture may irritate their skin, which can lead to skin infections.
Washing your dog whenever he urinates may add more work for you, but doing this can help prevent additional problems for you and your dog.
Incontinence is sometimes unavoidable due to age, breed, size, medications, and diseases.
You don’t have to worry, though. There are treatments available to help you and your dog in dealing with it.
Always consult your vet so you know the best course of action.
Besides seeking help from a professional, don’t forget that our dogs may need us more since they may be embarrassed by the situation.
Hence, we must also ensure that we provide understanding and support to our dogs during this time.