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Senior dogs and incontinence, what can you do?

senior dogs and incontinence, what can you do (1)

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As our furry friends age, they may experience various health issues, and one common problem among senior dogs is incontinence. Incontinence refers to the loss of bladder control, leading to involuntary urine leakage. This condition can be distressing for both the dog and its owner. However, with proper care and management, you can help your senior dog live comfortably and minimize the impact of incontinence on their daily life. In this article, we will explore the causes of incontinence in senior dogs and discuss effective strategies to manage this condition.

1. Introduction

As dogs age, their bodies undergo various changes, including a decline in muscle tone and control. Incontinence in senior dogs is not uncommon and can occur due to a combination of factors such as hormonal imbalances, weakened muscles, urinary tract infections, or underlying health conditions. Understanding the causes and symptoms of incontinence is crucial in providing appropriate care and support for your senior furry companion.

2. Understanding Incontinence in Senior Dogs

Incontinence can manifest in different ways in senior dogs. Some dogs may experience intermittent leaks, while others may have more frequent and uncontrollable accidents. It’s important to differentiate incontinence from behavioral issues such as marking or submissive urination. Incontinence is typically involuntary and unrelated to training or behavioral patterns.

3. Common Causes of Incontinence

There are several common causes of incontinence in senior dogs. Hormonal imbalances, such as reduced estrogen levels in spayed females or decreased testosterone in neutered males, can contribute to weakened bladder muscles. Age-related muscle weakness, nerve damage, urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and prostate disorders in male dogs can also lead to incontinence.

4. Recognizing the Symptoms

Identifying the symptoms of incontinence is essential for early detection and intervention. Some signs to watch out for include frequent urination, dribbling urine, wetting in sleep, urine stains on bedding or furniture, and signs of discomfort or pain while urinating. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s advisable to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.

5. Consulting a Veterinarian

When dealing with incontinence in your senior dog, it’s crucial to seek professional veterinary advice. A veterinarian can perform a thorough physical examination, review the dog’s medical history, and conduct diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of the incontinence. This information will help guide the appropriate treatment plan.

6. Diagnostic Tests

Diagnostic tests may include urine analysis, blood tests, radiographs, or ultrasound imaging. These tests help identify urinary tract infections, bladder stones, or any other abnormalities that may be contributing to the incontinence. Based on the test results, the veterinarian can recommend the most suitable treatment options.

7. Treatment Options

The treatment approach for incontinence in senior dogs depends on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Treatment options may include medications, natural remedies, dietary modifications, exercise routines, and behavioral adjustments. In some cases, a combination of therapies may be necessary to effectively manage the incontinence.

8. Medications for Incontinence

Certain medications, such as hormone replacement therapies, can help strengthen the bladder muscles and improve control. These medications are often prescribed for dogs with hormone-related incontinence. It’s essential to follow the veterinarian’s instructions regarding dosage and administration to achieve optimal results.

9. Natural Remedies and Supplements

In addition to medications, there are natural remedies and supplements that can support bladder health and control in senior dogs. Cranberry supplements, herbal remedies, and dietary additions like pumpkin puree or probiotics may aid in maintaining urinary tract health and reducing the frequency of accidents.

10. Managing Incontinence at Home

Managing incontinence at home involves creating a supportive environment for your senior dog. Providing easy access to designated potty areas, using waterproof bedding, and utilizing dog diapers or belly bands can help minimize messes and discomfort. Regular bathroom breaks, scheduled feeding times, and consistent routines contribute to better control and routine for your dog.

11. Maintaining Hygiene and Cleanliness

Proper hygiene and cleanliness are crucial when dealing with incontinence. Regularly clean any urine stains, bathe your dog as needed, and maintain a clean living environment. This helps prevent skin irritations, urinary tract infections, and unpleasant odors.

12. Diet and Nutrition for Senior Dogs

A balanced diet is essential for the overall health and well-being of senior dogs, including those with incontinence. Speak to your veterinarian about a diet plan that suits your dog’s specific needs. Some diets may contain ingredients that support bladder health, reduce inflammation, or address specific dietary requirements.

13. Exercise and Physical Therapy

Regular exercise and physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles and improve mobility in senior dogs. Low-impact exercises, such as swimming or gentle walks, can be beneficial. Consult your veterinarian or a professional canine physical therapist to design a customized exercise program that is safe and suitable for your dog.

14. Behavioral and Environmental Modifications

Behavioral modifications can be helpful in managing incontinence. Providing frequent bathroom breaks, encouraging regular urination, and using positive reinforcement techniques for appropriate elimination can reinforce good habits. Additionally, creating a calm and stress-free environment for your senior dog can contribute to better control and overall well-being.

15. Alternative Therapies for Incontinence

In some cases, alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, or physiotherapy may be beneficial in managing incontinence in senior dogs. These therapies can help address underlying musculoskeletal issues and promote overall health and wellness. Discuss these options with your veterinarian to determine if they are suitable for your dog.


Incontinence is a common issue among senior dogs, but with proper care and management, you can help your furry friend lead a comfortable and fulfilling life. Remember to consult a veterinarian for a thorough evaluation, follow their recommendations for treatment, and make necessary adjustments to your dog’s lifestyle and environment. With patience, understanding, and the right support, you can effectively manage incontinence in your senior dog and provide them with the love and care they deserve.

mahatma gandhi portrait

- Mahatma Gandhi

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”