Fecal Incontinence and Your Dog: A Survival Guide Part II

Fecal Incontinence and Your Dog

Fecal Incontinence and Your DogIn 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!

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  1. Joan Rall
    November 30, 2018

    I just want to thank you profusely for this article. I had purchased a doggie diaper for my 75 lb 14 year old labradoodle experiencing geriatric vestibular disease which was making her too dizzy to stand and get outside. I went out for the evening and came home to “poop apocalypse” on Thanksgiving eve. Both the doggie and I were completely demoralized and depressed. I found your site and tried human pulls ups plus the doggie diaper but she wriggled out of all the layers. So then I went for the shower curtain liners and disinfecting wipes and baby wipes and we survived for 10 days. On day 8 I ordered the Helpemup harness whicb is a total lifesaver. Without it I could not lift her up and when I got help to lift her she showed no sign of wanting to walk. The harness enables her to get up and to be supported when she walks. On day one of the harness I got her out to the vet and day two she is getting up and walking on her own with some support from me with the harness handles when necessary.
    She has a new lease on life so our profuse thank you’s for sharing your experiences.

  2. Pamela
    November 17, 2018

    THANK YOU for all the great info! This is by far the best practical information I have found. My German Shepherd is 12 and has developed degenerative myelopathy, he’s started having fecal incontinence, we’ve been “handling” it but I felt we could do better and do more for his dignity. Your article addressed EVERYTHING I was looking for right down to the weighted baby wipes container idea! So thank you so much again ❤️

  3. Clay
    April 17, 2018

    I wonder if I should go with XXsmall for the diaper and L for the cover since you have a 70 lb dog that Xsmall and XLfits ? My girl is about 53 lbs.

    • August 6, 2018

      Sorry to get back to you so late, Clay! The XL cover was actually a little large for Jet and we could easily have gone with the large cover but you do have to take into consideration their waist circumference. Some dogs have a more tapered waist than others. My suggestion would be to measure your pup’s waist and use that measurement as a guide when picking the right size!

  4. Clay
    April 17, 2018

    I have a 55 lb Shepard mix with fecal incontinence. She is about 16 yrs old. For a while I have been able, for the most part, to time when she needs to go. The indoor accidents are getting more frequent though. Her digestive system does not keep a consistent schedule. It is frustrating. I am going to try the Tranquility diapers with a cover. Hopefully that will help. I am glad I found your site because there are no doggy diapers for fecal incontinence.

    • August 6, 2018

      Let us know how it works out for you!

  5. Diana
    February 13, 2018

    Thanks for this great article. Our dog has recently come home from ICU with incontinence and the constant cleaning has been taking it’s toll. So thanks for the great advice.

    • February 14, 2018

      Diana, I’m so glad I could help. If you have any questions or run into any snags don’t hesitate to ask!

  6. Mary
    January 9, 2018

    Thank you for this article! Our dog was incontinent and unable to walk after his 2nd spinal surgery 6 months ago. He’s now walking really well after water treadmill therapy, but still fecal incontinent. It’s easy to get frustrated at times. He does still sleep in the bed with us in a large, washable pad that found on Amazon. We’re currently trying to establish a sort of poop schedule i.e. figuring out how long after he eats does he need to go. 🙂

  7. Susan
    November 6, 2017

    Thank you so much for the info on fecal incontinence. I have been putting the diapers from the pet stores, but he just drags himself out of them and drags the poop all over. I will be utilizing all your info plus, I’m thinking a doggie corral for nighttime would work. It’s really tough on our little weiner dog he was so used to sleeping with us. He feels like he is being punished. It makes us feel so bad that he is not allowed on our bed anymore.

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