Treating Canine Urinary Incontinence With Corn Silk

Miracle started to have urinary incontinence when she was only four years old.
Miracle started to have urinary incontinence when she was only four years old. | Source

Canine Urinary Incontinence In Young Dogs

I thought that canine urinary Incontinence was a problem found only in older dogs, but last year I learned that it's quite common in young dogs as well – especially spayed females. I was quite alarmed when I found my Old English Sheepdog Miracle, only four years old, lying in a small puddle of urine while she was sleeping. Previous to this event, I had been detecting the smell of urine on her, and noticed wet spots on her fur. My husband and I took her to the vet to determine the cause of her incontinence, thinking that it was probably a urinary tract infection.

Causes of Urinary Incontinence

Our vet explained to us that canine urinary incontinence can occur from a number of reasons, including:

  • Infection – A bladder or Kidney infection should be the first thing to consider. The main signs are frequent, perhaps painful urination and cloudy urine with an abnormal odor. A urine culture is taken to rule this out.
  • Birth Defect – ectopic ureter, where one or both ureters bypass the bladder and connect to an abnormal location such as the urethra or vagina. A dog that has an ectopic ureter displays constant dribbling from birth. Surgical intervention is required to fix the problem.
  • Blockage - Partial blockage of the ureter from a stone or a tumor can cause incontinence. If your dog's urine is cloudy or bloody or your dog is having trouble or pain while urinating it may have a blockage caused by a bladder stone, kidney stone of a tumor.
  • Spay incontinence - Also called hormone-responsive incontinence or urethral spincter mechanism incompetence (USMI), this problem occurs mosty in neutered dogs, particularly spayed females. After a female dog is spayed, there are changes in the hormone levels that help to keep the spincter muscle strong. The resulting weakness causes the dog to release urine, usually while sleeping. A surprising 20% of neutered dogs are affected by this problem. It may not show up until years after the spaying.

Miracle had urinary incontinence problems only when she slept
Miracle had urinary incontinence problems only when she slept | Source

Miracle's Diagnosis

Our vet took a urine culture, but told us that she thought Miracle had spay incontinence, and she recommended the drug Proin. She also told us that Miracle would have to be on this drug for the rest of her life. I bought the pills, but had reservations about the drug because of the side effects. Proin's active ingredient is phenylpropanolamine, a drug that increases the tone of the urethral sphincter. Side effects include restlessness and irritability. Miracle is a high energy dog to begin with, and certainly didn't need to be more wired or nervous. Other side effects include increased heart rate, hypertension, and loss of appetite. I just didn't want to give such a drug to my dog, especially since she would have to take it forever. However, it was important that her incontinence problem get corrected, because it could lead to urinary tract infections, vaginitis, and even skin ulcers caused by the scalding urine and her licking herself. I needed to find an alternative solution.

Make a Corn Silk Tea

If capsules don't work, make a corn silk tea. Simply add 1 tablespoon of corn silk herb per 2 cups of boiling water. Give 1 teaspoon of tea for every 20 pounds of body weight twice a day.

Corn Silk - A Natural Remedy

When I got home I did some research on the problem, and found that corn silk is a commonly used remedy for human and canine bladder problems. Its first use for curing urinary problems is traced back to the Incas in Central America. It is a natural diuretic that is effective at soothing inflammation and irritation in the bladder. Corn silk is high in calcium, B vitamins, vitamin K, iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium, silicon and phosphorus. According to WebMD, it also contains tannins, which act as drying agents and cryptoxanthin, which acts like vitamin A.


After reading success stories by several people that had tried this on their dogs, I bought a couple of bottles of Nature's Way 400 mg corn silk capsules. The price was right at less than $4.00 for 100 capsules. I broke open the capsules and sprinkled them directly on her food – 1 capsule in the morning, and 2 at night. She didn't seem to mind the taste at all, and ate her food with her usual enthusiasm. I noticed after only two days that her dribbling was much less, and after a week she had completely stopped.

