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Never Punish Your Pet for This Accident!

Video: Urinary Incontinence in Dogs and Cats

Dr. Karen BeckerBy Dr. Karen Becker – HuffPo

Please note this article addresses involuntary passage of urine only, and isn’t intended to cover other urination-related problems like too-frequent urination or behavioral-related problems like submissive urination.

Involuntary Passage of Urine

Involuntary passage of urine normally occurs while your pet is asleep or resting. When she stands up, you notice urine leakage. It can be just a small wet spot or a good-sized puddle, depending on how much urine is being unintentionally passed.

It’s important to understand your pet isn’t intentionally leaking urine. She has no control over what’s happening. This is not a behavioral problem, it’s a medical problem — so trying to correct or punish your pet is a bad idea on multiple levels.

In fact, many pets become very distressed to realize they are passing urine in places other than a designated potty spot. A housebroken dog or any kitty accustomed to using a litter box will be confused and even ashamed to know they are leaving urine in inappropriate spots.

Causes of Urinary Incontinence

There are a lot of causes for involuntary passage of urine, especially in dogs:

• Central nervous system trauma. If your pet’s brain or spinal cord isn’t signaling correctly to the bladder, this miscommunication can cause urine dribbling.
• Damage to the pudendal nerve. If the pudendal nerve, which works the neck of your pet’s bladder, is impinged, the bladder neck can remain slightly open, allowing urine leakage.
• Disease of the bladder, kidneys or adrenals, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism and diabetes can all cause dribbling of urine.
• Bladder stones. A dog with a bladder stone will often strain while trying to urinate. If you’ve noticed this behavior with your pet, you need to consider the possibility of bladder stones.
• Birth defects. Birth defects — structural abnormalities existing from birth — can cause incontinence. If your puppy has been difficult or impossible to housetrain, there could be a birth defect present. Some dog breeds have more of these types of from-birth plumbing problems than others.
• Urethral obstruction. Obstruction of the urethra can also cause involuntary passage of urine. A tumor can obstruct urine flow and cause dribbling. So can urethral stones.
• Age-related urinary incontinence. Older pets can develop weak pelvic floors or poor bladder tone which can result in urine dribbling. If your dog has signs of canine senility or dementia, he can also simply forget to signal you when he needs to potty outside. His bladder can overfill, and there can be leakage.
• Feline leukemia. For reasons not well understood, some kitties positive for feline leukemia have urine leakage. If your cat starts dribbling urine, it is more than likely a medical issue requiring veterinary care.

Hormone-Induced Urinary Incontinence

Hands down, the most common reason for involuntary urine leakage, especially in dogs, is hormone-induced urinary incontinence.

After a pet is spayed or neutered, the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone, which are necessary to help close the external urethral sphincter, are no longer available. This often results in urine dribbling.

Hormone-induced urinary incontinence is extremely common in spayed female dogs, and somewhat less common in neutered males. These are typically healthy, vibrant pets that just happen to dribble urine anywhere from multiple times a day to just once or twice a year.

Treatment for Urinary Incontinence

The cause of your pet’s urinary incontinence will dictate what treatment she receives.

If there’s an underlying disease process or structural abnormality causing the problem, and it can be corrected through medical management and/or surgery, that’s obviously the way to go.

If your pet is diagnosed with hormone-induced urinary incontinence, I strongly recommend you consider treating the problem naturally.

I successfully treat cases of hormone-induced urinary incontinence with glandular therapy, as well as natural, biologically appropriate (non-synthetic) hormone replacement therapy and a few excellent herbal remedies.

I also use acupuncture to improve function of the pudendal nerve and control or stimulate sufficient closure of the external urethral sphincter. Chiropractic care can also keep the CNS working properly, aiding in normal bladder and neurologic function.

I urge you to start with natural remedies, because some of the traditional drugs used to treat urinary incontinence are potentially toxic with side effects that can create more problems than they solve.

As always, I recommend you have a holistic vet on your pet’s treatment team.

Dogs with incontinence that can’t be completely resolved can be fitted with dog bloomers or panties with absorbent pads — you can even use human disposable diapers and cut a hole for the tail. Just remember that urine is caustic and should not remain on your pet’s skin for long periods, so if you use diapers, be sure to change them frequently or remove them during times when your pet isn’t apt to be incontinent.

For more by Dr. Karen Becker, click here.

For more on pet health, click here.

