Common Dog Bladder Problems

Some dog bladder problems can be serious when not treated. Bladder problems in dogs can be the result of a number of conditions, including bladder stones and cancer. Here's what you should know about some of the most common bladder problems in dogs.

Infections As Major Cause of Bladder Problems

Urinary tract and bladder infections are among the most common causes of bladder problems in dogs. Bladder infections can occur when bacteria enter the bladder through the urethra. Female dogs are more prone to infections than male dogs.

Symptoms of bladder and urinary tract infections include increased need to urinate. If your formerly housebroken dog suddenly begins to urinate indoors again, this could be a sign of a bladder infection. Dogs with bladder infections may appear to be under strain when urinating.

Dogs with bladder infections may have blood in their urine and their urine may take on an unusually foul odor. Tenderness can occur in the abdomen and the dog may appear lethargic and fatigued.

Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is another common cause of dog bladder problems. Urinary incontinence isn't always a physical issue. Some puppies urinate when overexcited. Dogs who have suffered abuse may urinate as a sign of submissiveness.

Typically, medical urinary incontinence causes urine to leak constantly from the bladder. This happens because the muscles meant to hold urine inside the bladder weaken. These muscles can weaken as a result of hormonal imbalances, particularly in spayed female dogs, or as a result of nerve or spinal injury, diabetes, Cushing's disease, liver and kidney disease or infection.

The biggest symptom of urinary incontinence is that your formerly housebroken dog will urinate in the house. This can be a symptom, not only of incontinence, but of a serious medical condition affecting the bladder or urinary tract. Treating an underlying medical condition may help to resolve the incontinence.

Some incontinent dogs leak urine from their bladders constantly, or may leak urine when resting, because the muscles of the bladder have weakened and are allowing urine to leak out. Hormonal therapy can benefit some of these dogs. Other dogs may have to live with incontinence for the rest of their lives. You can cope by giving your incontinent dog a diaper.

Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is fairly rare in dogs, but when it does occur it can spread quickly throughout the entire urinary tract. It may also spread to other organs and body parts. Frequently, bladder cancer is a secondary cancer, having spread to the bladder from the lymph nodes or another organ.

Symptoms of bladder cancer include difficulty urinating and painful urination. Dogs with bladder cancer may have blood in their urine. Dogs may produce less urine, yet still feel the urge to urinate more frequently. Your dog may experience pain in the abdomen.

Bladder Stones

Bladder stones occur when minerals in your dog's urine form crystals, and then stones. Dogs with bladder stones may urinate frequently but produce less urine. They're prone to indoor accidents. They may appear as if they're straining to urinate and there may be blood in the urine.

Bladder stones can make your dog appear lethargic and depressed. He may lose his appetite.