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
about 20 of our current dogs suffer from incontinence issues..it 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 knees..giving 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 area...like 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 considering...my job is not to start assaulting them with verbal or written 2x4's and preaching my version of responsible care...my 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.