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Dog Health

Incontinence & What It Means To Your Older Dog

Older dog

What happens when your dog loses the ability to control his bowel movements? What do you do when you realise that your well-trained life companion who has been potty trained for years all of a sudden starts urinating and defecating all over the house? Well instead of punishing your dog and making matters worse, you may want to look into the fact that he may have a condition known as incontinence.

Older dog

Incontinence is the inability to control urination and/or defecation. The same term is also used to describe the reduced control that is sometimes apparent in geriatric animals. The condition can be very upsetting to owners, as it warrants constant vigil to avoid clean ups. Many owners believe that the affected animal is either uncomfortable or in poor health. Some owners are repulsed and unable to cope with this type of problem.

Incontinent dogs should be carefully examined by a vet to determine whether the problem is due to old age (lack of sphincter control) or a condition that can be treated. Urinary incontinence could be caused by conditions of the bladder and urethra. A relatively common cause in older spayed female dogs is reduced oestrogen levels. This type of condition may respond well to hormone treatments.

Faecal incontinence has been associated with damaged anal sphincter muscles, which perhaps can be surgically repaired, or injuries to the lumbar or pelvic area, with results from a nerve damage. Nerve disorders usually are difficult to treat. Where loose stools associated with improper feeding are a part of the problem, dietary adjustments may be helpful.

Measures can be taken with some minor adjustments may make things easier for you and your dog in this situation.

For example, an 11 year old, spayed, female dog is healthy in all other respects, but had become incontinent for about 1 1/2 months. There are several things that a vet might do for the dog. With a diet change and medical treatment, the incontinence could be reduced to the point where specially designed pants would work acceptably. Other affected dogs have responded well to paper training or installation of a pet door.

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