Many people seem to be wondering whether incontinence is a valid reason for dog owners to euthanize their dogs.
So, is incontinence a reason to euthanize a dog?
Unfortunately, incontinence is one of the major reasons why dog owners euthanize their dogs. However, the majority of the time, the causes of incontinence in dogs and older dogs are not severe and life-threatening. Thus, the dog should not be euthanized.
If you are interested in learning more about incontinence in dogs, its cause, and are seeking information regarding how you can treat and manage it in dogs, then make sure that you continue reading this post.
Is incontinence a reason to euthanize a dog?
Before we dive deeper into why many people chose to euthanize their dogs due to their incontinence, and why that should not be the case, let us first address the elephant in the room and talk about what incontinence in dogs is, why does it mostly occur to senior dogs, and what causes it.
What does incontinence in dogs mean?
Incontinence could be either urinary incontinence or fecal incontinence.
- Urinary incontinence: Is the involuntary loss of urine
- Fecal incontinence: Is the involuntary loss of control over the bowel movements
Urinary incontinence in dogs is basically the involuntary loss of control over urination. Incontinence typically afflicts middle-aged dogs and older neutered females. However, but it can also affect intact females and male dogs.
Dog incontinence can occur as a result of multiple reasons. Luckily, in most cases, a veterinarian is capable of easily finding a soluting for this medical issue.
However, if a dog’s incontinence is left untreated, the incontinence will continue to worsen with time. We will talk about signs later on in this post, but till then, know that one of the first signs is finding a small wet patch on your pooch’s bedding after a goodnight’s sleep.
This small wet patch could evolve to more frequent leaking of urine on whatever your furry friend sits or lies on. It might also make your dog have urine scalding on their skin, which is irritating for them.
Incontinence in old dogs
Incontinence in dogs often starts as the animal enters middle age. This also includes loss of control over the bowels as well. This means that the answer to “Do older dogs lose control of their bowels?” is yes.
Involuntary loss of control over the bowel movements is called fecal incontinence, which we have just briefly mentioned.
What are the causes of incontinence in dogs?
- There is a hormonal imbalance
- The dog has a UTI; aka, a urinary tract infection
- The dog has urinary stones
- The dog has a weak bladder sphincter
- The dog is suffering from other diseases that cause them to consume water excessively. Conditions that cause this include hyperadrenocorticism, diabetes, and kidney disease.
- The dog’s spine is injured
- The dog has a degenerative spine condition, which is often seen in German Shepherds
- The dog has a protruding intervertebral disc
- The dog is suffering from and an anatomic disorder
- The dog suffers from a prostate disorder
- The dog has congenital abnormalities
- Certain medications that the dog is taking could be a cause of incontinence in dogs as well
Is incontinence a reason to euthanize a dog down?
Unfortunately, incontinence is one of the major reasons why dog owners euthanize their dogs. However, the majority of the time, the causes of incontinence in dogs and older dogs are not severe and life-threatening.
For example, the cause of incontinence in dogs most of the time is often related to spinal issues, which are usually not life-threatening. Thus, a dog should not be euthanized just because their presence is no longer convenient.
It is also important to note that sometimes, the cause of incontinence in older dogs and dogs, in general, could be something that is more serious.
I just find it mind-boggling how dog owners forget that we humans sometimes experience the same thing when we become older. When that happens, family and friends do not just abandon us ( at least, that is not what good family members and friends do).
So why are we okay with euthanizing our four-legged best friends for our convince when this is not even strongly affecting a dog’s quality of life?
These loyal creatures have been there for us, so why not work a bit harder to treat and manage their incontinence as long as they still have a decent quality of life?
What are the symptoms of incontinence in dogs?
The main symptom of incontinence in dogs is the most obvious one, which is the dog’s inability to control their urination.
If you notice that they leak a bit of urine in unusual places, like where they sit or lay down, or if you see a trail of wet spots left behind wherever they walk, then this means that your pooch is struggling when it comes to controlling their urination.
