Why Urinating Uncontrollably Occurs in Dogs
There are several causes of uncontrollable urination, depending on the severity of the symptoms. These causes can be benign or a serious health threat.
As your dog ages, the muscles controlling the urethra lose their strength and your dog may experience leakage while sleeping or relaxing. Additionally, many dogs may become senile in their old age and not realize they are urinating. However, there are also many diseases that affect older dogs and may cause an abnormal amount of urine created in the bladder. The higher volumes of urine build pressure, which may lead to uncontrollable urination due to weakened muscles.
Submissive urination occurs more frequently in younger dogs who come into contact with people or other dogs. Usually, your dog will urinate while sitting or even roll onto its back when in the presence of a dog or person to whom feel submissive. Submissive urination is not a medical condition but a behavioral issue and can be corrected with proper socialization and a healthy, abuse-free environment.
Hormone-responsive incontinence can occur in both male and female dogs but most often affects spayed females of larger breeds and is observed more frequently in Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, English Springer Spaniels, German Shepherds, Giant Schnauzers, Irish Setters, Old English Sheepdogs, Rottweilers, and Weimaraners.
Urinary Tract Infections
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is the result of a bacterial infection and may cause uncontrollable urination as well as other recognizable symptoms such as pain while urinating, excessive licking of the urinary opening, possible blood in the urine, and difficulty urinating. Older dogs whose immune systems may not be able to defend against infectious agents or dogs that don’t have the opportunity to eliminate their urine are more susceptible to urinary tract infections.
A far more serious condition, ectopic ureter is a physical defect in one or both of the ureters. The ureters are small tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. However, when ectopic ureters fail to connect the kidneys to the bladder, urine is leaked out to where the defective ureters lead, such as the uterus or vagina. The bladder is the only organ capable of properly storing urine and any leakage outside of the bladder can cause infection and irritation.
What to do if your Dog is Urinating Uncontrollably
Though more frequently benign in older dogs, you want to watch for any changes in your dog’s urination habits, regardless of age, and seek medical attention if you notice more frequent episodes or observe any pain or unusual behavior in your dog. Be sure to note the frequency, when the incontinence first appeared, and any additional symptoms or behaviors you’ve seen because your veterinarian will ask you several questions to try and determine the cause of your dog’s uncontrollable urination.
Depending on the answers you provide during the physical exam, your veterinarian may order urine cultures to determine a UTI, blood tests to determine organ damage as a result of infection, and X-rays or ultrasounds to look for bladder blockage or defects in the ureters. If your veterinarian diagnoses your dog with hormone-responsive incontinence, your dog may be prescribed hormone replacement medication or drugs to help tone the muscles controlling the bladder. In the more severe case of ectopic ureters, your dog will have to undergo surgery to correct the defect.
Prevention of Urinating Uncontrollably
Age-related incontinence may not be entirely preventable, but some medications may help your older dog; however, it is important to safeguard your dog against possible diseases that affect bladder control in older dogs. Making sure your dog has access to clean water and is taken outside often can prevent infections as your dog can eliminate urine as needed rather than storing it in the bladder. Your dog should always have a clean, dry area to sleep in to help prevent another health-related issue from occurring as well.
You should never scold or otherwise, threaten your dog or allows others to do so under any circumstance, including urinating in an unusual place. Your dog needs a safe, comfortable environment to grow and live. Though not a medical condition, submissive urination may result from abusive behavior or vocalization towards your dog. If your dog urinates in your presence or in the presence of other dogs you can correct this behavior through proper socialization and training.
Regardless of age, recognizing the signs of symptoms of incontinence is important as some medical conditions cannot be prevented and must be addressed with your veterinarian.
Cost of Urinating Uncontrollably
Treatment costs will vary depending on the underlying cause of your dog’s uncontrollable urination. For example, a urinary tract infection may cost around $350 whereas if your dog has ectopic ureters, the cost may be around $5,000. However, the average cost of treating incontinence issues is around $500, depending on your location.