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Incontinence In Dogs

By Tammy Gagne

Canine incontinence is a surprisingly common condition. If your dog seems to have lost the ability to control his bladder, schedule a vet appointment to rule out a medical cause. For example, incontinence is often a symptom of a urinary tract infection. Once you have ruled out a physical reason for the problem, you can then move on to dealing with it.

Some breeds, such as Cocker Spaniels, are simply excitable wetters. Virtually any cause of excitement—from an owner’s homecoming to the sound of a high-pitched human voice—can trigger unexpected urination for these animals. In other cases, incontinence can be caused by extreme submissiveness or even past abuse. Female dogs are more likely to suffer from incontinence, and it is especially common in older females. 

Owning a dog without bladder control can seem like a big problem at first, but this situation is actually highly manageable. Some dogs are only mildly incontinent, losing the ability to control their urine while they sleep, for instance. If your dog still has some bladder control, continue to offer him the ability to relieve himself outside. When you head back indoors, before bed, or when you must leave him at home alone, rely on the help of a diaper.


Just as diapers help human babies from soiling their environment, diapers can also help your incontinent dog from making a mess of your home. Wee-Wee® Disposable Diapers are great for incontinent dogs, as well as those in the early stages of house-training. Some owners also find them useful for unspayed female dogs when they come into season.


If your dog will be using diapers for an extended period of time, you may prefer a more stylish option. Wee-Wee® Diaper Garments offer a colorful design that is more aesthetically pleasing than plain white diapers. Even better, they are reusable. Just toss them into your washing machine for easy cleaning. Wee-Wee® Diaper Garment Pads make these reusable diapers highly absorbent. Simply throw away the disposable pad when wet and replace it with a new one when your dog is ready to wear the garment again.


If your dog is completely incontinent, it is important that you change his diaper regularly for both comfort and cleanliness. Check the diaper from time to time to see if your dog has emptied his bladder. Much like a parent, you will learn the times of day when your pet is most likely to be wet.

Also, like babies, dogs can develop diaper rash if their fur and skin are exposed to urine for long periods of time. Leaving a diaper on too long can also lead to urinary tract infections. You can reduce your dog’s chances of developing either problem by keeping him clean. A full bath isn’t necessary, but a daily sponge bath with a cleansing cloth can be helpful. Keeping your dog’s fur trimmed short is also a smart way to prevent rashes and infections. 

Four Paws®, Magic Coat®, and Wee-Wee® products are available at major pet stores everywhere in the U.S. Please check with your local retailer or our Where to Buy page for product availability near you.