Welcome to our second blog on Chili's Pup Care Page! Sadly, since our last post, my best friend Chili passed away in his sleep on 4/8/2017. In his memory I will continue to share our remarkable journey that we had together that lasted 3 years and 8 Months. Chili had an enormous uphill battle due to his age, years of neglect and health issues. It is my goal to help those of you that are fighting the good fight with your own senior friend but also to make sure that you have options to be able to keep your young friend with you throughout his/her life.
One of the most common reasons why a beloved pet is given up for adoption or dropped off at a high kill shelter is what I call "The Potty Problem." The Potty Problem causes damage to furniture, household items and can even damage personal relationships among the pet's family members.
The pet does not understand the value of that expensive comforter or suede pair of shoes. Peeing on stuff is how dogs (and cats) communicate with each other in what I affectionately call P-mail. On walks both male and female dogs pause to sniff and deposit urine (even if all they have left are a few drops) because they sense other dogs have been there and they leave their own P-mail for others, (the same way I can not understand carving initials in a tree if you are human). Dogs are amazing creatures with a sense of smell so far better than ourselves that with one sniff of a few drops of urine, they can tell the age, gender and health condition of the one that deposited it.
My focus here is not to come up with a magical solution to potty train your pet, especially an older pet but why they may be doing it and maybe a way to head the habit off at the pass.
* Issue # 1-The newly adopted adult/moving in a new house- When a dog comes into a new home whether he/she is newly adopted or your companion for years and you just re-located, changing territory is very stressful. Dogs tend to mark new areas by instinct to not only to say "hey everyone, I'm here!" but also to comfort themselves and stake out their boundaries. Our first thought is "I can't wait until he/she sees their new home/bed/new life!" The best approach is to let them know where you want them to potty, let them explore outside first and praise when they potty (that is where they will be taken every time they go outside so they know where the bathroom is.) From personal experience, the first thing a male dog (neutered or not) will lift their leg and pee on some of the first things they come in contact with, we want to avoid that because they will go back to that place every time and do it again. Females are less likely to mark but I've seen them do it!
Belly Bands for males are a strip of cotton cloth that can hold an absorbent pad that wraps around their bellies secured by Velcro. A Female Diaper uses a pad in an outside diaper shell secured by Velcro with a hole for her tail to poke out. When males mark, the pad captures the urine so it leaves no residue. The band should remain on at all times during the transition and is taken off when they go outside to potty. Depending on the size of the dog and amount of urine that is being produced, the pads that can be used can be as small as a panty liner, maxi pad or in extreme amounts, a woman's incontinent pad such as the POISE brand. Praise, treats or a great back scratch while putting on the band will help them get used to it, be patient especially removing it because Velcro can make a scary sound to some timid dogs.
Make sure potty breaks are often and lots of praise involved when they go outside. Male dogs do not empty their entire bladders when they mark, just enough for a few sprinkles but that's more than enough to start a bad habit. Clean any area that may be marked with products not only designed for odor neutralizing but also disinfectant. Odo-Ban has helped me out so much and we even used it at the Vet office I worked for ( we will list some products that have worked for us). Once the strangeness of the new home wears off, they feel more secure, you can really concentrate on a routine for potty time and training. Soon, the pad will stop being wet and can be put aside. FYI, Belly Bands/Female Diapers are invaluable if you are taking your pet on vacation and you want your pet deposit back.
* Issue #2 We got a new puppy/adopted dog and now they are peeing on my shoes, bed, favorite chair, etc.! Or, We got a new dog and all the other dogs in my home are peeing on my stuff!! Marking on your personal items may seem like an insult but in fact it is quite an unwanted compliment! An insecure new dog especially one added to dogs you already have in the household will feel like the low dog on the totem pole. Imagine being the new person at school, you know no one but one person and that person is really popular; everyone wants to be that person's friend. Your new dog pees on your personal stuff because you are the leader figure and the new dog wants everyone to know, "look! I'm with the leader here, I have connections so I matter!" OK they may not be thinking that exactly ( dogs don't have our particular hang-ups but they do feel vulnerable and insecure).
On the flip side, you have had the same dogs in your household for years and they have been perfect angels, add a new dog to the pack and now it's a pee fest! Adding a new dog upsets the pecking order and dynamic of the pack. Dogs are very social and have their rules and regulations within their group that keep harmony, a new dog now adds competition and I dare say jealousy! Dogs do not feel jealous like we do, not with the angry thoughts but they do sense injustice and an instinctive fear of losing their place in your good graces.
When Chili came to live with me, my own Rico marked on the corner of my bed, on my shoes by the door and even peed on Chili's bed. Rico was timid and fairly new to our family. He seemed like he had a deep fear that my husband and I would kill him and no amount of consoling helped him. I bought belly bands for both Rico and Enzo but they were expensive, had pinching elastic and the Velcro came undone when Enzo would rub his back on the floor. Rico's terror and insecurity grew because I had to do so much for Chili, carrying him outside, making special food, helping him find his way around. I tried everything including Prozac! I noticed he felt more secure in the Dog Pajama I made for Chili to keep him warm, it worked to calm him like a thundershirt but he still had to wear his belly band. In time the pack falls into a routine and eventually work out the kinks but in the future, if I bring a new dog in, Belly Bands for everyone!!
As a note, Rico can not be trusted and wears his band while he's in the house. Certain breeds are notorious markers or are almost impossible to train and Italian Greyhounds appear to be the top of the list.
