Bed wetting dogs? Say it ain’t so! I’m not talking about house training lapses, but actual dogs with urinary incontinence that has nothing to do with training. Your dog has “accidents” when she (it’s usually a girl) leaks urine. Making a mess by bed wetting or worse not only damages your property, it can injure your relationship. Because you get made, but your poor dog simply can’t help it.
Ibuprofen Toxicity, Identification, Imaging (CT and MRI), Incontinence, Immune System, Infectious Canine Hepatitis (ICH), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Insect Bites and Stings, and Introductions.
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Dogs with Urinary Incontinence Wetting the Bed?
More technically known as dogs with urinary incontinence, this condition refers to a loss of bladder control due to a physical problem. Bed wetting or urinary leakage typically affects elderly spayed dogs that develop a problem similar to post-menopausal women, as a result of a lack of estrogen.
In most cases, these dogs are only incontinent when they’re sleeping, and are unaware of the leakage. The decline in the hormone causes a decrease in the muscle tone that controls the urethra.
More rarely, castrated males have a similar problem. Large and giant-breed dogs, obese dogs, and dogs with docked tails (especially Old English Sheepdogs, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and Weimaraners) are affected most often.
VETERINARY OPTIONS FOR BED WETTING IN DOGS
Your veterinarian often prescribes medicine to help control the incontinence by improving the strength of the bladder sphincter. Hormone replacement therapy helps some female dogs. It must be given in tiny doses calculated by the veterinarian for your individual dog’s needs. Testosterone is for male dogs, and more commonly estrogen diethylstilbestrol (brand names DES and Premarin) for the girls. The medication is needed for the rest of the dog’s life.
The most effective and commonly prescribed drug to improve bladder sphincter control and treat incontinence is phenylpropanolamine (PPA). PPA was taken off the market when people developed problems from taking it as an ingredient in common diet medications, but dogs don’t have those problems, and they still benefit from PPA. They’ve now made a veterinary version of it that’s chewable.
Holistic veterinarians may recommend glandular dietary supplements or homeopathic remedies. Acupuncture also may benefit these dogs. If back or spinal issues influence the condition by putting pressure on nerves that control urination, motion palpation (a type of massage) may help. You can refer to New Choices in Natural Healing for Dogs & Cats for more details.
Home Care Options for Dogs with Urinary Incontinence
Watch for urine scald—red, irritated, burned-looking skin around the genitals—vulva on female dogs and the prepuce that covers the male’s penis. Keep the area clean with Baby Wipes or other mild cleansers. Protect the skin with Desitin or a triple antibiotic ointment to help prevent infection.
Pick up the water bowl two hours before bedtime, and make sure the dog uses the bathroom before you turn in for the night. Confine the incontinent dog to an easy-to-clean area. Protect carpet and furniture by putting down sheets of plastic and spreading disposable diapers or products like Depend Undergarments to catch the urine. Some pet product stores carry diaper-like products made for dogs.
Does your aging lady dog have issues with urinary incontinence? How have you dealt with the problem? Do tell!
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!