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If your senior dog is housetrained but has recently started peeing in the house, it likely means they're suffering from incontinence. Dog incontinence is a normal sign of aging, but if your older dog is peeing in the house, it could also indicate a more serious health issue. Incontinence can be caused by many different things, including aging, disease, infections, and pain. If your senior dog is urinating in the house, consult a vet immediately.
Of course, dogs can have accidents in the house at any age, but if your dog has started peeing in the house more frequently, it could indicate that something isn't right with their health. Older dogs are at risk for many different illnesses and diseases. They may also suffer from joint pain that prevents them from getting up to go outside or have a difficult time holding in their urine to wait for you to come home from work and take them outside. This article will discuss incontinence in dogs, its causes, and treatments for when your senior dog is peeing in the house.
- What Is Incontinence In Dogs?
- Causes Of Urinary Incontinence In Dogs
- How To Treat Urinary Incontinence In Older Dogs
- Next Steps
What Is Incontinence In Dogs?
Incontinence is when a dog passes urine involuntarily. For example, if your dog normally waits for you to put your shoes on to take them outside, dogs who are incontinent may dribble urine or empty their bladder on the floor before you have time to get them outside.1 Incontinence can happen at any age, especially if they're suffering from dog urinary health issues, but it typically happens to older dogs. The severity of the accidents in the house can range from small dribbling to large puddles.1
There are many causes of urinary incontinence, which we'll discuss in this article, but it's typically caused by some type of health problem, including infection or disease. Of course, as dog's age, they can become incontinent because their bladder muscles weaken.1 Additionally, senior dogs can become senile and not realize they're peeing small amounts of urine in the home.
It's important to note that a single accident in the home is not incontinence. While senior dogs may have accidents because they held their urine for too long, incontinence is more frequent and could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. If your senior dog is peeing in the house frequently, take them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment because it could indicate something more serious even if they're not showing signs of illness.
Causes Of Urinary Incontinence In Dogs
As we've mentioned, dogs can become incontinent at any age due to various underlying health issues. Never try to diagnose your dog on your own. If your old dog is peeing in the house, it's time to see a vet.
Common causes of urinary incontinence in dogs include:
Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) give your dog a frequent and urgent need to urinate, no matter where they are. While some dogs may try to hold their urine because they don't like going in the house, they may be unable to hold it long enough to get outside. Some dogs with UTIs only pass a few drops of urine, but others may empty their bladders to relieve the discomfort. If your dog has a UTI, you might see blood in the urine or on their fur near their genitals. They may also try to lick themselves to relieve the pain associated with UTIs.
Female dogs are more likely to get UTIs than males, but it can happen to any dog. Luckily, treatment is fairly simple and requires antibiotics. While UTIs can be painful, treatment ensures they won't become more serious. However, you should get treatment for your dog immediately if you suspect they have a UTI because the infection can worsen and make its way to the kidneys.
Cushing's disease is typically triggered by a tumor on the pituitary gland and causes an influx of cortisol, the stress hormone.2 Cushing's disease may come with different symptoms, including excessive thirst, urination, lethargy, and dog hair loss. Treatment for Cushing's disease in dogs will depend on the type of disease.
Kidney Infections & Disease
While a UTI can lead to a kidney infection, kidney infections can also create UTI-type symptoms. However, dogs with kidney infections or disease may also experience excessive thirst and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Senior dogs are at risk for developing kidney disease in which the kidneys don't efficiently filter toxins out of the body. Increased urination is one of the signs associated with kidney failure, so if your senior dog is peeing in the house, they should be taken to the vet immediately.
Diabetes is another disease that causes incontinence in dogs. It can happen to any dog at any age, especially if you're not watching their weight, but it typically happens to older dogs that are less active. Symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst and urination, increased appetite, weight loss, and UTIs. If your dog is peeing in the house and drinking more water than usual, it could indicate diabetes. This condition must be managed with the help of a vet so that it doesn't cause more severe health problems.
If your old dog is peeing in the house, they may have cognitive dysfunction or dementia. Signs of dementia in dogs include loss of appetite, confusion, behavioral changes, and urinating in the house. If your dog is experiencing cognitive dysfunction, they may not realize they're dribbling urine in the house. They may also empty their bladders in the house, forgetting that they go outside to urinate.
