Owners of elderly dogs find themselves asking a lot of new questions about their care and life. Things change as your dog ages. You may find that your dog starts going to the toilet inside. Perhaps because of confusion, or a weak bladder. Regardless of the reason, you may find yourself asking ‘is incontinence a reason to put a dog down?’.
Seeing your dog struggling to get to the toilet may be one concern. Another may be frustration that your dog is urinating and defecating inside your house so frequently. Cleaning and hygiene issues all become worries that can consume you. We are going to honestly answer whether euthanasia for incontinence is an outcome you should consider or not. Let’s take a look.
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What is Canine Incontinence
We can define incontinence as a lack of control over the bladder and bowels. Therefore your dog will urinate and defecate randomly and when they need to. There can be a spectrum of incontinence where some dogs may only struggle to hold their urine when they have a full bladder, and others that urinate without control regularly.
Although the term actually refers to an inability to stop the release of urine and feces, a lot of owners will use this term for urine incontinence alone. As this is a much more common issue, it is the target we will focus on through this article. Although we will give a mention to uncontrolled bowels as well.
Is Incontinence a Reason To Put a Dog Down
In our opinion, we believe that a dog should not be put down due to incontinence. Only in severe cases when your dog is unhappy, in pain, or your vet advises you to do so. Usually though, this is a treatable and manageable condition. It can be frustrating, but so can barking, shedding, and chewing. It’s just a different stage and health concern in the life of your dog that will require changes to help.
Treatment exists for both urinary incontinence and fecal. For urinary incontinence it may be that your dog has a urinary tract infection, or weakening of the urethral sphincter. In this case your dog will need a vet visit to prescribe the right antibiotic for an infection, or Phenylpropanolamine to help strengthen the urethral sphincter muscles. If your dog is defecating without control, this is often due to a problem with their diet. Increasing their fiber, a vet prescribing anti-diarrheal and anti-inflammatory medications, or other vet advised aids can help.
We are going to explore other difficult questions that exist alongside this topic below.
In conclusion, incontinence is not enough of a reason to euthanize a dog. There are many different treatments that can work wonders for this problem. A vet visit will be able to diagnose the cause and explain to you the available treatment. Only if this symptom is a sign of something much more concerning should it be a consideration for putting your dog down. Otherwise, some daily medications and a diet change may be all they need to feel happy and healthy once more.