Next to teaching your dog to do Kegel exercises, what do you do about urinary leakage and incontinence in dogs?
Every time I talk or write about anything that puts strain on the human-animal bond it makes me sooo emotional (I am truly crying as I write this, I’m such a wuss!). But I’ve seen so many dogs banned from sleeping on the bed, left behind from family outings in the car or traveling with the family, not allowed on the couch or even in the living room because of this condition.
What’s worse, I’ve also seen dogs actually get re-homed or euthanized because of it. They’re abandoned and embarrassed.
Your dog would never intentionally urinate on her bed, on the couch or while walking … but so many people discipline dogs as though they’re misbehaving.
Spay Incontinence In Dogs
There are many different reasons your dog could be dribbling or leaking urine, but by far the most common is spay incontinence. This is when the reduction of sex hormones (predominately estrogen and testosterone) after spaying and neutering causes a decrease in the muscle strength of the urethral sphincter. This allows urine to dribble out or sometimes results in full-on peeing in bed when asleep.
The reason you often hear the term spay incontinence is because it happens much more in females than in males. You may see it start very subtly; for example, your dog may seem to be grooming herself more in the genital area than normal. Then maybe you start noticing dribbles as she’s going up the stairs, small wet spots when she gets up from resting, and then eventually a full emptying of her bladder as she sleeps.
But spay incontinence isn’t the only culprit.
Others Causes Of Incontinence In Dogs
Next in line for urine leakage are the following conditions:
- Spinal cord disease or nerve damage. The spinal cord and the nervous system are very delicate and contribute to so much more than we know! These systems are responsible for so many functions of the body. I’ve seen urinary incontinence caused and cured by addressing the spinal cord and pudendal nerve. Everything from a butt spanking to the use of choke chains or corrective training (don’t even get me started on those) can cause all kinds of issues (everything from collapsing tracheas, pituitary stalk injuries leading to adrenal diseases, to urine leakage!). Other contributing factors can stem from back trauma, degenerative myelopathy or arthritis.
- Bladder overflow caused by underlying disease. Cushing’s, diabetes or hypothyroidism can cause your dog to drink a lot of water and overfill the bladder. If your dog is excessively thirsty and incontinent it’s important to have your veterinarian check that out!
- Bladder infections. This may present as frequent urination, asking to go out and straining with just dribbles coming out, blood in urine, pungent smell to the urine, cloudy, thick or stringy urine. Chronic or repeated bladder infections that have been treated conventionally can cause scarring which can interfere with the sphincter closing.
- Birth defects. If your puppy or intact young dog is experiencing urinary leakage or having multiple accidents in the house, check with your holistic veterinarian.
- Stones, polyps and tumors. These can look very much like a bladder infection. That’s why it’s important to get a veterinary exam so you can work on it with the proper holistic tools!
Holistic Options For Incontinence
These are some of the things I have seen that work like hot damn. They’re way better than conventional drugs which I would never support at my clinic.
- Diet. Incorporating more high-quality protein and fat into the diet is important. Often, as a dog ages, you’re told to decrease their protein and fat. This leads to the loss of three things that are vital to the strength of the sphincter and pelvic muscle: protein, fat and collagen! Adding bone broth, chicken feet, pig feet and whole sardines will help to keep all muscles and joints healthier. I always incorporate these foods with all regimes below.
- Homeopathy to the rescue! Use remedies like Phosphoric acid 200C twice a day for three to five days, then repeat as needed. I have been using this with great success for more than 20 years for spay incontinence caused by spinal cord and nerve issues.
- Acupuncture, osteopathy and chiropractics can all be used to support the central nervous system and spinal cord. These treatments help them function properly and can realign any mishaps caused by injury and inappropriate training habits.
- If you can, get glands from cows, sheep or goats (testicles, uterus and udders). Feed them once per week. Give 1 tsp weekly to small dogs, 2 tsp to medium dogs and 1 tablespoon for large. There are some companies like Standard Process that make glandular support products for urinary issues, so you can add these if you can’t get fresh glands.
- Up the amino acids with a supplement like phytoplankton.
- Some veterinarians can get biologically appropriate (non-synthetic) hormone replacement therapy.
- Herbs and nutraceuticals that soothe the bladder wall like marshmallow root (0.5 mg tincture per 20 lbs, or 25 mg dried herb per 5 lbs sprinkled on food, once daily) and N-Acetyl Glucosamine (50 mg daily for an average size dog).
Managing Leakage And Preventing Incontinence
Be aware that after hard exercise is one of the greatest times for leakage as the body is relaxed and the muscles are fatigued. You can use diapers (that fit well up against the legs but don’t cut off circulation) at these times. Make sure that you take your dog out for an extra pee just before you leave for work or before you head to bed at night.
There are many different waterproof bed covers or pads made for senior citizens available at drugstores. These range from disposable pads to soft cotton mattress covers. You can put these directly on your bed, your sofa or your dog’s bed. This small step alone will help your dog remain a loved member of the family until you get the leakage under control.
Also use these covers as a precautionary measure if you have a particularly stressful or high-intensity exercise day. This will reduce any upset in the family and embarrassment for your dog.
As with all chronic issues the best possible way to prevent or alleviate problems is to keep your dog as healthy as you can.
- Feed a great whole food diet
- Create a healthy gut with pre- and probiotics, digestive enzymes, healthy fats, amino acids and antioxidants
- Stop routine vaccines and titer test instead
- Use natural pest control instead of pharmaceuticals
- Find a holistic vet
- Give adequate exercise and fun to avoid boredom
And don’t forget to give your dog quality one-on-one time with you plus lots of love. This will go a long way to creating the health and longevity you want for your beloved dog.