Old Dog Incontinence: Causes, Solutions, and Effective Management

old dog incontinence

As your dog gets older, maintaining control over its bladder can become more challenging. This situation might be frustrating for pet owners.

With some senior dogs, these dogs’ incontinence happens occasionally. But for others, they lose bladder control entirely. So, they leak urine. This explains the wet patches you find where your dog sleeps.

Truly, bowel incontinence and urine leakage can be upsetting. This can make the dog’s life, as well as the pet’s parents, difficult.

Before you give up on your dog’s health, here are vet-recommend tops to help deal with incontinence in older dogs.

What’s Urinary Incontinence in older dogs

Urinary incontinence is a common condition in senior dogs, and it’s associated with urine leakage. You’ll usually notice dribbling urine around the vulva or penis area.

So, dogs suffering from urinary incontinence tend to lose their bladder control causing small urine leaks and potentially urine scalding when the dog’s skin comes in contact with the urine for an extended period.

The underlying cause of old dogs leaking urine is urinary tract infections. However, other potential reason includes prostate disease, hormonal imbalance, bladder infection, spinal injuries, kidney disease, etc.

Signs of Incontinent Dogs

One of the common indications of an incontinent dog is urine leakage. You might notice uncontrolled urine flow in the vulva or penis area.

While this upsetting condition is common among older dogs, some dog breeds, like cocker spaniels and Doberman Pinschers, are more prone to urinary incontinence.

Furthermore, female dogs are more likely to develop incontinence than male dogs. Spayed female dogs are the most affected.

Common Causes of Old Dog Incontinence

Numerous reasons can cause incontinence in dogs. Hence, it’s best to seek a veterinarian if your dog can’t seem to stop passing urine.

Below are common causes of senior dog incontinence:

Weak urethral sphincter

This is an underlying cause of incontinence in dogs. The urethral or bladder sphincter is a muscle that helps retain urine in the bladder. As your dog ages, this muscle degrades, resulting in uncontrollable urine flow.

The degradation of this vital muscle is due to hormonal imbalance. It’s a testosterone deficiency for male dogs, while estrogen is in older female dogs.

Urinary tract infections

Older dogs suffering from urinary tract infections have difficulties controlling their bladder. Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria in the urinary system, especially in the urethra.

Kidney Complication

Urinary tract issues and kidney problems are related health concerns in older dogs. UTIs left unaddressed for an extended period tend to develop into kidney complications. So, if you notice excessive drinking with your older dogs, it can indicate kidney issues. With your dog’s water intake on the rise, so is his frequency of urination.

Urinary bladder stones

Another term for this underlying cause of urinary incontinence in older dogs is Uroliths. In simpler words, a bladder stone is a mineral accumulation in some urinary tract parts that obstructs the urine flow.

Spinal cord issues

If the dog’s spinal cord is damaged, your pet might experience bladder control issues. Spinal injuries impede the dog’s ability to control his urination.

Senior Dog Care: How to Treat Incontinence in Dogs

There are several ways to treat incontinence in an old dog. The most crucial step is to take your older dog to the vet for the proper treatment. This involves addressing the root cause of dog incontinence.

Common veterinary medicine includes:

  • Antibiotics to combat bacterial infection causing bladder infections
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs or painkillers
  • long-term medication for underlying diseases like diabetes
  • food additives or special diets to tackle bladder stones
  • Medication or hormone supplements to strengthen the urethral sphincter

It’s crucial to target the root cause of incontinence in dogs rather than the symptoms. Take the incontinent dog to the vet. After diagnosing incontinence in your older dog, the right treatment option will recommend depending on the cause. In some cases, treating urinary incontinence may involve surgery to remove large bladder stones.

Usually, dietary or hormone supplements are enough to help your older dog regain his bladder control.

How to Support Incontinent Senior Dog

Senior dog care is vital until bladder control is restored. Also, it helps improve your older dog’s quality of life.

Here are a couple of ways you can support an older dog suffering from urinary incontinence:

  • Increase your dog’s outdoor time. Dogs with urinary incontinence have no bladder control. So, increasing their outdoor time gives them more chances to the toilet.
  • Cover older dog’s bed with waterproof materials so it’s easier to keep their sleeping space clean and hygienic.
  • If your dog’s bladder is entirely out of control, doggie diapers can be a great solution. For male dogs, purchase belly bands. It helps prevent the dog’s urine from messing up your home. Because of their design, belly bands are not suitable for bowel incontinence.
  • You can also place puppy pads in your bathroom to assist dogs with urinary incontinence.

How can I help my incontinent dog stay comfortable?

Using dog diapers helps your furry friend stay comfortable and maintain proper hygiene. Also, you can use protective sprays or creams to help alleviate discomfort and prevent skin infections.

What are some telltale signs of bladder control issues in dogs?

Damp legs, wet patches, excess water consumption, and frequent accidents indoors are signs to watch out for.

How do veterinarians diagnose urinary incontinence?

Vets examine dogs in several ways to determine the root cause of bladder control issues. Usually, the process involves urine sample analysis and urine culture tests. Also, the vet may have to use imaging techniques to check the urethral sphincter and bladder sphincter functionality.


Urinary incontinence is a common condition among aged pets. If your dog has trouble controlling his peeing and pooing, it’s best to visit your local vet hospital. Ignoring this condition may put your dog’s life at risk.

Addressing the symptoms might help prevent urine scald and alleviate discomfort. However, it won’t improve your dog’s condition. So, it’s best to target the underlying problem.

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