Old dog urinary incontinence – feeling frustrated by your older dog’s faulty “plumbing system”?
You are not alone!
Many older dogs suffer from urinary incontinence, and often there is an underlying cause.
The first thing to do, if your dog has this problem, is to work with your vet to find out and try to deal with the underlying cause. Don’t try different things on your own without knowing what EXACTLY causes the problem.
Common Causes of Old Dog Urinary Incontinence
Here are some common causes of urinary incontinence in older dogs:
If your senior dog has arthritis, or hip dysplasia, there is a possibility that he also has urinary continence.
Arthritis can cause nerve damage, which can then affect the muscle tone around the urinary tract. The result? Leaky plumbing!
Cognitive Dysfunction (doggie Alzheimer’s)
Older dogs may develop cognitive dysfunction that affect their cognitive functions, including remembering when and where to pee!
It is not surprising to see a totally house-trained older dog suddenly peeing everywhere in the house. They just cannot remember where is an appropriate place to relieve themselves.
Older dogs may also have problems that affect their brain, such as seizures, brain tumors, damage to the spinal cord, etc.
If you suspect your dog’s incontinence is caused by a neurological issue, watch out for signs such as epilepsy, fainting, disorientation, and loss of coordination.
In older female spayed dogs, incontinence can develop due to the weakening of bladder muscles. Also, as they age, their estrogen levels decrease that can affect the normal functioning of the bladder’s smooth muscles.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can cause incontinence in dogs, and we all know that older dogs may have higher levels of stress.
They may not be able to hear or see as well as before, so they are more stressed and may even have separation anxiety.
They may have aches and pains, which in turn cause discomfort and stress.
All these stressful feelings may cause an older dog to become incontinent.
Other Health Issues
Some other common health issues that affect senior dogs can also bring on urinary incontinence. For example, diabetes, liver disease, bladder stones, bladder tumors, and chronic kidney failure.
That’s why it is very important to find out the root cause!
As you can see, there are many possibilities that may cause old dog urinary incontinence. It’s not too much fun to be old, is it?
Is There a Drug to Help Old Dog Urinary Incontinence?
If an underlying cause is ruled out, and the incontinence is due to old age, usually a drug called Proin® will be prescribed.
What this drug does, is to strengthen the sphincter muscles (muscles surrounding the urethra), making the urethra tighter, and making leakage more difficult.
But are there any side effects of this drug?
Glad you asked.
According to petmd.com, Proin® may cause appetite loss, restlessness, increased irritability, aggression, and/or hypertension. PetCareRx also warns that Proin® may cause increased heart rate in some dogs.
In one dog forum, a few dog parents wrote that the drug “sapped the life out of their dogs”, so a diminished quality of life may be a side effect.
More seriously, some dogs may develop a full-blown allergic reaction to the drug. They may show typical allergy symptoms such as hives, swelling of the lips and tongue, and breathing difficulty.
Of course, not all dogs develop side effects, but the possibility is there, so if you decide to put your older dog on Proin® watch out for the symptoms described above.
Natural Remedies for Old Dog Urinary Incontinence
If you are not so sure about giving your dog a conventional medicine to control her leakage, consider using natural supplements, such as herbal remedies, first.
Here are two products to compare:
Canine Bladder Control
by Only Natural Pet (90 tablets $29.99)
Bladder Strength Tablet for Dogs
by VetriScience Laboratories (90 tablets $15.74)
These two products have quite a few active ingredients that are the same, but VetriScience’s product has one ingredient that I don’t like: soy protein.
Granted, soy protein is often used in supplements (for people) for their isoflavones, which are plant compounds with estrogen-like activities.
But the thing is, according to some holistic vets (such as Dr. Karen Becker) and pet nutritionists, soy protein is not a healthy ingredient for dogs.
Soy protein may suppress the thyroid glands’ ability to produce thyroid hormones, so it may cause hypothyroidism in dogs.
As you may know, older dogs are already more prone to hypothyroidism. If they also take a supplement that contains soy protein day in and day out, the risk of developing hypothyroidism may increase.
Now if you look at the active ingredients in Canine Bladder Control supplement by Only Natural Pet, you will find only safe herbs for dogs. More importantly, their choice of herbs for incontinence is spot-on.
Corn silk, saw palmetto, and marshmallow are tonic herbs that help support and strengthen the bladder sphincters and urinary smooth muscle tissues.
Wild yam and Dong quai supply estrogen-like compounds, while cranberry helps normalize urine pH and prevent UTIs and stone formation. Olive leaf also helps prevent infections as it has powerful antibacterial properties.
Pumpkin seed extract has cleansing action that supports bladder health, and Rehmannia root supports the kidneys and is widely used in Asia for urinary incontinence.
So… although Only Natural Pet’s supplement is a tad more expensive than Vetri-Science’s, I would opt for ONP’s Canine Bladder Control.
Other Products for Old Dog Urinary Incontinence
If your old dog is leaky and has accidents in the house, you may want to get a diaper for him.
I can almost see your dog roll his eyes and hear him say, “No way will I wear something as humiliating as a diaper!”
I know, it’s kind of embarrassing to say the least, but hey, think of it as a new fashion statement!
There are of course disposable doggie diapers, but I know you love the environment, right?
So how about getting some cute, colorful washable diapers for your dog?
Incontinent dogs should be kept clean to prevent bacterial growth and infections, so don’t forget to get some of these wipes to clean your dog up after an accident:
These wipes are environmentally friendly – they are made from sustainably harvested bamboo base, which allows the wipes to break down quickly. They are also hypoallergenic and are completely free of parabens, alcohol, fragrances, chlorine, and harsh chemicals.
If your incontinent dog wets her bed, it is of course uncomfortable for the dog, and skin issues may occur if she lies in her own pee for a long time.
Here is a bed that may solve the problem:
The bed has a rinsable mesh that allows urine to pass through and down to the tray underneath the bed, so the dog remains dry while sleeping.
Now that your dog is clean, time to consider cleaning up the mess!
Here is a good product for removing urine stain and odor:
What I like about this product is, it is pet friendly – it doesn’t contain bleach or other harsh chemicals. It utilizes natural enzymatic bacteria to literally “eat and digest” away organic matter and ammonia crystals that cause the stain and stink.
Don’t Blame the Dog!
Remember, your dog doesn’t want to mess up your white carpet, and he feels bad and stressed enough for not knowing why he is having all these accidents in the house. So don’t get angry at your dog and NEVER punish your dog for his incontinence.
I know, I know, you knew that already but I’m saying this just in case. It’s easy to get frustrated if accidents keep happening, right?