Having an incontinent dog can be miserable, for your whole family, your dog and any visitors to your home. Finding and treating the underlying cause of the incontinence is clearly the best way forward, but sometimes diagnosis and response to treatment takes a while, so how can you cope in the meantime?
Avoiding urine scalding
If your dog is lying in urine-soaked bedding, or has urine-soaked fur constantly, there is a high risk of urine scalding to the skin. This causes painful irritations and can be very difficult to treat. Keeping your dog as clean and dry as possible is key, and can also help to reduce the risk of secondary urinary tract infections.
Using bedding material that wicks any moisture away from your dog and stays dry on the top is a really easy way to reduce urine scalding. Using puppy pads or a waterproof coating on top of the bed will actually do more harm than good as the urine will be in closer contact with your dog’s skin. These materials can be used underneath something like VetBed to protect any softer mattresses underneath. A lot of dogs suffering with incontinence will also have other problems such as arthritis so it is important to give them a nice supportive, soft bed to lie on.
Make sure bedding is washed on a daily basis if it is soiled and that it is fully dry when put back onto the bed.
Keeping long-haired dogs clipped short around their bottom, tail and backs of the legs can make it easier to keep the skin dry. Get a professional to do this as there are some delicate structures in this area which you can damage if it is done incorrectly.
Daily bathing may be necessary if your dog’s coat gets urine on it. Use a shampoo which is designed for frequent use, a conditioner can also be helpful to keep the coat in good condition. Dry off your dog thoroughly as quickly as possible. If you notice any matts of fur developing, ask a professional to trim them off. In mildly affected dogs, a dry shampoo or mousse may be adequate to keep the skin dry and healthy. These are usually massaged into the fur and then combed out.
Keeping the environment clean
Keeping the home environment clean and free from the smell of urine will improve your family and your dog’s well-being.
Preventing the spread of urine
For dogs who constantly leak urine, nappy-type garments are available to contain the leaks. These obviously need to be changed regularly so that your dog is not in contact with the urine for too long (see above) but they can be a great way to reduce the smell and unpleasantness of having urine dripping around your home.
Shutting your dog in an outside kennel away from the family is not a suitable solution.
Clean up accidents with an enzymatic cleaner
Simply using an ordinary cleaning solution will mask rather than eliminate the smell of the urine and is unlikely to clean it away effectively. Using an enzymatic cleaner allows the enzymes to effectively digest the urine, eliminating it completely. Urine will glow in the dark with a UV light, so this can be used to find any hidden areas that have been missed.
Please leave a comment below if you have found this article helpful, and if you have any other tips for owners dealing with an incontinent dog.