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Old 11-16-2012, 09:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Help! Elderly Dobe now pooping in crate!

Our nearly 13 yr old spayed female Dobe Addy has in the last few weeks started pooping in her crate several times a week, apparently while sound asleep.

Givens: Diagnosed a few months ago with a heart condition, and last several months been on Encard, Vetmedin, and Furosemide. She gets Eukanuba at 6 a.m. plus a glucosamine and a fish pill, and her meds in cream cheese. Same at 5 p.m., now moved to 3 p.m., minus the fish & glucosamine. Now we feed most food in a.m., just a smidge in evening.

Used to never, ever have bathroom accidents, even when both of us worked and were gone all day. She would typically poop/pee all at once, in the morning, in the back yard not too long after she ate breakfast, and hold the rest till we got home. At least one of us has been home all day the last several yrs, and if she needed to go out during the day, she came to get us, we'd open the door, no problem. We've even been able to leave early to go fishing, wake her & feed her 2 hours ahead, she goes out & relieves herself, comes back in and stays all day inside, just fine, till we get back. Super easy to manage in this arena.

Since this crate soiling issue emerged, we've started taking her on slow walks down the street after she eats afternoon meal/meds, just to make sure she's getting enough movement, because since she's developed heart problems she sleeps a lot more in the daytime and is less active.


Her crate is just the right size, with cushy, fresh bedding, and usually cleaner than our own bed (she's always refused to enter it if it even smells like a dog!) , and we've always left the door open. It's her den---she retreats to it when she's afraid or tired or just doesn't want to be bothered. And she knows she can choose to bed down anywhere else she wants, except on the furniture. Sometimes she sleeps beside me, on the rug. Sometimes in the living room on her pad, if there's a fire in the fireplace. She's never pooped in any of those places, btw.

So, there's something about the crate, and nighttime sleep. It's as if it puts her in such a sound and deep sleep, she loses bowel control. Oh, and it's not diarreah. It's normal consistency, maybe even a tad dry. Usually it ends up in a corner of her crate, but she usually wakes up after pooping and turns circles in the crate, it goes everywhere, on the bedding, crate, her, the floor, and anything she manages to step on before we then wake up and can get her in the tub. It is an ungodly mess to clean up at 3 a.m.

The only things that have changed since this issue began are: 1)the heart meds & cream cheese, which we have to use or she won't take the meds. (We've tried other things which didn't work, but are open to suggestions), and, 2) we boarded her at our vet's kennel for four or five days a month or so ago. They are supposed to stick to a similar feeding and exercise schedule, but now I wonder if she ended up pooping in her kennel so now that doesn't seem horrid to her.

So---ideas? Because I can't keep this up, and she's still a beautiful, loving dog! And please don't suggest moving her outdoors "where dogs belong". I don't think she'd survive long in an outdoor kennel, even if it was heated/air conditioned. She'd die of heartbreak.

Thanks

Miriam Davey
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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My senior girl Lily who is 12 has this fairly often. She is not in a crate, so she is not stepping in it. And it's usually dry and anything from a little nugget.....for lack of a better word, to a bit more. Never a huge amount. It's always in her sleep too.
I flush them and then wash the bedding or chair or couch....whatever she was sleeping on. Furniture is leather, so I wipe it down.
Sounds like your case is a bit worse as she's contained.
Maybe put an xpen around her crate, so she can have more room and a dog bed outside the crate. So she's still contained but not in a tiny area. She might choose to sleep in the bed or the crate and hopefully won't walk on it all.

You could also try a diaper I suppose. Though that might also make a mess. I just make sure Lily goes to the bathroom before sleep and that usually helps a ton.

Any pics of your girl?
Don't give up. I just call it part of looking after an old sweetie. I'm prepared to keep adjusting to whatever I need to do to make her comfortable and happy in her golden years.

Hugs.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks, dapple. Addy's not contained in her crate. The door stays open and she has always been able to come and go at will. Which, occasionally, she does. If it's thundering, she'll usually exit the crate and come sleep on the rug beside my side of the bed. Or if we've had a fire in the living room fireplace, sometimes she prefers to sleep in front of that and only comes to the crate when it's gone cold. Since the sleep-pooping has only ever occurred in the crate, I'm thinking of closing it up so she can't sleep there at night. It will upset her, because she loves it so...but something's gotta give here!

I'll figure out how to put a pic up at some point. Took some the other day---even with a bum foot, a stiff hip, and a few gray muzzle hairs, she's still a traffic-stopper!

Thanks
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I assume from the medication that Addy is on that she has DCM? My boy Homer was on Vetmedin & Frusemide & he never had an accident with poop. He would, however, pee for England due to the Frusemide & we had a few puddles on the floor where he just couldn't hold himself.

My old girl Amber (who lived to 14 1/2) would have accidents & poop in her bed as she got older. She used to get into such a deep sleep that she would just go without realising what she had done. I'd just clear it up & change her bedding. I understand that having a mess at 3am to clear up can be frustrating but don't give up. Like Dapple said, it's just part & parcel of looking after an elderly dog.

