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Urinary Incontinence in Dogs

Urinary incontinence occurs when a housetrained dog loses control of his bladder. This can range in severity from occasional small urine leaks to inadvertent voiding of a large amount of urine.

What Causes Urinary Incontinence in Dogs?

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Weak bladder sphincter
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Urinary stones
  • Spinal injury or degeneration (frequently seen in German shepherds)
  • Protruding intervertebral disc
  • Prostate disorders
  • Presence of other diseases that cause excessive water consumption, such as diabetes, kidney disease, hyperadrenocorticism
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Anatomic disorders
  • Certain medications

What Are the General Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence in Dogs?

Dripping urine, which can irritate the skin and cause redness, is one of the most recognizable symptoms of incontinence, as is excessive licking of the vulva or penis area. Pet parents may also notice area where the dog sleeps.

What Should I Do If I Think My Dog Is Incontinent?

Consult with a veterinarian, who will confirm the diagnosis and try to determine a cause. The vet will take a thorough history, perform a physical exam and likely conduct a urinalysis to verify whether your dog is suffering from a bladder infection, which requires treatment with antibiotics. Other tests may include a urine culture, blood work, radiographs and ultrasound.

What Are Some Complications of Urinary Incontinence in Dogs?

Some bouts of urinary incontinence ebb and wane, but others can progress and cause more serious bladder and kidney infections. A skin infection may result in areas that are in constant contact with urine.