Healthy, housetrained adult dogs can hold their urine for up to eight hours, which means they should be able to hold it overnight or through a human workday. But what happens when your dog just can’t seem to wait, or wakes up after a nap with damp bedding? A pet with a leaky bladder can be distressing for everyone – not to mention messy. Here are our top 5 tips for helping keep your dog comfortable and your home clean.
First, take your dog to the vet.
Don’t assume the worst without a diagnosis from a professional. Remember that dogs may urinate in the house for a variety of reasons, so it’s important to identify what’s really going on. For example, puppies may urinate to show submission, or because they are still getting the hang of housetraining. These are behavior issues rather than signs of disease.
Even if your dog does have a medical condition, it could just be a simple infection that will clear up with medication. Some diseases can also cause excessive thirst, which leads dogs to drink more water than their bodies can hold. Your vet will likely ask you about your dog’s recent drinking habits, so it is a good idea to start paying attention to this before your visit.
Once you have a diagnosis, consider the treatment options.
The treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the problem. The most common reason for incontinence in dogs (especially in spayed females) is called hormone-responsive incontinence, and it can be treated with hormone medications. Other conditions that can lead to incontinence, such as a birth defect or an injury to the lower back, may require surgery to correct.
Consider diapers or training pads.
If the problem isn’t correctable, you can look into canine diapers. Lots of dogs initially resist these products, as they resist plastic “cones of shame” or other types of clothing, but many can get used to them. Training pads placed near your dog’s favorite napping spots can also help.
Get a dog bed that is easy to clean.
Even “washable” pillow beds just absorb liquids and odor, leaving your dog miserable and smelly – or likely to avoid the bed altogether. If you need an easy-to-clean bed for an incontinent dog, look for an elevated bed with a porous material. Kuranda’s outdoor mesh (available on all frame types) allows liquid to flow through, keeping your dog happy and dry. Just wash the bed off with soap and water, and it’s good as new! To avoid having a mess under the bed to clean up, just throw a puppy pad under the Kuranda Bed with outdoor mesh – voila! It’s like cooking with an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet!
Whatever you do, don’t punish the dog.
Your incontinent dog can’t help soiling the carpet, so try to be patient. Storming around in frustration will only make your dog upset, which may lead to more accidents in the house. It’s important to project calm and avoid making a fuss. You also shouldn’t reduce your dog’s water intake without consulting your vet, as this can do more harm than good.
If your dog has been diagnosed with incontinence, what has helped? Share your tips!