By Dr. Andrew Jones
Urinary incontinence (leaking urine) is surprisingly common in many dogs. In spite of what you may think, most cases of urinary incontinence can be resolved with some fairly simple treatments. In this article I will discuss the common signs and symptoms of dogs being incontinent, then cover the most important natural remedies that can be used to treat your dog’s leaking bladder at home.
The first thing to do is ascertain that it really is incontinence, and not a bladder infection or submissive urination. Incontinence is defined as involuntary urine leakage, and this often occurs at night when your dog is relaxed or sleeping. Dogs with diabetes or kidney failure may drink excessively, and then be unable to go through the night without urinating in the house. The most common occurrence is in middle-aged spayed female dogs. They have lost a source of estrogen that is needed to maintain bladder control. Other less common causes include bladder infections, and spinal cord damage.
As there can be several causes, you should first visit your veterinarian to determine the most likely cause. They can perform a physical exam, a urinalysis to check for presence of infection, and blood work to check organ function. If it is determined that estrogen responsive incontinence is the likely diagnosis, then your veterinarian may suggest using estrogen medication.
Some glandular supplements can help your spayed female dog produce more natural estrogen. These are generally known as raw gland concentrates. One product available at health food stores is called ‘Female Caps‘ (Solaray). The dose is 1/4 capsule per 10 lbs of body weight daily. This can be tried for 30 days to see if it will be effective.
Naturally increasing estrogen is a smart and simple thing to do. Ground flax seed is a great source of plant estrogens – the dose is 1 teaspoon per cup of food daily. Soy isoflavones are another good source of estrogen. These can be purchased as an extract under the brand name Genista. The dose is 1/4 capsule per 10 lbs of body weight daily. Use for 30 days to see if they are effective.
Back injuries sometimes put pressure on the nerves that control the bladder. Hold your thumb and index finger and locate the dip between the vertebrae on either side of your pet’s backbone. Press straight down for two seconds then release. Start at the middle of the spine and go to the tail. This helps move the spine, keeping it flexible and may release any excess pressure on the nerves.
There are acupressure points that control the bladder as well as influencing the adrenal glands. BL1, located on the inside of the eye; BL13, BL14, BL15, located along the spine at the level of the front shoulder; BL67, located on the outside of the lateral toe on the rear foot; SP6, located on the inside of the back leg above the hock; SP10, located just above the knee. Put pressure on each of the points for 1 minute twice daily for 2 weeks. If this appears to be helping regain control, repeat the pressure once per week.
If your dog is incontinent, take comfort in knowing that this can likely be easily remedied. If you have a spayed female dog, the most likely cause is hormonal, with the diagnosis being estrogen responsive incontinence.
Heal Your Pet At Home!
Dr Andrew Jones, DVM
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