When your old dog—who has been potty trained to perfection since he was a puppy—suddenly begins to urinate and defecate all over the house seemingly without abandon, it can be tempting to scold and punish your furry friend for allowing his bowels to run wild. However, lashing out at your pet is something you should never do. With the combination of his senior age and the sudden difficulty in keeping his bowels in check, it sounds like your dog is suffering from a condition known as incontinence.
There are old dog incontinence treatment methods, but first let’s understand what incontinence is. Incontinence refers to the “inability of the body to control the evacuative functions.” Most dog owners, in their first encounter with their dog’s incontinence, usually feel miserable and helpless, especially when they deal with the constant clean-ups after their dog does the deed. Avoid falling into this emotional trap. For your old dog, incontinence treatment is indeed possible.
There are several causes of incontinence in dogs. A simple canine urinary tract infection (UTI) is one. One example of a canine UTI is canine cystitis, a bacterial infection that irritates your dog’s bladder, resulting in frequent urination. This irritation makes it difficult for your old dog to hold his bladder long enough to head outside, hence he ends up peeing inside the house.
Canine bladder infections are also possible culprits behind your old dog’s incontinence. Often the infection is due to canine bladder stones. The stones have sharp irregular edges that scrape against the bladder wall, opening the doors for infection to come in.
Other causes of incontinence in your old dog are hormonal problems, diabetes, and Cushing’s disease. Decreased hormone levels reduce the muscle tone of the muscles in the urinary sphincter. Diabetes and Cushing’s disease, due to increased thirst, bring about increased urination.
For your old dog, selecting the right incontinence treatment depends on what’s causing it. Your safest course of action is to bring your pooch to the vet to determine the real culprit behind your dog’s incontinence. For example, if your old dog has been found to have diabetes, your vet will address the diabetes first by giving your dog insulin shots. Once the diabetes has been neutralized, your dog’s incontinence is likely to occur less and less.
The usual treatment methods for canine incontinence are antibiotics, hormonal treatment, diet change, and surgery for severe cases. Natural remedies are also available for old dog incontinence treatment options, but consult with your vet first before trying any of those herbal remedies.
At home, you can get your old dog a waterproof pad and let him sleep on it. This helps protect your furniture and other house articles. You can also let your old dog out more often. The more he is outside, the more he’s likely to pee out there, thus reducing the chances of wetting inside the house.
Dealing with your old dog’s incontinence requires patience. Never blame your dog for his condition. Instead, get to the root cause, treat the problem and manage the symptoms.
If you have experience with an incontinent old dog, please share your story for us to learn from.