Rescue Journal

here is a copy of an email i sent today to someone far away who is reaching the end of their rope with dealing with their old dogs incontinence issues and are searching out options for products to help, or hospices close to their own area to surrender the

Carol  ·  Jun. 21, 2010

hi xxxx

about 20 of our current dogs suffer from incontinence is a natural progression of extreme aging just like it is in humans. the first thing to consider is the root cause of the incontinence...bladder only incontinence can be caused by infection or hormonol imbalances and can be helped by medications prescribed by your vet. end stage kidney disease, diabetes and cushings disease is also a cause of urinary incontinence and needs to be diagnosed by a vet. bladder and bowel incontinence is almost always due to arthritic changes within the spine itself or due to arthritic changes in their hips or them anti-inflamatories to reduce inflamation and pain medication to control their discomfort can ofttimes increase their mobility and their ability to control both the bowel and the bladder to a better degree...again they need to see a vet to get the proper diagnosis and treatment.

once pain and disease is either ruled out or managed.and if incontinence is still an issue, then it becomes a simple matter of managing the problem in a way that works well for both you and the dog. there are products like doggy diapers, or incontinence pads that can be purchased which honestly i am not a fan of....they are pretty foreign to dogs and not all that comfortable when wet or soiled either.

we manage our 20 incontinent dogs simply...we have lino'd the floors for very easy washing. we have purchased them comfortable beds that are easily washed or wiped down.
in a family home...confining the dog to a very family orientated a kitchen or family room where they do not feel isolated or alone and giving them an easy floor surface to wash up and beds that are not only comfortable but easy to clean really makes their incontinence issues not that difficult to manage at all.

incontinence is an issue that causes many elderly dogs to lose their homes but it is an issue that with comittment, and caring and creativity can be managed in a way that both the dog and the family can easily live with.
at this point in her life..sending her anywhere outside of her home that she knows and loves would turn her life upside down. even the best of senior animal hospices are not their choice of where they would like to finish their lives.. they would like to finish their lives with the families that they know, trust and love.
when her life becomes a burden to her or even when it becomes too great of a burden for you...the kindest thing to do is take them into the vets and hold them while they are euthanized...old animals do not have a lot of life left to waste being upside down and unhappy.
i wish you the best of luck with caring for your very old dog. if i can be of any further help please feel free to contact me.



i want to make something clear here....i am not advocating animals being euthanized for incontinence issues but...on a 16 year old dog..the lesser evil to totally upsetting her whole end of life balance by passing her on to a shelter or a hospice is to let her end her life peacefully and without heartache and trauma from the home she trusts and knows.

i would also like to point out that whether i agree with people or not on what they are job is not to start assaulting them with verbal or written 2x4's and preaching my version of responsible job is to educate or offer solutions or possibilities in a way that folks will listen to, think about and then make their decisions the best way that they can.



Well said, Carol. You gave them information to help, and perhaps a bit of permission to really look at the issue and take into account how these issues are affecting their poor dog, too. The day my first Border Collie died, he had his first accident in the house in 12 years. He was so devistated, he could hardly look at me. I simply picked him up, loved him up, and cleaned him and the floor up. Unfortunately, God decided that Taz's mission on earth was complete, and we miss him to this day, but had he made it through that day, I would have done anything in my power to keep him happy and to let him know that he wasn't any less valuable to me just because he couldn't always control his old, starting to wear out body. And I would have made sure that he knew that, when it was time to make the decision that would surely have come eventually, we would have been there with him. We're very lucky - we have a vet who comes to our home so we get to say our goodbyes without leaving that safe haven, who will sit and cry with us, and who loves each of our animals (as well as most of the others in her care) as if they're her own.


Cheryl's story about the man and his dog makes me very sad. That poor dog probably wonders what on earth she did to be banished from the house. Do we make our elderly relatives bunk down on the lawn when they can no longer control their bladders? I certainly hope if his wife still has parents and they need to come and stay with them in their infirm years, the husband insists that they live outside until they can control their urges. Geez...people make me sick.


I met a sweet old dog at the vets one day who had been banished outside after 14 years of living in the house..the husband was so sad about it but he said his wife said it was that or getting rid of her as she couldn't and wouldn't deal with having a dog with issues like that...I said to him how does your pup like that and he said she cries and cries all the time..she is lonely, sad, cold...I then said to him have you checked into products for her..he said she was on some meds from the doctor but that upset his wise also due to the cost..I said well you could get rid of your wife or do the kindest thing for your dog if she is so sad and unhappy and put her to sleep with her family with they had a young child at the vets with them and what is the child learning about this..when things become difficult just toss them out the door? He laughed and said there are many times I prefer our dog to my wife..

I sadly smiled and said I wished them all luck..there really wasn't much else to say..the dog was sweet, still had lots of life in her and loved the husband and little boy very much for her devotion...

Colleen Bridges

Haha Amen, Erin - The ones called "Pet Loo" are at most pet stores...the nice pet stores that don't actually sell pets.


theres an "indoor restroom" for dogs avail. thru a company called hammacher-schlemmer, its a patch of astro turf laid on a rubber floor mat thing that is totally easy to deal with, dump out n spray with hose, simple. yes, it costs (about $200) but so the f*ck what.

Lori Paul

Condemnation only drives people into more secretive behaviours. Education is the answer, and re-homing for the very old as a last resort only though I can't imagine how anyone could live with not knowing what happened to their pet. It makes me think they don't care much for the pet to begin with and maybe the pet really is better off with someone else, for however long they have. I find it very difficult not to judge these people and I admire your measured response.