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This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

Old dogs, particularly bitches,  often leave a damp patch after they have been lying down - why, and what should you do ? 

Leakage of urine (or urinary incontinence) is quite a common problem for older dogs - especially bitches. The signs are :

  • There is a damp patch on bedding, or on the floor, after the dog has been lying down for some time
  • The hair around the external genital region becomes soiled with urine
  • Sometimes the skin around the genital area becomes sore and inflamed due to urine scalding
  • The dog may lick excessively at it's genital region
  • The dog and/or it's bedding smell strongly of urine
  • With incontinence the dog does not know that it is passing the urine, and urine leaks when it is relaxed or occasionally urine can leak during normal activity. If a dog does know what is happening, it will deliberately  urinate in unfamiliar places - but urine will not necessarily leak where the dog lies down.

What causes urine leakage ?

  • One of the most common causes in bitches is urinary tract infection (or cystitis)
  • Loss of control of the bladder - due to problems within the bladder neck 
  • Loss of control of the bladder - due to diseases of the spine
  • Sometimes excessive urine production and leakage is associated with other disorders which increase urine production - such as kidney failure or diabetes mellitus.

What should you do if your dog leaks urine ?

  • Do not assume it is just "old age"
  • Take your dog to your veterinarian to have a full health check
  • In most cases your veterinarian will be able to put your dog on to treatment to reduce the problem.

What if you don't have your dog treated ?

  • The urine soiling can lead to scalding of the skin - with painful ulcerated skin lesions
  • Even if your pet does not have urinary tract infection initially - it can develop as a secondary complication.
  • Urine soiling can be anti-social and loss of control of urination  is one of the most common reasons for owners requesting euthanasia in older animals


Updated October 2013