Dr. Karen Becker is a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian. You can visit her site at: MercolaHealthyPets.com.

Her goal is to help you create wellness in order to prevent illness in the lives of your pets. This proactive approach seeks to save you and your pet from unnecessary stress and suffering by identifying and removing health obstacles even before disease occurs. Unfortunately, most veterinarians in the United States are trained to be reactive. They wait for symptoms to occur, and often treat those symptoms without addressing the root cause.

By reading Dr. Becker’s information, you’ll learn how to make impactful, consistent lifestyle choices to improve your pet’s quality of life.

July 13, 2014 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Boundary Training

Boundary training your dog, nevertheless, is perhaps one of the best things you can do for your dog – and yourself! Dogs that are not properly trained will inevitably stray. And as we can all imagine, this is likely to cause a great deal of unnecessary stress and frustrations that could have otherwise been avoided.

Video:   Training Boundaries

Like all animals, dogs enjoy roaming about. Unfortunately for us, this isn’t limited to our houses and backyards, but to our neighbor’s as well. If they could tell you, most dogs would say that that they hate the idea of having to remain cooped up in a certain amount of space.

One of the best ways to boundary train your dog, and the most commonsensical also, involves simply setting up boundaries. This can be done by installing a little gate in some area of the house or yard so that your dog knows that this is, and only this, is their special spot.

Whether this is done by keeping your pet solely within the gated confines of your backyard, or limiting your dog’s ability to freely parade around the house, setting up boundaries can be extremely important.

Having boundaries, however, is not enough, as it is even more important that these boundary training be enforced with consistentcommands such as a stern “No” or “Halt” whenever your dog is about to breach the boundary. By enforcing the predefined boundaries with commands, your dog will quickly internalize the realization that certain places are off limits, and therefore will stay out of these areas.

With a new dog or puppy, and especially young children, predefined boundaries may be hard to keep, as enthusiasm is high and everyone will want the dog in their section of the house.

Although this may be fun, consistency is very important when boundary training your dog. You, as owner, should forbid your dog from entering places that you have deemed off-limits.

Or, if you are not comfortable with putting your dog behind a gate, you will want to keep the doors shut so that, no matter how much your dog may want to enter various places, they will simply not be able to. This can definitely be a viable alternative, but remember you must enforce the rules you set. Otherwise, you might as well not have rules at all!

Of course, boundary training your dog, and having a dog that understands where he or she can and cannot roam, will relieve you of a lot of unnecessary heartache. Dogs without define boundaries will want to go wherever they please, and this is bound to tick-off others who don’t want your dog encroaching on their space. Unnecessary arguments, bad blood, and even calls to the local pound may result if a dog is not properly trained.

So, for the sake of all dog lovers, boundary train your dog. It may just be the best thing you do – for you and for your dog!

Posted: Just One More Pet

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September 13, 2009 Posted by | animal behavior, Just One More Pet, Pet and Animal Training, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our 2-Year Old German Shepherd Has Started Biting…

I thought this exchange was worth sharing…  Comes from my animal group on AARP.org Dog Blog Group. Original Post:

Need some advice if any of you has had experience with this. Our GSD is 2 yrs old and White_German_Shepherdin the past 3 days has bitten both my husband and myself as we tried to take a bone from her-two separate occasions. My bite was very hard and unexpected-I was taking a beef-jerky bone from in front of her-it was not in her mouth, just on the floor. But her paws were on each side of it. I said “you finished yours-and that one is for Levi”-she barked viciously as I had never heard her before and immediately sunk her teeth into my hand. I had to go to the emergency room to get it washed out, a tetanus shot and was put on antibiotics.

So yesterday my husband tried the same thing-don’t ask me why. He German-Shepherd-Dogthought he was immune. She did not get him as hard but I heard her same wild bark and knew what had happened. Our trainers said she needs firmer control and possession-aggression classes. My doctor said whatever we do, don’t re-home her (which we would not as we would not want this to happen to someone else). I am waiting to consult with my vet, but just wondered if anyone had other experiences. She has been in training since she was a pup-both obedience and protection and  is very well-taken care of.

Responses:

CritSis:

I think the older a dog gets the more possessive he gets of his food. I was bitten by a dachshund and she was eating a treat I gave her. She was the gentlest dog I’ve ever cared for. However, from that incident, I learned never to reach down or interfere when they are eating or have food within their possession. Just a rule of thumb with dogs, no matter how well-trained a dog might be.

