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Dutchess_III's avatar

Can you help me understand my old dog?

Asked by Dutchess_III (41912points) March 9th, 2017

Dakota is a German Shepherd. She’s 13 or 14 years old. She’s always been the best dog ever.
But here lately she’s been urinating in the house. In the past she’d never do that unless we didn’t let her out when we should have, or whatever. But she’s doing it now, sometimes right in front of us.
She always pees in the same place. We can’t really get angry. She knows better, and she’s contrite but….. she won’t be with us much longer so I just scold her and leave it at that.

OK, we have a “runway” of sorts made out of various area rugs, that runs through a strip of the kitchen, from the living room to the back door, covering up the linoleum. She has a bad hip, and sometimes has a hard time walking on the slick linoleum so we put that down for her.
The first one is a long runner, the second is a small bathroom rug, the 3rd and 4th are also long runners.
She always pees on the small bathroom rug. It’s usually in the middle of the night, so we get to step in it first thing in the morning.
I have to wash the thing almost every day. I’m just glad it’s not on any of the runners because I can’t throw them in the washing machine.
Well, I washed it three days ago and it’s been on the back deck drying. There has been a small gap in her runway since then. I’ve been holding back on putting the rug back down, wondering if she’ll still pee there, and thinking that if she does, I’d rather mop up the linoleum than wash the rug. But…she hasn’t peed once.

Is there something about that rug that triggers her or something? Any ideas? Thoughts? We can leave it off. She does OK with small stretches of linoleum.

We did ask the vet. He checked her for diabetes. She’s clear.

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25 Answers

jwalt's avatar

Sometimes just washing the rug or mopping with the usual cleaner is not enough to remove all of the odor. It’s good enough for our noses, but not the dog’s. I have found using some of the odor eliminators from pet supply stores work as well as bleach, if you are able to use it without damage to the floor.

Also, once the dog knows that a particular spot is a bathroom spot, they will continue to use it as a bathroom spot. If you are willing to let her use it, then perhaps placing some puppy training pads will make clean up easier.

Cruiser's avatar

Without knowing anything about your dogs health…GS’s do suffer hip dysplasia and when my GS hybrid got to that age she too had “accidents” in the house and I came to realize going outside was far too painful for her so she took the easier way out. Best wishes Dutch.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, we Rick installed a handicap ramp for her so she gets on and off the deck quite easily. Other than that one daily incident, she goes out OK.
I think she’s in good health overall. We just had her to the vet, for some minor surgery, actually. She had some blood tumor on her foot removed. She’s been doing better in some ways now (I think it was painful, but with as old as she is it’s hard to tell what’s hurting) but, come to think of it, it was after that that she started this. I think she was pretty mad at us, leaving her there all alone for two days, without her ‘sister’ (a border collie.) They’re usually in together, and he puts them in the same run.

Thanks @Cruiser. That dog has been a huge, huge part of our lives for over 10 years now. I think she was about 2 when we rescued her. Damnit. I wish dogs could talk.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

My dog recently started having a lot of accidents in the house and she was just diagnosed with bladder cancer. Not trying to scare you, of course, but a trip to the vet may be in order to specifically rule out medical causes of her potty habits changing.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We did have the vet check her out @ANef_is_Enuf, specifically for that. He just suggested it could be diabetes, but she came back clean. He didn’t say anything about possible bladder cancer. What other signs did your dog exhibit? Did he pee in the house all the time or just occasionally?

Coloma's avatar

I had a dog years ago that started going in the house and she had a tumor pressing on her bladder. She should get a full workup, check for UTI, tumor, bladder cancer etc.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Was it uncontrolled @Coloma? I’ll have to call and see what all he checked out, because we did bring it to his attention. I assumed he checked for everything.

Coloma's avatar

^Yes, she just started peeing all over and we thought she was just getting old but turns out she had a tumor.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, she does does it one time a day, usually at night, and only in that one spot. And like I said, since we pulled the rug, she hasn’t done it at all. It’s been 3 days. But I’ll double check with the vet again.

Coloma's avatar

^ It could just be age related, she needs to go at night and can’t quite make it to ask you to let her out or to the dog door, whatever your routine is. Poor old girl.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Right. Maybe we just aren’t waking up. But damn if she hasn’t squatted right in front of us a couple of times! It’s like, “What thee hell, Dakota!”
Her “sister,” who is a border collie, about 5 years younger than Dakota, for some reason thought she could get away with peeing on the living room rug right in front of us! She got her butt spanked and thrown outside! She was in time-out there for 30 minutes.
Dakota…we just keep looking the other way.
But I will take her in again. I would hate for it to be something that she just can’t tell us about.

Oh, @jwalt, are puppy pads slip reisistant?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

It started with just the occasional accident, usually overnight and she had a favorite spot. Then slowly they became more frequent over time, she was having accidents every night. Then during the day, then taking longer to pee, having to go more often, etc.

si3tech's avatar

@Dutchess_III I had a toy poodle who peed in the house when she was old. She had congestive heart failure and was on diuretics which compounded the problem as she had to go more often. I put small pampers on her with a slit cut in them for her tail. This really worked very well. There is a commercial product called “potty patch” for potty training puppies. I wonder if that would at least confine the peeing to one specific place? Just a thought.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thanks @ANef_is_Enuf. I know what to watch for.

