Urinary Incontinence In Your Dog and Chiropractic

People get their dogs adjusted for a variety of reasons but the most common cases I see are elderly dogs that suddenly have a difficult time getting up. Their hind limbs don’t seem to function well. They have been to their vet and it seems that not much can be done. The diagnosis…. old age.

Yes, incontinence is a common representation in an aging K9, but many times after adjusting these older dogs the owners report back that 15 year old “Chase” has a new spring in his step AND we forgot to mention that he hasn’t been wetting his bed.

No matter how detailed my history questions are, people forget to mention things such as incontinence as it seems to be completely irrelevant when taking them to an animal chiropractor. However, when we look at a dog’s anatomy it all begins to make perfect sense as to why an adjustment could affect your dog’s urinary incontinence.

The association between segmental hypomobilities (lack of motion) in the lumbar region (lower back) and urinary retention and/or incontinence suggests a possible neurophysiologic explanation for the observed urinary problems. The nerve supply to the urinary bladder and urethra originates from the lumbar and sacral sections of the spinal cord.

In dogs, the nerves originating in the L1 to L4 spinal cord segments are involved with sympathetic innervation of the bladder, whereas the somatic innervation of the urethra originates in the S1 to S2 area. [1] [2]

This suggest an interaction with the sympathetic innervation of the bladder as a mechanism behind the urinary retention and incontinence.[3]

I am very careful about making any claims about chiropractic curing anything. Nevertheless, if the nerves that come from the spinal cord – that innervate organs, tissue, every cell in the body – are unobstructed and can communicate freely your animal will function at a completely different level (and so would you).

So when urinary incontinence goes away, constipation no longer is an issue, allergies clear up these are all the positive side effect of a self healing, self regulating mechanism that doesn’t have any interference because of chiropractic.

Not sure if you dog needs to be adjusted?

I have created a simple stretching routine for you to assess your dog’s musculoskeletal health. That way you can make an educated decision if it is time to bring your pup to your chiropractor. Often times our dogs seem perfectly healthy and in no pain, but by doing these stretches you will pick up on subtle nuances if your dog is carrying any tension in their body.


[1] Purinton, P. T. & Oliv er, J. E. (1979) Spinal cord origin of innervation to the bladder and urethra of the dog. Experimental Neurology 65, 422-434

[2] König, H. E. & Leibic h, H.-G. (2009). Veterinary Anatomy of Domestic Animals. Stuttgart, Germany: Chattauer

[3] Thude, T. R. (2015), Chiropractic abnormalities of the lumbar spine significantly associated with urinary incontinence and retention in dogs. J Small Anim Pract, 56: 693–697. doi:10.1111/jsap.12420