Overactive Bladder in Dogs

Dogs with an overactive bladder, often referred to as urinary incontinence, tend to urinate more frequently than most other dogs do. The nature of an overactive bladder can range from very mild to extremely severe, but either way, it is a condition that requires treatment. Learning how to identify the symptoms of an overactive bladder in a dog can help dog owners to find a solution for their dog, as well as to cut down on unwanted messes in the house.

Causes of Overactive Bladder

An overactive bladder in a dog can have several causes. The most common cause for excessive and uncontrollable urination in dogs, however, is a urinary tract infection. This occurs when the good bacteria of the urinary tract becomes overwhelmed by bad bacteria and becomes too weak to completely eliminate it.

Muscle laxity can also occur and cause the symptoms of an overactive bladder. This is more common in females, particularly those that have been bred, because of laxity in the muscles of the pelvic floor. This type of overactive bladder in dogs sometimes occurs naturally as a part of the aging process when the overall state of the muscular system looses strength.

Another cause of an overactive bladder in a dog can be bladder stones. Bladder stones are actually crystallized mineral deposits that have been unable to be excreted from the urinary tract, often occurring as the result of overly concentrated urine.

The most severe cause of an overactive bladder in a dog is liver or kidney failure. When this happens, it is the liver or kidney’s inability to properly metabolize toxins in the body, leading to excessive fluid intake and excessive urination.

Signs and Symptoms of an Overactive Dog Bladder

Because the causes of an overactive bladder in a dog can range from mild to severe, it is important to be aware of the signs so that medical treatment can be sought. Any of the following signs may be indicative of an overactive bladder:

  • More frequent urination
  • Unusually urinating inside the home
  • Appearance that urine cannot be contained
  • Straining or painful urination

Diagnosis and Treatment of Dog Bladder Overactivity

Diagnosis of an overactive bladder is typically very easy to make from the symptoms alone. It is the true cause of symptoms that can sometimes be hard to nail down. The first diagnostic measure is usually a urinalysis, which will check for the presence of infection or blood in the urine. If infection is present, it can be successfully treated with an antibiotic regimen. If the urinalysis, however, reveals no cause for alarm, then blood testing may be the next procedure performed.

Blood tests will be checked to evaluate kidney function and liver enzymes. An abnormal reading in one of these categories may indicate liver or kidney failure, which requires immediate medical intervention.

If bladder stones are suspected, an ultrasound of the urinary tract may be ordered to help make a more definitive diagnosis. Bladder stones, however, can typically be treated with the use of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications as well.