@si3tech well, at this point it is confined to one specific place. It’s just a place I need to clean up afterwards. She’d need a Depends, though. She’s not a little dog. Yeah, I want to look into the “potty patch” thing. Is it easy to clean? If used in place of that rug, is it slippery?

BellaB's avatar

It seems to be part of dogs aging process.

I’ve got a bunch of runners from the back door to the front door. We got the runners when the old girldog (RIP) started getting wobbly on linoleum and on wood flooring. There are puppy pee pads on one of them – since the current girldog isn’t 100% precise about hitting the same spot every time. Her pees are so small, I cut out the quarter pee pad section she hit and keep the balance in use.

Years ago, when the old girldog started getting leaky , I bought about 10 inexpensive runners. After a few months and washes, I throw out the oldest one and put a fresh one down.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Where do you find inexpensive runners?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Do you have an Ollie’s store by you? They have the best deals on throw rugs/runners/carpets that I’ve seen locally.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. Never heard of it. OK, what do you guys consider “inexpensive”?

BellaB's avatar

I pay $3 – 5 Cdn for a 5 – 6 foot runner. I watch for stores having BOGO sales and grab an armful then. I’ve occasionally found good deals at carpet outlets and once got a pretty carpet remnant at Home Depot that I sliced into runners. I got enough to carpet the stairs into the basement and put runners the length of the house for $20.

syz's avatar

You said the vet checked her for diabetes. Did he check for a urinary tract infection? Did he take a radiograph to check for bladder stones? Did he discuss with you hormone responsive urinary incontinence? If not, you need a different vet.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My kind of woman @BellaB! We got a “remnant” at Lowes once. I wanted the living room to look like it had wall to wall carpet, but wasn’t. We have laminate flooring so I wanted that to show as well. What I got is about is 15 X 20 for $60. It’s a solid beige, like a short shag. To get an actual decorative rug that size would have been hundreds of dollars. It worked miracles in my living room! We had a decorative, large area rugs for years, but couldn’t afford anything larger than 8×10. After we got the huge carpet I realized I’d been trying to crowd my furniture around the smaller carpet and that large remnant allowed me to push furniture back. It made my room look twice as big.

Well, end experiment. She peed on one of the runners so I’m bringing that bathroom rug back in.

Yes, he checked for a UTI, @syz. I don’t know if he did the rest. It seems to me that if it was something serious she’d be a lot more out of control. If she had stones, I would think she’d be whimpering when she peed. I’ll give him a call today, see what all he checked for.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I’m sorry, I haven’t purchased a runner anytime recently, but I buy small throw rugs there for a couple of bucks. Not very useful to you if you don’t have a local store, though.

In our case, the cancer wasn’t found by ultrasound or urinalysis, but surgically. If she didn’t have a benign mass, we may have never realized she had cancer until it was much further along, because her symptoms are and were quite mild and the initial testing said that she did not have cancer. It was just coincidental that she had a polyp that lead to them finding the cancer because the accidents were continuing and we decided to have it removed in case it would help her return to her normal potty habits. She’s still herself, no whining, no noticeable signs of pain, high energy, playful, social. But she has been symptomatic for at least 6 months already and the early months were very, very subtle. Again, I’m not suggesting that your dog had bladder cancer, just that I wouldn’t assume it would be more obvious if something were wrong.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thanks. That’s what I was looking for. Signs and symptoms.

longgone's avatar

My thinking is that Dakota is a great dog, as you say. Once, many nights ago, she just had to go, so she squatted in that one place you mention. The nights after that, she might have been less desperate at times. She was probably walking around, trying to hold it in – until she smelled a bathroom. Being old, tired, and probably pretty confused, she used that. The rug still is a bathroom to her even after being washed, so she took the opportunity. When you removed the bathroom rug, she might have made it through the nights by using all her willpower (it sounds like she really doesn’t want to cause any trouble). Then, the third night, she was just desperate again.

If you can stop yourself from scolding her, I think you should. She can’t help it at this point. I really hope this is something fixable and that she’s with you for a good chunk of time yet.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I put it back down 3 or 4 days ago…and she hasn’t peed on it since. I scrubbed the floor underneath with bleach so maybe that helps. It seems so random.
I scold her because I don’t what her to think it’s OK. But I’m nice about it.

One time, several years ago, she crapped in the laundry room. I saw it first thing in the morning but was too tired to address it at that moment.
I took me about an hour to realize that Dakota kept walking past the laundry room, glancing inside worriedly. It hit me…she was wait for the other shoe to fall! I put her out of her misery. I gave her her scolding and put her outside. She went out with head high, not worried any more.
This is her a moment later. I had to laugh. Her attitude was like, “Look at me. Look how beautiful I am. Do you really think I look like a low class dog who would crap in anyone’s laundry room? No. No one will believe you.” BUT SHE DID!!! I’M NOT LYING!

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