If you have an older dog – especially a Cocker Spaniel, Doberman or Old English Sheepdog – that was spayed when it was younger, it may develop urinary incontinence now that it's aging. The decrease in estrogen levels can cause the sphincter muscles to relax. When that happens, your dog will lose bladder control. Here are four steps to take if your dog loses control of its bladder.
Reduce Water Intake
If your dog has trouble staying dry at night, it might be time to reduce its water intake. A small, loose bladder can cause nighttime incontinence. About an hour before bedtime, remove the water bowl and take your dog out for a walk. This will allow it to get some exercise and void the excess water that's left in its bladder. In the morning, take your dog out to relieve itself and then place fresh water out for it.
Keep Them Clean
The uric acid in urine can cause your dog to develop a type of canine diaper rash known as urine scald. When this happens, the skin around the vulva, penis, or flanks will become red and inflamed. To prevent urine scald, you should wash your pet off at least once a day, preferably in the morning when they first wake up. Wash their genital region with fresh water to remove the urine. If incontinence is a problem throughout the day, you may have to wash your dog several times a day. To help protect the area, apply a generous amount of diaper rash ointment to your dog's genital region.
Visit the Vet
In severe cases, incontinence can be an early warning sign of kidney failure. Kidney failure develops when your dog's kidneys no longer have the ability to filter urine through the body. Unfortunately, the signs of kidney disease often come on quickly and without much warning. If your dog develops any of the symptoms described below, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible. They could be in the beginning stages of kidney failure.
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Rapid weight loss
- Blood in urine
If your aging dog has developed incontinence, it's not its fault. Incontinence is common in aging, female dogs. The tips provided above will help you care for your dog and keep it comfortable. Be sure to consult with Elizabethton Veterinary Clinic or a local veterinarian about treatment options that might be available for the condition.