Phenylpropanolamine for Dogs

Phenylpropanolamine for dogs is a drug that is used to control urinary incontinence, usually in female dogs. Despite some controversy in the non-veterinary world, this drug remains on the market for limited use with qualified veterinary establishments. It has been shown to be relatively safe for use in dogs and seems to work quite effectively at controlling incontinence caused by many different factors, including aging, obesity, hormonal imbalance or a poorly performed spaying procedure.

How It Works

Phenylpropanolamine for dogs works by stimulating certain processes within the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for controlling certain functions of the body that respond to impromptu events, such as stress. It's better known as the 'fight or flight' system. Phenylpropanolamine has been used to control many different symptoms related to this portion of the nervous system, but seems to be the best fit for controlling urine leakage and seepage in female dogs. This drug actually may increase the strength of a weakened sphincter muscle, which will reduce the effects of incontinence.

The Controversy

In the past, phenylpropanolamine was one of the ingredients contained in some over-the-counter diet drugs and decongestants. It has now been limited by the FDA for use only with pets. This drug was found to cause strokes in women and other dangerous side effects, and it was also a substance that became commonly abused by illegal drug users and manufacturers. Research suggests that any symptoms commonly reported in people are not of significant risk for dogs or cats. For this reason, phenylpropanolamine for dogs has been deemed one of the safest medications for treating incontinence and is commonly used for this purpose.

Side Effects

Though phenylpropanolamine for dogs is relatively safe, there still are some side effects that you may want to consider before making a final decision on whether to administer this drug to your pet. Because this is a stimulant, you may notice an elevated heart rate, blood pressure and/or restlessness. Changes to appetite may become an issue and if significant weight loss occurs, to below normal healthy weight, you should consider discontinuing use of the drug or researching dietary changes. Due to the potential for these side effects, this drug should be avoided by dogs that have heart or cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, glaucoma, thyroid problems or diabetes.

Other Notes and Considerations

Phenylpropanolamine for dogs does not work overnight. You should expect to give several days worth of doses before you see any improvement in your dog's condition. Be sure to investigate the actual cause of incontinence in your dog before relying on a drug such as phenylpropanolamine to suppress symptoms. Kidney disease and bladder infection are two causes of incontinence that will likely worsen progressively. These types of problems should be treated differently. Resistance and tolerance to phenylpropanolamine may arise with chronic and long-term use of the drug. You may wish to seek out several possible solutions to your dog's problem and alternate treatments.