This dripping of urine could also cause your pooch’s skin to become irritated and turn red. If you notice that your dog is excessively licking their private areas, whether it is their penis or their vulva, then that is yet another sign that they might be incontinent.
Symptoms and Signs of incontinence in dogs
- You will notice the dog’s legs are damp, especially if they belong to one of the long-haired breeds.
- You will notice scalding on the skin in the areas where your pooch has been in constant contact with their urine.
- You will notice that your four-legged best friend is often licking their private areas and their back end more frequently than usual.
- You will notice the odor of your dog’s urine on them as well as their bedding.
- You will notice wet patches on your dog’s bed and on places where they sit.
What should I do if I believe that my dog is incontinent?
Once you notice that your dog is incontinent, you should book an appointment with the veterinarian. The veterinarian will be able to help you treat and manage your dog’s condition and help to improve your dog’s symptoms.
However, it is crucial to take your dog to the vet once you notice the signs and symptoms to avoid further complications.
The veterinarian will try to determine the cause of this lack of urinary control. To figure this out, the veterinarian will take into consideration the following factors:
- What was the dog’s age when the incontinence started?
- At what time during the day does the incontinence typically occur?
- How frequently your dog urinates?
- Does your dog experience pain when they urinate?
- At which age was your female dog was spayed? (if applicable of course)
- If your dog is capable of urinating normally?
- What is your dog’s history of surgeries or other illnesses?
- How much water does your dog drink daily?
- Are there any signs of nervous system problems?
- Does your dog take any diuretics, anticonvulsants, diuretics, prednisone, or any other medications that can dilute their urine?
The veterinarian might also take a urine sample to check if there is an infection. They might also do a blood test to see if there is an underlying disease causing this like Kidney damage, for example.
Sometimes, veterinarians will also take X-rays or even perform an ultrasound to rule out urinary tract issues.
What are some medications for incontinence in dogs?
As with any disease, the treatment for your dog’s incontinence is going to depend on what is causing this issue. Sometimes, medication can aid in effectively managing incontinence as well as preventing daily accidents.
Some dogs are put on hormonal therapy, while others take phenylpropanolamine to control the flow of the urine. This drug works by strengthing the urethral sphincter. Sometimes, surgical intervention is required if medications are not sufficient on their own.
Incontinence causes where surgical intervention is recommended include the following:
- Incontinence due to a congenital abnormality
- Incontinence due to bladder stones.
- Incontinence due to a protruding disc
A newer therapy for incontinence that seems to have promising results is collagen injections.
How to manage incontinence in older dogs?
Here are a few things that you could to mage your senior dog’s incontinence:
- Make sure that you are continually monitoring your dog’s condition to prevent infection.
- Remember to take your furry friend on walks more frequently; when they wake up in the morning and after they wake up from a nap.
- Always pile a few clean blankets as well as towels in your pooch’s favorite sleeping area.
- You can also use and place waterproof pads beneath their bedding to absorb the moisture.
- Consider getting and using doggie diapers.
- Always make sure that they are dry and clean to prevent your dog from developing related skin infections.
Are certain dogs prone to urinary incontinence?
It turns out that incontinence is kind of related to a dog’s size and breed. Urinary incontinence could indeed affect any dog breed, but certain breeds are more prone to developing urinary incontinence.
A few of the dog breeds who are more prone to having urinary incontinence include the following:
- The Old English Sheepdogs
- The Dobermans
- The Cocker Spaniels
Do dogs lose bladder control as they age?
Yes, urinary incontinence in dogs typically affects middle-aged dogs, It can also affect old female dogs who are neutered. However, it can affect both intact females as well as males.
That’s it for today’s post. You should now be aware that many dogs, unfortunately, are euthanized due to their incontinence.
However, the majority of the incontinence causes are not life-threatening, and they can be treated and managed.