Urinary incontinence in dogs is basically described as involuntary or unintentional urine leakage. It can often be as a result of different medical conditions and is sometimes referred to as spay incontinence in female dogs.
In middle-aged and elderly spayed female dogs, hormone-based urinary incontinence is often identified as a problem. This is despite the fact that hormone-based urinary incontinence can rear its head many months to years after a female dog has been spayed.
What often happens is your female dog urinates without issue during the day, but leaks urine while sleeping or resting.
Very often, female dogs are unaware that they are leaking urine. This is usually obvious from the surprise on their faces when told off for peeing indoors.
Senior Female Dogs and Spay Incontinence
Due to the different age, size and breeds of dogs, urinary incontinence can set in at varying stages of their lives. For instance, a 10-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier would be considered middle-aged. On the other hand, a small English Cocker Spaniel of the same age will be considered a young dog.
Female dogs that have had spay incontinence surgery, urinary incontinence is often due to a lack of estrogen.
Among spayed female dogs, medical research shows that changes in oestrogen levels often lead to changes in the urinary sphincter mechanism at the level of the smooth muscle in the urethra. This muscle works as part of the involuntary nervous system.
As a result, there’s no amount of house training that can suddenly cure an incontinent sleeping dog of its urine dribbling.
Alternatives to Spay Incontinence Surgery
A number of alternative options exist for dog parents not keen on their female dog having spay incontinence surgery.
Dog Pee Pads
The cheapest short-term option is to buy some dog pee pads. These can usually be washed and placed in a specific corner of the house.
As this post shows, dog pee pads are often made from organic material and can be washed and reused without having to worry about the effects of anaesthetics on your dog and its ability to properly heal from surgery.
A decent straight forward choice when deciding on a large dog pee pad is to opt for these large dog pads from Petology.
Natural Herbal Remedies
There are a number of decent herbal remedies that have been seen to work well on urinary incontinence in female dogs. These herbal supplements for dogs often contain a superior blend for bladder and urinary tract support dogs.
This Animal Essentials Tonic has worked miracles on dogs around the world and online reviews have consistently been positive.
Another decent herbal remedy for healthy bladder support in female dogs is the vet-approved NHV Tripsy. It is an all-natural herbal supplement that supports your dogs’ urinary tract health.
The NHV Tripsy is a great option to have if you are looking to alleviate the painful symptoms of dog urinary tract infections, chronic renal failure and kidney stones.
Proin is a chewable formulation with the active compound of phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride (PPA).
Proin is one of the go-to medication choices for vets treating urinary incontinence. It works well in improving the strength of the Urethral sphincter in a female dog. Prior to prescribing Proin for treatment, our vet will often try to rule out other ailments that could cause random urine leaking like diabetes and any urinary tract infection.
Between 80 to 90 per cent of spayed female dogs with urinary incontinence respond positively to Proin.
In a margin of safety study, phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride (PPA) was administered to dogs twice daily at 1x, 3x or 5x the recommended dose (2 mg/kg) for 182 days.
This study demonstrated the safety of phenylpropanolamine administered to dogs at 2, 6 and 10 mg/kg twice daily for 6 months. The most pronounced effects of treatment were a dose-dependent increase in blood pressure and a dose-dependent decrease in heart rate.
Medical research aligns an increase in the hormone estrogens with a comparable increase in the resting muscle tone of the urethra in female dogs. This hormonal therapy treatment works by increasing the sensitivity of the closure receptors in the urethra.
As such some vets recommend hormonal therapy as a means of treating female dogs with urinary incontinence due to estrogen depletion.
Estriol (Incurin) is often used, as it is a new, natural estrogen therapy option. The most common side effects associated with Incurin treatment included a loss of appetite, vomiting, excessive water drinking and swollen vulva.
In some rare cases where a female dog’s urinary incontinence fails to respond to either estrogen or PPA alone, both therapies might be recommended for simultaneously.
Other Treatments for Urinary Incontinence?
The options listed above often work for most dogs with spay incontinence, but on the off chance that it fails or a dog experiences adverse side effects from the medications, there are other procedures that can be considered.
These procedures can include collagen or bulking injections around the urethral sphincter and certain bladder and urethral tacking surgeries.
While some of these therapies have proven successful, these techniques will not necessarily provide lifelong continence, and a combination of surgical and medical options are often used jointly for the best outcome