Incontinence in pets
Leaking urine is actually a huge problem in our pets. This can be anything from a few drops to literally voiding the whole bladder unexpectedly. We’re not talking the stand-up-and-aim variety in uncastrated males, nor the untrained weeing on the carpet of the new pet. We’re talking about the unexpected wet patch in your pet’s bed, on the couch, and on the floor where they sat or slept.
Most common with female dogs, but it can happen in male dogs as well. And punishment is out of the question because it’s not like they can control it!
Surprisingly, this can happen in young and old dogs. The most common reason in females is associated with being desexed. Desexing a female dog has a list of advantages but it also leaves the dog without enough estrogen. Lack of estrogen may cause the urethral sphincter (a muscle in the neck of the bladder used to control the exit of urine) to relax and release urine without her knowing it. Incontinence is most common during rest as muscles are relaxed and urine tends to leak out. Another factor that plays a role in females, is an expanding girth.
So by reading the above, it is pretty obvious that you can’t untrain an adult dog who leaks urine. This needs to be fixed. And it all involves the little urethral sphincter that needs tightening. In females, being an estrogen problem, we need to give them a bit more hormones. You will need to make an appointment with your family vet so that we can discuss all options with you on this one.
There is also a surgical option available if all else fails
So what about male dogs? About 1% of male dogs will develop urinary incontinence and neutering does not play a part in males.
Male Irish Red Setters were found to particular suffer, with 1 in 12 of them affected
The reason for urinary incontinence in male dogs is poorly understood. We are not sure if it is the inability to contract the bladder muscle and empty the bladder completely or lack of the bladder muscle to relax and fill completely. So most often we will try both treatments.
Please don’t let a wet bed and urine smell stand between your dog and you. There is most likely a simple solution for this problem – especially for younger dogs!