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Senior Dog Losing Control of Bladder

by Eric
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

I'm experiencing some relatively new issues these days with my dog.

Last Friday, we celebrated 14 years together. He's always been able to hold his pee until I got back from work--at least 8-9 hours, even over 10 hours; though I have not charted it, I've noticed that in the past few months--from time to time, I'll arrive home with urine on the carpet near the front door. Recently, it's become seemingly more frequent, almost daily.

At first, these episodes seemed to be isolated, from time to time. But then he started to pee on the carpet daily. I have a steam cleaner, so it's been getting lots of use. I've been thinking that he's repeated the action because I can't get the 'enzyme' out and he simply goes back to it; along with the fact that he's getting older and just can't hold it like he did before.

His appetite has been consistent, loves to grab the scraps on the ground outside; and up until recently, he has continued to eat the high end dry dog food that I feed him. On eating, I noticed about a year ago that my dog--for a short time it seemed--that he would 'snub' his dry food; my vet recommended adding canned pumpkin for flavour, attributing that sometimes as dogs age they become picky with food, due to the change in their smelling senses, etc. The pumpkin worked so I continued for a time.

Recently, I noticed that he leaves a lot of leftover dry food in the bowl when I get home, though he still seems to be motivated to find stuff outside when we go out for a walk and he loves the limited amount of store bought treats that I give him, so I've been somewhat confused about his appetite. For incentive, I've recently started to pour juice from canned salmon over his food and it appears to help, but he still leaves some dry food in his bowl.

Regarding his drinking, for years I've provided him with a doggy ONE GALLON 'water cooler' that regularly dispenses fresh water for him. I estimate that I have to fill it once every 2-3 days--It's not like I have to change the water daily, but I was wondering as to what quantity of drinking is too much and needs concern.

On Friday, I took him out in the morning at 8:30am for a short walk to do his business: He peed a normal stream and did his

7pm: Arrived home to find puddle in the kitchen. Shortly after, I took him for an hour long walk

2:30am: Dog taps at my bed and I get ready to take him out.

Although he always appears confident that we're going out and waits---he proceeds to pee on the carpet near the door--RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, as I approach him to go out.

In all our years, I don't recall 'catching' him pee in the house more than a few times. As he pees this time, I tell him NO! Of course he proceeds to finish, but he appears nonchalant and I'm feeling baffled and confused that this is happening. He proceeds to climb the stairs to the front door, as if nothing happened. And then I take him out. We head out and he lets out another short stream.

Overall, his activity level appears normal, he's happy, his mobility is to me, astounding. He wants to go out any time I do. His appetite appears normal, though appears to need a little incentive. The changing of the water cooler does not appear to be extreme, though again I'm unclear about how much drinking is TOO MUCH.

Of course I'm hoping that this soiling will discontinue. As I said, I thought that he's just gotten used to going back to the same place because of some pheromone or enzyme left in the carpet, which I seem to be unable to get rid of by any of the products sold--do you know of any that work to eliminate this?

If the soiling is naturally happening as a result for example, due to his ageing, any suggested strategies that I can use to encourage him, for example, to pee on the kitchen tile vs. the carpet?--Do those pads that they sell, which contain pheromones, help to encourage them to pee where you want them to? Sorry if I'm all over the place, trying to address the 'practical' implications of all of this, too.

I'm confused. Is it dimentia, him losing his ability to realize what he's doing? What may be happening here?

Dog stats:

15 year old
Collie/Husky Cross
71.5 lbs.

I hope I've articulated enough for you to help me determine what next steps that I need to take, as this seems to be a tough situation to handle on my own.

Thx a lot in advance for your continued support!

(Click here for Eric's previous question regarding a growth on his dog's snout)

Comments for Senior Dog Losing Control of Bladder

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Mar 24, 2013
You are not alone!!!
by: Geraldine

I'm dying to hear a suction because my 15 year old husky/lab mix female is doing almost exactly the same thing. But instead of peeing she's pooping!! Which in a way is easier to clean. But she's been stupidly stubborn and picky with her food. It's been a dance until I found a good mix. I make her rice and ground beef (I drain out the fat) plus a can of trader joes dog food. Sometimes I throw in a raw egg. (All suggestions I got from reading people's recipes for dog food.) But it's a song and dance almost every time. But so far this has been working.
But she occasionally has accidents and pees in her sleep.
I attribute it to her age and the fact she had vestibular disease last summer (a neurological temporary disorder...made her lose her balance and appetite). But she's fine now and I take her to acupuncture.
Well I look forward to see if anyone has a solution for our oldies! Aka love of my life!

Mar 24, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Senior Dog Losing Control of Bladder
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Eric,

For older dogs with increased thirst and increased urination, the best place to start is to have a complete blood panel and urinalysis done. Water consumption of 1 gallon per 2-3 days for a 70 lb dog is not too excessive but close to the top limit.

Excessive would be greater than 1oz/lb/day.
1 oz=60cc X70lb dog= 3,500 cc
1 gal=4,000cc

A picky appetite can also accompany those diseases that are seen with increased thirst and increased urination. (Kidney and liver diseases, diabetes, prostate and bladder problems.)

His behavior does NOT sound like dementia (canine cognitive disorder syndrome), nor does he sound like he is 'losing' control of his urine. I advise you get a diagnosis first, then follow up with the appropriate treatment plan.

The best place to start would be with a holistic veterinarian. One that can take into account the growth on his muzzle, as well as the other symptoms.

As for cleaning the carpet, I have used hydrogen peroxide to remove stain and odor. (Works well for cat urine, which is stronger smelling!) You might also try soda water. Top 3 Dog Urine Cleaning Products

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

Related Pages:
- Dog Urination Problems & Dog Incontinence Products
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Urination Problems Section

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Mar 24, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Senior Dog Losing Control of Bladder
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Geraldine,
It sounds like you have taken some steps, and had a good response toward solving your dog's problems with inappropriate defecation.

Regarding your request for help: thank you for your question, and I'm happy to help, but we only accept new questions from subscribers (the original question above was from a subscriber).
Please click here to sign up and submit your question and photos. I'll then get back to you right away at the bottom of your newly created web page.
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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