Old age is not the main cause of incontinence in dogs, so you should never assume your old dog is peeing in the house because they're old. However, age contributes to incontinence. If your dog isn't showing any signs of illness, they may dribble urine from time to time, especially in their sleep. However, you should never make assumptions. Instead, visit your vet to rule out any medical illness that may cause your old dog to pee in the house.
Dogs of all ages can suffer from stress that causes them to urinate in the house or outside. When your dog is afraid of something, they might urinate nearby. Dogs also urinate when there are changes, like when you move to a new home. Since older dogs are already going through so many changes, anything can cause them stress, even if these things didn't scare them before. This type of stress can cause indoor urination.
Dogs may also urinate inside when they're being territorial. For example, if your dog sees a dog outside their window, they may urinate nearby to mark their scent. Older dogs can suddenly start doing this behavior, especially if they're going through changes in the home.
How To Treat Urinary Incontinence In Older Dogs
Treatment for incontinence in older dogs depends on the cause. You should never try to diagnose or treat your dog's incontinence at home because there's no way for you to perform diagnostic tests that tell you what's causing your old dog to pee in the house. Instead, you should:
Consult A Vet
After you notice your dog is dripping urine or urinating in the house more frequently, you should take them to the vet for examination and treatment. It's always best to monitor your dog and tell the vet everything you can about the incontinence, including:
- When it started
- Where you find the urine
- If your dog is drinking more water or urinating more frequently
- If you've noticed blood in the urine
- If your dog has any other symptoms3
Depending on your answers to your vet's questions, they can start testing your dog's urine and blood to help them rule out different illnesses or uncover a disease that could be causing the incontinence. This lab work will assess your dog's overall health, so you'll need to bring a urine sample with you, which will allow them to test for various illnesses and diseases, including UTIs.
Once your vet has diagnosed your dog, they will come up with a treatment plan. If your dog has an underlying disease that is causing them to urinate in the house, your vet will treat the disease, which should also treat the symptoms. Of course, if your dog is experiencing pain, your vet might give your dog medication to make them more comfortable. A Dutch vet can help diagnose and treat your dog's incontinence by working with a local vet who will do their lab tests. Once we get the results, we can come up with a diagnosis and treatment plan, allowing you to have your dog's medication shipped to your home.
Try Doggy Diapers
While your vet is treating your dog for their incontinence, you can put them in doggy diapers to prevent them from making a mess if they can't control their urine. Never limit their water to prevent them from urinating on the floor; instead, put them in diapers designed for dogs to absorb urine and prevent it from getting on your floors and furniture.
Of course, trying doggy diapers should come after you get a diagnosis and treatment plan from your vet. Diapers are not a treatment for any illness causing your dog to urinate in the home.
Use Potty Pads
Dogs suffering from incontinence can't control their urine, so they may not make it outside in time. You can make it easier for them to relieve themselves indoors by using potty pads that soak up urine. Of course, you'll have to train your dog to use them, but it's well worth it to prevent a mess in your home and give your dog a comfortable, safe area to urinate.
Dog or cat frequent urination can indicate a serious health issue. If your dog is peeing in the house, they must be seen by a vet immediately. While it's possible for dogs to become incontinent due to old age and weakened bladder muscles, many dogs start urinating in the house because of an underlying disease or infection. The earlier you get your dog treatment, the faster you can treat their pain and discomfort.
Most illnesses will require medication for treatment. That's where Dutch comes in. After your dog has been diagnosed, you can order your prescriptions from our pharmacy, and we'll have them shipped to your home so you can spend more time taking care of your dog. With Dutch, you always have a vet to answer your questions. We're available 24/7 to help you care for your dog in times of need.
“Urinary Incontinence in Dogs.” Veterinary Teaching Hospital, 26 Oct. 2021, https://hospital.vetmed.wsu.edu/2021/10/26/urinary-incontinence-in-dogs/#:~:text=Urinary%20incontinence%2C%20or%20the%20involuntary,senior%2Daged%20dogs%20and%20females.
Commissioner, Office of the. “Treating Cushing's Disease in Dogs.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/treating-cushings-disease-dogs.
“Urinary Incontinence in Dogs: Causes and Treatment.” WebMD, https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/urinary-incontinence-dogs.