What is Peeing in His Sleep?
As a puppy, your dog will need to be taken out to use the bathroom every few hours. But that is completely normal. What isn’t normal is if your dog doesn’t wake up to urinate, and ends up soaking his bed while asleep. This problem tends to happen when the sphincter muscles in the bladder are too weak to allow the dog control over urination. Such an issue can be brought on by:
- Urinary tract infection
- 'Neutering Incontinence' in older dogs who were neutered when young
- Spinal cord injury or degeneration
- Conditions that cause excessive urination such as diabetes and kidney disease
- Prostate disorders
- Urinary stones and masses
If you notice that your dog is peeing in their sleep it is extremely important to get them to a vet as soon as possible in order to determine the underlying issue. While a weak bladder by itself is not deadly, when paired with something like diabetes or kidney disease, it can result in death if left unaddressed.
Why Peeing in His Sleep Occurs in Dogs
The most common reason why dogs experience peeing in their sleep is incontinence. This problem can come about from a number of different things, such as a urinary tract infection and bladder stones. Age can also affect the ability for a dog to control its bladder, but it is not always the case as some younger dogs experience this issue as well.
Urinary Tract Infection
The inflammation caused by a condition such as a urinary tract infection can cause your dog to not realize that he is peeing while asleep. A dog with an infection of the urinary tract may have excessive thirst and therefore, pee more often - sometimes not waking when his bladder is full.
Hormonal changes after Neutering
After going through the process of being spayed, 1 out of 5 female dogs experience incontinence, also known as spay incontinence. This is because their levels of estrogen are drastically lowered, which then affects the muscle tone of the sphincters. Those who are spayed before their first season tend to be the ones affected.
In males, the same weakened sphincters are to blame. But it is far less common. Both situations can be treated with prescription drugs provided by your veterinarian.
Spinal Cord Disease
A dog with a disease of the spinal cord may have lack of mobility or a lessened sense of feeling which may lead to incontinence when awake or asleep. Your veterinarian can evaluate your pet to determine whether the illness causing the peeing while asleep is a degenerative disease.
Canines who are developing diabetes may have excessive thirst leading to frequent urination, which in some dogs may mean peeing during sleep. Other signs of diabetes may be lethargy and weight loss, despite an increased appetite.
Drinking a lot of water is a symptom of kidney disease. Weakness and disorientation caused by a kidney problem could mean a pet who normally is housetrained may start to have accidents.
An enlarged prostate can lead to incontinence. We may also notice blood in the urine. Males who have not been neutered will often develop an enlarged prostate as they age. This can usually be treated with medicine and/or castration.
Bladder Stones or masses
Dogs may leak urine when they have a mass (such as a polyp , tumour or stone) within the bladder. Anything that obstructs the urine flow can eventually lead to damaged muscles and incontinence.
What to do if your Dog is Peeing in His Sleep
Once you realise that your dog is having issues controlling his bladder while asleep, you will want to begin monitoring any other unusual habits your dog may be displaying. If, for example, the amount of water drunk within a day increases or there are signs of leakage, there may be a more serious underlying issue.
After monitoring your dog, you will then want to take him to a vet in order to determine what the problem is and how to begin treatment. While a weak bladder will not immediately harm your pet, if it is paired with any other more serious issue, the situation will need to be addressed immediately. Your vet may require a urine sample to best determine what the problem may be before prescribing any specific treatment. Once the test results come in, discussion of treatment will then take place.
Prevention of Peeing in His Sleep
- Feeding a wet diet and encouraging water drinking can reduce the risk of urinary infection, crystals and stones. Similarly, treating any bladder infection promptly is advised to prevent damage to the bladder. Some dogs may require a prescription diet, especially if prone to forming crystals.
- Neutering your dog can prevent their prostate from enlarging and reduce the incidence of prostate disease.
- While spinal cord disease cannot always be prevented, in those that are prone (such as Shih Tzus and Dachshunds), we should keep them slim and consider controlling their environment with e.g. ramps to limit jumps from heights.
Cost of Peeing in His Sleep
Treatment cost will vary depending on the cause of your dog’s peeing during sleep. For instance, if your dog is diagnosed with incontinence, the cost of treatment will be between $50 to $1500 depending on the severity. If your dog is diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, the average cost is $350.
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