Why does dog pee in his sleep?

April 13, 2012

“What’s happening to you Baby Gurl?” “You have soiled momma’s Porthault sheets again!”

Dogs that have lived in the wild thousands of years ago have survived on their own, modern day dogs though entirely depend on their owners. Any dog owner would tell you that these animals make wonderful pets although caring for one is comparable to caring for a kid. Infants and very young kids would need several nappy changes because of weak bladder control. Bedwetting though is a self-limiting concern. Most kids at the age of 3 years would outgrow bedwetting although some would stay dry only when the 6th or 7th birthday is reached.

Apparently, this bed wetting concern is true with puppies as well. Puppies are expected to pee more frequently because of poor bladder control. However, grown up dogs that have attained bladder control can still involuntarily urinate while sleeping. Pet dogs are considered as substitute children especially by childless people. As such, dogs would receive the same care and affection that is given to a child. Dogs are kissed and cuddled and even allowed to sleep with the master. A dog that wets the bed therefore would be a problem. A dog owner has to deal with this concern as even if it would be an easy matter to load the washer with the soiled sheets, a dog that pees while sleeping can have an underlying illness. It is possible that the dog is suffering from urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinence is a condition most common in very young and old dogs with weak bladder control. The inability to control or to hold urine is also commonly seen in spayed female dogs. The most obvious symptom is involuntary dribbling of urine so that the spot where the dog has been sleeping would be wet. The inability to hold urine will result to a genital area that is always wet. The dog would excessively lick the area clean and in doing so would create fur discoloration and skin irritation. Typically, the dog will dribble urine when it is lying down or when sleeping. This happens because when the dog is relaxed, the bladder’s sphincter muscle that controls urination relaxes as well so that urine is allowed to dribble or leak from the bladder. Urinary incontinent dogs would pee not only when they are sleeping. Some would dribble urine when they are awake and walking around. As such, an owner may think that the pet has unlearned is housebreaking training or that the pet has developed an unwanted habit.

Urinary incontinence is common in older animals as bladder control is weakened with age. Older animals can also have back injuries that make urinating hard to control. Sleep incontinence can also be caused when bacteria infect the dog’s urinary tract. Urinary tract infection is more common in female dogs. Hormonal imbalance is another reason why a dog can lose bladder control. Normally, urine that is stored in the bladder will be prevented from leaking by the bladder sphincter muscles. This band of tissues found at the base of the bladder serves as the valve that controls urine flow. This muscle allows a dog to stop the flow of urine even in midstream. The tone of this muscle is maintained by the estrogen hormone in females and by the testosterone hormone in males. Spayed dogs can no longer produce the normal amount of estrogen. As the testicles are removed when a male dog is neutered, the source of testosterone is removed as well. Small amounts of estrogen and testosterone are produced by the adrenal glands. The small amounts of these hormones produced would be enough to maintain the tone of the bladder muscle sphincter in some dogs. The hormone produced may be insufficient in others. These dogs will develop urinary incontinence and will be seen peeing in their sleep.

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