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Incontinence in Senior Dogs | Causes and Solutions

Y’all know I have a sister, Sallie, that is gettin’ on up there in years. She is a big ole girl and gettin’ quite grey on the snout these days. But, that’s not all. She has started havin’ what my Lady calls incontinence in senior dogs.

Sallie is pushin’ on her 13th birthday and for a big dog that is gettin’ on up there in years! My Lady also says that incontinence is a common thing among older pups, especially females.

To make a long story short, Sallie takes medicine these days to help manage her incontinence and hasn’t had any problems since startin’ on it. It’s a good thing cause she was actin’ mighty embarrassed over it WOOF!

Let me get my Lady to tell ya ’bout some causes and solutions for incontinence in senior dogs!

Here’s what my Lady has to say about Incontinence in Senior Dogs

Old age incontinence isn’t just a people problem, it affects senior dogs, too!

Luckily, there are several different solutions that can help fix or reduce incontinence regardless of the cause.

To get a start on fixing this problem for your pet, you should read these tips about dealing with Incontinence in Senior Dogs!

Incontinence in Senior Dogs - Causes and Solutions

Dealing with Incontinence in Senior Dogs


While incontinence can affect dogs of any breed or gender, middle-aged or senior females tend to be affected most often.

Some breeds also seem predisposed to the issue, including Doberman pinschers, Old English sheepdogs, and cocker spaniels.

In any dog, incontinence can be caused by several different issues.

Bladder Muscle Weakness– When most dogs are young, their bladder muscles are appropriately strong.

These muscles are what work to keep the bladder sealed off until the dog is ready to go. But as a dog ages, these muscles get weakened, usually due to reduced hormone production.

As spayed and neutered dogs naturally have fewer hormones in their system, they may show signs of old-age incontinence earlier than intact dogs.

Injury or Illness– Illnesses and injuries can also cause incontinence in senior dogs. The problem may be as simple as a spinal injury or bladder stones, or as complex as kidney failure, a protruding disc, or the presence of a tumor.

Vet giving a brown dog a pill


Just as there are several possible causes behind incontinence in senior dogs, there are also several possible solutions!

Medication– If the vet determines your dog’s incontinence to be caused by hormonal issues, they may start them on hormonal replacement therapy, usually in the form of oral medication.

If they believe the issue can be solved without hormones, vets may prescribe the non-hormonal medicine phenylpropanolamine (Proin). This is what Sallie is taking and it is helping her.

In both cases, doses of the medication will need to be continued throughout the rest of your dog’s life to maintain effectiveness.

Surgery- Another way to fix incontinence in senior dogs is with surgery.

This is usually reserved for cases where there is an obstruction or injury that cannot be cured with medication.

In these cases, the problem may be completely fixed, or your dog may still have an occasional accident, but not as frequently as before.

Small white dog wearing a dog diaper

Diapers– If medication or surgery doesn’t fix your dog’s incontinence completely, you may have to keep them in dog diapers all day every day for the rest of their life.

While this isn’t ideal, it is a decent solution.

After a little while, your dog probably won’t even remember that they’re wearing a diaper! And you’ll be happy not having to worry about them accidentally going in the house.

Pee Pads – Another solution may be using pee pads. Place in their crate if they are leaky during the night and perhaps in an area, they can easily reach rather than waiting to be let out.

To figure out the cause and best solution to your senior dog‘s incontinence, consult your vet. They can figure out exactly what is causing your pet’s incontinence, and tell you the best way to deal with it!

Whatever the bottom line is – know that your senior pet cannot help it.

Do not punish or scold your pet! They are not doing it on purpose and it is something out of their control. Be understanding and patient in helping them find a solution or dealing with it.

Have you ever dealt with incontinence in a senior dog before?


What Causes Sleep Incontinence in Dogs and How to Manage It - Miss Molly Says

Sunday 24th of November 2019

[…] older animals are more prone to these sorts of injuries. And in female dogs – particularly middle-aged and older spayed females – hormonal imbalances trigger a weakening of the muscles used to control the bladder. So, […]


Sunday 9th of June 2019

You seemed to have missed the information on early spaying


Sunday 9th of June 2019

In the case of senior dogs, I am referring incontinence that sometimes comes with old age. This is the kind that happens to humans also. Incontinence does sometimes happen from early spaying but first appears in young dogs. You can read more about early incontinence here:

jill broder

Wednesday 14th of November 2018

great tips for newbies

Christine Gaskill

Friday 13th of January 2017

Is this equally effective on male and female? Wondering Cruz boys lift a leg and if diapers restrict that movement. Puppy potty training usage a thought...


Thursday 1st of September 2016

I have not had this problem in the past but I am glad to know that their are some workable solutions out there.

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