Nervous Bladder in a Chihuahua

Your Chihuahua may suffer from submissive urination.

Your Chihuahua may suffer from submissive urination.

Chihuahuas express their emotions in many ways. They wag their tails, they wiggle their bodies, they sometime growl or cower, but along with these emotions, some dogs' bladders leak in the moment. If your Chihuahua shows some of these tendencies to urinate inappropriately, you must find ways to curb the behavior.

Why Dog Bladders Leak

Before fixing any problem, you must first find the cause. Dogs who urinate uncontrollably could by suffering from physical conditions, and you should discuss your Chihuahua's behavior with your veterinarian to rule out any diseases or conditions that effect elimination. The loss of control of voiding, known as incontinence, is usually characterized by wetting in bed or near the bed. Other symptoms can include dribbling of urine or abnormally frequent needs to urinate. Keep track of these signs and discuss with your veterinarian.

Submisssive Urination

What pet owners may refer to as nervous bladder is known to professionals as submissive urination. This is a common problem that owners may notice when their dogs get excited or nervous, and release of urine is caused contractions of the abdominal wall muscles. Chihuahuas in particular are known for their high energy level and their tendencies toward excitement. These dogs can be especially likely to urinate during periods of elevated excitement or nervousness. A Chihuahua who eliminates when excited or in the presence of another dog is showing submission to avoid a confrontation. The tiny Chihuahua can be intimidated by larger -- gigantic in their eyes -- dogs.

Treating Submissive Urination

Treating submissive urination, which is also known as stress incontinance or nervous bladder, is commonly seen in young puppies, and most puppies outgrow the condition. Treatment for older dogs can involve drugs or behavior therapy. Drugs that stregthen the urethra may be prescribed in conjunction with behavior therapy. The key to eliminating this response is to establish confidence in your Chihuahua. Activities like regular walks in your neighborhood and an obedience class can indirectly help this condition. Give your dog many food reinforcers when he's on the walk and when he successfully responds to your directions, such as sit, down and come.

Eliminate Stress

As your Chihuahua's confidence improves, he should start to relax when he approaches other dogs, when the door bell rings or when he hears thunder. Understand that the dog is not urinating out of spite, disrespect or housetraining errors; and never punish your Chihuahua for submissive urination -- it would only make him more nervous and likely to continue with nervous bladder incidents. Worse, untreated submissive urination fails to deal with the underlying issue of confidence, and a fearful dog can develop other behavior issues, such as aggression and biting. Fearful Chihuahuas have been known to be snappy as they tremble in the presence of strangers, so it's critical to treat the condition early. For best results, consult with an animal behaviorist to lead you through the therapeutic process.

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About the Author

Connie Jankowski began writing in 1987. She has published articles in "Dog Fancy" and "The Orange County Register," among others. Areas of expertise include education, health care and pets. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Pittsburgh.

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