I've been keeping Miracle on this corn silk treatment for a year now, and she has had only four accidents in that time period. Miracle tends to drink lots of water right after dinner. The accidents happened when I didn't let her out to urinate after her evening meal, and she fell into a deep sleep. All in all, I consider the corn silk treatment a great success. It worked for Miracle, and hopefully it will work for your pet as well.

© 2012 Margaret Perrottet

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Comments 52 comments

lindacee profile image

lindacee 3 years ago from Southern Arizona

I have not had this problem with my dog, but I'm keeping this in my memory bank for future reference. Veterinary care is so expensive -- and prescription drugs can cause such adverse side effects that I am hesitant to give them to my girl. I'm open to trying natural remedies to treat her. Thanks for sharing this successful treatment!

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

I agree, lindacee, the medicines can really have some bad side effects. I've been so pleased that this treatment has worked so well for Miracle. It's been a year since I've been using it, and she hasn't had any accidents for a very long time now. I just hope that it keeps working. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

Margaret, I am glad that Miracle is better. I think this natural remedy should be shared with all pet owners! WIll share this enlightening hub.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Thanks so much for the share - It's much appreciated. I believe in trying to avoid as many medications as possible for both myself and Miracle. I think it's so much better if you can use natural remedies.

Cathy Fidelibus profile image

Cathy Fidelibus 3 years ago from NJ

Great information, I am glad you found a natural remedy good for you and great for your dog.

voted up and shared.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Cathy - I'm still faithfully giving Mirra 3 corn silk capsules daily, and she hardly has any problems at all. Thanks so much for commenting, voting and sharing - I really do appreciate it.

wetnosedogs profile image

wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

I love reading about such remedies. I will keep this in mind in case this happens. Thanks for sharing this great information.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

wetnosedogs - Glad you found your way to this hub, and thanks so much for reading and commenting.

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Margaret, corn silk has been used in humans for urine incontinence issues with success. I'm glad you tried it for your dog. Really useful info here and I'm sharing this hub for the benefit of others who may be facing the same problem with their pets.

Voted up, useful and shared.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

rajan - Yes, corn silk has been a natural remedy for years, and seems to be successful in humans as well as dogs. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

I love reading health remedies of pets as I have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog. I will keep this in my mind in case I might need it. Voted this up and shared;-)

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Thelma - I never heard of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I just looked it up on the Internet, and they're adorable. Glad you stopped by - thanks for reading and sharing.

torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

interesting article

i didn't know that you could treat a urinary problem with corn silk

i like the fact that it is natural and that there are no adverse side effects

thanks for the information

Voted up

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

torrilynn - That's what I like about it too - that it's natural. The side effects from the drug the vet was going to give Mirra were pretty awful. Thanks so much for reading and voting - I really appreciate it.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Margaret,

This is wonderful news should we ever have a dog with an incontinence problem. I noticed that Rajan stated that it has been used successfully on humans also. Wonder how many people know that? With our aging senior population and many of the aisles in drug stores filled with pads for incontinence, I wonder if corn silk would lessen the need for such things? Obviously you purchased a product probably intended for human consumption. So some people must know of it. Voted UUI and will SHARE to get the word out...whether for dogs or humans. Thanks for sharing this with us!

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Peggy - Lots of people do use corn silk for bladder problems, apparently with some success. It sure has worked with Miracle. Thanks so much for sharing - greatly appreciated!

Sara S 3 years ago

Hi, thanks for posting your experience with Corn Silk and your baby. Where did you get the correct dosage from? Thanks in advance!

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Sara - I read another article on the Internet concerning the subject. I believe the article said four capsules, but I thought I'd try three, and see how it worked. I still give her three capsules daily, and she's doing really well. Miracle weighs about 72 pounds, so probably a smaller dog would need less. Thanks for reading and commenting - I really appreciate it.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Came back to say that I am going to pin this hub. Hope it draws more traffic to this informational hub. So glad that your Miracle is doing well.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Thanks so much, Peggy - I really appreciate that!

