shih tzu frequent urination

Shih Tzu Frequent Urination: 2023 Best Practices & Tips

Is your shih tzu making too many bathroom trips? Dive into reasons behind shih tzu frequent urination.

The Shih Tzu: Understanding the Breed and Common Health Issues

The Shih Tzu is a small breed of dog that originated in China. These dogs are known for their long, silky hair, friendly demeanor, and playful personalities. Despite their small size, they are sturdy little dogs that make great companions for families and individuals alike. Unfortunately, like all breeds of dog, they are prone to certain health issues as they age. One of the most common health issues in senior Shih Tzus is frequent urination or incontinence. As these dogs age, their urinary system undergoes changes that can lead to difficulty holding urine or emptying the bladder completely. This can be frustrating for both the dog and their owner and may even lead to accidents inside the home.

Understanding Frequent Urination in Senior Shih Tzus

As mentioned above, frequent urination or incontinence is common in senior Shih Tzus due to age-related changes in the urinary system. These changes can include a decrease in muscle tone within the bladder walls, making it more difficult for the dog to hold urine; a weakening of pelvic muscles; hormonal imbalances; urinary tract infections; bladder stones or tumors; and diabetes mellitus. Frequent urination may also be a sign of other underlying medical conditions such as kidney disease or liver problems that require immediate attention from a veterinarian. In addition to age-related changes causing frequent urination, there are also certain lifestyle factors that may contribute to this issue. For example, feeding your Shih Tzu a diet high in salt or sugar can lead to increased water intake and more frequent urination. Similarly, if your dog does not get enough exercise throughout the day or has limited access to outdoor potty breaks when needed it may cause trouble with holding urine.

Common Signs of Frequent Urination

The signs of frequent urination in senior Shih Tzus can vary from dog to dog. Some dogs may urinate more frequently but also release small amounts of urine each time. Other dogs may have difficulty holding their urine and may leak small amounts throughout the day or night. In some cases, dogs may even experience accidents inside the home, which can be frustrating for both the dog and their owner. It’s important to note that frequent urination in senior Shih Tzus is often a gradual process that develops over time. As such, it’s important to monitor your dog’s behavior closely and take note of any changes or patterns in their urinary habits so that you can seek medical attention if necessary.


Frequent urination in senior Shih Tzus is a common issue that many pet owners will face at some point in their lives with their furry friends. While this issue can be frustrating for both the dog and their owner, there are many treatment options available to help manage the condition. By understanding the underlying causes of frequent urination and recognizing common signs of the condition, pet owners can work hand-in-hand with their veterinarian to develop a treatment plan that best suits their furry friend’s unique needs.

Causes of Frequent Urination in Senior Shih Tzus

Senior Shih Tzus are prone to a variety of health issues, and frequent urination is one of them. While it may be a normal part of aging, frequent urination can also signal an underlying health problem. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the possible causes of this condition:

Age-related changes in the urinary system

As dogs age, their urinary system undergoes changes that can lead to frequent urination. The bladder muscles weaken with age, which results in less control over urine flow. Additionally, the kidneys become less efficient at filtering out waste products from the bloodstream. These age-related changes can cause an increase in urine production and lead to frequent urination.

Hormonal imbalances

Hormonal imbalances can also cause frequent urination in senior dogs. In female dogs, low estrogen levels after spaying or menopause can lead to bladder muscle weakness and increased urine output. In male dogs, low testosterone levels can cause urinary sphincter tone loss which leads to leakage.

Urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are another common cause of frequent urination in senior Shih Tzus. UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract and multiply in the bladder or urethra. The resulting inflammation irritates the bladder lining and leads to more frequent trips outside.

Bladder stones or tumors

Bladder stones or tumors are also potential causes for this condition. Bladder stones occur when minerals crystalize and deposit around particles trapped in a dog’s urine while tumors grow on the lining of your dog’s bladder – both causing irritation that leads to more trips outside.

Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is another possible cause of frequent urination in senior dogs. Diabetes mellitus occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body is unable to use it correctly. The resulting high levels of glucose in the bloodstream can lead to increased urine production and more frequent urination. Understanding the possible underlying causes of Shih Tzu senior dog’s frequent urination is essential for determining the appropriate treatment plan. A veterinarian should evaluate your dog promptly, especially if you notice other symptoms like accidents indoors, lethargy, or loss of appetite.

Treatment Options for Frequent Urination in Senior Shih Tzus

Medications to control bladder contractions

One common medication prescribed for frequent urination in senior Shih Tzus is oxybutynin. This medication works by relaxing the muscles of the bladder, reducing unwanted contractions and increasing bladder capacity. Other medications such as phenylpropanolamine and diazepam may also be used to treat urinary incontinence by strengthening the urethral sphincter or reducing anxiety-related accidents. It’s important to note that all medications come with potential side effects, such as dry mouth, constipation, or difficulty urinating. Therefore, it’s crucial to discuss any medication options with your veterinarian and monitor your dog’s response carefully.

Antibiotics for urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common cause of frequent urination in senior Shih Tzus. If your dog is diagnosed with a UTI, antibiotics will likely be prescribed to clear up the infection and alleviate symptoms such as pain and urgency. However, some dogs may experience recurrent UTIs due to underlying conditions like bladder stones or weakened immune systems. In these cases, long-term antibiotic therapy may not be effective and other treatment options should be explored.

Surgery to remove bladder stones or tumors

Bladder stones or tumors can cause blockages or irritations that lead to frequent urination in senior Shih Tzus. In severe cases where medical management is not enough, surgery may be necessary to remove these obstructions. Depending on the location and size of the stone/tumor, different surgical techniques such as cystotomy or laparotomy may be used. Recovery time can vary depending on the procedure performed, but most dogs will require hospitalization for at least a few days post-surgery. It’s important to follow your veterinarian’s aftercare instructions closely to ensure a successful recovery.

Hormone replacement therapy

In some cases, frequent urination in senior Shih Tzus may be caused by hormonal imbalances such as estrogen deficiency or hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease). Hormone replacement therapy can help alleviate these symptoms by restoring balance to the endocrine system. However, hormone replacement therapy comes with potential risks and side effects such as weight gain, increased thirst/urination, and increased risk of certain cancers. As with any treatment option, it’s important to discuss the pros and cons with your veterinarian before proceeding.

Management Strategies for Frequent Urination in Senior Shih Tzus

Senior Shih Tzus with frequent urination issues require specific management strategies to ensure their quality of life. These management strategies include regular exercise and potty breaks, dietary modifications to regulate water intake and promote bladder health, use of dog diapers or belly bands, and environmental modifications to prevent accidents.

Regular Exercise and Potty Breaks

Senior Shih Tzus require daily exercise to maintain their muscle tone and cardiovascular health. Regular physical activity also helps to stimulate the dog’s bowel movements and urine flow. It is essential to take senior dogs on walks several times a day, as this helps them release any urine they may be holding in their bladder. A good rule of thumb is to take your senior Shih Tzu out for a walk every two hours while awake or after napping. Additionally, provide easy access to an appropriate place for your senior Shih Tzu’s potty needs by placing pee pads or a litter box near where the dog spends most of its time. This is an excellent option if you can’t always be available to take your senior dog outside throughout the day.

Dietary Modifications to Regulate Water Intake and Promote Bladder Health

Dietary modifications can help regulate water intake while promoting bladder health in senior dogs with frequent urination issues. One way is by feeding the dog smaller meals throughout the day instead of one large meal that can cause spikes in urine production. Maintaining a consistent feeding schedule can also help regulate urinary habits. Another way is by changing your senior Shih Tzu’s diet by providing more moisture-rich foods such as canned dog food or home-cooked meals that contain high-quality protein sources such as chicken or fish without any added preservatives, flavors, or artificial ingredients. You can also add supplements such as cranberry extract or vitamin C that can help support bladder health.

