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In a normal, healthy dog, urine is retained in the bladder and released through the urethra when your dog has to urinate. If your dog is lacking bladder control, he is said to have urinary incontinence, which can be common in senior pets, or as your pet ages.
What is Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the involuntary lack of control of urine generally when your dog is resting or sleeping.
Muscular tissue at the base of your dog’s bladder acts as a valve to prevent the bladder from leaking. Hormones also play a role in preventing the involuntary release of urine.
In female dogs, estrogen assists with this. In male dogs, testosterone assists in the prevention of involuntary urination. As your dog ages, the production of these hormones begins to decrease. If you have a dog which has been spayed or neutered, the hormones associated with this are already lower than the normal dog.
Urinary incontinence may be more common in spayed adult females than males just as it is more common in neutered dogs than dogs who have not been neutered. If old age is the cause, urinary incontinence is generally seen around nine to ten years of age. In males, the problem generally does not begin until ten years of age.
Dogs who suffer from urinary incontinence may also suffer from secondary conditions including urinary tract infections, for example, as it is easier for bacteria to enter the urethral canal when the muscle is weakened. You may need to consult a veterinarian so your dog can be prescribed antibiotics on occasion if your dog has urinary incontinence.
There are medications to assist in the prevention of urinary incontinence. Hormone supplements may also be prescribed to assist in the prevention of urinary incontinence.
Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.
1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.