Incontinence Support for Dogs

Incontinence support is available to help incontinence, a condition that may affect older dogs or dogs with a urinary tract defect. The dog cannot control elimination and urinates in inappropriate places.

Urinary Incontinence in Canines

Dogs have a bladder which stores the liquid until this is released into the urethra and eliminated outside the body. The urethra is supported by a few muscles that are controlled by sexual hormones.

The causes of incontinence include:

  • A reduction of hormones that control the urethra muscles (due to aging)
  • Tumors
  • A congenital defect in the urinary system
  • Trauma affecting the urinary system

Incontinence may also be due to the licking of the genital area or while the dog is sleeping, as the muscles are relaxed.

Neutered and senior dogs are more likely to suffer from incontinence, due to a hormonal deficiency.

Hormonal Supplementation

If the urinary incontinence is due to the lack of sufficient sexual hormones (estrogen for female dogs and testosterone for male dogs), a treatment with hormones is recommended.

The vet will prescribe a suitable amount of hormones for your pet. The hormones should be able to control the muscles of the urethra.

Side effects of hormonal supplementation may include:

  • Agitation and hyperactivity
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Acne
  • Weight gain due to an increased appetite
  • Fluid retention
  • Dark brown patches on the skin
  • Skin rashes
  • Fever

Hormonal Substitutes

To prevent the side effects of hormonal therapy, the vet may prescribe hormonal substitutes, which can control the muscles of the urinary tract.

In female dogs, the vet may prescribe a hormonal substitute known as diethylstilbestrol, which has the same functions as estrogen.

Medication Treatment

Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) is a medication that doesn’t contain hormones and can be effective in controlling incontinence in canines.

The drug may not be suitable for all dogs, so it shouldn’t be administered unless prescribed by the vet.

If the incontinence is due to a tumor, cyst or polyp located in the urinary tract, the vet may recommend a few drugs to eliminate these. Chemotherapy may be recommended for cancerous growths.


If the dog has a tumor or a cyst that affects the bladder or the urethra, causing inappropriate urination, the vet may decide to remove the tumor or cyst through surgery. The surgery may be risky, especially if the tumor is not conveniently located.

Once the tumor or cyst is removed, the dog should no longer display incontinence. However, in dogs with cancer, the tumor may return so the pet should be monitored and placed under chemotherapy, to control the development of cancerous cells.

Additional Incontinence Support

Dogs that have incontinence may wear absorbent pads or diapers until the problem is solved. These pads or diapers should be changed regularly to prevent the occurrence of skin rashes due to urine. The dog should also be bathed daily to prevent the gathering of bacteria that can cause urinary tract or bladder infections.