Older dog not holding urine

alisandeFebruary 12, 2005

Angel, my briard mix, just turned 12. I took her to the vet this week and told him she's been having trouble holding her urine until we get outside, or until I get home. We've had some floods inside the front door. I've been spoiled, because she's always had exceptional bladder control. I work outside the home three days a week and am gone a minimum of nine hours, with some longer stretches. He told me that he could medicate her for the problem, but since the meds have side effects he was reluctant to do that at this point. That was fine with me, as I've read that similar drugs for humans cause dry eyes, dry mouth, and sleepiness, and I didn't want to do that to Angel.

Now I find she's been peeing in her bed. I removed and discarded the stuffing, washed the cover, and put it back with plastic underneath to protect the floor. I was supposed to take delivery of new living room furniture soon (the room is presently empty), but I'm reluctant to do that with Angel presenting this problem. She always loved getting up on the sofa. I'm also concerned about her feelings: She must know she's peeing in the house, and it must bother her.

Have any of you been through this with your older dog? It is time to consider the meds? Anything else I can do?

Thank you!


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Were any tests run to see what's causing it?

That would be my first step.

I just hate it when doctors/vets/relatives assume that, because someone/something is aging, any awful, embarrassing, uncomfortable disorder is just an age-related burden to be endured & that'll be $100 please & by the way don't wet on my exam table.

My inner malcontent just slipped out.

Best luck.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2005 at 6:18PM
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I agree with sylvia. Ask your vet for a referral to a specialist and try to find the problem. There are many ailments that cause dogs to drink excessive water and then not be able to 'hold it'.
I've owned several very old dogs and never had one become incontinent because of age alone.
In the meantime, try the doggie diapers..............for her peace of mind and yours.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2005 at 6:56PM
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We had a similar experience with an older dog. Turned out she had a UTI. Later, the "leaks" became more frequent and more intermittant; many on her bed. She was just OLD.

We had her put down shortly thereafter.

Start with testing for a UTI, and maybe having someone come and take her out during the time you're gone would help eliminate the problem. Since the puddles are near the door my guess is that she's all too aware that she needs to get outside but can't. On her bed indicates to me she is not fully aware of the necessity to "go out".

It's tough to watch them "slide". I know.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2005 at 7:26PM
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You could buy a hammock type dog bed for Angel. The urine would wick through and you put puppy pads underneath the bed. I am sure it would remind her of furniture. They are made of pvc piping and you use outdoor fabric to make the sling or hammock. It will keep her dry and it is very comfortable for dogs. You can buy them ready made. I have seen them on ebay and if you do a google search, you will find several sites that sell them. My dog had kidney failure, which we treated for over two years. Did the diapers, had constant wetting going on. Had to wash her flanks so her skin would not get sore, as she would urinate in her sleep and lay in it. Did not find out about the beds in time to get one to make her more comfortable.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2005 at 8:01PM
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I'd put her on the medication and then see what (if any) side effects she has. My 5 yr old spayed GSD started dribbling and wetting her bed while she slept. My vet prescribed DES (not sure what that stands for but your vet will know)1mg capsules. I had to give her 2 pills a day for 3 days, then 1 pill weekly thereafter. It's cleared up her accidents, she doesn't seem to be suffering any side effects, and the medication is inexpensive. $20 for 30 capsules (remember, she only takes 1 capsule per week) Worth it!! Good luck, Cory

    Bookmark   February 12, 2005 at 10:32PM
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Same as Cory. It was some kind of hormone pill. Common problem for spayed females. Murphy wet my bed twice and a Rottweiler can pee a lake. Luckily it was a simple cure.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 2:49PM
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Make sure your vet checks for diabetes! Frequent urination combined with excessive thirst are often symptoms for this disease. Is your dog overweight? Diabetes can be treated through careful diet and/or daily insulin injections. We lost our old lab to diabetes last summer, after two years.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 3:51PM
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Thanks, everyone, for your good and thoughtful advice. Angel isn't overweight, nor has she lost weight. I suspect she has some sort of bladder infection. Tonight I noticed that she squatted numerous times, one after the other. I was thinking she looks like how I feel when I have cystitis. I'll call the vet tomorrow.

Yes, it's very tough to watch them slide. I lost two dogs and three cats last year, all but one due to old age. There was a time when I thought it surely must get easier, but it absolutely doesn't.

