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Dealing With Incontinence in Dogs

dog incontinence
Incontinence in dogs

OK – Now we’re going to talk about something that nobody ever thinks about, until it happens to them.

In our case, it happened to our senior dog, Baylor.  I’m the cute one in the picture at the top of the site and she’s the old, I mean “mature” one.

Even though she didn’t like me much, I still liked her and it wasn’t much fun watching her deal with all these problems.  Plus… it meant the boss had to pay more attention to her than to me, which was not cool at all!

We’re going to cover all aspects of dog incontinence, including a bunch of stuff you probably haven’t thought about yet:

  • Why you should see the veterinarian
  • Managing incontinence in your home
  • Protecting your home
  • Keeping the dog clean
  • Dog diapers

Go to the Veterinarian

The first thing you should always do when you’re having problems with dog incontinence is to see your vet. Just like in people, there are a lot of different reasons your dog could become incontinent, and there are a lot of things the vet can do to make the situation better.

We eventually found a drug that completely solved the problem, but one of the big problems is that you have to live with the incontinence for a while, while you’re trying to find an answer.

In our case, Baylor literally started dripping urine, on a constant basis.  If she laid down on the floor for 30 minutes, there would be a large wet spot when she got up. The side of her back leg would also be all wet from the dripping.

We eventually got to the point of using dog diapers, but we couldn’t use those right away because we needed to find out how the various drugs were working.

We ended up with a pretty good plan to handle the dog incontinence issues, but it sure took us a while to get it all figured out.  Luckily, we finally found the right wonderful, awesome drugs that made the issue go away.

Keep in mind that the number of steps you have to take will depend upon your specific dog and how bad his/her incontinence issues are.  Our problem was pretty severe, so we tried everything.  Hopefully your situation isn’t as bad so you won’t need to do everything we got to do.

Find the Right Space for Your Dog

One of the first things you have to do when faced with dog incontinence problems is to identify a space for the dog to stay in. This can be really difficult, because when a senior dog is involved, both you and the dog are used to them being a full member of the family with complete freedom within the house.

I’m not sure if it’s harder for the human or for the dog to suddenly have limits on where they can go.

Depending on the extent of the incontinence problems in your dog, you may have to use a space that is closest to the door they use to go outside.

In our case, the work space for the boss is the dining room, which is right off of the patio so we used that space. Since it’s where the boss spent most of her time, Baylor was content to lay at her feet and being restricted didn’t seem to bother her much.

Don’t forget, it’s not just the daytime you have to consider.  You also have to limit where the dog can sleep to make sure your home is protected.

Using Trash Bags

If you decide that the best space for your incontinent dog is a carpeted area, trash bags are a must.  These can be used to line the area and protect the carpet.

Any kind of trash bags will work, but don’t just take them out of the box and put them on the floor. They will go a lot farther if you cut them open.

Just cut down the two sides of the bag, or cut open one side of the bag and the bottom of the bag, depending on what works best for the space you have to cover.

Then, make sure you overlap the bags a little when you put them on the floor. You definitely don’t want to miss a spot and not be aware of it.  Bad things would happen and your nose wouldn’t like it very much.

Blankets Help With Dog Incontinence

Of course, trash bags is just one layer of protection needed when dealing with dogs who are having incontinence problems.  You can’t just use trash bags alone to cover the area because they will get wet, sloppy and make the whole situation worse.

You will have to find some old blankets to put on top of the trash bags.

We went through the house and grabbed just about every blanket that wasn’t being used and stacked them up by the back door. You should also grab a generous supply of towels and wash cloths while you’re at it.

Every time the urine soaked blankets were picked up, they were put in the laundry basket and replaced with clean blankets. If you’re lucky, you will only have to do this once or twice a day.  The dog incontinence issue we got to deal with was pretty bad so we ended up doing laundry several times per day.

Important Tip:  It’s a bonus if you can stick to either light blankets/towels/etc or dark colored ones until they’re all dirty.  It’s a lot easier to keep the laundry rotation going if you can throw everything in together.

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In that article, we’ll talk more specifically about dealing with dog incontinence issues by keeping the dog clean and the use of dog diapers.  (Yes, they have dog diapers, yes they work, but there are some things you need to know first… and we’ll tell you about them).