You get home to your elderly fur kid. She’s so excited to see you that she has a leaky accident.
Poor pup, she’s super embarrassed by it, but she really can’t help it.
There must be a way to help her, and also your sanity, right?
I mean, you’re constantly scrubbing pee out of carpets, bedding, and furniture, and it’s driving you up the walls.
Urinary incontinence in dogs is common and can be a real bummer for dogs and their human parents.
Proin is a widely available and well-known medication used to treat this condition.
What is it, though, and is it safe?
Are there any alternatives available, specifically ones that don’t break the bank? Let’s find out.
What is Proin?
Prion is a chewable tablet used to treat urinary incontinence in dogs.
It comes in two forms: a twice-a-day tablet known as Proin and a once-a-day tablet that releases more slowly into your dog’s metabolism, known as Proin ER.
Both of these are prescription-only meds, since a qualified veterinarian must determine the cause of urinary incontinence and whether Proin is the correct treatment in each case.
Urinary incontinence occurs when the muscles enabling your dog to hold in their pee no longer work properly.
Here, your poor pooch will have minor (or major) accidents throughout the day and night, where they simply can’t hold it in.
Correct medication usually helps sort this out and can be administered under the guidance of a qualified vet.
What are the main causes of urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence, which is the involuntary loss of bladder control, has many causes.
Note that this is different from behavioral issues, where your pup pees on things on purpose.
With urinary incontinence, your pup often doesn’t even know that he had an accident unless it’s a large puddle.
In this case, he’ll probably feel a bit sheepish.
Urinary incontinence in dogs is a medical issue and are caused by other related medical issues, such as
- Anatomic abnormalities
- Urinary tract infection
- Weak bladder
- Spinal injuries or degeneration
- Hormonal imbalance
- Prostate disorders
- Diseases that cause extreme thirsts, such as diabetes, Cushing’s disease, and kidney disease
- Urinary stones
- Certain medications, such as corticosteroids
Are there any FDA approved alternatives?
If you are looking for an alternative medication for incontinence which is FDA approved then Proin is the only drug available.
Proin is a great product, but some dogs are allergic to it, and it’s also quite expensive.
Which perhaps isn’t a surprise if it has a monopoly!
There are a wealth of medications which aren’t FDA approved and would fall into the category of natural remedies.
And I will talk about some of these in detail in a later section.
The active ingredient in Proin is phenylpropanolamine which is a chemical that stimulates the sphincter in the urethra.
Does Proin need to be prescribed by a vet?
Yes, Proin is only available on prescription. The herbal remedy alternatives are available without a prescription, though.
What are the side effects of Proin?
Most dogs don’t suffer any side effects when they’re taking Proin. There are a few that experience a lot of extra symptoms, though.
If your pup is one of the few that are allergic to Proin, he could suffer the typical signs of allergy. You know, itching, sneezing, difficulty breathing, and general discomfort.
Then, there are the other side effects, such as high blood pressure and excitability.
A small percentage of dogs may experience bodyweight loss, vomiting, hypertension, and diarrhoea.
Usually, vomiting and diarrhea would go away within the first week of taking Proin.
However, some dogs have intermittent bouts of this throughout the time that they take the medication.
If your fur kid shows any of these symptoms, it’s probably a good idea to find an alternative medication.
In some cases, Proin could also cause loss of appetite, excessive salivation, tiredness, agitation, vocalization, excessive thirst, and fever.
That’s some scary stuff right there. Luckily, it’s not common, so your pup will probably be fine.
Either way, it’s a good thing that you can’t get this stuff without the advice of a registered vet.
In extreme cases, kidney failure was reported. Again, this isn’t common, but you should always keep an eye out for symptoms, just in case.
Are some breeds more at risk of incontinence than other breeds?
Bladder control issues are more common in older dogs and also more common in spayed females. This stretches across all dog breeds, but some are more prone to bladder incontinence than others.
If your fur kid is a bulldog, red setter, or boxer, you’re potentially in for a wild ride.
These breeds, especially the males, are more prone to leaky bladders than other breeds.
The same goes for bull mastiffs and fox terriers.
Research shows that purebred dogs are also more prone to issues with leaky bladders than crossbred dogs.
This indicates that genetics probably plays a role in all of this. Yikes.
Do you know what’s even scarier?
The researchers found that bladder incontinence is often the main reason, or a contributing factor, to dogs being euthanized.
It’s also understandable to a degree since bladder incontinence impacts the emotional welfare of both dog and owner and has substantial financial ramifications for dog owners.
Can a dog regain bladder control?
Bladder control issues are pretty bad, but the good news is that, in most cases, they’re curable.
Many factors could cause or influence bladder incontinence in dogs.
Still, once these issues are resolved, your four-footed fur kid’s leaky bladder could be something of the past.
At times, the damage is too great, or the condition too far progressed to completely reverse the issue.
Keep an eye on your pet and let the vet look at symptoms early on before things progress past the point of no return.
Are there any effective natural remedies?
Luckily, there are some alternatives that you could try. These are all herbal remedies, and they seem to do the job just fine.
Pre-mixed products that are readily available include the Chinese Rehmannia Six and Rehmannia Eight, both named after the main ingredient. Rehmannia is Chinese foxglove, which helps regulate urinary control.
VetriScience’s Bladder Strength tablets, also a herbal remedy, have great reviews on Amazon.
Perfectly Healthy’s Bladder Health powder is suitable for cats and small dogs. This is also a herbal remedy.
Feelgood Pets offers another herbal remedy in the form of Better Bladder Control. The reviews are favorable, and it’s not expensive.
How do these alternatives differ?
The herbal remedy alternatives to Proin are generally available without a prescription. You could also mix your own herbs with the help of an experienced herbalist or holistic vet.
Some ingredients that tend to work for bladder incontinence and which are included in the remedies are
- Uva Ursi
- Raspberry leaf
- Rehmannia (Chinese foxglove)
- Dioscorea (yam)
- Alisma (water plaintain)
- Moutan (peony)
That’s a mouthful, and if you’re like me, you probably don’t have a clue what any of that means. It’s okay.
That’s why you get help from an expert.
Note that these herbal remedies are different from Proin since this product is a full-on pharmaceutical medication.
The active ingredient here is phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride. Uhm, that’s a mouthful!
All of these options are available as either chewable tablets or powders, so at least it’s easily administered to your dog.
My dog is suddenly incontinent. What should I do?
When you first notice signs of urinary incontinence, you could probably fix things rather quickly using a home remedy.
Here, natural remedies, such as the Chinese Rehmannia mentioned previously, could do the trick. Herbal tonics focused on urinary health could help heal the inflamed bladder and urinary tract.
The key here is timing.
Administer your chosen home remedy immediately the moment you spot any signs of urinary incontinence.
If things don’t get better quickly, it’s time for a trip to the vet before the situation gets out of hand.
How long can dogs stay on Proin?
If they don’t show any adverse effects to Proin, dogs can take it forever.
Proin doesn’t cure leaky bladders; it just manages the symptoms.
So, when your dog stops taking Proin, and you don’t replace it with something that works equally well, he’ll be back to leaky accidents all over the house.
Bladder incontinence is an inconvenient situation at best and a severe condition for your pet at worst.
Luckily, there are products available to treat and manage this condition.
These include Proin and a plethora of herbal remedies. While Proin is a pharmaceutical and only available on prescription, herbal remedies are widely available and, in some cases, just as effective.