Are you struggling to manage dog incontinence in your favorite pup? I feel your pain.
The story below the video, in the colored area, is a blog post I wrote back in 2010 about our dog Nala. I just came across the post and decided to add it here. This is a common problem, that for us in the end was such an easy fix. It makes me sad to think how many dogs would be put down because their incontinence is too hard to manage.
Nala is gone now. She was a 60+ kilo beautiful Bull Mastiff with the most cruisy nature, and at the time we’d been trying to manage her incontinence. What a nightmare!
But we did find a solution so keep reading.
And the video is of her singing. 🙂 She like to sing…
This is Nala – our 9 year old Bullmastiff. Nala has always been a really ‘easy’ dog. I mean no hassles, no bad behaviour.
She’s spent her life eating, sleeping and snoring!
She’s happy to go for a walk if we want to, or go to the beach, but she’s really not bothered if we don’t. Nala has been the ultimate ‘no hassle’ dog.
That was until she became incontinent!
We first noticed the problem about 2 years ago when urine started leaking out of her in fairly large amounts. We thought at the time that it was possibly triggered by the neighbours feeding her scraps over the fence, which consisted of large amounts of processed foods and refined sugars.
The scraps had caused her to gain weight in the few weeks since they had moved in next door. They were a family with five kids who obviously ate a crappy, but standard diet full of sugary cereals and other junk, and they were giving all their leftovers to Nala, which she enjoyed immensely as you could imagine!
We soon put a stop to it, but I am still convinced that this is what started her incontinence problem initially.
So first up, you must realise that having an incontinent Bull Mastiff is not the same as having an incontinent Chihuahua…
Nala weighs in at around 60kg and so this basically is like having an incontinent adult! One with NO bladder control at all.
When she was leaking badly, it was big puddles. Not little dribbles, and the worst thing? What does a dog do when it’s wet? Yes, they shake all the way down to their tail – Ewww!
So we spoke to the neighbours and they stopped feeding her (much to Nala’s disgust) and she quickly lost the weight she’d gained. But although the incontinence improved a bit for a while it never really went away 100% and gradually got worse again over the following 12 months or so.
Dog Incontinence Treatment Number One – Sudafed
The vet we saw at the time suggested we try giving her Sudafed tablets as and when required, and explained that Sudafed tightens the bladder sphincter. As the Sudafed were a cheaper option than hormones (the only other veterinary option) with less potential for cancer, we used them for a while, but only as she needed them (ie giving her a half a tablet when she was actually leaking).
But we weren’t keen on giving her the drug long term as it can cause problems (like all pharmaceuticals), and we don’t take any drugs, so we’d rather avoid them for Nala if possible.
Dog Incontinence Treatment Number Two – Horsetail Herb
The next thing that I came across in my own research, and which we tried was Horsetail – the herb.
We started giving her Horsetail capsules every couple of days and it helped at first quite a bit, but unfortunately after a few months the effects seemed to wear off.
A word of warning if you’re thinking about trying Horsetail. It can affect their muscles initially (I don’t know if it would do this with other breeds).
This happened when we first started giving Horsetail to Nala. We started her on a full capsule a day, but after a couple of days she could hardly walk – we weren’t sure if it was the herb, but we were worried as we were unsure what was happening to her.
We checked her all over for paralysis ticks, and finding none decided it must be the herb. So we stopped giving it to her for a couple of days and sure enough, she came right.
We then adjusted the dose and started her off with only a quarter of a capsule and built it up over time. She was fine with it then, and as I said it did help for a while.
Plan Number Three – Incontinence Pants
Once effectiveness of the horsetail began to wear off, we didn’t know what we were going to do with her. This ‘old dog incontinence’ thing was really getting us down!
We didn’t want to put her on synthetic hormones if we could avoid it, so we were looking at doggy diapers but found that there’s not much available here in Australia (and what was available was expensive, and if I remember correctly not available in her size!).
The other option I found at the time was to order from the UK where there seemed to be some good brands, in her size at reasonable prices.
But we decided instead, to try adult incontinence pants which is what she has on in the photo above. It’s not hard to see that she’s not too impressed. We bought a packet of large pants and cut a hole in them for her tail.
They worked okay, except that she managed to get them off quite often by the morning and we’d find them lying on the floor. Still, they definitely made a difference, as she seemed to often leak the most in the early evening. The flow seemed to often stop by morning, so most of the time, most of the urine would be captured by the pants rather than being sprayed all over the walls, the blinds and even us if we stood too close when she shook on getting out of bed in the morning!… 😯
What Causes Female Dog Incontinence?
Incontinence in dogs is apparently much more common in bitches that have been spayed. This is the case with Nala.
She had emergency surgery, and was spayed 3 years ago when it was discovered that she had Pyometra (an infection in the uterus) and she almost died.
Old dog incontinence is also often worse when the dog has been exercised and their muscles are tired. This was also the case with Nala.
Remedy Number Four: The One That Worked – Homeopathic Bladder Remedy
Around the time of the incontinence pants trial, I was thinking about buying a homeopathic remedy to try on her when I remembered that I actually had a Homeopathic remedy in the cupboard for bladder control.
I had bought it a while back when I had a bit of a UTI and I only had to use it a half dozen times over a few hours and the infection cleared it up. So the remedy was still in a cupboard forgotten about.
We decided to try it and voila! It is a spray remedy, so we just life up her jowls and spray it into her mouth.
We’ve used three sprays and she’s had no problems. It’s a bit of a miracle!
The first couple of sprays were about 4 or 5 weeks ago, and she had no problems until 2 weeks ago when we bought her a new bed and left her bean bag out to air for the night.
She objected to having no bean bag, and kept me awake all night scratching and howling, and I guess because of her distress, she had leaked very slightly when we got up in the morning.
So one more squirt and no urine leaks since! Not even a tiny bit. We’re over the moon and so is Nala! She can go for longer walks now because she doesn’t leak even when she’s worn out!
I seriously wish I’d thought of the homeopathic treatment earlier.
I should have thought of it. This is one of those real ‘doh!’ moments.
I know that homeopathy works brilliantly with animals if you get the right remedy. The brand that we have used for Nala is made by Martin & Pleasance and it’s called Bladder Control. It’s available in health stores here in Australia and probably New Zealand also, if I remember rightly.
UPDATE: If you are in New Zealand and would like to try this remedy, I can order it for you from one of my wholesalers so feel free to get in touch.
If you’re unable to source the specific remedy that we’re using, there are other brands of homeopathic remedy – some created specifically for dogs and cats like this one with good reviews that can be purchased online from Amazon.
I’ve also now found that there’s a great selection (also via Amazon) of dog diapers which includes a fantastic variety of sizes, types and prices. If the homeopathic remedy happens to stop working (I’m pretty sure it’ll keep working but you just never know!), then I know where I’ll be shopping for dog diapers!
If anyone else has found anything that works, please leave a comment. I’d love to know what worked for you!
So, that was ten years ago and as I said, Nala has been gone for quite a few years after getting cancer and eventually we had her euthanized. 🙁
But, I can tell you the end of this story.
The homeopathic remedy continued to work! I’d give her a spray and she’d have no incontinence for months. As soon as it came back, I’d give her another spray. Eventually (probably about 12-18 months from memory) it went away and never came back!
She was cured. 🙂
Homeopathic remedies and other natural therapies work so well in animals (and humans) as long as you get the right remedy. The great thing about animals is there is no placebo effect, so there’s no doubts when effective.