Urinary incontinence is the uncontrollable leaking of urine. It is involuntary and usually occurs while the dog is resting or sleeping.
There is muscular tissue at the base of the bladder like a valve which the dog controls. Hormones strengthen the muscular tissue.
While urinary incontinence can occur in both male and female dogs, it is more prevalent in females that have been spayed. It also can occur in males that have been neutered and older animals. As the dog ages, hormone production decreases. In spayed and neutered dogs the sites of hormone production have been removed.
Urinary incontinence can cause other problems including a higher incidence of bladder infections. When urine remains on the skin for a length of time it causes irritation. Antibiotics can be given for infections and there are ointments available to treat irritations. Keeping the area clean and dry helps to minimize irritation.
There are two medications used to treat urinary incontinence, Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) and Diethylstilgesterol (DES). These are prescription medications and your vet will explain dosages. If the incontinence is due to lack of hormones, your dog will have to remain on the medication for life. There are also doggie diapers available in all sizes if the medication is not 100% effective.