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Is Your Dog Leaking Urine? What Causes Urinary Incontinence in Dogs?

Urinary Incontinence in Dogs

Urinary Incontinence in Dogs

Does My Dog Have Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is an involuntary leaking of urine that can happen to your dog out of the blue or gradually. You might have casually noticed a wet spot on your living room carpet one day 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, urinary incontinence in dogs is often 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. Here are some of the most common reasons for dogs to develop urinary incontinence.

Causes of Urinary Incontinence in Dogs

Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infections 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 generally consists 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.


Stay Alert

There are also other causes of urinary incontinence in dogs such as congenital disorders or liver and kidney disorders. Old dogs 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

Question: Is there a natural way to cure dog leakage?

Answer: 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.


Mississippi on April 24, 2014:

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?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 10, 2012:

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!

Virginia on December 10, 2012:

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

SmilinHeidiKaye on August 01, 2010:

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 on June 30, 2009:

Good article.

l1blonde on June 29, 2009:

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