Use of Dog Diapers or Belly Bands

If your senior Shih Tzu has incontinence problems that cause frequent urination, using dog diapers or belly bands is an effective solution. These products are specifically designed to protect floors and furniture from urine stains while allowing the dog to move around freely without discomfort. Dog diapers are specially designed to fit snugly around a dog’s waist, covering the genital area and preventing any urine from leaking out. These diapers come in different sizes and materials such as cotton, nylon, or disposable materials like those used for babies. Belly bands are another option for male dogs with urinary incontinence issues. This product wraps around the dog’s waist and fastens with Velcro, covering only the genital area.

Environmental Modifications to Prevent Accidents

Environmental modifications can help prevent accidents caused by frequent urination in senior Shih Tzus. Consider limiting access to areas with carpeting or other absorbent surfaces where urine can seep into fibers and leave stains. Keep a close eye on your dog when they’re indoors so you can quickly guide them outside if you notice signs of needing to go potty. You may also want to place waterproof coverings under your senior Shih Tzu’s bed or blanket to protect against any accidental leaks. Consider keeping towels nearby so you can quickly clean up any messes that occur without causing damage or discoloration on flooring surfaces. Additionally, use pet-specific cleaning products that neutralize odors instead of traditional household cleaners that may not work effectively against animal urine. To recapitulate, regular exercise and potty breaks, dietary modifications, use of dog diapers/belly bands, and environmental modifications are critical management strategies for Shih Tzus with frequent urination issues due to aging-related changes in their urinary system. By following these steps, you can provide your senior Shih Tzu with a comfortable lifestyle and help prevent accidents that may result in health complications or reduced quality of life.

Rarely Known Small Details about Frequent Urination in Senior Shih Tzus

The importance of monitoring urine output and color for early detection of health issues.

One of the best ways to detect health issues early on in your senior Shih Tzu is by monitoring their urine output and color. By regularly checking their urine, you can detect any changes that may indicate a urinary tract infection, kidney disease, or other health problems. If you notice that your dog is urinating more frequently than usual or their urine has a strange smell or color, it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible. In addition to observing the frequency and color of your Shih Tzu’s urine, you can also collect a sample and bring it with you to your vet appointment. This can help your veterinarian make an accurate diagnosis and provide appropriate treatment.

The potential side effects of certain medications used to treat frequent urination.

While medications can be effective in treating frequent urination in senior Shih Tzus, they may also have potential side effects. For example, some medications may cause drowsiness or digestive upset. In some cases, medication may not be appropriate for dogs with certain medical conditions. It’s important to work closely with your veterinarian when deciding which medication is best for your dog. Your vet will take into account factors such as age, overall health status, and any other medications that your dog is taking before prescribing a treatment plan.

How certain breeds, including the Shih Tzu, may be more prone to senior dog incontinence.

Certain breeds are more prone to senior dog incontinence due to neurological or hormonal changes that occur with age. The Shih Tzu breed is one such example – they are at increased risk for developing urinary incontinence as they age. In addition to breed, other factors that may increase a dog’s risk for incontinence include obesity, spaying or neutering, and certain medications. If you have an older Shih Tzu or another breed that is prone to incontinence, it’s important to work closely with your veterinarian to manage the condition and improve their quality of life.


Frequent urination in senior Shih Tzus can be caused by a variety of factors and can have a significant impact on their quality of life. By monitoring urine output and color, working closely with your veterinarian to identify potential health issues early on, and exploring various treatment options, you can help your furry friend stay healthy and happy as they age. Remember that every dog is unique – what works for one dog may not work for another – so it’s important to tailor your approach based on your individual pet’s needs. With proper care and attention, you can help your senior Shih Tzu live out their golden years comfortably.

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