NiaG profile image

NiaG 3 years ago from Louisville, KY

Wow! I'm going to try this for my little one. My dog was on Proin and had episodes of severe diarrhea and vomiting. I tried lowering the dose but still the same outcome. It definitely works but may come with side effects. I recently bought a natural version from Only Natural. I have not received it yet but think I will try the cornsilk first. Thanks so much for this!

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

NiaG - Sorry to hear your dog had such bad side effects from the Proin. I really hope that the corn silk works for your dog as well as it has for Mirra. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Lori 3 years ago

I have a GSD who once every few weeks leaves a wee puddle after a nap. She is on Pred for allergies, so hopefully that is the cause but if it continues I will start her on the Corn Silk. Question, do you take a break every so often so she doesn't become immune? With human supplements it is suggested take the weekend off or stop one week out of every month.........

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Lori - No, I haven't given her a break from the corn silk, although it may be a good idea. Thanks for stopping by!

NiaG profile image

NiaG 2 years ago from Louisville, KY

Just wanted to say that the Cornsilk really does work. I've given it a shot and really happy with the results. Thanks again!

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 2 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

NiaG - I'm so glad that it worked for you, especially since the Proin was having such bad side effects. It's good to hear about success stories - thanks for the follow-up!

Adam 2 years ago

This worked for us too with our GSP. She had spay incontinence and since starting on just 1 400mg capsule of Corn Silk her incontinence has disappeared. Thanks for the heads up.

She has drop a few kgs on it though. Not sure if others have notices this also.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 2 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Adam - I haven't noticed any weight loss with my dog. That's great that you got results with just one capsule. Thanks for stopping by!

jean 2 years ago

I tried Proin with my ancient poodle.It worked but she started vomiting..I would like to try corn silK but at what dose? Her weight is 11 lbs.Which is better the pills or the tea? Thanks

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 2 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Jean - I've only tried the capsules, so I don't know if the tea is better. The capsules seem to work just fine, and I just open them up and sprinkle the cornsilk on Mirra's food. She doesn't seem to mind the taste at all. Mirra weighs about 72 lbs, and I was giving her three tablets a day for quite awhile. Just recently I reduced it to two tablets a day - one in the morning and 1 at night. Each tablet is 400 mg. I never read of any bad side effects from the pills, but maybe you should start your dog off with 400 mg a day - 200 in the morning and 200 at night. Use your better judgement - and good luck. I hope this works for you.

jean 2 years ago

Thank you so much! I got the corn silk caps(450 mgs) and sprinkeled 1 on her breakfast along with some flax meal....After 4 days,,,no more leaks or accidents! We still use a diaper at nite for safety,but she has stayed dry for a week now.again,,many thanks

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 2 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

jean - I'm so glad that it worked for you, and I hope you have continued success.

Barbara 2 years ago

Butterscotch only does it when she comes home from the dog park. While there she does a lot of running and drinks lots of water. Sometimes it is puddles! Other times dribbles. This is the only time it happens.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 2 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Probably she's over-drinking and her bladder is too full. Mirra tends to drink lots of water also.

Roz 2 years ago

I bought another brand of Corn Silk and it didn't work (450mg). Yesterday I bought Nature's Way and gave to my baby this morning. I sure hope it works... I want to wean her off Proin as she's been on it for almost a year.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 2 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Roz - sure hope it works for you. Good luck!

Toby 23 months ago

Has anyone had any success using this product with a male dog?

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 23 months ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Toby - I was wondering about that too. Mirra's problem is specifically female. Since the corn silk strengthens bladders, it would think that it may work with male dogs.

Toby 22 months ago

Hello-Toby has been on CornSilk now for three weeks and we haven't noticed any improvement in his incontinence, we have decided to now stop the supplement.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 21 months ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Sorry it didn't work - perhaps it works best with females who have spay incontinence like Mirra.

Ashley 19 months ago

My rot mix has been on proin for years and although it does help her incontinence, it's never been totally gone. She has the side effect of anxiety from it also. Thank you so much for this article. I'm going to try to switch her and hope it helps :) wish us luck!

