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What is Dripping Urine?

While it can be annoying and messy that your dog is dripping urine, you need to have your dog examined by your veterinarian. Dripping urine is not necessarily a sign that your dog is suffering from incontinence. There are other possible causes of your dog’s dripping urine, such as submissive urination. Submissive urination usually affects young dogs that are frightened or not confident and they will generally outgrow it. Infection can also cause your dog to drip urine.

Dogs that drip urine constantly may have a medical condition that will require treatment from your veterinarian. Be sure that your veterinarian performs a thorough physical examination and diagnostic testing on your dog to find the cause of your dog’s problem. 

Possible causes of your dog dripping urine include:

  • Submissive urination
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Bladder infection
  • Excessive water intake
  • Spinal cord injury or disease
  • Weak bladder sphincter
  • Incontinence

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Why Dripping Urine Occurs in Dogs

Submissive Urination

Submissive urination usually occurs in young dogs that lack confidence or are fearful. Your dog will exhibit other signs of being submissive such as ears back, head bowed, lack of eye contact and slow, low tail wagging. If your dog is dripping urine as a result of being submissive, do not despair, they will usually outgrow it. 

Urinary Tract or Bladder Infection

Urinary tract infection and bladder infection are common causes of dripping urine, especially in adult female dogs. Your veterinarian will be able to determine if your dog has an infection by performing a urinalysis and a urine culture. 

Excessive Water Intake

Some dogs will drink large quantities of water and their bladders are unable to hold all of the urine that is created. These dogs will drip urine because they simply cannot hold it in until they get outside. A urinalysis will show diluted urine if they excessively drink water. Many times when your dog drinks large amounts of water, there is an underlying cause such as Cushing’s disease, diabetes, bladder infection or kidney failure.

Spinal Cord Injury or Disease

If your dog has suffered a spinal cord injury or disease, they may not be able to feel when their bladder is full. This then causes them to drip urine. This is generally classified as incontinence.

Weak Bladder Sphincter

There are several factors that can contribute to a weak bladder sphincter. The most common cause is simply old age and generally occurs in senior female dogs. Obesity and a reduction in the sensitivity of the neurological receptors in the sphincter can also cause the sphincter to weaken. This is sometimes referred to as spay incontinence and can be caused by low levels of estrogen. 


Incontinence encompasses all other conditions that cause your dog to drip urine. It is the general terminology that veterinarians will use when there is no other medical conditions present causing your dog to drip urine.

What to do if your Dog is Dripping Urine

Even if you suspect your dog is dripping urine because they are submissive, it is still a good idea to have them checked out by your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will perform a full physical examination and will order diagnostic tests such as a urinalysis, urine culture, complete blood count and chemistry panel to determine the cause. 

Urinary tract infections and bladder infections will be treated with antibiotics. Your veterinarian will discuss with you the best antibiotic for your dog. You should see an improvement in the dripping urine after a few days of antibiotic treatment but you will still need to finish the medication that was prescribed to ensure that the infection is completely cleared. 

If your dog is drinking water excessively, your veterinarian will need to diagnose what is causing the excessive thirst. Once they have discovered the cause of the excessive water intake has been diagnosed and treatments started, you should notice a decrease in the amount of dripping urine. 

Spinal cord injuries and diseases that are affecting the bladder’s function may require surgery to slow or stop the dripping urine. Your veterinarian may also prescribe medications that will help with the incontinence that is occurring. 

Most dogs that are diagnosed with a weak bladder sphincter are older females. Estrogen and alpha-adrenergic agonists can be prescribed to help maintain the neuroreceptors and increase the pressure on the neck of the bladder to hold the urine within the bladder.

Prevention of Dripping Urine

In most cases of your dog dripping urine, there is a medical condition that is causing your dog’s bladder to not properly function. Seeking immediate veterinary assistance when you notice your dog dribbling urine is imperative to stopping the incontinence.

Submissive urination can also be problematic, even though it is not a medical condition. Your dog should eventually outgrow the behavior, but there are a few things you can do to help your dog be less submissive. Do not lean over your dog, instead drop down to their level when they approach to keep them from feeling threatened.

Cost of Dripping Urine

Treating your dog that is dripping urine can become pricey depending on the diagnosis that your veterinarian gives. Urinary tract infections can cost between $300 and $1000 depending on the severity of the infection. Treating incontinence issues in your dog can range from $400 to $3000 depending on the treatment that is given.

Dripping Urine Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Night dripping urine. I have a (i think) 3 years Yorkie which dripps urine in his sleep. Is this common in Yorkie's? He was given to me by an acquaintance.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2499 Recommendations
There are a few reasons why a dog may drip urine, but it usually occurs throughout the day instead of only at night; a few possible causes may be due to a weak bladder sphincter, spinal disorders, hormonal conditions, urinary tract infection among other causes. This would be something to visit your Veterinarian to have a thorough physical examination to determine the underlying cause, it may just be a weak sphincter or may be something more serious. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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