The following information is offered for your
convenience; it is not intended to be, and should not be taken as, a
substitute for proper veterinary examination and evaluation of any medical
condition. To locate a holistic or homeopathic veterinarian in your area,
please see list of associations and specialists on the
Links-Holistic Care page of my
Grains (including but not limited to wheat and rice) can irritate the bladder by causing inflammation of the urinary
tract. Green beans have also been found to exacerbate incontinence in some
female dogs. If your animal is experiencing incontinence, and you have
ruled out other possible reasons (such as bladder infection or tumor, for
instance), then consider looking at the food you’re feeding. This goes for
treats too such as biscuits, rawhide snacks, Greenies etc and
vitamins/supplements. It is just about impossible to find a kibble that doesn’t have
some sort of grain product in it. You may need to do an elimination diet,
preferably a raw or homecooked diet (see Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to
Natural Health for Dogs and Cats for same). You can also search "dog allergy
elimination diet" on the internet and/or see
http://allergies.about.com/cs/canine/a/aa091800a.htm; these talk more
about elimination diets using commercially prepared foods. Note that it is
generally recommended to have the animal on the elimination diet for 8
weeks, then start reintroducing one food at a time and noting any reactions.
However, exercise caution in doing this with young or old animals; consult
with your veterinarian in tailoring an elimination diet. Removing allergens from the
diet can sometimes result in resolution of the problem. If you do not remove
the offending food, then relief may not be possible, or may be sporadic at
These are common causes of incontinence, straining to urinate and/or blood
in the urine. This must be diagnosed by a veterinarian, preferably a holistic care or
homeopathic veterinarian, so that an appropriate care protocol can be determined.
The urinary tract system may not have developed properly.
to the tail, pelvis or spine can damage the nerves which run through the
lumbar region and enervate the bladder.
This is a serious disease and a holistic care or homeopathic veterinarian
should be consulted for proper treatment. Two of the main symptoms of this
disease are thirst (drinking more than usual and/or more often) and
LACK OF EXERCISE:
Yes, this can actually be a cause. So take your dog for a walk at least once
if not twice daily - ask your vet for how long based on the animal's age and
pH IMBALANCE: Have
your animal's urine pH tested. Alkaline urine can lead to infections,
formation of struvite crystals, and bladder stones. Urine that is too acidic
can also create problems. Any pH far from normal in either direction causes
problems. Dr. Richard Pitcairn, homeopathic veterinarian and author of "Dr.
Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats" recommends
giving (among other things) Vitamin C to maintain an acidic urine, which he
states makes mineral salts more soluble and counters the formation of
crystals. See his book for various treatments for bladder problems.
http://www.rhtubs.com/pH.htm "The pH scale runs from 0 to 14 with 0
being the most acidic, 7 neutral, and 14 being the most alkaline or basic.
It is a logarithmic scale, based on powers of 10, so that 1 pH unit change
equals a 10 fold change in H+ ion concentration! A pH of 6 is ten times more
acidic than a pH of 7."
PROTEIN LEVELS IN THE FOOD:
I saw this on a chatlist, might be worth trying: "My dog had 'leaking'
issues when he got older. My vet suggested trying a lower protein food and
that worked for us. It was a simple thing to try."
Sometimes spay surgery can inadvertently cause damage to the bladder or
bladder sphincter, or the nerves which enervate the bladder. The nerves may
or may not recover/regenerate. The change in hormones experienced during
pregnancy, and after the spay procedure, can also greatly affect bladder
tone. I have heard the spay procedure called “surgical menopause”.
Sometimes an upset stomach can be the culprit. Stomach gas can put pressure
on the bladder.
These can be assessed with an x-ray or ultrasound.
Acupuncture can assist with many different types of health issues including
kidney, bladder and spleen dysfunction. The target of these treatments is
the chi, or life force, of the animal and opening up blocked energy (chi) in
the energy meridians of the body. NOTE: Acupuncture should not be
used with homeopathy, because they have the same purpose (action on the chi,
life force) and doing both will muddy the picture.
See Dr. Kidd's Guide to Herbal Cat Care, and
Dr. Kidd's Guide to Herbal Dog Care, by Randy Kidd, DVM, for herbs specific
to supporting the urinary tract and for certain health issues related
Chinese Herbs: There are
Chinese herbal formulas which are used to resolve bladder problems; see the
directories of natural practitioners under the Associations section on the
Links-Holistic Care page to find a
practitioner in your area. Often an acupuncturist will work with Chinese
herbs, so check with them first.
Cornsilk: Cornsilk is a diuretic which helps eliminate urine (waste
product) more often, and soothes the urinary tract through an
anti-inflammatory action. It is a safe herb and can be used long-term with
no known side effects. "Corn silk, when ingested, primarily acts as an
anti-inflammatory in the genitourinary tract (kidneys, bladder and urethra).
