What is incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is passing urine when a dog doesn't mean to due to partial or total loss of bladder control.
Symptoms include leaking urine, typically during sleep or rest, while the dog is barking or during other activities that lead to increased pressure on the bladder. Pet owners may also notice the smell of urine and staining on the dog's bed or puddles on the floor. In some cases, a dog's coat may also smell of urine or ammonia and in extreme situations the skin around the vulva and the hind legs can become inflamed and ulcerated.
Incontinence may also impact on a dog's behaviour including deterioration of house training.
What causes incontinence?
There are a host of possible explanations. However one of the most common causes of incontinence is urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence (USMI). This conditioin is most often seen in spayed bitches due to a weakness of the muscle which helps retain urine. Certain breeds are particularly susceptible including Boxers, Dobermans, Rottweilers, Weimeraners, Giant Schnauzers, Springer Spaniels, Irish Setters, Rough Collies and Old English Sheepdogs.
If you think your dog is incontinent, contact your vet who will be able to give advice. In many cases effective medical treatment can be prescribed to resolve the problem.