- Pets

Urinary Incontinence In Dogs: Causes and Treatment

Dog incontinence medication, as well as other treatments, is available for canine urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence, or the involuntary loss of urine from a dog’s bladder, can be caused by a variety of medical issues and often requires treatment. The good news is that most cases can be managed successfully with proper care and attention to diet and lifestyle.

What Is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is the inability to control urination. In dogs, this usually manifests itself as occasional leakage of small amounts of urine when the dog sleeps or lies down. This type of condition should not be confused with overactive bladder syndrome or frequent urination due to an underlying medical condition such as diabetes mellitus or renal failure. Additionally, it should not be mistaken with submissive urination, which is seen in puppies and young adult dogs who may leak a small amount of urine when they are scared or excited.

Causes Of Dog Incontinence

The causes of canine urinary incontinence vary but among the most common are age-related factors such as weakened muscles in older animals; hormonal imbalances due to spaying/neutering; anatomical defects like ectopic ureters (a birth defect where one or both ureters fail to connect properly to the bladder); bladder stones; infections; tumors; neurological diseases such as spinal cord injury or degenerative myelopathy; and certain medications like steroids used to treat allergies or arthritis that can cause increased urination.

Diagnosis And Treatment Of Dog Incontinence

To diagnose urinary incontinence, your vet will perform a complete physical examination, including palpation of the abdomen to look for signs of pain associated with organ enlargement due to infection, trauma or tumours. Urine tests will also be carried out to look for specific bacteria, crystals or cancer cells that may indicate an underlying medical problem causing your pet’s symptoms. In some cases, x-rays may also be taken if bladder stones are suspected.

Once a diagnosis has been made, treatment options will depend on the underlying cause, but generally fall into two categories: surgical correction if possible (for example, removal of infected organs) and medical management, which involves the use of medications specifically designed to treat urinary incontinence in dogs, such as phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride (Proin®), natural hormones such as PPA (Propalin®), and anticholinergic medications such as oxybutynin chloride (Ditropan®). These medications work by increasing muscle tone around your pet’s urethra, thus preventing leakage and allowing your pet to maintain normal hydration levels without frequent trips outside every few hours during waking hours. It is important to note, however, that although these medications can reduce leakage, they cannot cure any underlying medical conditions causing the problem, so regular check-ups are recommended even after successful treatment.

Lifestyle changes that can help with incontinence in dogs

In addition to medication, there are some simple lifestyle changes you can make at home that can help improve your pet’s symptoms: Increasing water intake – Dogs need more fluids when they have urinary problems; Feeding smaller meals more frequently – Eating smaller meals throughout the day helps to keep blood sugar levels steady, preventing sudden drops that can lead to increased thirst; Providing access to multiple elimination sites – Multiple potty sites give your pet a choice of where to go, eliminating the stress associated with having only one site available; Keeping their environment clean – Regularly cleaning up after accidents helps to remove any odour cues that signal them back to previous accident sites; Environmental enrichment activities – Boredom can contribute to anxiety-related behaviours, including excessive licking, which can exacerbate skin irritations leading to further complications. Weight management – Being overweight increases pressure on internal organs and reduces their ability to hold urine within healthy ranges;; Time-restricted access to water bowls – Restricting how long pets have access to water bowls during non-sleeping hours can help reduce overall fluid intake, especially before bedtime, thus reducing the chances of overnight accidents.


It is important to remember that although many cases of canine urinary incontinence can respond well to treatment, it is still best practice to consult your vet before starting any form of therapy, especially if you suspect an underlying health issue contributing to the problem, as incorrect diagnosis, incorrect use of drug therapy could make the situation worse rather than better. Finally, it is always important to follow the instructions of a professional to ensure the best possible outcome.

About Stefanie

Stefanie Yates is a registered nurse and a writer. She has been serving the community for 5 years and counting through medical missions across the globe.
Read All Posts By Stefanie