What to do about a lack of bladder control in dogs

Does your dog have bladder control problems?

Decreased bladder control, also known as enuresis, is a condition that most commonly affects larger dog breeds that are spayed, and dogs between middle-aged and older. If your dog suddenly starts urinating in the house or has difficulty urinating, he may be suffering from enuresis. This guide will help you understand the condition better so you can get the treatment you need.

A wide variety of factors can cause enuresis, some more serious than others. Obesity is one of the most common causes. Elimination of sex can sometimes cause a dog to develop enuresis. Other, more serious causes of enuresis can include:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Injury or tearing of the nerves around the bladder
  • Overactive bladder syndrome
  • Lesions in the brain or on the spinal cord
  • Chronic inflammatory disease
  • A tumor or other mass is pressing on the bladder
  • Birth defect, underdevelopment of the bladder
  • Hormone levels fluctuate
  • Psychological or emotional problems

Signs and symptoms of bladder control problems in dogs

If you think your dog has a lack of bladder control, you may start to notice several telltale signs. Below is a checklist that you can use to monitor your dog so your vet will have the most comprehensive information possible when treating him.

  • bedwetting
  • Wet spots in the bed or sleeping area
  • Wet the hair on the lower abdomen or between the legs
  • Licking and dermatitis around the genitals
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections

Discuss bladder control issues with your dog’s vet

Once you have completed the checklist above, print it out and take it to your vet so you can discuss your dog’s health with your vet. Tell your vet any information you have about your pet’s condition, such as when it started, what his behavior has been like and when it changed, and any recent changes in his diet or lifestyle.

After conducting a thorough physical examination and reviewing your pet’s medical history, your vet will order a urinalysis and a complete blood chemical profile to help determine the cause of your pet’s bladder problems. X-rays may also be ordered to rule out any diseases of the urinary tract.

Treatment of the dog’s bladder control problem

Treatment will be determined based on the cause of your incontinence. For example, if the cause is fluctuating hormone levels, your vet will usually prescribe hormone supplements or the drug Phenylpropanolamine. If an infection is causing your dog’s problem, an antibiotic will usually help improve its functioning.

If nerves in the spine are compressed due to inflammation, your vet will prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce pressure on the nerves. Once the underlying cause of the lack of bladder control is properly addressed, your dog may regain his ability to urinate normally again.

As always, be sure to let your vet know about any medications or supplements your dog is currently taking so your vet can make the best treatment decision for your pet’s unique condition and help reduce the risk of a potential drug interaction.

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