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My lab/shepard mix, Tessie, is 14 years old and is the sweetest thing and I love her so much. For the past 6 months or so she has been losing control of her bowels. She does it in her bed sometimes, or sometimes she does it when coming back in from the back yard. They are 99% of the time hard, dry stools, so very easy to clean up. I cannot tell if she even knows she's doing it. Also, we have to keep her in the basement while we are at work all day, because she can't seem to hold it anymore and we are trying to keep the mess contained (we keep her in the laundry room with a concrete floor, but she has beds, food, water, and soothing music playing). She pees and poops on potty pads while in the basement, mostly. The problem is that she then moves the poop from the pads all over the floor and steps in it and makes a huge mess on the concrete floor. We do make sure we don't yell at her for the pooping, because we know she can't help it (but I think she can sense my partner is irritated about it). She sees her vet 2X a year and has lost some weight in the past year (and muscle tone) and she is on 50mg of Remadyl a day for arthritis. She can still go up and down stairs on her own (although carefully and she sometimes stumbles if she loses her rhythm), and she still loves to go on short walks and loves eating and bounces on her favorite treats when they are tossed at her. She sleeps a lot, but she’s never been a high energy dog, so this isn’t anything too unusual. To me, she still has quality of life, but my partner wants us to think about putting her down because of the pooping. He says it's cruel to leave her in the basement all day where she steps in her poop. Also, we have a baby due in 8 weeks and he thinks it's unsanitary to have the dog poop around with a newborn, even though we clean it up the best we can as it happens. I have an appointment with her vet made for 12/22, to assess her issues. I've had her for 12 years (3X longer than my partner!) and the thought of putting her to sleep now seems so sad since, in my opinion, she still gets enjoyment out of her favorite things (walks and treats), but I'm also trying to keep in mind that my partner could be a voice of reason. I dog- sat for friends years ago that waited TOO long to put their dog down, so I’m trying to take his thoughts into consideration (although he did tell me that ultimately it is my decision). What advice can you give? What should I specifically ask my vet on the 22nd?
 

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My lab/shepard mix, Tessie, is 14 years old and is the sweetest thing and I love her so much. For the past 6 months or so she has been losing control of her bowels. She does it in her bed sometimes, or sometimes she does it when coming back in from the back yard. They are 99% of the time hard, dry stools, so very easy to clean up. I cannot tell if she even knows she's doing it. Also, we have to keep her in the basement while we are at work all day, because she can't seem to hold it anymore and we are trying to keep the mess contained (we keep her in the laundry room with a concrete floor, but she has beds, food, water, and soothing music playing). She pees and poops on potty pads while in the basement, mostly. The problem is that she then moves the poop from the pads all over the floor and steps in it and makes a huge mess on the concrete floor. We do make sure we don't yell at her for the pooping, because we know she can't help it (but I think she can sense my partner is irritated about it). She sees her vet 2X a year and has lost some weight in the past year (and muscle tone) and she is on 50mg of Remadyl a day for arthritis. She can still go up and down stairs on her own (although carefully and she sometimes stumbles if she loses her rhythm), and she still loves to go on short walks and loves eating and bounces on her favorite treats when they are tossed at her. She sleeps a lot, but she’s never been a high energy dog, so this isn’t anything too unusual. To me, she still has quality of life, but my partner wants us to think about putting her down because of the pooping. He says it's cruel to leave her in the basement all day where she steps in her poop. Also, we have a baby due in 8 weeks and he thinks it's unsanitary to have the dog poop around with a newborn, even though we clean it up the best we can as it happens. I have an appointment with her vet made for 12/22, to assess her issues. I've had her for 12 years (3X longer than my partner!) and the thought of putting her to sleep now seems so sad since, in my opinion, she still gets enjoyment out of her favorite things (walks and treats), but I'm also trying to keep in mind that my partner could be a voice of reason. I dog- sat for friends years ago that waited TOO long to put their dog down, so I’m trying to take his thoughts into consideration (although he did tell me that ultimately it is my decision). What advice can you give? What should I specifically ask my vet on the 22nd?
I think it's best to give your vet as much info as possible and for the vet to take blood work - blood tests and other tests that can evaluate whether there are any underlying health issues that is contributing to the problem. Also, there are possible contributors like diet and medications as well. But, the vet will know best. I think the vet will feel like if the dog seems happy (genuine - and not just putting 'on a happy face' for the owner) and not uncomfortable or in pain, then the vet will see if anything can be changed to help. You might also consider a dog walker so that she doesn't have to be inside so often. Maybe the dog just feels like she's in so often, she just relieves herself indoors now.
 

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I'd wait till the vet appointment before making any type of decision. From the sound of it her only major problem is the incontinence, but otherwise she's as healthy as a dog her age is going to be.

I'd be asking what could be causing the incontinence and if anything can be done to help it. Also note if she's having any signs of canine cognitive dysfunction (dog alzheimers) which could be contributing to loss of housetraining.

Have you tried setting up a camera in the basement to see what she is doing that is causing her to make such a huge mess? Is she anxious and pacing? I'm asking because that is what my old boy used to do when I was not around. He'd pee due to anxiety and then proceed to pace through it. I had to confine him to a small area, and tape puppy pads onto the floor like a carpet to keep him from messing up my floor. If I didn't tape them down his pacing would cause them to be shuffled all over the place and he'd pee on the floor. I'm not sure what I'd have done if he would have defecated also. He'd done that at the kennel and they told me it was a horrid mess.

https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/c_dg_fecal_incontinence
 
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