What sort of time do you let her out for her last toilet trip of the night? Maybe you could set an alarm to get you up so you can take her out to the toilet before she soils her crate? Does she ever do this during the day or is it only at night?
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Old 11-16-2012, 04:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have a suggestion. Perhaps you could set your alarm for 2:00am, wake her and take her out. I would try that. I have an old girl and they do like their routine so I understand why you don't want to block her out of the crate. I'd try getting up first and see it that helps. Better than cleaning up a huge mess at that hour.
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Poor old girl . It's really not all that uncommon with elderly dogs and 13 is "elderly" for a Doberman. I would try Lori Z's suggestion as this may be just the ticket.

....and when you get frustrated, just remember that one day you too will poop in your bed. It happens to all of us!

Hugs to Addy.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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My GSD MoJo started having accidents in his sleep due to DM....I took the crate and put it away, and put down a thick pad for him to use on my side of the bed. He still had the accidents, but the BM's would get kicked off to the side, and like your girl...they were dryer, so easy to pick up in the morning (as long as he wasn't able to squish them in the night). He didn't miss his crate that much, as the pad took it's place right where the crate used to sit.

p
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Used the cloth diaper with a pad on my 14 & 1/2 year old Papillon seemed to work well give the old girl a hug from me.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:33 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Cream Cheese???

I wonder if the cream cheese could be part of the problem. Did she have these accidents before you started giving her cream cheese? My vet once told me that added oils (fats) can stimulate a dog's system to poop.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Update

Thanks for all the advice and encouragement.

The issue still exists intermittently, but is much better now.

We began feeding her 3/4 of her daily amount of food in the morning, and only 1/4 in the evening. We moved the evening feeding up to 3 p.m. instead of 5.

Also we now since she's slowed down so much, to make sure she moves around a certain minimal amount after she eats supper, by taking her on a short, slow walk down the street.

The nighttime pooping has happened only once since changing her routine.

Part of the issue also was that we were getting exhausted from simultaneously dealing with another elderly and urine incontinent dog, a small terrier who was my husband's beloved squirrel hunting partner. He died last week.

And, yes, I too wondered about the cream cheese, but we haven't found anything else she'll take pills with. Tried: bananas, peanut butter, tunafish, bacon, and hot dogs. Nothing that worked with the terrier to mask yucky pills works with her. Suggestions?

Also, what do y'all think: Is this nighttime/deep sleep pooping due to the heart condition, or the medication? She never did this before going on heart meds.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luziannadobergirl View Post
Thanks for all the advice and encouragement.

The issue still exists intermittently, but is much better now.

We began feeding her 3/4 of her daily amount of food in the morning, and only 1/4 in the evening. We moved the evening feeding up to 3 p.m. instead of 5.

Also we now since she's slowed down so much, to make sure she moves around a certain minimal amount after she eats supper, by taking her on a short, slow walk down the street.

The nighttime pooping has happened only once since changing her routine.

Part of the issue also was that we were getting exhausted from simultaneously dealing with another elderly and urine incontinent dog, a small terrier who was my husband's beloved squirrel hunting partner. He died last week.

And, yes, I too wondered about the cream cheese, but we haven't found anything else she'll take pills with. Tried: bananas, peanut butter, tunafish, bacon, and hot dogs. Nothing that worked with the terrier to mask yucky pills works with her. Suggestions?

Also, what do y'all think: Is this nighttime/deep sleep pooping due to the heart condition, or the medication? She never did this before going on heart meds.
It's probably due to plain old age.
I use a spoon full of yogurt, and put Lily's pills in it. Open her mouth and dump it in. Then offer her another spoonful of yogurt for her to lick and she swallows everything. She has no choice, since I splat the whole thing in her mouth. ha I don't think she minds. She likes yogurt. ha
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:02 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Yeah, I am thinking it is just old age, too. Sphincter muscle just wearing out...mine's not as tight as it used to be either.
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Wink

How embarrassing!!! Hope I didn't give the wrong impression. Should have mentioned that I am not running around dribbling turds, not yet anyway.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:23 PM   #14 (permalink)
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For an elderly dog, I'd try the lower fat cream cheese or neufchatel. The last thing you need to go with what you already have going on is pancreatitis.

I'm acutely aware that we're giving our dogs a fair amount of fish oil, so I try to compensate by being careful that other treats are much lower fat. (A pump of salmon oil in their meals, plus two high DHA/EPA fish oil gel caps per day, per dog.)

I concur with the notion that aging leads to physical incompetencies. That's just the way it is. And, like Lori, I'd make a late night or early morning trip outside with her. A few extra minutes together; a few extra pets. Yeah, I'd do that.
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:11 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaH View Post
How embarrassing!!! Hope I didn't give the wrong impression. Should have mentioned that I am not running around dribbling turds, not yet anyway.
Lol omg I just laughed so hard I cried! Hilarious!
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:02 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LindaH View Post
How embarrassing!!! Hope I didn't give the wrong impression. Should have mentioned that I am not running around dribbling turds, not yet anyway.
No, just hoping all the gas is expelled before we have to run an agility course. Think of it as being jet-propelled.

Seriously though, OP, this is sadly, just old age. I have known several senior citizens who were on no medications whatsoever who did this. Your new management system sounds like a really good idea; one that I will hopefully remember for future use.
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:43 PM   #17 (permalink)
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My Ceazar would poop while sleeping and not even know it. His hips were getting bad at his old age of 15 years. It is old age and there just not feeling it happen.
As for the pills I have wrapped mine in some cheese or a spoon of wet/canned food always worked for me.
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