Leaky Bladders, Puppy Weaning and Living with More than 1 Cat - Call the Vet #30

On today’s episode, I answer the questions about:

  1.  A female dog who is leaking urine while sleeping 

  2.  Reducing the stress of introducing a new cat into the house

  3.  How to wean a puppy onto solids

call the vet podcast episode 30: cat introductions, puppy weaning, and leaky bladders

Leaky Dog Bladders

My dog has urine continually flowing while she’s sleeping. How can I stop this happening? - Mani

  • Is it really incontinence or is your dog waking up and having an accident overnight?

    • If they are incontinent, they're going to have a wet patch on their bed behind them when they wake up.

    • If they are actually having accidents overnight, they are likely to be getting up from their bed, going to the door, and you'll find a pool or a puddle of urine somewhere else. Diseases that result in a lot of urine production can cause accidents including kidney disease, liver disease, and diabetes, Senility and cystitis are other causes of accidents.

  • The most common cause of incontinence is urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence (USMI), the normal valve that stops the year in flowing out of the bladder becomes floppy and flaccid and urine leaks out of the bladder.

    • Ectopic ureters are when the tubes that take urine from the kidneys into the bladder do not flow into the proper place. They are bypassing the normal resistance to flow.

    • Intrapelvic bladder happens when a dog’s bladder is tucked back in the abdomen and is more within the pelvis.

    • A problem with the nerves controlling the normal bladder function is also a possible cause due to intervertebral disc disease.

  • In a female dog that is older than a year or two and only urinating while they are in their bed asleep then USMI is the most likely cause. There is a three times increase for this condition in female dogs who are spayed.

  • Treatment options are primarily medical. Two main options here are Estriol, an estrogen supplement to replace the female hormone lost when a dog is spayed, and Phenylpropanolamine, which is the more effective treatment. Some dogs will need both treatments.

  • If medication doesn't help, although that really is uncommon, we first have to be sure of the diagnosis. Then, surgical options are available depending on the cause. If your dog isn't responding to medical management, there is a high chance that they will need to be referred to a specialist surgeon.

  • Related articles and resources:

Introducing a New Cat

I have a friend who has introduced a 2-year-old Bengal into his family with his 3 other cats and things are not going well. The new boy just wants to charge at the younger neutered girl and the Siamese. He wants to help this rescue Bengal but fears he has to pass him on. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. - Bridgette

  • Supervise all interactions so you can intervene as needed. You also don't want to force any interaction on the other three cats.

  • We should always make sure that there are plenty of escape routes and safe spaces for the cats to retreat to. Cats are 3D creatures and they like having spaces up high such as in cupboards, top of wardrobes, cat towers, and jungle gyms.

  • Having four cats in a house, unfortunately, is a recipe for stress to a greater or lesser degree. More than one cat in a house generally results in some tension. The more cats, the higher the likelihood of significant stress being present.

  • One of the biggest causes of stress is a competition for resources. This means food and water bowls and litter trays. It’s important to have the right number of those in the right location.

    • There should be one more of each of these than the number of cats in the house. In this case with four cats, you are going to need five little trays, five water bowls, and five feeding station. You can have the water and food next to each other, but they shouldn't be next to any litter trays.

    • We also need to be locating them in correct places as well as having them separated. Putting them in the corners of rooms and quiet spaces is really good because your cat can look out and survey the room without worrying about another cat coming behind them and interrupting them doing whatever it is they're doing.

  • You can use Feliway, a pheromone produced by cats to mark their territory and make them feel safe and calm. Dietary supplements like Calmex and Zylkene also help reduce stress levels. You can find these and my other recommended accessories on my Amazon page

  • Is the new cat neutered? If he is entire, he is going to be much more territorial,more  likely to attack, and be more anxious about having other cats in his environment.

  • I hope that the situation can be well controlled. But at the same time, we also need to be realistic. We also need to think about the well-being of the three original cats. It may well be that consideration needs to be made that this young cat needs to be found another home unfortunately, but it is better to  make that decision and find him a fantastic forever home now that you know his personality and temperament.

  • Related articles and resources

How to Wean a Puppy

I am looking to wean my 3-week-old puppy to solid foods. Where do I start? I’ve been bottle feeding him as he was rejected by his mum. Thanks. - Siobhan

  • Three weeks is about as early as you can get when it comes to starting weaning. Now is the time to think about and starting the process because, ideally, weaning a pup is a long and gradual process.

    • Typically pups spend longer periods of time away from Mum and as they take on more food, her milk gradually dries up

  • Ideally, we want weaning to be completed at about eight weeks of age. Some puppies are weaned and rehomed at 6 weeks but, for the average puppy, I think having mom’s milk longer is a better situation. There is nothing quite like a mother's milk for early growth and for health. 

    • Time spent with mom and all the other little mates learning how to be a dog and how to behave (including things like bite inhibition) is also really important. It is all part of the socialization we need our young puppies to experience.

  • You can buy a weaning formula, but equally starting off with selecting a breed appropriate, high-quality puppy diet is the way to go. If you are bottle feeding it is also important that you use a puppy milk replacer. Make the puppy food into a gruel by mixing or mashing it up with water or puppy milk replacer. Keep it in a shallow bowl or baking tray to avoid the puppy drowning or getting stuck which can happen if they fall into a high-sided bowl.

  • Encourage your puppy to eat by:

    • Offering it to them when they are hungry.

    • Making sure the food is fresh.

    • Warming up the mixture (not too hot!).

    • Get them to lick it off your finger.

  • Another strategy is to start off with milk replacer alone. Gradually add some food to make it thicker.

  • Make sure fresh water is always available to avoid the risk of dehydration.

  • Start to spread feeding times out and offering a fresh batch of food first before bottle-feeding.

  • Puppies should be gaining weight everyday. If their weight remains constant or they lose weight, it means they are not getting enough nutrition and you need to step in with extra feeds.

  • Related articles and resources:

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