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Old dog pooping in the house

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  • Old dog pooping in the house

    My lab's days are numbered, have been for a long time but so far she is still chugging along. As long as she is still able to get up and down the stairs and the like I am willing to keep going with her. I think I keep her comfortable for the most part. She absolutely lives to go to the barn. She goes nuts when she sees one of us putting our breeches on...yes she knows what breeches look like!
    This past week or so she has started pooping in the house and occasionally peeing in the house. Its not an everyday occurance but has happened enough times to really concern me. Poop is normal looking so it doesn't seem to be an emergency type thing where she just has to go NOW. The other really weird thing about it is she makes the effort to hide what she is doing by going upstairs or downstairs away from wherever we happen to be. Its not like she is just going in whatever room she happens to be in. There is almost always someone home as hubby works from home so its not like we are leaving her alone too long.
    Any idea why this would happen after 12 years of being housebroken?
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home

  • #2
    When my old shepherd started pooping in the house I came to realize that it was because she could no longer "assume the position" to completely evacuate her bowels. Also some older dogs get a little senile about things.

    As for the urinating, is she aware if it? Older spayed females can have incontenance issues that can be succefully treated with mediciation. They don't squat, it just leaks out of them while they are sleeping. I swear my old girl would jump off the bed thinking that I pee'd the bed not her!


    • #3
      I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


      • #4
        We had a really old cat that started losing his way to the kitty box. I think he would get confused where he was going and the just not have the muscle control to continue the search. We solved the problem by confining him when we couldn't keep an eye on him.
        He was much happier sleeping on his heated bed and the kitty box was within his sight.
        The oldsters get pretty upset when they start having these problems. Just like us, nobody wants to make these mistakes. You might try keeping her in the kitchen or mud room when you can't watch her.
        Put her out more often too. The trained reflex to relieve herself outside will help her even if she hasn't asked to go out. A trip to the vet may not hurt either. It may be completely unrelated. Maybe something like a UTI. Good luck!

        Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare


        • #5
          Can't help as far as the pooping goes, but my rescue GSP was leaking , or would get up and there'd be a small puddle. We took a urine sample( not an easy feat, let me tell you!) to the vet's. She had slight bacteria and yeast, nothing horrible. We've only had her for two months and , since she hardly has a tooth in her head, age is only a guesstimate- between 8-12? The vet said sometimes it's not so much a matter of incontinence, but a weakening of the sphincter muscles. At least in some not too elderly dogs. We've tried PROIN, , and it worked almost instantaneosly- within a day- no more puddles. Lola takes 1/2 a tablet 2x/day. She could take up to 1 2x/day, but 1/2 works well for her. It can make them hyper, but she's been fine. Just what I need , a (more) hyper Gsp! Anyway, there is help as far as the peeing. hopefully there is something you can do. It hurts to see them get old . Lola is pretty arthritic as well, but keeps chugging along, so we can give her a good retirement for as long as she has.


          • #6
            I had an ancient GSD that began to have that trouble late in life. It was all neuro -- he didn't know what he was doing until "after it happened" -- then he could smell it. :-(
            He was happy, in no pain, loved to eat and play, and as sharp as he ever was -- his body just took care of things at times faster than he intended them to.

            If that is really the only problem (I'm going to gross a few of you out here -- but here goes...) you can be "proactive" about it.

            Similar to having a new pup and recognizing about how long it takes for them to "process" things after they have eaten, and acting accordingly, you can do likewise with your old dog. Dogshow people (at least dogshow people when I was a young'un!) would stimulate bowel movements with a matchstick, or something similar to make sure that dog "took care of business" before he/she went in the ring. You can accomplish the same thing with rubber/latex gloves (feel free to "PM" me if you want details!)

            Once again -- if that is dog's only problem, this is one way to deal with it. If dog has probs with dementia, pain, etc -- you may want to think through quality of life issues. If this is the only issue, however, and it doesn't bother you, it will solve "that" particular problem.
            Last edited by libgrrl; Jun. 16, 2009, 08:20 PM. Reason: more info


            • Original Poster

              Thanks for all the replies. My first thought was that it wasn't dementia but I guess that could be the first and therefore only sign right? The only problem with that is she goes into another part of the house, wherever we aren't so that makes it seems like she knows what she is doing. I am not sure.
              Her time is definitely coming but its not here yet. I am not going to have her PTS over this but won't hesitate if I think her quality of life is suffering.
              McDowell Racing Stables

              Home Away From Home


              • #8
                Please have her checked out by a rehab vet to check for neuro problems (disk, pinched nerve, spondylosis, spinal stenosis, etc.) and someone who also knows chiro and acupuncture. If it's the same person, all the better.

                Two people I can suggest: Dr. Sherman Canapp runs VOSM between Baltimore and D.C., and Dr. Sandy Zemanski. She works for Dr. Canapp and knows both chiro and acupuncture and, I think, rehab.

                They should be able to really help your dog.
                Laurie Higgins
                "Expectation is premeditated disappointment."


                • #9
                  It very well could be old dog dementia. There are some drugs now that can really help. You should see the vet and see if that is her problem.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                    Thanks for all the replies. My first thought was that it wasn't dementia but I guess that could be the first and therefore only sign right? The only problem with that is she goes into another part of the house, wherever we aren't so that makes it seems like she knows what she is doing. I am not sure.
                    Her time is definitely coming but its not here yet. I am not going to have her PTS over this but won't hesitate if I think her quality of life is suffering.
                    It probably is just old age and losing control, but you may want to have a vet check. The fact that she is hiding it means she is ashamed, she knows she's not supposed to go in the house and it's really quite horrifying for them when they can't help it, it's quite sad really.

