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Struggling with fecal incontinence in beloved old dog

We have an almost 15 year old Irish Wolfhound mix, Isabel, who I adopted at age 1. Her nickname all her life was "Izzy The Perfect Dog". She literally has been without flaws as our pet and companion. For the last six months, she has lost control of her bowels, in part because her hind legs are very weak, and she cannot get up from a sitting or laying down position on her own. Weirdly, she is never incontinent for urine. We are just tiring out of cleaning up poops all day long. We had her shaved in the rear, because cleaning the poo off her long fur has been a nightmare in itself, but even so, cleaning her up several times a day is also exhausting as well as, of course, pretty gross. We take her outside often, but her pooing is random - she can come in from an hour outside and poop a few minutes later. We do keep her confined often, but she is pitiful when she tries to cross the gate and to to another part of the house. We also need to carry her up and down the porch stairs -- she cannot do stairs. She is a big dog, so this is tough. Anyway, enough venting. I am really struggling with the idea of putting her to sleep, but I am feeling stressed and depressed at the continuous coping with poop. Isabel still has a good appetite. She likes to totter along on our short walks. She still likes to put her head between my legs for an ear rub. So it is hard to imagine putting her down. But I don't know how much longer I can deal with this. We have done the diapers --they help, but really it means dealing with poo in the laundry, rather than on the floor and Izzy smells all the time. Anyway -- any thoughts, or support would be welcome.
2 Responses
9644933 tn?1407772490
The only thing I can offer is tell you, that you are not alone. I have a 14 year old GSD/Husky mix who also "poops" in the house about twice a day. We just clean it up and deal with it. It's the least we can do after her giving us so much happiness all these years. She still eats, wags her tail and wants love, so I know it isn't her time yet and she will let me know when she is ready to go. It won't be because she is pooping in the house though.

We have made things a little easier at our place in the sense that we always have a roll of paper towels, disinfectant (plant based) and a box of those outdoor poopy bags handy. Clean up is easier than way and and quicker. It's now just part of our routine. We then have the poop in a closed bag and it goes straight outdoors.

We did add some pumpkin to her food. It is a stool nutralizer (softens hard stool, firms soft stools) and this helps with the clean up of the accident. It's easy to add a spoonfull to her food. Can get it at any grocery store. 100% pumpkin in a can. It is usually with the pie fillings in the baking section. Just be careful not to get the pie filling or a squash mix by mistake. Just double check to make sure the ingredients are only pumpkin.

It used to frustrate my spouse at first. Now it just is what it is, and we just clean it up when it happens. Afterall s**t happens.

Best of luch to you and your dog.
974371 tn?1424656729
So sorry you are dealing with this daily compounded by the fact you have a very large dog making the situation even more difficult to deal with.
Like people, old dogs can start losing control of bodily functions.  This could be from a neurological pribkem, disc and/or spinal issues, etc.  a thorough evaluation would have to be done by your Vet.  There are medications that may be prescribed but results vary as to their effectiveness.  It sounds like she is probably losing control of her bowels or sphincter.
You might try adding the pumpkin, wouldn't hurt.
Just about the only solutions I might suggest are ones you are already implementing. And it sounds like you can't contain her in one room?  When my aunt's Scottie was losing control of her bladder (my aunt was a widow and this was her constant companion and, like you, could not make the decision to let her go) I went over there and completely covered her bedroom floor with plastic tarp and spread newspapers over that.  She was at least able to pick up the wet papers, toss them and replace them.  However, this was a small dog.
I don't know what I would do as there is no way I could lift a large dog like that up and diwn steps.  Have you tried using a sling at all to support her back end? Could she maybe do the stairs with that support?  
It is very difficult to make the decision to let them go when they still seem mentally present.  
I always say it often comes down to a quality of life issue.  
If possible, I think I would seek a Vet's evaluation and opinion as there may be some solution that might at least help.
Please do come back to update.  Good luck.
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