Ask the Vet
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Back to results
Enter Your Information All fields are required

While efforts are made to answer all questions as quickly as possible, if an immediate answer is required or if your pet is in need of urgent or emergency care, contact your pet's veterinarian immediately.

*Please note: Questions submitted and the answers will appear on our website as a benefit to all pet owners. Please make sure not to include any personal information in the box where you enter your question.

Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Thank you! Your question has been submitted.

You will receive an answer from Dr. Dym and our vet/tech team as soon as possible, usually the same day.

All answers are provided for informational or educational purposes only, and are intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise and professional judgment of your pet's veterinarian.

It may be necessary to consult your pet's veterinarian regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your pet's symptoms or medical condition.

Close
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Oops! Your question has not been submitted.

An error has occurred, please reload the page and try again.

Close
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Got questions? Ask Dr. Dym & our Vet Team:

While efforts are made to answer all questions as quickly as possible, if an immediate answer is required or if your pet is in need of urgent or emergency care, contact your pet's veterinarian immediately.

Do these answer your question?
Showing of | See All
Have another question, or can’t find your answer?
Submit your question
We're Sorry!

There is no answer related to your question

Can’t find your answer?
Submit your question
Category

What To Do When Your Senior Dog Has Accidents

It’s been years since your senior dog was house-trained, but suddenly, they’ve started to have accidents again. Inappropriate urination and/or defecation is a common sign of health issues that affect older dogs. Learn what telltale signs to look for and how you can work with your vet to find out what’s causing your dog to have accidents.

Signs of Incontinence in Older Dogs
A dog that is struggling with house-training will typically urinate or defecate in corners, under furniture, and other secluded spots around the home. When accidents are solely behavioral, the dog knows when they need to “go,” but fails to alert their owner to take them outside. For example, a healthy dog may hate going outside in the rain, and may hold their bladder until they finally have an accident on the floor.
Medical incontinence is not behavioral. It often starts with dribbles of urine when the dog is lying down, especially at nighttime. The dog may not seem aware that they are urinating or defecating, and they will be unable to control it. However, between accidents, they may still urinate and defecate normally on walks.

Excessive Thirst and Urination
Untreated health conditions such as diabetes, Cushing’s disease, and kidney disease cause excessive thirst. Anti-inflammatory drugs like prednisone can also cause increased water consumption. When your dog drinks a lot of water, they may need to go outside more frequently, and they may have more trouble holding their bladder between walks. Excessive water drinking paired with accidents can be a sign of a serious, though manageable health issue. See your veterinarian at their next available appointment for a diagnosis.

Urinary Tract Issues In Dogs
Urinary tract infections and kidney stones can cause your dog to urinate more frequently. Sometimes, but not always, you might notice blood in their urine, and your dog may seem to be in pain when they urinate.
These conditions can worsen quickly, developing into a blockage or severe kidney infection, so it’s crucial that you get your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible. If your dog is straining yet unable to urinate, seems to be in a lot of pain, has a fever, seems lethargic, or starts vomiting, seek emergency care.

Dementia in Dogs
Like humans, dogs are prone to dementia as they age. Canine cognitive dementia (CCD) may affect your dog’s ability to recognize their body’s signals when they need to go outside, or they may become confused about where to go.

Stress-Related Accidents In Senior Dogs
Senior dogs can have accidents due to stress and anxiety. CCD can contribute to emotional issues in older dogs, or they may simply become more sensitive to changes in their routine or environment.
Though stress-related accidents are not an urgent medical issue, it’s best to bump up your senior’s wellness exam to rule out anything serious. You may be able to help your dog manage stress with holistic options like Solliquin or Composure Chews. If you’re having trouble managing your dog’s anxiety on your own, your veterinarian may prescribe a calming aid.

Other Causes Of Accidents In Senior Dogs
Sometimes accidents in senior dogs have unexpected underlying causes. A dog with arthritis may be in too much pain to make it down the stairs to go outside. A dog with a spine or nerve issue may lose control over their bladder or bowels. If your dog is treated for a chronic condition, you can ask your veterinarian if their accidents can be a new symptom or even a side-effect of one of their medications.

Managing Incontinence In Senior Dogs
Sometimes, accidents stop once your dog has had veterinary care, but with ongoing conditions, they may become a part of life. Since accidents in senior dogs are usually not a training issue, scolding your dog will not be of any use, and will likely make them feel even more stressed.
Instead, it’s best to keep your dog clean and comfortable. Many pet parents use aids like diapers, male wraps, and puppy pads on a regular basis to manage incontinence.