A lot of people don’t realize how common older dog incontinence is. I didn’t either until I had my own senior dogs. When pooches hit a certain age, managing accidents often becomes the center of your life. Sadly, it’s a reason why people put down their pets. It really doesn’t have to be that way and the good news is that an older dog having accidents isn’t necessarily a sign of something serious. Usually, it’s due to a leaky bladder or, in the case of fecal incontinence, a spinal issue. With patience, the right dog incontinence products and creativity, you can keep your older dog comfortable and your floors and furniture dry.
My first French bulldog, Churchill, struggled with incontinence and mobility issues as he aged. There weren’t any real solutions on the market at the time. I tried a disposable dog nappy and that did not end well. Churchill was embarrassed, he hated the crinkling noise and it wouldn’t stay on. My experience with him was a driving force behind starting Dog Quality and our Washable Wonders line of dog nappies and dog incontinence pads.
Since Churchill, I’ve had other senior dogs who also suffered from incontinence. Paige had a leaky bladder, Milo was a marker and a leaker and Lily had both urinary and fecal incontinence. With each, I gained more knowledge and faced new challenges. Here are a few key things I’ve learned along the way about managing dog incontinence:
- Talk to Your Veterinarian – As I mentioned, a senior dog urinating in the house usually isn’t a sign of a serious problem and it can be a natural part of aging. However, there are times when older dog incontinence is indicative of an underlying condition. It’s always a good idea to talk to your vet about your pooch having accidents so they can rule out things like a urinary tract infection or diabetes.
- Consider Dog Incontinence Products – Accidents are frustrating for everyone involved. After being trained to go outside their whole lives, when dogs can’t hold it until their next potty break, they feel ashamed and like they did something wrong. It’s heartbreaking and takes a toll on their emotional wellbeing. For you, as a pet parent, you worry about your dog’s comfort and constantly cleaning up puddles is a lot of work. Maybe in an effort to avoid a soaking wet bed or car, you stop taking your senior dog with you on rides or letting them cuddle with you at night. Specialized assistance products can give your dog the quality of life they deserve and help you continue to do all the things you love together. Managing dog incontinence is essential for ensuring your dog is happy, healthy and comfortable.
- Find the Right Dog Nappies and Pads – I’ve found disposable dog nappies to be noisy, uncomfortable, expensive for long-term use and they just don’t say put. Our Washable Wonders dog nappies are made from super soft, absorbent microfiber with a soft, waterproof PUL outer layer. They’re comfy and easy to toss in the wash and reuse over and over. The dog nappies are designed to take into account differences between breeds and anatomical differences between males and females. Our male dog nappies have a wider base and longer waist for full coverage, while our female dog nappies are specially made without the extra length to prevent having excess material that will bunch. We also have nappies with a tail hole and without a tail hole.
For female dogs and dogs experiencing both urinary and fecal incontinence, a full nappy is your best bet for containing the mess. Belly bands are usually a better option to address a male dog peeing in the house or marking. A dog belly band just wraps around the waist so your pooch has more freedom. Whichever route you go, with features like Velcro straps to tighten the waist and white plastic snaps to cinch up the dog nappy, you’ll be able to achieve the perfect fit and that’s key to the effectiveness of any dog nappy.
- Get Creative – Depending on your dog and his or her habits, you might have to get creative in managing older dog incontinence. Because my dog Lily had spinal problems, I couldn’t get her nappy tight enough to prevent it from falling off. I created our stretchable straps to help. The Y-shaped strap attaches to you dog’s harness and connects to their nappy or belly band to hold it in place no matter how much they burrow, roll, stretch, scratch or jump. The straps keep the dog nappy on even overnight. Because of the stretchy material, they’re a lot more comfortable and work better than suspenders.
If your dog has a large volume of urine or is experiencing fecal incontinence, a dog nappy pad can be a lifesaver. They go right in your dog’s nappy or belly band and help wick moisture away from your pooch. The microfleece pads from Dog Quality are a breathable alternative to disposable pads and they offer extra absorbency. They’re perfect for when you have to go a while between nappy changes, like when you’re at work, on a road trip or overnight. Using them also helps you go longer between washing your dog nappy or belly band.
Adding a larger dog incontinence pad like our blanket pads to the mix is another option. Throw one of the supersize dog pads over your couch or the seat of your car to keep accidents at bay. They’re soft and have the feel of a blanket, so your dog will be cozy and your surfaces will stay dry. All of the products we offer for managing dog incontinence were designed to address challenges I faced as a pet parent and are the result of needing to get creative with my approach. There’s nothing wrong with combining multiple solutions to find something that works best for you and your senior dog.
- Offer Encouragement – Providing your dog with solutions like a dog nappy or pad will go a long way in overcoming the emotional aspects of having accidents but it’s still tough on house-trained dogs. Keep encouraging your pooch and letting them know they didn’t do anything wrong. Go for walks, play, cuddle and spend quality time together. A dog’s senior years can be a wonderful time and give you the opportunity to bond deeply.
With love, persistence and products that fit your pooch’s needs, managing dog incontinence doesn’t have to be a constant struggle. When accidents are under control and your dog is leak-free and comfortable, they can live a full, happy life. Browse our Washable Wonders dog nappies, belly bands and pads and if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out.