Reasons Why Your Dog Might Be "Leaking" Urine

What to Know about Aging and Urinary Incontinence in Older Female Dogs

Dog resting on floor
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A common issue with older dogs, especially females, urinary incontinence can cause your dog to leak urine. She may not know it happens and it's likely she cannot control it. This can be a concern, though a trip to the vet for an exam may be able to rule out serious conditions and provide a viable treatment.

Age-Related Incontinence

As female dogs age, urinary incontinence can occur. It may be both age-related and something requiring medical attention.

In the female dog, the urethra and vagina open in a common area called the vestibule. This area then opens to the exterior, called the vulva.

In an age-related incontinent dog (versus a congenital problem), muscles and sphincters aren't as toned as they once were, and urine leaks a bit into the common vestibule area. The urine may pool there, causing a "dilated" appearance. This stalled urine can lead to localized infections and may ascend up into the bladder, causing a urinary tract infection. As the dog gets up or lays down, a small pool of urine may be released.

In spayed females, this can also be caused by a  lack of the hormone estrogen. A lack of testosterone may cause this in male dogs as well. If your dog is leaking urine, this may be what you are seeing. However, an examination by your veterinarian is still in order to confirm it because a concurrent urinary tract infection is also possible.

Disease-Related Incontinence

In addition to a loss of tone in the urogenital system, diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease often lead to increased thirst and, as a result, urination. This exacerbates the urine pooling and the potential for a urinary tract infection.

Making a geriatric exam appointment with your vet for a physical exam is recommended.

She will check the urine and blood work to make sure there aren't any other issues or additional diseases to deal with. Your veterinarian may order additional screening or diagnostic tests as well.

Treatment

If the vet finds that your dog does have a "simple" incontinence problem, it's possible to manage it with medication. Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) is a common option and it can help tone the muscles, improving your dog's ability to control her urine again.

Another option is to provide hormonal support with a medication like Incurin. This increases her estrogen levels, which naturally increases her muscle tone in the urinary tract while she's resting.

Please note: This article has been provided for informational purposes only. If your pet is showing any signs of illness, please consult a veterinarian as quickly as possible.