Laurie's Blogs.


Oct 2012

The Incontinence Survey

So, perhaps you remember the informal survey I did a while back about continence in dogs.  What ever happened there??  Well here’s what I found:

Respondents were directed to answer one of two surveys depending upon which dog (if more than one) they were basing their answers. 415 respondents answered the ‘Continent dog survey’ and 167 answered the ‘Incontinent dog survey’.  Incontinent dogs were slightly older than continent dogs:  74% of the incontinent dogs were over 6 years of age; 60% of the continent dogs were over 6 years old. 

Surgeries or having puppies had little to do with continence.  91% of incontinent dogs, and 87% of continent dogs were reported to have had puppies, a C-section, a spay, or abdominal surgeries.  A question regarding the age at which the spay was performed was added late to the ‘Incontinent dog survey’ – and only captured responses from 57 participants.  Very little was gleaned.  18% were spayed at less than 6 months, 30% were spayed between 6 months to a year, 26% were between 13 months to 2 years, and 26% were over 2 years of age.

The percentage of dogs engaged in the types of exercise described was similar between each group.  However the continent dogs engaged in off-leash running, high-intensity playing, and sports training by 13%, 8%, and15% respectively.  Table 1 describes the exercise routines between each group.

Table 1. Types of routine exercise received weekly

Type of Exercise

Continent dogs

Incontinent dogs

Walking on leash



Jogging on leash



Walking off leash



Running off leash



Treadmill exercise



Low intensity play



High intensity play



Sports training






Respondents were also allowed to describe their other exercise regimes, and 108 answers were received – of which swimming, digging, and ‘working’ were common answers, as was ‘none’ due to age.  When asked about the average daily amount of exercise, there was no significant difference between the groups. 

The last questions were only asked on the ‘Incontinent dog survey’ – Is your dog on any medication to help with incontinence?  57% were on medication and 47% were not.  This group was also asked if they had found anything that improved their dog’s incontinence, and 101 responses were recorded.   The most common response was prescribed medication/hormones, followed by management strategies (frequent ‘potty breaks’, limiting evening water consumption), manual therapies (traction, adjustments, acupuncture), and then natural remedies.

All in all, this survey may prove useful, but in a very limited sense.  It would seem that higher intensity exercising may be beneficial, and that some of the above-described remedies would be worth trying as well to manage incontinence in dogs. 

Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer the survey.

Until next time…