Animal Chat

Urinary leakage and bed wetting doesn't have to happen. Learn more about this frustrating problem

Why does my dog leak urine?  The very definition of leakage is discouraging.


Leakage, noun, the accidental escape of fluid, gas, electricity or information. In reading the definition you can see that there is no good outcome to leakage, no matter what might be leaking. Nobody likes a leak, least of all a pet owner.


Urinary incontinence is a problem that many dog owners forget to mention when they bring their dog to the veterinarian. Owners often think that is just part of owning a dog or poor house training and simply clean up the mess and have no idea help is available.


Many dogs dribble some urine while sleeping. Urinary incontinence tends to affect spayed female dogs more than any other dog. Some studies have put the number of spayed female dogs that leak urine as high as 20%. The age a dog is spayed is a very important topic to discuss with us while your dog is a puppy. Females spayed before their first heat cycle can have more urinary incontinence problems than dogs spayed later. The flip side of that coin is that dogs that are spayed later can have higher incidences of certain types of cancer. Having the discussion about the optimal age for spaying is extremely important so the best choice can be made for each, individual dog.


The first step in addressing the problem is a physical examination to look at the issue from all angles. Urinary tract infections, hormone issues, bladder stones, anatomical abnormalities and metabolic disorders that cause increased water consumption can all play a part in causing incontinence.


With a list of probable causes that is fairly long it is a good idea to remember that sometimes the first attempt to fix the problem may not work. Solving urinary incontinence is not straightforward. Many times, several diagnostic steps, including blood work, ultrasound exam, and contrast x-rays are needed to find the cause of the problem and suggest a direction for treatment.


Many times it can be poor muscle tone in the urinary tract that leads to leakage. There are medications to address this problem and this course of treatment can often be successful. It can be frustrating if the medication doesn't work but for some dogs surgical options can return the dog to continence.


Bed wetting is not something you have to live with. There are options, that with time and patience, can address the problem. The first step is to let your veterinarian know there is a problem. Once that step is taken leakage problems can have a good outcome.