One of the most labor-intensive problems I’m running into as our dogs age is that they pee in their bed while they sleep.
This can be a headache if you have one of those nice orthopedic beds that have bolsters and thick mattress pads.
It’s a pain because (1) it’s hard to take the bed apart, (2) it’s impossible to wash the actual cushioning, and (3) once it’s clean, you gotta put that sucker back together again. It takes two people, four hands, and about 15 swear words to accomplish just the putting it back together step. It’s kinda a pain in the a$$. See, there’s a swear word and I’m just thinking about that process.
First, I would be irresponsible if I didn’t mention that you absolutely need to take your dog to the veterinarian to make sure the incontinence isn’t a medical condition that you should treat.
My oldest girl, Lily, at 14 years old, developed a sudden problem with peeing in the house. Took her to the vet and turned out she had a urinary tract infection. Bottom line: ALWAYS take your dog to the veterinarian to rule out medical conditions. THEN use these tips to help manage your sanity.
Because I so hate the tear-apart, wash, put-back-together experience (with the still pee-laden cushiony insert still stinky and dirty), I’ve experimented with a few different solutions.
- Put incontinence pads* (found in the Depends section of your local Target or Walmart) under the outside cover and on top of the actual mattress. This helps keep the unwashable mattress part pee-free. This is a HUGE stress reliever. In the past, I’ve spent days dousing that unwashable mattress with Nature’s Miracle, laying the entire bed on top of our patio table so the enzymatic cleaner can soak into the bed and dry. That’s the only way to get the stink out — truly out — not just covered up. With the incontinence pad between the bed and the mattress, I don’t have to every worry about having a bed out of commission for a couple days while the Nature’s Miracle dries.
- Put another incontinence pad on top of the bed cover. Because if the fabric of the bed gets wet, you still have to tear that bed apart to wash the cover. I learned this the hard way. I thought I was a genius when I thought of #1 — I’ve figured a way to keep that mattress pad clean, I thought! Yeah, I did. But I hadn’t quite figured a way to keep from pulling that damn bed apart whenever the fabric covering the bed got soiled. Another swear-laden bed making episode led to this idea of putting an additional pad on top of the bed.
- Cover the incontinence pad with a light sheet or fleece cover-up blanket. Why this last piece? In our house, the dog’s process of getting comfortable in the bed (spin around, spin around, spin around) invariably leads to a scrunched up incontinence pad in the middle of the bed. Which, of course, leads to pee on the actual fabric. Which then leads to that curse-laden drama of washing the whole damn thing. Again.
You’re still going to have to do laundry — the fleecy cover needs to be washed when you find pee-laden incontinence pads. But it’s so much easier to wash that little fleece piece than it is to turn that bed inside out, de-stuff it, let the pee-drenched insert dry in the sun (which works only in the summer), wash the whole bed, and then put the whole thing back together. Again.
*What’s an incontinence pad?
An incontinence pad is a multi-layered pad with a waterproof, leakproof plastic bottom layer. It’s usually sealed around all four edges, as well, to prevent leakage. There are several layers of absorbent material to help soak up the urine.
Another tip: if the disposable incontinence pads fill you with dread because you can’t reuse them, check out the washable incontinence pads. I did a quick search on Amazon.com “reusable incontinence bed pads” and found several different options. Here’s a 4 pack of 34″ x 36″ (great for Labrador sized dogs) for roughly $25. If pink isn’t your color, try these pads that are the same size, just blue/green instead of pink for about the same price.
Do you have ideas for help with an incontinent dog? Share below in the comments!
We bought a ‘waterproof’ crib mattress pad to slip on top of the dog bed which helps to keep the cover clean and stays in place pretty well. We also bought a ‘waterproof’ zip up cover for the bed in hopes that the bed itself would never get totally ruined. I can’t say it works 100% but it does help. It too is a pain to clean as it can’t go in the dryer. We found the doggie pads are a little more sturdy than the human ones and Four Paws has sells a giant size that fits most beds (we actually have to clip two of them together for our bigger dog). Our 15-ish year old lab has zero control and we struggle to keep things reasonably clean. We end up with multiple layers of protection and still sometimes it all just goes wrong. Swear word! Oh, as to medical intervention, she recently started going all throughout the day and the vet put her on Diethylstilbestrol which has really helped. Now at least when she has an accident it is almost always on the pads on her bed, instead of at random locations throughout the house.
Andy Gallego says
I can not place incontinence pads under our dog as it serves to irritate the sensitive skin on his under belly (a little Yorkie), regardless if it’s under another top layer of material. Direct contact with it is never an option; however, due to body heat leading to sweat in our AZ summers, after he comes in from relieving himself, the moisture can eventually become damp enough to seep through top to bottom and bottom to top between the dog, the intermediate material, and the pad. We’ve opted to go with the waterproof pillowcase covers and place inside them a custom piece of foam from the fabric store (Joann’s). My wife suggested my daughter’s old waterproof crib mattress cover just folded over. I’ve found that no matter the solution, something’s going in the washing machine, decommissioning the bed for a couple of hours until everything is clean again, including the dog getting a bath.
Laurie Luck says
That’s where multiple beds (especially for a small dog — so much easier!) come in handy. When we had four dogs, we had about 8 beds! We always have one ready to go when another has to go in the wash. 🙂
Andy Gallego says
We have such a small house where storage space is an issue and I hate to see anything not having a dedicated space to store it. An extra bed would just serve to clutter the place, but I do see the practicality of having one on hand! Thanks for the reply, Laurie!