Magic:

Did something happen or was there some kind of event prior to those three days?

Aas she ever bitten before for any other reason?

Who is levi?  Another Pet?

Kate:

My ex has a huge German Shepherd that’s only a year and a half.  Scout was displaying the same tendency your dog is – so I told them not to give him any bones for a while and began teaching him the command ‘Give” .

I  wore heavy gloves, held one of his favorite toys – a  Ty-Baby cat – and commanded him to sit.  He was very excited at the sight of the cat and it took a couple commands.  When he sat I told him ‘Good Scout’ and held out the cat.  He’d start to lunge for it and I’d command, NO.  Then I’d make him sit again.  Finally, he’d sit and just watch it.  Then I threw it and he brought it back into the room and I would (with the glove on) grasp the cat still in his mouth and tell him “GIVE” as I forced his mouth open and removed it.  Then we started all over again.  It took several days with an hour training session for him to understand the rules of the game and the commands.

Then, still wearing the glove, I changed the cat to a bone and after about an hour, he was playing the game.  Now when my ex or his wife wants to remove something, Scout is made to SIT and if he tries to pick up the bone, he must GIVE.

One good deterrent I’ve found is a large spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water.  If he’s barking and acting up or running around, or jumping on people in his excitement – all they have to do now is pick up the bottle and he retreats to his bed.

P.S. I’m 5 foot 3 inches and when he puts his paws on my shoulders, I have to look UP to tell him to SIT.

Good luck and don’t forget the heavy glove.

JOMP:

I agree with all three of the previous comments.  I think the re-training attempt with the glove is certainly worth a try!!  …Or perhaps getting some input from a private trainer.  It is odd that all of a sudden out of nowhere your dog would become that aggressive over her bone/food for no reason. However, many dogs are aggressive or protective when it comes to food.  It is in their nature, especially if you have more than one dog!!  Is Levi a second dog?

We have 4 (long story) a pure breed Chihuahua (mom), a Chiweenie – Chihuahua Weener Dog Mix (dad) and two of their pups.  The mom, who was always so even tempered has become somewhat possessive with her food and even became aggressive at times, but only with food, after the puppies grew up and stayed.  She has bitten me and my husband on occasion when she thought we were going to take away her food and will snap at the other dogs (over food)… but otherwise she is the most easy going dog in the world.  And now that the pups know better, she has calmed down.  She has claimed her dominant spot as the Alpha Dog among the pack of 4.

I think that some of it is instinct in dogs to protect their food… if you have more than one.  And I also think that sometimes it happens if they feel they are not getting their share of attention.  We over acknowledged and petted the mom for awhile as she went through this phase and that seemed to help a lot.  My husband also turned it into a game.  If she starts to growl over a treat… He calls her name and says, “Cookie??  Your Cookie??” in a joyful manner and moves toward her…  She then immediately barks and then grabs the treat and the game is over.

I realize that a German Shepherd bite is scarier than a Chihuahua bite, but I would try not to over-react on the negative side.  Also, now that you’ve had your Tetanus shot, if it is your own dog and just a nip type of bite… even if it is hard, you shouldn’t need to go to the emergency room or doctor if it happens again.  They also often over-react.

Children often go through biting phases when things are bothering them and I think the same thing happens sometimes with pets.

My two cents…

Wilson:

Excerpts from The Ten Commandments for Pet Guardians:

2. Give me time to understand what you want from me. Please don’t break my spirit with your temper, though I will always forgive you. Your patience and kindness and love will teach me much more effectively.

4. Treat me with loving kindness, my beloved friend, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for your kindness and love than mine. Don’t be angry with me for long and don’t lock me up as punishment. After all, you have your job, your friends, your family, your entertainment. I have only you.

7. Please, PLEASE don’t hit me. It hurts me, it confuses me, and it saddens me beyond words.

8. Before you hurt my feelings and confuse me by scolding me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me or making me sick. Perhaps I’m not getting the right food or I’ve been out in the sun too long or my heart may be getting weak or I’m sad because you’ve been gone too long.

She’s in YOUR world and she’s doing the best she can with what she’s been given to work with.  But, something’s wrong.  Please try to figure it out and help her.  

Is there such a thing as too much training?

Posted:  Just One More Pet

June 30, 2009 Posted by | animal behavior, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet and Animal Training, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments