Dear Daisy Dog
Samantha, our mixed breed dog, is at least 10 years old. She has been leaking urine for a few months, and it’s getting worse. Is it time to put her to sleep?
No! As long as she is happy and comfortable, she can continue to be an important member of your family.
Older spayed female dogs commonly leak urine when they are resting because the smooth muscle surrounding the urethra loses its tone with age and relaxes when the dog is dozing.
This type of urinary incontinence is easily treated with phenylpropanolamine (PPA), a medication that strengthens the urinary sphincter muscle.
In rare cases when PPA isn’t effective, some veterinarians use the estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES), though long-term use of DES is associated with more side effects.
Dogs sometimes leak urine when they have bladder infections, so take a urine sample to your veterinarian to be sure Samantha is free of infection.
Another reason dogs leak urine is that they are drinking excessively and their bladders are overly full. If Samantha is drinking and urinating a lot, ask your veterinarian to do blood work and a urinalysis to rule out diabetes, kidney problems, elevated calcium and other metabolic diseases.
Urinary leakage in older female dogs is common and easily treated. I had the problem myself a few years ago, but I’ve been dry as a bone since treatment started. Please give your dog the same gift.