I know it’s an unpleasant thing to talk about, but the fact of the matter is that dogs sometimes suffer from incontinence when sleeping. This is not the same as having an accident in the home when they should have requested a trip to the garden. Therefore, you should never admonish a pet dog for weeing at night time – they just can’t help it.
Like human incontinence, dogs suffer from incontinence for many different reasons. We will go into some of the most likely reasons that your dog has become incontinent shortly. In the meantime, read on to find out more about this important aspect of pet ownership, what the main signs are and what you can do about it.
What Are the Main Signs of Nocturnal Dog Incontinence?
To begin with, there are some tell-tale signs you might notice that indicate your pet has a weaker bladder than he or she used to. Even before your dog starts to wet themselves as they sleep, you might notice they are licking their genitalia repeatedly. Even if you don’t see this behaviour, then you could easily come across sores that result from it.
According to petcarrierverdict.com, a common sign that dogs may have a weak bladder is that they pace around a lot, especially before they settle down in their basket for the night. Another thing that might become apparent is that your dog wakes up earlier than usual and asks to be let out. If this happens repeatedly and your four-legged friend immediately urinates when in the garden, then it could be that you have a problem in store.
Of particular note are spayed dogs which tend to suffer from this problem more than those which are un-neutered. Although both male dogs and bitches suffer from nocturnal incontinence as they age, females will tend to develop it at slightly younger, from about eight years old. Finally, some deformities found in puppies can also lead to this problem developing before they reach maturity.
The Likely Causes of Nocturnal Incontinence
In my experience, old age is the most common reason for a dog to urinate in its sleep – they are very similar to humans in this regard. Breeds which are known for long lifespans tend to suffer the least with incontinence whereas those with shorter life expectancies may be more prone to it. That said, there are no hard and fast rules that govern this condition.
If your dog has been spayed or neutered, then this will impact on its normal hormone production. In turn, this can lead to some dogs developing weaker than usual sphincter muscles. These tighten to prevent urine from coming out but if your dog does not have this form of muscle control, then incontinence can be the result, especially when they are most relaxed during sleep.
Thirdly, like humans, dogs suffer from stress. If they are not settled during the day, then incontinence at night can be an unwanted result. Things like aggression at home, loud noises, another dog that is harassing them or a change in the ‘pack’ structure among family members may all result in little puddles being created at night.
Finally, some cancers can cause irritable bladders which may lead to the problem. Excessive drinking is another cause that may impact on your dog, too. Alternatively, some injuries, especially those to the spine, may cause incontinence to occur.
What Should You Do if Your Dog Is Incontinent at Night?
Don’t punish your dog if it has wet its bedding – it simply won’t understand why you are upset. I advise adding some additional bedding in case the problem comes back. Use something that is easy to clean!
Never limit access to water as this is bad for health. Instead, consult a vet to find out why your dog may be taking on more than usual amounts of fluid. Medications are available that can improve sphincter control and hormone levels.
Try to remove stress from your dog’s life. Reassure it and – what I think is the best thing of all – take it out for long walks. After all, that is one of the joys of dog ownership anyway!