Its potent astringent effect can tighten and strengthen the smooth muscles
of the bladder, which is why it may benefit incontinent animals. Corn silk
does not fight bladder infection nor does it alter urinary pH (it does not
treat crystals) so these conditions must be ruled out prior to its use. Corn
silk must be given daily for several weeks before the positive effects are
noticed. Use fresh corn silk when available. During the winter, corn silk
can be purchased at the health food store. I recommend organic as most corn
is treated with herbicides that are passed up the food chain. The amount to
feed your pet is based on its size, other medications and concurrent health
issues."--Natural News (newsletter of
Nature’s Way (530 mg.
capsules) (carried at health food stores, call 800-9NA-TURE, or
http://www.natureway.com). For a 60 lb. dog, start with ½ the human
adult dose and adjust up or down over a week to find the dose which provides
relief. For smaller/larger dog, adjust accordingly.
Raw powder/silk: Much
cheaper than capsules. Can be bought in bulk at health food stores.
Pulverize in a coffee bean grinder or blender (dry) until a fine powder.
Mix into food. For a 60 lb. dog, start with 1 tsp. each meal and increase by
½ tsp. every two days until relief occurs. You can also make your own by
rinsing, carefully drying, and saving the silk from ears of corn, but be
sure it is from organically grown corn.
After using either version for one month, you can
experiment with reducing the dose slowly over two weeks to find the
maintenance dose. If leakage occurs, increase the daily amount.
The April 1, 2003, issue of The
Whole Dog Journal
discusses the use of Fennel. "Fennel also has estrogen-like properties,
which may explain why the herb has been used for centuries to increase milk
production in nursing mothers. Some herbalists find that Fennel helps
alleviate urinary incontinence in spayed dogs by acting on hormone
imbalances that contribute to the problem. . . . Fennel seed represents
another option for relief of gastric discomfort. A cooled tea works very
well for this purpose; one teaspoon of dried seeds in eight ounces of
boiling water, steeped until cool. The tea can be fed at a rate of two to
four tablespoons for each 20 pounds of your dog's body weight, or it can be
added to his drinking water, as generously as he will tolerate. Fennel is
high in vitamins C and A, calcium, iron, potassium, and varying amounts of
linoleic acid. It is an especially good nutritional adjunct for dogs whose
chronic indigestion cannot be attributed to a specific disease entity.
Fennel also helps increase appetite and freshens breath - thanks to its
antibacterial activity in the mouth - by minimizing belching."
Can be purchased in bulk form or in capsules. It is contraindicated in
animals and people with heart problems.
Parsley and Honey:
Fresh (not dried) chopped parsley and raw unprocessed honey (i.e. from the
health food store). This was recommended to me and the woman said she's seen
it work on a lot of dogs. She recommends that, for instance, a large Lab
would need about a teaspoon of each (chopped fresh parsley and honey) one
time daily. Maureen (the woman who gave me this tip) says, "I give 1
teaspoon of fresh chopped parsley with 1 teaspoon of honey for any size dog.
I think perhaps if I had a 4 pound dog I might cut it in half -- but I don't
think a teaspoon of each would hurt anyone -- dog or human! My sister takes
that amount -- so does a Rottie, so does a black lab (1/2 the weight of the
Rott) so does a Sheltie, etc. Since both ingredients are natural and
healthy, I don't worry that much about it. It just seems to work!"
Other Options For other options, see
NOTE: No remedy should be given without proper supervision by a
trained homeopath. Aggravation of symptoms can occur (aggravation is to be
expected, but only certain symptoms), or other issues can be
triggered by using the inappropriate remedy, potency and/or intervals. DO
NOT use homeopathy while using acupuncture or Chinese herbs. Acupuncture and
Homeopathy work in the same manner (on the body's chi, or vital force).
Remedies like Hypericum or Causticum and others can be helpful for nerve
injuries. Lachesis is a consideration for “surgical menopause” resulting
from spaying. See Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs: Small Doses
for Small Animals by Don Hamilton, DVM on my book page
Animal Care. It is an excellent resource for homeopathic care. Quoting
from the book for urinary incontinence, the following remedies can be
"Bryonia: almost all complaints are worse from
motion. If your dog leaks urine while walking (most incontinence cases occur
when resting) Bryonia might be helpful.
Causticum: Causticum is by far the most
common remedy prescribed for urinary incontinence. It is generally good for
any situation when there is muscle weakness and fatigue and the animal is
chilly. It is good for old, broken-down constitutions, so it is more likely
to help in older, weak animals.
Kreosotum: This is a major remedy for
bed-wetting in children and may occasionally be useful for urinary
incontinence in dogs, although the conditions are not really equivalent, as
bed-wetting is more an emotional problem than a hormonal one. If there is a
possibility that your dog's problem is stress or emotional, consider
Kreosotum. The urine tends to be irritating when Kreosotum is needed.
