When you have an 11-year-old dog or cat who knows how to mind his manners, it can be shocking to suddenly find your pet eliminating on the living room floor. It is no surprise that urinary incontinence or the inability to hold urine, is a fairly common symptom in elderly animals. However, many pet-parents feel uncertain about how to solve the problem. Learn what treatments are available for incontinent pets so you can avoid having to clean up surprise puddles!

Get a Diagnosis

As with any serious health concern, the first step is to do your research and speak to veterinarian. If your dog or cat has been consistently showing signs of lost bladder control, find out as soon as possible if the incontinence is nothing more than weakening muscles, or if your pet is fighting a life-threatening illness. During the examination, the veterinarian will provide a urinalysis to determine if the animal has any infection and will need antibiotics, etc. It is better to be safe than sorry, so pack up your pet and get to the vet.

Treatment Possibilities

Some vets prescribe hormone treatments to increase a pet’s muscle strength, which would aid them in holding urine. For dogs and cats that lack estrogen, supplementary hormones can help significantly.  Other products like Propolin fortify the urethra muscles, and collagen injections having become increasingly popular therapy options.  For extreme cases, there are also surgeries available that would either remove a urinary tract obstruction (urinary tract stones), protruding disks, or anything else that might be causing difficulties.

Help Your Pet Live a Normal Life

Once a dog or cat has received medication or hormonal treatments to help alleviate their symptoms, there are several practical measures a pet-parent can take in helping their pets have a normal life.

Get diapers.  While some pet stores do sell pet diapers for animals with incontinence,  many people simply make their own, sharing DIY projects online for the communities that have pets with the condition.

Go for frequent walks. Help your pet get rid of waste more regularly by adding several extra walks or quick trips outside so he can relieve his bladder.

Reassess living space. Help accommodate the pet’s needs by keeping him in non-carpeted areas.  Have paper towels on hand, enzymatic cleaners  nearby for the occasional accident, and consider installing audio-boundary training devices to help keep your pet in the safe zones.

Stay consistent with the medication and check-ups. Helping your pet stay up to date on his prescription will keep everything in balance and should help him progress. Some medications require dogs to stay on them for life, meaning consistency is key.

NOTE: If you ever have any questions, always ask the vet. It is also important to remember not to limit the amount of water you give your dog, without consulting a medical professional as this could prove extremely harmful.