Written by Shannon Fujimoto Nakaya, DVM
A lot of tips are already posted on the page on incontinence. This section is the expansion packet for the animal companion that has minimal bowel and/or bladder control. At this stage, the goals are to keep the animal clean and dry and to make cleaning up as easy as possible.
Even the best carpet shampoos only get you so far and then you just have to replace carpet with something easier to clean and more hygienic. Tile or vinyl are hardiest and easiest to clean and maintain. For some pets it doesn't offer enough traction. Carpet runners, bath mats, or small area rugs will provide traction and fit into washing machines. I've bought them by the dozen and covered the floor in "lilypads." Foam tiles, in my opinon, are the perfect flooring for geriatric and handicapped animals. They are easily installed, soft, insulating, and soiled tiles can easily be taken up, completely scrubbed down, and put back into place. Incredibly practical, but unfortunately, won't add to the value or aesthetics of most homes.
I used to recommend crates and kennels, but when it came to my own senior dog, I couldn't do it to him even though he'd been kennel-trained as a puppy never really had a problem with his "bat cave." I did have x-pens and child gates to block off certain sections of the house.
On nice days, we'd simply spend more time outdoors. Grass is pretty amazing -- it provides traction and padding, and pee just drains right through. Once established, water and sunshine seem to help it maintain itself.
Some lanais are designed to drain really nicely so that when an animal urinates, it drains or dries up pretty quickly and can be easily scrubbed and hosed down. Maybe an option for nice days.
Water or food deprevation is NOT an appropriate management technique for incontinence, especially in patients with kidney problems, diabetes, cushing's disease.
Incontinent patients are definitely more prone to urinary tract infections. The same "loose" sphincters that can't effectively keep urine in also can't effectively keep bacteria out. Regularly catching urine in a clean, clear jar and holding it up to light checking for turbidity or cloudiness or blood is a crude way of monitoring. Turbid, cloudy, pink tinged (blood), or strong odor are indicators for a vet check, a complete urinalysis, and/or a urine culture. Early detection and treatment of bladder infections can allow patients to avoid more serious kidney or systemic infections.