Nux moschata: This remedy is especially
useful in patients with mental confusion; they may easily get lost in
familiar surroundings. Nux moschata also has an affinity to female organs
and hormonal problems, including incontinence. These dogs tend to be
thirstless with a dry mouth, so they may hang around the water bowl without
Pulsatilla: Pulsatilla patients have very
weak urethral sphincter muscles, so they easily spill urine. In humans, they
might leak a few drops of urine when startled or when laughing hard. Dogs
may leak urine when excited. They may also leak urine when resting or
sleeping. Like Nux moshata and Sepia, Pulsatilla is a good remedy for female
organs. These dogs are typically sweet, and they love attention.
Sepia: Sepia animals tend to be rather
distant and indifferent to attention. They are also extremely chilly. They
may develop incontinence as well, and since Sepia is a good remedy for
female hormonal problems, it can be useful for urinary incontinence of
"Leaks No More"
is a homeopathic remedy blend
that one woman said works very well for her incontinent female. You can find
this through a number of online stores, one is
http://www.naturalcanine.com/html/incontinence.html. They also sell a
Leaks No More and Perna Mussel combination kit (see Perna Mussel below).
Canine Incontinence Support is made by Genesis Ltd.,
incontinence may be caused by an underdeveloped urinary system or may arise
as a part of the aging process. Estrogen deficiency is the most common cause
of incontinence in spayed female dogs and may result in weakened muscles in
the bladder and sphincter causing urine leakage. Bovine ovary powder
nutritionally provides natural estrogens and works synergistically with the
phytoestrogens provided by licorice, wild yam and other ingredients.
Research indicates that phyto-estrogens may help strengthen the bladder and
sphincter muscles and improve muscle tone."
Fresh Factors is an all
natural product made by Springtime, Inc. (www.springtimeinc.com,
800-521-3212). The product is specifically for joint, skin and coat health,
and I've seen and heard amazing things in that regard. Interestingly,
several of us have also noticed improvement or alleviation of urinary and/or
symptoms in male and female dogs. You may need to have the dog on double the
recommended dose (which is safe) for a month or so, then gradually back
down 1/4 tablet every week until you find the maintenance dose. For information and testimonials
about the product, see my page at
Springtime, Inc. To order, call the company.
Cranberry tablets: Can help acidify the urine, creating an
inhospitable environment for bacteria. Use this if the dog is also suffering
from urinary tract infections. However, if the urine is already acidic
(below 7.0), you don't want to give this because it could lead to problems
such as crystals, stones and possibly infections. Check with your vet on whether
this is an appropriate supplement to give. CranAction by Solaray is a great
product; you should be able to find it at health food stores; if not, search
it online and you'll find sites that sell it.
Vitamin C: See under pH
Imbalance at the top of the page.
Perna Canaliculus (Green Lipped
Mussel): I was told by a woman that she has had some success giving
this to her dog, supposedly it tones up the bladder tissue. It is typically
used for arthritis, joint stiffness and mobility issues, see
http://www.naturalcanine.com/html/incontinence.html to order.
Dr. Gloria Dodd’s Female Formula:
Fem-Endocrine F 60T is a product created by Gloria Dodd, DVM to support the
endocrine system of spayed and elderly female dogs. Order it at
Gloria Dodd, DVM, POB 1010, Boonville, CA 95415 Dr. Dodd is an
internationally known, well respectived holistic veterinarian. Her sites contain
holistic care information,
research, articles and supplements for cats, dogs, birds, horses, rodents
Renafood by Standard Process --
helps with regulating kidney function.
Use a specific command (such as “go potty” or “tinkle”) to train your dog to
void its bladder. Begin by using the command as soon as they begin going,
then praise them profusely as soon as they’re done, so they come to
associate the word with the action. Over time they can learn to go on
- DES and Proin
(Phenylpropanalamine, “PPA”): These medications can have serious side
effects and should only be used as a last resort, under regular supervision
by your vet.
FURNITURE AND CARPETS:
Use rubber backed washable bathmats throughout the house; place a waterproof
mattress pad on dog beds, couch cushions, wherever the dog tends to sleep.
You can buy cheap shower curtains or plastic table cloths and put them under
the dog bed covers. There is also a product called Neat Sheets ( about $6 or
$7 ) sold in the paper towel area of grocery stores. They are blue and kind
of a papery cloth and are water resistant. Place under a dog cover/sheet.
Check out the baby department of K-Mart or Wal-Mart. Some of the pee proof
pads there are a lot cheaper than the pee proof pads that the pet catalogs
and stores sell.
When all else fails, consider the SleePee-Time Bed, designed for the comfort
of your pet and ease of cleanup for you.