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Incontinence in Young Dogs | Causes and How to Deal With It

You would think that incontinence was a senior dog problem. But in fact, some young dogs suffer from incontinence. This could be caused by a variety of issues. If you believe your dog is incontinent, this article should help you understand why it may be happening and how to help your dog to deal with it. After learning about Dealing with Incontinence in Young Dogs you’ll be ready to take the next steps to help solve this unfortunate medical situation!

Incontinence in Young Dogs - young lab at vet

Dealing with Incontinence in Young Dogs


Incontinence in older dogs makes sense, since as they age their bladder muscles weaken.

But if your dog is young, you may be wondering how they could be suffering from incontinence already!

Actually, there are a number of simple reasons a young dog could become incontinent.

Illnesses and Injuries– One of the first things your vet will probably check for when you bring in a young dog for incontinence is illness.

Perhaps your dog has a disease that is making it difficult for it to control its bladder or that is messing with its hormone levels (which also help control the bladder).

A tumor may also be the cause.

After checking for general illnesses and kidney or bladder specific illnesses, your vet may consider injuries.

Even something as seemingly unrelated as a back injury could lead to loss of bladder control.

Deformity- Incontinence in young dogs may also be caused by a congenital deformity.

Your dog may look perfectly fine on the outside, but maybe something inside isn’t normal and hasn’t been that way since birth.

That deformity may have finally come to light in the form of incontinence.

Behavioral Issues- If your dog is mostly leaking when stressed, they possibly suffer from submissive urination.

This is a behavioral issue rather than a medical issue, and can be fixed with training.

Early Spaying or Neutering- Dogs should be spayed or neutered after they’re 8 weeks old (females should be spayed before their first heat cycle which usually occurs at 6 months old).

If for some reason they were spayed or neutered too young, this could have messed up their hormone levels.

Estrogen helps to strengthen female dogs’ bladder muscles, with testosterone doing the same thing in male dogs.

Spaying or neutering can cause hormonal deficiencies, which can then cause incontinence.


Regardless of the cause, there are several possible solutions for incontinence in young dogs.

Non-Hormonal Medicines– Phenylpropanolamine is a non-hormonal medication is that is often prescribed to treat incontinence in dogs of either gender.

It works by helping to strengthen your dog’s urethral sphincter.

Hormonal Replacement Therapy– Incontinence in young dogs may also be treated with an oral hormonal medication.

Hormonal replacement therapy may begin with daily doses that are reduced once the dog begins to respond to the treatment, often ending up at about one dose a week.

Surgery– If an injury or congenital issue is causing your dog’s incontinence, surgery may be able to fix the problem, or at least reduce the severity of the issue.

Doggy Diaper– If any of the other solutions do not work completely, your dog may need to wear a doggy diaper 24/7.

This may seem somewhat unfortunate, but it will provide you with peace of mind and will allow your dog to stop worrying about angering you when they do go inside the house.

Since the true causes of incontinence are nearly impossible to diagnose on your own, take your dog to the vet to find out the cause and begin discussing solutions.

Have you ever owned an incontinent pet?


Tuesday 26th of December 2023

I have a three year old, small mix breed. Chi, dachshund, boston terrier mix. Otherwise healthy but she can't control her bowel and I don't know why. She IS potty trained and will go when I take her outside and she stoops and all that, but sometimes, randomly, poop just starts falling out of her when shes on my lap or on the bed or walking.


Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Good to know, didn't know about this.


Sunday 5th of June 2016

I have had a dog that had problems with submissive urination when we first had her but as she became more comfortable it wasn't a problem thankfully.


Saturday 4th of June 2016

What an interesting post. I had no idea that this could occur in younger dogs but now I feel more informed, if I ever run into this!

Sara schwab

Saturday 4th of June 2016

This dog really cute

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