Why does my dog dribble urine when she sleeps and how should this be treated?

Original Question: I have a 6-month-old female Golden Retriever and when she lays down to sleep sometimes urine will dribble out. She has had some bladder infections that were treated with medication. Will this problem go away as she gets older? Your help will be appreciated. Thank You." - Heidi

Why does my dog dribble urine when she sleeps and how should this be treated? Apr 24, 2018

Hi Heidi,

Thanks for your question.

The urine dribbling during sleep is likely caused by either weakening of the urinary sphincter, a bladder infection, a neurological problem or structural abnormality of the bladder. If she was recently spayed, the most likely reason is the reduced oestrogen production she’ll have and it’s effect on the urinary sphincter. This is a common side effect of spaying a female dog. The reduced oestrogen weakens the urinary sphincter and they tend to dribble urine when they sleep.

The other very important point you mention is that she has already had multiple bladder infections. My concern would be that these aren’t independent infections and in fact, they could be the same infection recurring. Most infections that are being caused by resistant bacteria will still get better on antibiotics, but then return days to weeks later after the antibiotic stops. I would recommend you perform urine testing with a ‘culture and sensitivity’. I can’t overstate the importance of this particular test to determine if an infection is present and what type of bacteria has caused it. It is much more sensitive than a simple urinalysis and it should be performed again after the antibiotic course is completed which will grow any bacteria that might be present in the bladder to confirm that the inciting infectious agent has been eliminated. General blood and urine testing would be ideal to see if there are any underlying conditions that could be contributing to the problem. Also having your veterinarian look at the structure of the vulva would be valuable as well. If it didn’t form properly, there could be urine collecting or pooling at the urethral opening which could be contributing to repeated infections.

I hope this helps. Good luck.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

Disclaimer: healthcareforpets.com and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.

Related Q&A

  • Do you recommend a stool test for my dog who is on a raw food diet?
  • Answered by: Dennis Chmiel, DVM, MBA
  • Nov 25, 2020
  • Do small or large breed dogs have more problems with their teeth?
  • Answered by: Jeanne Perrone, MS, CVT, VTS (Dentistry)
  • Sep 5, 2020
  • How do dogs contract leptospirosis and how can it be prevented?
  • Answered by: Dr. Alex Avery, BVSc
  • Jun 21, 2019
  • What is the best diet to feed a dog?
  • Answered by: Dr. Alex Avery, BVSc
  • Jun 21, 2019