Is Incontinence a Reason to Put a Dog Down
Incontinence is what happens when a dog loses control of its bladder, it’s not a great sign for the health of a Havanese. This generally happens in older dogs, and it is not at all uncommon. You will know your dog has incontinence when it can no longer control when it uses the toilet. This generally shows with urine, specifically with urinating in places around the house without control.
You may find that your dog has started urinating in its bed, in its crate, on your bed, on the carpet, and literally everywhere else. It is not the dog’s fault, and it is not a behavioural problem, it is simply the dog getting old and things starting to not work the way they should. The same thing happens to us when we get old.
The big difference between humans and dogs is that you don’t put a human down when they can’t control their bladder anymore. However, putting down dogs because of incontinence is the main reason it happens. There is no doubt that this is a very stressful and tedious condition, and it often causes owners to lose hope and put their dog down.
What Are the Main Reasons for Incontinence?
- UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)
- Weak Bladder Sphincter
- Urinary Stones
- Hormonal Imbalance
- Prostate Disorder
- Kidney Disease
- Anatomic Disorders
- Improper Medication
What to Do if Your Dog is Incontinent
If you think your dog is incontinent, there are a few important steps you should take before even thinking about putting them down. You will know for sure there is a problem when your dog has dripping urine, when it is licking itself in the groin area excessively, and when it is urinating where it sleeps. Also, you will notice stains on the dog’s fur, and this is a sure sign it has started urinating on itself.
If you notice any of these signs, the first thing you need to do is consult a veterinarian. The veterinarian will determine the cause and give you advice on how to proceed. You’ll probably need to have a physical exam done on your dog to see whether there is an infection and to see whether you will need to give your dog antibiotics.
Many bouts of incontinence come and go, and so it is not something that you would immediately need to put your dog down for. However, this can be the beginning of the end, as the incontinence can lead to bladder infections and kidney infections. You might also notice your dog has a skin infection because of so much contact with urine.
This is generally a condition that occurs with older dogs. However, it can occur in middle-aged females that are spayed, in cocker spaniels, in Dobermans, and in sheepdogs. These three breeds are the most common to suffer from incontinence, along with spayed females.
How to Treat Incontinence
Treatments for this condition depend drastically on the underlying cause. There are many medications out there that can help to effectively manage incontinence, preventing daily accidents. There are also other treatments that help with hormone therapy, while even more treatments will work to strengthen the urethral sphincter, which can give your dog back control of its urination.
Sometimes, surgery is necessary. In the case of surgery, you are looking at a lot of money. And this is what generally ends up leading to euthanizing the dog. People cannot afford the expensive surgery it takes to fix the dog’s leaking bladder. Because of this, many pet owners choose to preemptively euthanize.
But this is not necessary. Even if you can’t afford surgery, there are ways of living with an incontinent dog.
Managing an Incontinent Dog
Now it is time to answer the big question. Do you euthanize your dog when it becomes incontinent?
Absolutely not! Unless your dog is in absolute misery, horribly unhappy, and urinating uncontrollably all over themselves and clearly embarrassed about it, there is no need to put them down. You can take some measures to alleviate the stress suffered by your dog and keep your house free of urine.
Doggy diapers are a big one. Believe it or not, your dog does not actually care how it looks. While it may be a little uncomfortable to start wearing a diaper, at least your dog won’t be peeing on the floor. These diapers are specially designed for this exact situation, and they might be the solution you need to keep your dog alive a little bit longer.
Place clean blankets and clean towels in the places where your dog sleeps. You can put waterproof pads beneath the bedding to absorb urine, and you can layer their different beds with the same pads. Continuously change the blankets and towels to keep them comfortable – never let your dog sleep in its own urine – and this should bring a bit of relief.
Taking your dog for a lot of walks is also a great idea, especially early in the morning after waking up. This will get lots of the urine out right away, though be warned these walks may take a considerable amount of time since your dog will stop to pee over and over again.
It is important during this time that you also provide proper hygiene to your dog, to keep their skin from being infected. A little bit of urine on the fur is going to be OK, but it needs to be cleaned regularly. Your dog always needs to be clean.
Also, regardless of what steps you take to live with the incontinence, always keep a close eye on the animal in case things worsen. If your dog becomes lethargic, distant, reclusive, plainly unhappy, and generally unwilling to do anything accept sit around looking miserable – and if you notice any extreme bloating – it is time to visit the veterinarian again.
The bottom line is that you and your dog can live with incontinence, at least for as long as the dog is happy.