Urinary incontinence in dogs

Incontinence in elderly dogs is common, and can be caused by a wide variety of factors. Learn more about the causes and the treatments in this article.
Ageing Golden Retriever lying down outdoors in grass.

As your dog ages, you will notice changes in their behaviour, personality and physique. Incontinence is a common occurrence among older dogs, and it’s important you feel confident in being able to care for them.

If your older dog is incontinent, they’ll stop urinating in the same way as when they were younger; they may not recognise when they are urinating, leave trails of urine on the floor, or struggle to urinate. It’s crucial not to chastise them for this behaviour – they’re not doing this on purpose, but rather because they aren’t able to control these functions.

Al igual que los humanos, los perros pueden sufrir problemas digestivos que provocan molestias, síntomas desagradables y, a veces, problemas de salud de mayor alcance. Their diet is a key way to help manage digestive sensitivities and maintain a healthy digestive system.

What causes incontinence in dogs?

Just like in humans, when dogs age their physical form changes; muscles weaken and nerve control over different parts of the body can lessen. Incontinence can be caused by a simple ageing of the muscles around the urinary system, and a lack of control over those muscles.

Female dogs are more likely to develop incontinence than male dogs, and some larger breeds have a predisposition to this problem. This includes Boxers, Dobermans, Giant Schnauzers, Great Danes and German Shepherds. Among the sterilised female dog population, 30% of dogs weighing over 20kg suffer from incontinence; in smaller breeds this is less than 10%.

There are suggestions that obesity can have an impact on the likelihood of incontinence, particularly in neutered female dogs. The concept is that the weight of fat around the urinary system has a mechanical impact on the muscles, which can then lead to incontinence.

Underlying urinary issues can also cause incontinence, including inflammation of the urinary system and cystitis, an infection, or the development of ‘stones’ (called urolithiasis). Overall illnesses like diabetes or neurological disorders can also cause incontinence, so it’s important to take your dog to the vet as soon as you notice a change in their behaviour to do with urinating.

Gran Danés en envejecimiento de pie al aire libre en un campo.

¿Qué tratamiento se les puede dar a los perros con incontinencia?

Según la causa de la incontinencia, el tratamiento de tu perro puede variar. Si se trata de un problema muscular, el veterinario puede indicar ciertos estimulantes que favorecen un mejor control de los músculos urinarios. Son eficientes en el 75 % de los casos.

Si tu perro tiene un trastorno urinario de fondo, el veterinario puede sugerir una intervención quirúrgica para extraer un cálculo, indicarle antibióticos para tratar la infección y ayudarte a elegir una dieta que ayude a mantener una buena salud urinaria. El veterinario también puede sugerir cambios en el estilo de vida, como estimular a tu perro para que sea más activo y, por lo tanto, reducir el riesgo de trastornos problemas urinarios futuros.

Si existe un problema de salud de mayor magnitud, el veterinario intentará tratarla de forma integral, y no sólo la incontinencia.

Si notas un cambio en el comportamiento de tu perro al orinar a medida que envejece, no hay razón para pensar que no se puede hacer nada. Pide cita con tu veterinario para que te indique qué medidas tomar.


Encontrar un veterinario

Si te preocupa la salud de tu perro, consulta con tu veterinario .

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Jack Russel Terrier adulto de pie en blanco y negro sobre un fondo blanco