This condition occurs when a dog or a cat urinates involuntarily, that is, the urine just comes out without the animal noticing or making any indication that it is urinating. Some dog are very excitable and may urinate when they meet a person; they are normal and do not have a disease. Urinary incontinence as a disease and most commonly appears as bedwetting. Female dogs may dribble; some lick at their vulva as the urine comes out. Aging animals may suffer incontinence but they notice and run to the door as the urine flows out.
Urinary incontinence is the result of lack of tone in the muscle that controls the opening and closing of the bladder. It is a multi-factored disease, with weight, position of the bladder, and reproductive status each playing a role. In older dogs and cats it can be due to degeneration of the spine, interfering with the nerves that control the bladder sphincter.
Urinary incontinence can be successfully treated, either with various drugs or with acupuncture.