Questions about dog behavior and training? Send them to:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Leaky Females

Dear Jan,

I thought our female Chihuahua was housebroken, but lately she's been having accidents. When she gets up from her bed, there will be a wet spot. Lately she's been sleeping on my bed, and there's a wet spot on the comforter in the morning. How do I deal with this? She's 11 months old and we had her spayed about two months ago, so she should have outgrown this problem by now.


Dear Michelle,
Chances are this is NOT a "housebreaking" problem. Your dog may be leaking in her sleep due to a hormonal imbalance that's the result of her spaying. Never fear; you did the right thing in having her spayed, and the problem is completely fixable.

Lack of estrogen sometimes causes female dogs to lose control of their sphincter muscles, which keep the urine from coming out unintended. As long as the dog is awake, she's okay. But when she totally relaxes--when she's sleeping or just very, very physically tired--she may leak.

Your vet can do a couple simple tests--first, to rule out possible bladder infection, and then to determine whether a hormonal supplement is indicated. These days there are two prevalent drug treatments for this condition. One is an estrogen replacement known as Diethylstilbestrol (DES). The other is a bladder sphincter muscle stimulant called Phenylpropanolamene (PPA). These come in the form of small pills given daily, weekly, or at some other interval determined by your vet. They are inexpensive and will end the problem of urine leakage without any major long-term side effects.

For what it's worth, we've had this situation with most of the spayed females we've owned over the past 15 years. To us, doling out those little white pills to our girls is no big deal. We've found, however, that if we get them off schedule and miss a dose, the peeing will start you're looking at a lifelong regimen.


gat said...

After adopting Lexi from the Humane Society a few years ago, she had the same urine leaking problem during sleep from time to time - (I suspect that's why her previous owners gave her up.) I looked into some holistic remedies online and found "Animals' Apawthecary Tinkle Tonic" which I gave her for a few days and it cleared the problem up completely. I have only had a couple of recurrences since that time and I start up the Tinkle Tonic again and it goes away. It has been over a year now without the problem cropping up again.

Two more reputable sites to check out are: "Animal Herbs and Homeopathics" and "Earth Animals."

Also, just a footnote: There have been a few times our male dog Oliver would get up in the middle of the night to go out to relieve himself, which is unusual for him, and I give him the Tinkle Tonic and the night urinating comes to an end.

This may be a good option for people looking for a more natural approach and/or in conjunction to the vet prescriptions.


Jan said...

Gay, that is fascinating! There are SO many homeopathic options out there to help us get away from the chemicals. I'm going to check this out!