In my last post, I talked about fecal incontinence and your dog and how you can prepare with the right supplies.
Supplies make coping easier, but they are certainly not all you need in your arsenal as you set out on this new journey.
Fecal Incontinence and Your Dog – Preparing Yourself
There are more than a few things Jet’s dad and I have learned over the course of the last year as we have managed Jet’s fecal incontinence. Some of these things are funny, some a little sad, and some just are what they are.
Today I want to talk about some of these things to help you to prepare for dealing with fecal incontinence and your dog.
The Basic Tips of Survival
- Routine is going to be the glue that holds things together. Feed on schedule and learn how long after feeding your pup usually needs to go. This won’t always work, but it will cut down on accidents in the house.
- Pick a diet, stick with it, and don’t throw in anything questionable or new. Changes to diet often result in tummy upset, so unless it’s absolutely necessary, don’t make changes because canine fecal incontinence and diarrhea go together like…well, I’ll just leave that one alone.
- Just as you have a routine in place to try to prevent accidents, have one in place for when they happen. Jet’s dad and I work in tandem to get things cleaned up as soon as possible. Our routine begins with one of us shouting “POOP!”. Then Jet’s dad takes him outside to make sure he’s finished and to prevent him from rolling in/stepping in poop, I tackle cleaning up the mess, and then I clean up Jet before he comes back inside.
- Bedtime will be your trickiest time for accidents. In my experience it’s ALWAYS better to send your pup to bed in a diaper and wake up to a clean diaper that can be reused than it is to send them to bed without a diaper and wake up with poop covered blankets, a poop covered dog, and a poop covered dog bed.
On the Bad Days…
- There will be days when you feel like your pup is testing your patience. You will spend 45 minutes standing outside with them coaxing them to do their business only to have them come inside and poop on the floor. This may be the result of dementia or simply not knowing that they did have to go after all. Either way, it’s still not intentional.
- It’s okay to ask for help. I’ve mentioned before how respite care is important for parents of senior pets, this is particularly the case with senior pets with incontinence issues or special needs pets. We ALL get overwhelmed and we all find ourselves getting aggravated sometimes and that’s okay, but learn to know when you are feeling overwhelmed and ask for help instead of getting frustrated with your pup.
- It’s not intentional. If your dog is experiencing fecal incontinence due to old age or a medical condition, remember that it’s not intentional. They are not a “bad boy” because they don’t have enough sensation in their rear end to know when they have to go. Tell your pup that “accidents happen” and move on, they already feel ashamed.
- You are going to become increasingly aware of how much your dog’s life has changed. It is up to you to be able to determine whether there is still any of that “old dog” left or whether – ALL things in consideration – your pup’s quality of life has declined too far.
Seeing the Lighter Side…
- You will, at some point (usually at least once a week) get poop on you. You might step on an accident in the house, the wipe you’re using might rip, your dog may decide that you are the perfect place to poop…whatever happens, you’ll be fine. And it’ll probably happen again, so tell yourself whatever you need to to get through it and just do it.
- You will become a magician. You know that trick where they pull the tablecloth off the table and everything stays in place? Well, the tablecloth is the blanket your pup just pooped on and your dog is everything on the table. Incidentally, you will also be fully capable of remaking that bed while your 70lb dog is still fast asleep on it.
- Your baseball catcher skills will come in handy. Occasionally, you might catch your pup right as they’re about to have an accident. At this point, you will frantically search for something disposable to catch the poop before it lands on the carpet, bed, rug, etc. After a few times of doing this, you will be a qualified poop-catcher…although I’m not sure that’s something you should put on your resume.
What About You?
When managing fecal incontinence and your dog what tips have you learned? Leave a comment and share your ideas with other readers!