Causes of Urinary Incontinence in Dogs

Updated on July 19, 2019
alexadry profile image

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, former veterinary assistant, and the author of "Brain Training for Dogs."

Urinary Incontinence in Dogs
Urinary Incontinence in Dogs | Source

Does My Dog Have Urinary Incontinence?

It may happen out of the blue or gradually. You casually notice a wet spot on your living room carpet and then another. The next day, you catch your dog squatting in your kitchen just like the good old days of puppyhood many years ago. You think about scolding her for not even warning you by getting close to the door, but then you have second thoughts and suspect there might be a medical problem.

You are correct about the latter. Indeed, often urinary incontinence in dogs is confused with territorial marking or behavioral problems. It is well worth it to keep an open mind when it comes to urinary incontinence, especially if your dog is close to her geriatric years and spayed.

In order for a dog to urinate as nature intended, it takes a mix of correct nerve and hormonal function, good muscle tone, and normal water intake. There are various medical reasons that may cause one or the other to go wrong. Following are some of the most common reasons for dogs to develop urinary incontinence

Causes of Urinary Incontinence in Dogs

Urinary Tract Infection

It can affect any dog of any breed, age, and gender. Affected dogs typically strain to urinate, urinate only a few drops with discomfort, have blood in the urine and of course, urinate where they are not supposed to. A urinalysis may provide insight on the presence of bacteria, white blood cells and red blood cells. Treatment consists generally of a course of antibiotics.

Excessive Water Consumption

Of course, what goes in must come out. If your dog drinks a lot of water he or she may be unable to get to the door and alert you in time. However, often behind the increased drinking and urinating behavior (medically known as polydipsia and polyuria) there may be a condition such as diabetes, Cushing's disease or kidney failure. Treatment consists of taking care of the underlying cause.

Hormonal Changes

Once spayed or neutered dogs encounter hormonal changes that may cause incontinence. Both the hormones estrogen and testosterone are responsible for maintaining muscle tone of the urethral sphincter. This is more common in female dogs and is often referred to as ''spay incontinence''. Often in these cases, dogs urinate normally but urine leaks when the dog is resting or asleep. This condition can be easily relieved with a prescription medication known as Phenylpropanolomine (Prion RX).

Bladder Over-Distension

In this case, the bladder has a partial blockage either from a bladder stone, tumor, or a stricture. When this occurs a little dribble of urine may make it through the passage. In this case, treatment consists of removing the blockage.

There are also other causes of urinary incontinence in dogs such as congenital disorders, liver and kidney disorders, old dog may develop a form of Alzheimer's causing them to forget where to urinate, in male dogs, there may be prostate issues and more. A good way to start is by collecting a fresh urine sample and having the vet run a urinalysis. Afterward, further tests may be performed as needed.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

  • Is there a natural way to cure dog leakage?

    There are several natural supplements on the market nowadays to reduce urine leaking in dogs. NaturVet has cranberry based products with echinacea. Other brands include Canavid U/T, Vetriscience Bladder Strength, and other products by Only Natural Pet.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      5 years ago

      My puppy is 10 weeks old she has been dewormed she is a doberman tonight I noticed her squaring alot in the house and I thought we had her house broke but it is just little drops that have a pink color it's 1 am here should I rush her to the vet tonight or will she be fine till in the morning I have right at 800.00 dollars in our new puppy I have became very attatched to her is it I big emergency do I need to take her to her vet right now?

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      7 years ago

      What did the vet think about the concentration/gravity of the urine? Was the urine the first catch of the morning? In early kidney disease, often the concentration of urine changes before there is anything noticeable in the blood test. Most senior dogs develop kidney problems as they age. This means that it's sometimes difficult to diagnose in its early stages. Did the vet make any dietary recommendations? Perhaps, this test may be helpful:

      PLEASE keep in mind I a am not a veterinarian, so this is not meant to replace your vet's advice but only to suggest additional options to explore. Best wishes!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      My dog is all of a sudden drinking lots of water and has become incontinent at night, if I don't take her for a late night walk, her bed is wet in morning. Blood tests are normal and so was her urine test, she is 11, almost 12, in February, not overweight and still feeling good, lots of energy still, maybe a bit more skittish than normal

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I found this article to be VERY helpful info for my baby girl. I feel I can discuss and assess her leaking with the vet and figure out the best way to keep her healthy.

    • ronibgood profile image


      10 years ago

      Good article.

    • l1blonde profile image


      10 years ago

      Very informative hub. I always enjoy getting good information on dogs.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)