Thanks again,


    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 9:10PM
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If it were only dribbling there are little pants in which you can put a pad or half a sanitary napkin. I made some for one of our dogs before she was fixed. But your problem sounds bigger like an infection. Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 7:38PM
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She could have kidney stones or diabetes. Or she could be in the early stages of kidney failure. We're going through that with our 14 yr Pomeranian mix. She squats forever and then dribbles. She's also going in her sleep. We ended up buying a mesh playpen and lining it with thick towels. She's sleeping at the foot of the bed and actually begs to be placed in it when she it's her bedtime. But since she's not drinking excessive amounts of water and she's not losing weight I imagine it's a temporary ailment that can be easily treated. Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 7:51AM
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Our 11 year old schnauzer started having problems as you describe, not making it outside sometimes and also peeing in her bed in her sleep. I asked my vet and he put her on the meds. it has been a lifesaver! She does not appear to have any of the side affects, still is very active, know one believes that she is 11 when they see her. It has definately worked for her and for us, so I couldn't be happier. She has been taking them about 3 mos. now. Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 9:23AM
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hmmm my poodle sometimes wets the bed at night and doesn't even know it. My answer has been to keep her on an all soy diet since her problem seems to relate to low estrogen. It isn't working as well as it did. Maybe it is time for the DES which I assume (and forgive my spelling) is Diethylstilbestrol - the stuff that women used to take to prevent miscarriage but turned out to cause cancer and fertility problems in their daughters.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 10:59PM
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Has your vet done an ultrasound of your dog's bladder? DS's little dog started doing the same thing and they found a large calcium deposit in the bladder. It was so large they didn't have to worry about it getting into the urinary tract but they decided to have it removed with a laparoscope. He also had a small amount of blood in his urine........maybe due to irritation.
Anyway, he hasn't had an accident since the surgery.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2005 at 12:44AM
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My 13old german shepard chow chow mix is not holding her urine
for the hours Iam not home? Could it be UTI? Very worried?
She doesn't seem to be an any pain. Acting very normal.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 8:40PM
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Sheryl, definitely have a vet check her out. Angel's problem was a bladder infection, and antibiotics cleared it up. She's still doing well, although now that she's 14 she needs an extra walk at midday. I'm glad I'm not working outside the home now. She can't "hold it" quite as well as she used to, so I have to be alert to her signals that she has to go out. And I make sure I don't oversleep in the morning.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 9:20PM
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I think nine hours without being walked is much too long, regardless of how impressive you think her bladder-holding abilities have been in the past. Older dogs - in my experience - need to go out more often. My 12 year old pitmix needs to go out every 5 hours and immediately upon rising in the a.m. She's part Dalmatian and has been on a simple drug for most of her life to control leaking. Now she simply can't hold it (like me!). Once you rule out UTI, ask your vet about this drug, which is basically Dexitrim.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 5:37PM
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So reading all this has been insightful...however, my problem is this....

My dog is 11 yr old boxer/greyhound mix. She has been peeing in the house recently when my b/f gets home from work. But its like as soon as he gets to the front door she is going. BUT if I get home before him, it doesnt happen. She lets me come in the house, put my stuff down and get her on a leash.

I want to say it has something to do with him but I'm not sure what. She doesnt do it when I'm around or when I'm first to come home.

She loves him to pieces. She will protect him over me (and she's been mine since she was a baby.) He's not "new" to her, he's been around her since July 2010.

I dont understand.....

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 10:44AM
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Erica - you should really start a separate thread, as this is a new and different topic. Sounds like submissive OR excitement urination. Your friend should enter the house very quietly when he gets home, and be very low key - ignore her. Just leash her up (scooch down to attach the leash, don't lean over her) and walk her outside the house without a word. Very low key side to side greeting, no eye contact, no excitement.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 10:55AM
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spedigrees z4VT

Expecting any dog, much less an older dog, to go 9 hours without a potty break is cruel. Can you hire a dog walker to come take her out after you've been gone for 4 hours? Perhaps she could stay at a doggie daycare during your working hours? Or maybe a doggie door opening into a fenced yard would solve the problem.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 11:17AM
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Spedigrees, this thread is six years old. Angel died at the age of 16 in 2009. You might check the date of a post before you jump in and make pronouncements about cruelty. Ditto Ihatepaypal.

Yes, when I could afford to stay at home and take care of my children and our companion animals, life was easier for everyone. But I'm sure I'm not the only person who went to work because she had to, and spent eight hours there, plus a commute, and couldn't afford to hire a dog sitter. And I'm equally certain my dogs, rescues all, still loved their home, even if necessity made them "hold it" longer than we would have liked.

PS: As I wrote in my 2007 post above, I quit the full-day job. Actually, I quit in 2005.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 11:46AM
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spedigrees z4VT

I am sorry that you lost Angel, alisande, and also my apologies for not noting the date on your post. I am sure your dog loved her home and don't doubt that you cared for her and treated her well in all other respects.

However I stand by my statement that it is cruel to confine any animal for more than 4 hours without provisions for relieving himself. I am not condemning you for having to work long hours to provide for your family; rather I offered several constructive suggestions to provide a pet with potty facilities when an owner must be gone for long hours.

I would add another suggestion of confining the pet to a room with linoleum or tile flooring and providing pee pads.

Perhaps other readers might find these alternatives to making a pet 'hold it' for long hours helpful, and another confined pet might benefit. 'Holding it' for long periods of time is unhealthy as well as psychologically upsetting to a housetrained dog.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 1:27PM
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Thank you, Spedigree. I appreciate your response.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 1:39PM
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My black Lab is having urine problems. She seems to be leaking all the time. When she lays down and then when she gets back up there is a wet spot. We have her some blankets and we keep her several places to lay down in the house. She is not losing weight but she does drink alot. Other than the urine leakage she seems to be fine. She still swims in our lake and runs and plays. Do you think she may have a UTI or a medical problem??? I am worried about her. Please e-mail me if you have any sugestions. Thank You and God Bless! garner35128@yahoo.com

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 1:58AM
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Krystal how old is your lab? I had an old female with this problem and mostly it happened when she fell asleep. does this sound familiar? is she an old dog?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 12:26AM
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Our Lulu has always been able to go all day without peeing. In fact, some days we made her go out at noon for the first time.
Now, at 14 she is having the strangest accidents, always in the early evening, less than an hour after she's come inside from being out. She'll run (down the stairs to us, or toward the door) sometimes letting out a yelp and leaking all the way. It's like it bursts out of her. The first two accidents were almost a year apart and now they're getting closer together. The first time, the vet checked her for an infection and it was negative. No one has been able to figure this out and we've asked three vets.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 9:53AM
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Have they run more tests or done an ultrasound?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 11:29AM
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I think you should consult a vet. Because there might be some other ailments which is causing this problems so it is better to take your Angel to vet and take very good care of her.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2015 at 4:52AM
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