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 19 months ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Ashley - Sure hope this works for you - good luck!

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 17 months ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

I'm sorry that your dog is sick. I would check with the vet on this, since anything you give your dog at this point could possibly affect him.

Jackie 13 months ago

I started using the corn silk tables on my 6 year old Doberman named Teagan. We had tried other natural remodies previous to the corn silk, but nothing seemed to help. The corn silk was a miracle for her! We went from lots of leakage to hardly any. I was using the capsules and decided to buy the organic corn silk powder, thinking that she's going to be on it forever so I could just buy it in a bag. Problem is, I don't know what dosage to give her. She's 99 pounds. I tried emailing the company for dosage information, but no help there. Any suggestions?

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 13 months ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Jackie - Mirra is about 75 pounds, and I give her three 400 mg capsules a day (1.2 grams). If the powder you bought is the same strength, that would probably be about 1/4 tsp a capsule. Since your dog is a bit larger, probably a full teaspoon a day would be about right. You really need to know what strength the cornsilk is that you bought. Good luck, and hope this helps.

Carolyn 3 months ago

So glad I found this info. My girl is 4 yrs old and spayed. She doesn't leak often, but has had a few episodes of wet spots and has always washed herself a lot! Going to try the corn silk, hoping it does the trick!

LeighAnnH 2 months ago

After reading the article and most of the comments, I went shopping. I can't seem to find Nature's Way Cornsilk, but I did find Solaray Kidney Blend. The first ingredient is cornsilk, followed by parsley, etc. I will look up the other ingredients to be confident that it's safe for my Lucy girl, but thought I'd ask you for your thoughts as well. Thanks for sharing.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 2 months ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

You can buy the corn silk capsules on Amazon - that's where I always get it from. I'm not sure about the other ingredients in the Solaray blend. Thanks for reading the article - and good luck with whatever you decide to go with.

Jackie N. 2 weeks ago

A couple of weeks ago I took my 12-year-old Aussie mix Hannah to the vet because she was dribbling when she was at rest. I had had this problem several years before with an akita, so I wasn't concerned because the small pill the vet prescribed solved the problem with no side effects at all. This vet prescribed Proin for Hannah; the first one I gave her (in her dinner) was vomited up within a half hour and, for the rest of the evening, she was restless and irritable. I have not given her another pill. Since then, I've tried Canavid U/T, which she loves, but without any results. I just wanted to say that I am ordering Corn Silk today, and hope that it will solve my dog's problem.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 2 weeks ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Jackie - I hope this works for you - good luck!

Jackie N 9 days ago

Have started giving my Hannah (43 pounds) one capsule of corn silk mixed in with her dinner each night four times now. She's fine during the day, but in the evening she seems unable to relax and is constantly licking herself. Could that have anything to do with the corn silk? The leakage seems to have lessened somewhat, although it's hard to tell since she's been on the corn silk for such a short time. I have put throw rugs with rubber backing every place in the house that she likes to snooze, which makes it easy to tell if there was any leakage. I was curious how long it was before you saw any results with respect to leakage. Thank you for any advice/suggestions you can give.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 9 days ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Jackie - I don't think that the licking is from the corn silk as much as the leakage which is perhaps causing irritation and scalding. I've noticed Mirra licking herself off and on, and suspect that when she is doing that there is some slight leakage but not enough to see on the rug where she is lying.

When I first started giving Mirra cornsilk, it took about a week for the leakage to stop. I was giving her 1 capsule in the morning and two at night and she is 72 pounds. I now have her down to two capsules in the morning. However, sometimes she goes through spells where she is leaking again, and I increase the cornsilk by one extra a day until it stops. Sometimes she leaks because she tends to over-drink, and I haven't been diligent in letting her out. I also need to make sure that if she is leaking, it's not from a urinary tract infection (which she is apt to get). I can usually tell if the leakage is from an infection from the odor. Good luck - I'm really hoping the cornsilk helps.

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