The best way to keep the peace for habitual markers is to close off spaces that are favorite targets when you are not there to keep an eye on them such as bedrooms, bathrooms and areas where you frequently hang out and do not let them have the run of the house without a Belly Band. The Belly Bands don't fix the problem, just keeps the damage at bay. Discussion with your Vet or a trainer would be the wisest and potentially the best way to possibly help your little one stop his bad habit!
* Issue #3: My female dog pees in her bed, my bed or on the couch when she sleeps. This is such a common issue and one of the easier ones to help. Sadly, your little girl's leaking problem can cause her to lose her favorite spot next to you in bed or a heated discussion with a spouse, no one likes a peed in bed! Your little girl might be a senior (over 7 yrs old) or a young girl that may have been spayed at a very young age. Puppies in high kill shelters are routinely spayed and neutered at very young ages so that when they are adopted, it will ensure that they will not continue to breed and add to the unwanted population.
If you have a young dog that is leaking urine, The University Of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (link to this article will be available) states that congenital defect at birth may be a cause to consider "The most common of these congenital defects—and the most common form of incontinence in young dogs—is an ectopic ureter. The term “ectopic ureter” means the ureter, which is the tube that carries urine out of the kidney, winds up connecting somewhere other than to the bladder, which is where it is supposed to go.
An ectopic ureter may occur in any breed, but happens most commonly in golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, Siberian huskies, and English bulldogs. Typically, affected dogs are female and less than one year old at diagnosis. They may dribble urine while walking around, leak while lying down, or be very hard to house train."
This is a very good example of a condition that is best discussed with your veterinarian. Diapers and waterproof pads help with the leaking but are in no way replacement for veterinary care. Ectopic Ureters are rare thankfully, what we will discuss next is the most common condition.
Female Dogs that have been spayed, elderly and typically dribble just in their sleep may have what is known as "urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence. Among the causes of this disorder are intervertebral disk disease, degenerative disorders of the spinal cord, and trauma. Urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence is commonly associated with spayed female dogs."
I can not stress the importance of consulting a Veterinarian for inconstancy in both male and female dogs. Your veterinarian will ask questions about when and how often leaking occurs, tests may be run to look for Bladder/Kidney stones, tumors, Prostate enlargement (in males) or Diabetes that can cause excessive drinking and urination. Chili Produced volumes of urine due to his diabetes. He drank quite a bit of water and could not always tell me when he needed to go outside, we just took him as often as we could. We had to use the highest absorbent, Woman incontinent pad we could find to catch it. Chili was only 11 lbs!
Your Vet may prescribe medication that include Phenylpropanolamine, estriol or Diethylstilbestrol (DES).
You will know if your girl is responding to the medication when she stops leaking after a few days to a week. 90% of dogs respond to the medication. In the case of my late Doberman, Jade, she stopped leaking alltogether using DES!
Leaking during sleep is a health issue and not a behavior issue, never punish your pup for waking up in a wet bed, they are no doubt confused and uncomfortable and may even try to clean themselves up.
Female diapers are helpful , especially for those that refuse to potty outside if its raining or cold, that is a very hard habit to break.
Issue # 4: How do I clean this mess up! So your Pup may have "graffitied" up you house with the smell of a subway urinal or your poor, sweet senior had another accident. We pride ourselves in having a nice, clean home but accidents happen and we love our pets! Here are some things that helped with the "oops, Rico was naked and peed on the carpet next to my shoes!! There are some great products that not only disinfect but deordorize those offending smells. Our # 1 choice is ODOBan and it comes in both the original Eucalyptus scent and Lavender ( we prefer Eucalyptus because it almost smells like baby powder). 1 gallon makes up to 32 gallons of cleaner. I have used this stuff since I discovered it while shopping for a new disinfectant for the Veterinary Clinic I worked for. This stuff not only neutralizes odor but we use it on our bathrooms and kitchen! It kills 99.99% of Staph, Strep, E.Coli, Mono, Athletes Foot fungus, Kills HIV, Influenza and Herpes Simplex Type 2! I use an empty spray bottle and dilute to factory suggestions. I mop any area on both hard wood, tile and vinyl. I also put in my laundry to clean belly bands and pet bedding. You can find it at Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club. It costs about 12.00 per gallon.
We also bought a hand held carpet cleaner for our carpet and upholstery called a Bissell Spot Clean Machine that delivers cleaning agents (I also use ODOBan alongside approved shampoos) to clean up that soaked spot on the rug, sofa or cleaning up residue of a bad case of diarrhea) was extracts the liquid like a Full sized carpet cleaner. Seriously invaluable with 3 dogs in the house!
So now we know how and maybe why we have a potty problem, the most important thing to remember is that your pup is not doing this to make you mad or cause problems, he/she is just doing what dogs do and despite how we feel about them, they are not human and should not be put in such a position where we make them one. Never, Ever take an issue personally and never strike, beat or use your pets name to punish them! Rico hates his given name because it was yelled at him no doubt when he did something wrong (peeing) so we call him ReeeKee so he never feels that his name is a bad word!
Love your pet, do not give up on them, there is a solution to all problems. My blog is simply what worked for me but there are specialists to help with real behavioral and medical issues, I really hope you seek them out.
Thank you for joining me in this discussion and I would love to hear your comments!
Tresa & Chili
We use Certainty Woman's Bladder Protection Pads from Walgreens with our Belly Bands
My name is Chili Dog and I am a Blind, Diabetic, Senior dog that found himself picked up by Animal Control in Murfreesboro, Tn and my family did not come to get me out. This blog page is to help other pups like me with similar health conditions and what my Mom has learned to help me live a wonderful life! We hope to make life better for pups in need and also make it easier/less expensive for our Pup Parents!