Incontinence tips


Incontinence Care

Care of dogs with loss of bladder or bowel control
after 6 weeks post-op OR 8 conservative weeks of crate rest

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

Ways to help prevent a bladder infection

(Tips and ideas for incontenent dogs: garments, exercise, expressing and fluids, recurrent UTI.)

  1. ▪️Help keep the body hydrated by soaking dry kibble with equal amount of water at each meal. Give hour dog frozen low/no salt broth to lick on as a treat. If it is going to be a few hours before you can express the bladder, don’t give too much water.
  2. ▪️If you express 4 to 6 times a day, the bladder tone will stay in good shape. This is generally the number of times a healthy dog will go outside anyway.
  3. ▪️The longer urine remains in the bladder the more inviting for bacteria to breed leading to infection. Details on   expressing a bladder and the bowels.
  4. ▪️Cranberry’s proanthocyanidins are known to only work on the strain of  E. coli  bacteria  which make velcro like fringe attachments to the bladder wall. Not all E. coli make a fringe.
  5. ▪️A dog with a  UTI  can have urine with an “off smell” or no obvious signs at all. See the vet for periodic urinalysis as  UTI’s can lead to a serious kidney infection if not treated promptly.
  6. ▪️Confirm with the vet if the urine contains crystals or if there are chances of bladder stones being formed. Some supplements, like Ester C, depending on what the stones and crystals are made of, should or should  NOT  be given.
  7. ▪️Constant  UTI’s can often lead to bladder stones. If your dog has had more than a couple, it might be a good idea to do a bladder ultrasound or X-ray.
  8. ▪️Understand why UTI’s may be returning, what you and your vet can do to help get rid of  recurrent UTIs 


Physical Activity

Dogs need daily aerobic running exercise

  1. ▪️Wheelchairs allow joining in with family activities and good exercise. Carts are not 24/7, but for a couple of hours at a time. Some carts allow walking on all fours with support.   Cart features to look for with and IVDD dog.
  2. ▪️PT and massage 3x day is still required on legs to keep muscle tone and prevent joints from freezing up.  More information.
  3. ▪️Hydrotherpy can be done in a child’s swim pool or your tub  or at a PT facility with an underwater treadmill.


Garments for frog- or seal-like scooters

Garments to protect


Expressing is the best way to keep a dog dry

Diaper/male belly wrap

Diapers are NOT recommended. Dogs abhor being near/in their waste, diapers cause problems with skin. Proper expressing  is what keeps a dog dry and the bladder healthy.  Male wraps and diapers can be helpful short term while solving UTI leaking issues or while learning to express. Change often.

Skin problems
Check the belly and back legs daily for abrasions. Treat with  EMT Gel or Neosporin and a self-adherent wrap such as Coban or VetWrap. Keep skin clean of urine and feces. Baby wipes or baby body wash is easy on the skin. If the condition does not improve within 3 days, seems worse or oozes pus, go to your vet as oral antibiotics and perhaps a skin culture might be needed.


Know the emergency signs

Signs of pain

  1. ▪️It’s a survival instinct not to show weakness (pain). Signs of pain to memorize are crying/yelping, panting, shaking/shivering, licking/chewing, tight tummy, head held high or nose to the ground. Crate your dog at once to limit movement of the back and get to the vet for help.
  2. ▪️A must-have document on emergency signs.  Print and place on your refrigerator.

Schedule your dog for effective expressing.

Sample Daily feeding  with 5 times expressing schedule

7:00 am – express bladder and bowels
7:15 am – breakfast (dry kibble soaked in equal qty. water)
noon – express bladder and bowels
5:00 pm – express bladder
6:00 pm – supper (dry kibble soaked in equal qty. water)
8:30 pm – express bladder (last drink of the night)
10:00 pm – last expressing of  bladder and bowels for the night

Adjust schedule to keep your dog dry between expressings. Eight hours should be the maximum time between expressing during the day. During night time sleep, the body produces less urine.

Other IVDD topics


This information is presented for educational purposes and as a resource for the dog IVDD community. The coordinators are not veterinarians or health care professionals. Nothing herein should be interpreted as medical advice all should contact their pet care professionals for advice. The coordinators are not responsible for the substance and content contained herein and do not advocate any particular product, item or position contained herein.

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