Incontinence in dogs is a common condition, resulting in the involuntary urination. While this is most frequently associated with older dogs as they age, younger pets can also experience the problems of incontinence. This can be due to any number of issues including complications with the bladder, the urethra or even the brain and spinal cord.
Puppy incontinence can be complicated because frequent urination is common in young dogs. This is especially true when they are still being housebroken, as not all puppies are trained at the same pace. However, this is not reason to worry. There are many options available for individuals that have pets suffering from puppy incontinence, helping to address the issue and allow both pets and their owners to live happy lives together.
Distinguishing Between Puppy Incontinence and Submissive Urination
One of the most important distinctions to make when attempting to diagnose puppy incontinence is making an accurate diagnosis while ruling out any alternative explanations. Most frequently, this involves ruling out submissive urination as the alternative explanation for a puppy’s frequent accidents.
Submissive urination commonly occurs in puppies when they are being submissive to another dog, or a person. When this happens, a dog will often roll over on its back and urinate. Obviously, this can be problematic if it continues for long periods of time. This is especially true in consideration of the fact that puppies suffering from this condition can also urinate normally, making it difficult to distinguish whether or not they can control their urination, or if other factors are at play.
Relatedly, general nervousness can cause frequent urination and accidents in puppies. This accompanies submissive urination because submissiveness can often by associated with a puppy feeling nervous around other dogs or other people. Thus, this is an important distinction to make should you feel as if your pet is suffering from puppy incontinence.
Common Explanations for Puppy Incontinence
There are many common explanations for puppy incontinence, ranging from underdevelopment to genetic implications.
One of the most basic explanations for puppy incontinence is that young dogs lack muscle control that older dogs possess. This additionally explains incontinence in aged dogs as they begin to lose their muscle tone which may have previously helped them control their urination. Thus, urine leaks from the bladder of both puppies and older animals due to a general lack of control over the bladder.
Another explanation is that puppy incontinence can result from genetic factors. Relatedly, it is believed that certain breeds exhibit a greater likelihood to have problems related to incontinence. Just some of the most common breeds affected include Siberian Huskies, Miniature Poodles, Labrador Retrievers, Collies, Welsh Corgies, Wire-Haired Fox Terriers and West Highland White Terriers. Of course, this is not to say that all puppies from these breeds will experience puppy incontinence. However, the chances for the problem are greater if your dog is of one of the breeds listed above.
Puppies that are spayed are also likely to experience incontinence, although this disappears over time. This can be difficult to manage depending upon the frequency of the event, meaning that your puppy may require additional care even after they have recovered from their spaying procedure.
More serious issues of puppy incontinence can result from brain or spinal cord injury. This is among the most unlikely of all reasons for this health issue, but it is still probable in certain cases.
How Is Puppy Incontinence Diagnosed?
Diagnosing puppy incontinence is relatively routine and entails considering multiple signs to determine whether or not other issues are at hand. It is common for veterinarians to collect a urine sample for evaluation to see if urine is dilute or if there is any bacteria or infections present. Puppy incontinence can in fact cause bacterial infections, giving doctors a helpful hint as to whether or not incontinence is the primary issue.
Another common procedure to help diagnosis puppy incontinence is plain x-rays or x-rays after dye has been inserted into the bladder. This helps a doctor to better view the urinary tract and determine what possible issues there may be that might be causing incontinence.
Questioning is a major part of diagnosis as well. During this segment, doctors will ask pet owners questions such as when the problem began, when it occurs during the day, whether or not a pet can urinate normally as well and other daily occurrences that can elucidate whether or not puppy incontinence is the driving force of a puppy’s urination complications.
Treating Puppy Incontinence
There are many different options available to pet owners to help treat puppy incontinence, most of which are prescribed following a specific diagnosis. This is because incontinence can be caused by a wide variety of factors from behavioral issues to genetic complications.
Generalized puppy incontinence with no real cause is typically treated with drugs that help to strengthen muscles. In fact, weak muscles are often one of the most common causes of puppy incontinence, making this a viable option for many pet owners who cannot find a more specific cause of their puppy’s frequent urination.
Drug therapy is another option to treat puppy incontinence, although this poses the risk of side effects. Additionally, some drugs are slow to start working, meaning that urination is bound to continue, at least for a short period of time. However, it is extremely important to follow the plan that a doctor provides, as it is the most probable way to overcome puppy incontinence in a long-term perspective.
Is There Hope for Pets With Puppy Incontinence?
Of course there is always hope for a brighter future, no matter how severe your pet’s case of puppy incontinence may be. As young dogs, there are many potential factors in motion that can cause this problem.
However with perseverance, dedication and patience, pet owners can find relief from their dog’s frequent urination. By simply following what the veterinarian orders, you and your pet will be living happier, healthier futures together, free from the complications that arise from puppy incontinence.