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In a normal, healthy dog, urine is retained in the bladder and released through the urethra when your dog has to urinate. If your dog is lacking bladder control, he is said to have urinary incontinence, which can be common in senior pets, or as your pet ages.
Urinary incontinence is the involuntary lack of control of urine generally when your dog is resting or sleeping.
Muscular tissue at the base of your dog’s bladder acts as a valve to prevent the bladder from leaking. Hormones also play a role in preventing the involuntary release of urine.
In female dogs, estrogen assists with this. In male dogs, testosterone assists in the prevention of involuntary urination.
As your dog ages, the production of these hormones begins to decrease. If you have a dog which has been spayed or neutered, the hormones associated with this are already lower than the normal dog.
Urinary incontinence is more common in spayed adult females than males just as it is more common in neutered dogs than dogs who have not been neutered. If old age is the cause, urinary incontinence is generally seen around nine to ten years of age. In males, the problem generally does not begin until ten years of age.
Dogs who suffer from urinary incontinence may also suffer from secondary conditions including urinary tract infections, for example, as it is easier for bacteria to enter the urethral canal when the muscle is weakened. You may need to consult a veterinarian so your dog can be prescribed antibiotics on occasion if your dog has urinary incontinence.
There are now medications to assist in the prevention of urinary incontinence. Phenylpropanolamine, commonly known as PPA, is a non-hormonal drug prescribed to senior dogs to assist them in holding their urine and preventing urinary tract infections. Hormone supplements may also be prescribed to assist in the prevention of urinary incontinence.
Amber L. Drake, a Professional Canine Behaviorist and Adjunct Professor of Biological Science, has extensive experience in the Animal Science Field. She has worked with dogs professionally for over ten years. Her clients range from private pet parents to large canine rescue organizations. In addition to accepting clients on a regular basis, Drake serves as an Adjunct Professor at Jamestown Community College and Kaplan University. Drake has earned a Doctor of Education (ABD), Educational Specialist Post-Masters, Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She has completed coursework at Cornell University for Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Biochemistry at UC Berkeley, Veterinary Technology at Penn Foster and a number of Continuing Educationcourses to remain up-to-date in her field.