old dog pee accidents

Pay Attention to Potty Changes in Your Pet

In Animal Health, cat behavior, Cats, Dog Behavior, Dogs, pet care professional, Pet First Aid, senior pets, Uncategorized, veterinarian by Cara Armour

By Arden Moore

Noticing Potty Problems

Even though your adult dog aced house training years ago or your cat has always been a champ at using his litterbox, you may discover a piddle on your rug.

As our pets age, they can be at risk for a loss of bladder control or unable to control their bowel movements. The medical term for this is incontinence.

Piddle issues happen, especially as our cats and dogs age. Acknowledge that there are many reasons for your adult pet’s incontinence. When you begin discovering these accidents, it is time to tap your pet detective skills and share what you see and smell with your veterinarian.

cat litterbox

What Else Has Changed?

For starters, pay attention to any changes in your household routine. Are you removing your living room that involves constructor crews using noisy equipment? Did you just adopt a frisky kitten or energetic pup?

What about your pet’s eating habits? Is she walking away from the food bowl? Is your cat crying out while urinating? Is your dog excessively licking his genitals? Is your pet urinating far more often or squatting without much urine released?

First Look for Medical Causes

Changes in your pet’s behavior and eating habits may be because he has developed kidney or bladder stones or is dealing with urethral obstructions. All of these are major medical emergencies.

“A cat will urinate outside the litter box for a variety of medical reasons, including diabetes and kidney disease,” says Dr. Liz Bales, a veterinarian who serves on advisory boards for the American Association of Feline Practitioners and Fear Free Pets, and who invented The Indoor Hunting Feeder for cats. “We need to rule these out medical issues first, of course.”

Possible Medical Reasons for Incontinence:

  • Urinary tract infection: Cats and dogs with UTIs need to pee frequently. They may lick their genitals, cry out in pain, or release cloudy or bloody urine.
  • Urinary bladder stones: These stones develop in the bladder and can cause infections and even life-threatening blockages. Common signs include seeing blood in your pet’s urine and noticing that your pet is straining to urinate.
  • Cushing’s disease: This canine disease is caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland that tells the brain to release too much cortisol, a stress hormone. Dogs with this disease tend to drink and urinate much more frequently, display a thinning of the skin and body weakness.
  • Diabetes: Due to an insufficient amount insulin, blood sugar levels go astray. Your pet becomes very thirsty and demonstrates a need to urinate more frequently and more urgently.
  • Kidney disease: Cats and dogs with weak or failing kidneys will drink much more water and urinate much more. They may also vomit, have bad breath and diarrhea

Be Aware of Other Factors

Often overlooked is that your cat or dog may be highly stressed due to changes in the home, developing noise phobias or other factors. Yes, stress in pets is very real and can take a serious toll on their overall health.

Some dogs piddle because they are overly excited, such as seeing a favorite person that they have not seen in a while, a person returning home from college or a military tour. Some dogs may urinate when they are scared by someone approaching them that they perceive as threatening. Loud noises, such as fireworks or a nail gun can cause some cats and dogs to panic pee.

Aging also plays a factor. Some senior pets may develop cognitive dysfunction – or dementia. They may simply not even realize that they are squatting and urinating in the house.

Identify the Right Treatment Plan

The first step is to have your pet given a thorough medical exam by your veterinarian. Based on the physical observations and lab tests, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics, pain medicine, hormonal therapy and, yes, surgery to strengthen a weak urethral sphincter.

Ask your veterinarian if any new medication your cat or dog needs may cause side effects, including a weakened bladder or incontinence.
Just like in people, dogs may benefit by supplements added to their diet. Seek your veterinarian’s view of supplements that may mitigate some of your pet’s incontinence symptoms.

Make Changes in Your Pet Routine

Adopt an initiative-taking mindset in dealing with your pet’s incontinence issues. Schedule more frequent potty breaks during the day to be able to usher out your dog before her pee splashes on the rug. If possible, take your dog out immediately after she eats, drinks and wakes up.

Regularly inspect your pet to make sure she has not developed any clumps of urine or feces that need to be thoroughly cleaned and groomed to prevent infections. Use pet mild shampoos and wipes that thoroughly clean the urine-soaked areas on your pet without causing skin issues.

Consider adding another litter box, one that is easy for an arthritic cat to enter and exit.

If your pet targets a specific spot or two in your home, such as the living room rug or the hallway runner, consider placing down washable pee pads or absorbent plastic liners to prevent the urine from reaching into the fibers of the rug or runner. Also, shop for waterproof pads you can place under your pet’s bedding.

Dr. Nicholas Dodman, founder of the Center for Canine Behavior Studies (www.centerforbehaviorstudies.org) and author of Good Old Dog, shares his home with Rusty, a 14-year-old Boxer mix. He recommends that you book comprehensive physical exams yearly on your cat and dog ages seven years and older. These exams include blood and urine tests.

“You can be a successful ager, and so can your pet,” says Dr. Dodman. “Better health care and better nutrition have allowed cats and dogs to live longer. Practicing preventive care can make a difference in how your pet ages.”

Learn Pet First Aid

Learn more on ways to keep your cats and dogs safe by visiting propethero.com. Consider taking our veterinarian-approved online pet first aid/CPR course. Enter this code: CPR – ARDEN MOORE and receive a 10 percent discount! And, if you are interested in becoming a Pro Pet Hero instructor, please click on the BECOME AN INSTRUCTOR button on the home page for more details.