Urinary incontinence is a frequent problem in older dogs which is not only awkward for the owner but also for the dog. Incontinence can rarely be cured and often becomes stressful for those concerned. The causes for dog incontinence are manyfold such as bladder infection, hormonal reasons, nerve damage, a deformation of the urethra both congenital or in succession to castration.

Incontinence in male dogs due to castration does not necessarily appear immediately after the surgery. It sometimes takes years until the owner relates incontinence to castration.
Large breeds are hit more frequently by incontinence due to castration.

Incontinence in dogs is also related to stress. Stress factors include fear, excitement, joy or nervousness. Puppies often urinate as a sign of submission.

Incontinence in older dogs

The aging process of dogs involves the loss of muscle masses among others in the bladder, in the urethra or the sphincter muscles (sphincter weakness). We often see a general tissue weakness in aging dogs which sometimes leads to a displacement of the pelvic organs. Chronic pain is also a reason why some dogs are not able to control their urinary muscles. Older dogs tend to change their behavior due to loss of memory (e.g. the dog forgets that he is meant to relieve himself outside).

In any case you should check the causes of your dog's incontinence with your Veterinarian.

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Therapeutic options

For any therapy to be effective the causes of incontinence must be identified. It therefore is very important that the medical condition is detected and treated, e.g. a bladder infection. In case of an abnormality a surgical intervention can be a good solution.One procedure involves injecting collagene into the urethral mucosa. Another possibility is a teflon implant. Your veterinarian can treat incontinence of the male dog due to castration by administering estrogene. To increase muscle tension, this treatment can be complemented by giving sympathomimetics. Medication against urinary incontinence in dogs frequently contains a substance called ephedrine. Obtained from a plant of the ephedra genus ephedrine is an alkaloid which reinforces urethra closure. Its effect varies between dogs and may induce side effects.

Homeopathy is often a successful alternative in treating dog incontinence. Substances like Bearberry, Causticum or Staphisagria can be used. For administration and dosage you should check with your therapist or veterinarian. He knows the treatment, can observe its effects and react to any positive or negative development.

Herbal medication against incontinence which is also used in human medicine includes pumpkin seeds and cranberries.

Diapers for Dogs - an animal-friendly option

Incontinence of your dog or the fact that medication against your incontinence is not effective should not be a reason for euthanization. In many cases dog diapers enable your dog to live on for many years despite of his incontinence. To save your dog the burden of medication or surgery and the pain involved dog diapers are a careful and animal-friendly option.

Read here why dog diapers are a good option.