Why does my female dog wet the bed in her sleep?

If you have ever noticed your dog wet the bed in her sleep it is extremely important to get him to a vet as soon as possible in order to determine the underlying issue.

Female dogs can experience a syndrome called hormone-responsive urinary incontinence.

Hormone-responsive urinary incontinence typically manifests as urine dribbling, which can mean a dog peeing on the bed.

When thinking of why your female dog wets the bed in her sleep? A common misconception among dog owners is that when their dog wets the bed while sleeping, it’s usually a dog that has not been completely house-broken or trained.

In reality, when you see a dog wet the bed, it is almost always a physical problem or medical disorder rather than a potty training problem.

While a weak bladder by itself is not deadly, when paired with something like diabetes or kidney disease, it can result in death if left unaddressed. So for the avoidance of doubt, if your dog starts showing signs of urinary incontinence, skip searching for new dog training courses and book a quick visit to your vet to check if there are any underlying medical issues to be worried about.

Such a medical issue can include but are not restricted to:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Neuter or spay
  • Spinal cord disease 
  • Diabetes 
  • Kidney disease

The one exception is dogs that are closed into a crate to sleep who wake up needing to urinate and cannot get away from the resulting puddle.

Female dog leaking urine

The commonest condition that causes incontinence in dogs is called ‘spay incontinence’.

It is aptly named because it makes female dogs leak urine after spaying. The older female dogs and the length of time since she was spayed, determine how much at risk she is of having spay incontinence.

It may start with you noticing a little wet spot. Then you notice a trickle or that your dog leaves an odourless wet spot. Shortly afterwards, you notice your dog is can’t hold urine overnight and leaves a wet bed after a nap. Unless you have one of the better waterproof beds on the market.

Leaking urine during rest or sleep is not your dog’s fault. There is value in spaying your female dog, but giving up their ovaries means the sphincter muscle in the bladder can be left just weak enough to relax and release urine.

Removing the ovaries during Spay surgery also result in decreased oestrogen levels. Leading to your female dog dribbling urine when relaxed. It may also happen any time they drift off. The result is a telltale wet spot on their bed. 

Some female dogs also have a congenital condition where the bladder is tipped the opposite way to normal. As this condition leaves female dogs at a much higher risk of urinary tract infections, a vet is usually best placed to diagnose and treat your dog.

Hormone-responsive urinary incontinence in female dogs

Once you realise that your female dogs have issues controlling her bladder while asleep, it is important you begin monitoring any other unusual urinary habits.

Fortunately, hormone-responsive urinary incontinence in female dogs can be treated with an effective and relatively safe medication called Phenylpropanolamine (PPA).

Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) is the initial treatment of choice to resolve urinary incontinence in female dogs.

Some dogs require daily treatment with medicine. Others need only intermittent treatment. You will have to consult your veterinarian and experiment with the medication to identify the best course of action.

Virtually all affected dogs have some improvement incontinence after treatment with Phenylpropanolamine (PPA). Often, the largest dose is prescribed for the night to control incontinence while the dog is sleeping.

Speaking to your veterinary doctor should be your first port of call, and then if she gets a clean bill of health, then consider alternative options.

Other causes of sudden urinary incontinence

There are a number of other reasons for urine leakage that your vet will consider before reaching the diagnosis of involuntary urinary incontinence including: 

  • Overflow incontinence – This is where the bladder is so full that the normal stop valve mechanisms cannot prevent leakage.
  • Urge incontinence – Here your vet will consider if urinary tract infection/irritation, inflammation of the bladder, prostate or vagina, and masses (growths) are stimulating the increased frequency of urination. In some instances, this can be confused with involuntary urinary incontinence.
  • Increased water intake (polydipsia) will usually be related to increased urination and this can appear to be similar to incontinence. Conditions that result in increased thirst will need to be ruled out during the investigation of incontinence.