                    Probably the best thing to do for her now is to limit her environment, give her a little 'smaller world' so if she needs to go she doesn't find herself far away from the door. Maybe make more of a schedule of her eating and drinking and making a deliberate effort to get her to go out and potty on a schedule, rather than before when she just let you know if she had to go. Some adjustments, but it might make her remaining time less stressful.


                    • #11
                      An afterthought. We didn't have to take Lola to the vet's, just a urine sample- the first of the morning. Got teh results and , knowing her weight, dosage of the PROIN was prescribed. Talk to your vet and maybe something cam be done . Good suggestions here from everyone. Good luck with your dog.


                      • #12
                        It happened with our old Australian Shepherd. He had deterioration in his spine and frankly, could not feel what was going on. He was 14 and we just managed his comfort level at that point. The "logs" in the living room were just part of his aging. He never lost his bladder control though.



                        • Original Poster

                          I hope we aren't going to be faced with a heartbreaking decision here soon. This dog has always been the high anxiety type. She wasn't happy when we kenneled her when we went out of town although she managed to get through it. Since we have lived here (7 years) the neighbors have been able to dog sit for us so she gets to stay home. That has worked out fine up until now but if she is having to be watched closely and cleaned up after that might not go over real well. I hate to put her back in a kennel after not being in one for seven years though. She has 3 1/2 weeks until we leave...
                          McDowell Racing Stables

                          Home Away From Home


                          • #14
                            We had to start putting our old guy on a 6 foot leash/tether in the room where we were, looped to the leg of the couch and next to his bed. We had a tether and bed in the den and one in our bedroom and just took him along to whatever room we were going to be in...but "attached"...I put old beach towels on the floor around the bed so if he had an accident it was a simpe thing to gather up the towels and take them out. They try really hard not to soil their beds...and while it still happens, it makes the process manageable. It did not take too long for hom to get used to the tether...especially when treats were involved.

                            You can also try limiting when he gets food and water so you are artifically manipulating his intake. We changed to feeding just in the AM, give the guy all day to pass his meal..and no water after dinner...just like you would a young child who still wets the bed.

                            Good luck. These seniors are a management challenge but deserve our best efforts for all the love they gave us for so long....


                            • #15
                              We had an older GSP with that problem, near the end of her days, she would just sort of let them drop as she was walking, I'm pretty sure she was not even aware it was happening.

                              A few weeks later she went into system shutdown, her liver and kidneys stopped functioning, and we helped her across the bridge at that point.

                              Hugs to you - helping our elderly dogs is not for the faint of heart.
                              There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                              • #16
                                Same Problem

                                As so many others here, we had the same issue (although no urine) with an older German Shepherd mix for her last few months. She was fighting deterioration in her spine and we ended up losing her when her whole back end became pretty much paralyzed. The "logs" did seem like they just kind of "fell out".

                                Sending good thoughts.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thanks again for the kind words everyone. This dog has had an awful life. She had knee surgery at one year old and it never healed right. Her ligament healed with calcium instead of scar tissue. As a result she was in a lot of pain during her early years. We tried all sorts of things like adequan, cosequin, rimadyl, etogesic and so on. She basically spent 7 years under the bed coming out only to eat and go to the bathroom.
                                  Finally I had enough and put her on double doses of metacam knowing full well it would eventually kill her. All of a sudden she had a life! She started going to the barn and sitting at our side while we watched tv and so on. The dog vet said she could only be on metacam for 6 months and then she would need liver function tests to get a new supply so my horse vet started ordering it for me. I really don't care if it kills her if it gives her a life worth living! She has been on that for five years believe it or not. I haven't taken her back to the vet because I know he wouldn't approve. She has been fine until the past couple of weeks when this started happening. Not sure if that is a sign the liver failure has started or what. She isn't on metacam anymore as it stopped being as effective. Now she gets a shot of dex as needed, usually once a week.
                                  The ironic thing is she is happy and comfortable now for the most part. I feel less like she should be put down now than I did when she was under the bed all those years. I know that can and will change in an instant, I just don't think its here yet.
                                  McDowell Racing Stables

                                  Home Away From Home


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Well we just got back from a few hours at the barn. She is happy as a clam. I guess we just keep on going and see where this leads us. Thanks again.
                                    McDowell Racing Stables

                                    Home Away From Home


                                    • #19
                                      As far as leaving her at the kennel when you go away, maybe you could do a few "dry runs" with her. Leave her for a day, then a weekend, just so she knows you'll be back for her. The kennel I use( been a customer for 20years) let us do that, in fact suggested it and didn't charge for the overnight when we got our younger dog. We went away a few weeks ago for a week and were afraid Lola, the old rescue would think we were abandoning her even though she went with the younger one, but she was fine. VERY happy to see us.


                                      • #20
                                        Laurierace, is there a petsitter or someone that can come to your house? That was a good option for us with the older dog. I'm glad she is doing well now. Our aussie's spine deterioration made him walk sideways, but he always seemed bright and happy, albeit slow. Interestingly, when it was "time" one of our rescued horses told us so, as he was going through the transition from the track (at 10 years old) to pasture retirement, and therefore shoeless. He was allowed free range of the barn. The aussie could not understand why he was in, and the others out. So he kept trying to herd him out, the best he could. He eventually fell down right in front of the horse. Bless that racehorse, because he nearly fell over trying not to fall on the dog. The look on that face from both of them told me next time, I would not be that lucky.

                                        The vet came and put him down on the farm, and it was very peaceful. He had a good life.

                                        You'll know too.