What is causing my dog’s incontinence?

A dog that is incontinent will involuntarily pass urine. Dog incontinence is a physical problem and not a behavioral one. The pet may be as surprised as you when it has leaked urine. When a dog pees, the urine that is stored in the bladder will pass through the urethra to be emptied from the body. A dog that is incontinent will not be able to hold the urine down so that urine will trickle from the urethra when the dog barks or when it performs any activity. Small amounts of urine will also leak when the dog is lying down or asleep.

There are different reasons why a dog becomes incontinent. Bladder infection is one. E. coli bacteria that have accessed the bladder through the urethra will cause the infection. Because of the infection, the dog will have a strong urge to urinate. Recurring infection will result to a scarred bladder that cannot be stretched fully to hold urine. Because of the strong urge to empty the bladder, the dog will pee more frequently even in locations that it does not normally go to. The dog’s incontinence can be due to a blocked urethra. Blockage can be caused by dissolved urinary materials that are formed into stones in the kidney. Kidney stones are excreted with the urine but some are large enough to cause urinary tract blockage. Urine that is not fully emptied because of the blockage will accumulate in the bladder. Accumulation of urine will enlarge the bladder and the pressure will force urine to pass through the blockage so that urine will trickle. A tumor, similar to stones can create a urinary tract blockage.

The dog may have a hormone responsive incontinence. This condition is more common in female dogs although a male dog’s incontinence can also be due to this condition. The production of estrogen and testosterone are affected when the dog is spayed or neutered. These hormones are responsible in maintaining the tone of the urethral sphincter. A weak bladder sphincter will not be able to completely hold urine so that urine will leak when the dog is sleeping. Weakening of muscles that causes urine to trickle can be attributed to aging. Simple forgetfulness and dementia are common in senior citizen dogs. The dog may not be aware that he/she is leaking urine.

A dog that dribbles urine may have a brain and spinal cord disease. It is also possible that the pet has a birth defect. The dog’s incontinence can be caused by an ectopic ureter. Ureters are long narrow tubes that propel urine from the kidneys to the bladder for storage so that it can be voluntarily excreted. The occurrence of an embryological error will cause urinary incontinence. Instead of being connected to the bladder, the ureter can be connected to the urethra. As there is no storage, urine will continuously leak. The dog’s incontinence may not be due to any medical condition. Incontinence may be due to excessive consumption of water that fills the bladder too easily. The dog will dribble urine when the bladder overflows.

If the perfectly housebroken dog has started wetting the bed and making accidents inside the house, the most common assumption the owner would have is that the pet has forgotten its housebreaking training. If the pet is already a senior dog, the dog’s inability to pee in the designated area will be associated with senility. Very few dog owners would attribute the dog’s condition to urinary incontinence. The smell of urine inside the house would be no joking matter thus the pet would commonly be relegated outdoors. Dog owners that are vexed with the assumed development of unwanted behavior may simply abandon the pet. If only the dog owner knows about urinary incontinence, it is possible that the dog would have a different fate.

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