All posts by Scout, the cute puppy in the pic at the top

Dealing With Incontinence in Dogs

dog incontinence
Incontinence in dogs

OK – Now we’re going to talk about something that nobody ever thinks about, until it happens to them.

In our case, it happened to our senior dog, Baylor.  I’m the cute one in the picture at the top of the site and she’s the old, I mean “mature” one.

Even though she didn’t like me much, I still liked her and it wasn’t much fun watching her deal with all these problems.  Plus… it meant the boss had to pay more attention to her than to me, which was not cool at all!

We’re going to cover all aspects of dog incontinence, including a bunch of stuff you probably haven’t thought about yet:

  • Why you should see the veterinarian
  • Managing incontinence in your home
  • Protecting your home
  • Keeping the dog clean
  • Dog diapers

Go to the Veterinarian

The first thing you should always do when you’re having problems with dog incontinence is to see your vet. Just like in people, there are a lot of different reasons your dog could become incontinent, and there are a lot of things the vet can do to make the situation better.

We eventually found a drug that completely solved the problem, but one of the big problems is that you have to live with the incontinence for a while, while you’re trying to find an answer.

In our case, Baylor literally started dripping urine, on a constant basis.  If she laid down on the floor for 30 minutes, there would be a large wet spot when she got up. The side of her back leg would also be all wet from the dripping.

We eventually got to the point of using dog diapers, but we couldn’t use those right away because we needed to find out how the various drugs were working.

We ended up with a pretty good plan to handle the dog incontinence issues, but it sure took us a while to get it all figured out.  Luckily, we finally found the right wonderful, awesome drugs that made the issue go away.

Keep in mind that the number of steps you have to take will depend upon your specific dog and how bad his/her incontinence issues are.  Our problem was pretty severe, so we tried everything.  Hopefully your situation isn’t as bad so you won’t need to do everything we got to do.

Find the Right Space for Your Dog

One of the first things you have to do when faced with dog incontinence problems is to identify a space for the dog to stay in. This can be really difficult, because when a senior dog is involved, both you and the dog are used to them being a full member of the family with complete freedom within the house.

I’m not sure if it’s harder for the human or for the dog to suddenly have limits on where they can go.

Depending on the extent of the incontinence problems in your dog, you may have to use a space that is closest to the door they use to go outside.

In our case, the work space for the boss is the dining room, which is right off of the patio so we used that space. Since it’s where the boss spent most of her time, Baylor was content to lay at her feet and being restricted didn’t seem to bother her much.

Don’t forget, it’s not just the daytime you have to consider.  You also have to limit where the dog can sleep to make sure your home is protected.

Using Trash Bags

If you decide that the best space for your incontinent dog is a carpeted area, trash bags are a must.  These can be used to line the area and protect the carpet.

Any kind of trash bags will work, but don’t just take them out of the box and put them on the floor. They will go a lot farther if you cut them open.

Just cut down the two sides of the bag, or cut open one side of the bag and the bottom of the bag, depending on what works best for the space you have to cover.

Then, make sure you overlap the bags a little when you put them on the floor. You definitely don’t want to miss a spot and not be aware of it.  Bad things would happen and your nose wouldn’t like it very much.

Blankets Help With Dog Incontinence

Of course, trash bags is just one layer of protection needed when dealing with dogs who are having incontinence problems.  You can’t just use trash bags alone to cover the area because they will get wet, sloppy and make the whole situation worse.

You will have to find some old blankets to put on top of the trash bags.

We went through the house and grabbed just about every blanket that wasn’t being used and stacked them up by the back door. You should also grab a generous supply of towels and wash cloths while you’re at it.

Every time the urine soaked blankets were picked up, they were put in the laundry basket and replaced with clean blankets. If you’re lucky, you will only have to do this once or twice a day.  The dog incontinence issue we got to deal with was pretty bad so we ended up doing laundry several times per day.

Important Tip:  It’s a bonus if you can stick to either light blankets/towels/etc or dark colored ones until they’re all dirty.  It’s a lot easier to keep the laundry rotation going if you can throw everything in together.

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In that article, we’ll talk more specifically about dealing with dog incontinence issues by keeping the dog clean and the use of dog diapers.  (Yes, they have dog diapers, yes they work, but there are some things you need to know first… and we’ll tell you about them).

8 Reasons Humans Annoy Me

Although dogs are awesome (and I can say that because I’m the cute puppy in the picture at the top of the site), I know there are things we can do that really annoy our human parents.  dog with bow

I get in trouble for jumping on people, barking too much, being a bed hog and begging for food (but I’m cute so they keep me around)!

But did you ever think about how humans annoy dogs?  Well you should!

People aren’t always easy to live with.  I’ve been talking to my dog-friends and we came up with a list of the 8 most annoying habits.   Of course, the boss doesn’t do any of these things (and yes… I’m trying to score points so I’ll get more treats).

8 Reasons Humans Annoy Me

  1. Yell at us when I bark.  Did you somehow forget we’re dogs?
  2. Letting us go out for a walk and then NOT allowing us to smell all the glorious smells that we’re faced with.  What’s the point of a walk if you can’t stop and smell the flowers, and sticks and candy bar wrappers and empty pop cans and those glorious trees and fire hydrants that were recently visited by my other dog friends?
  3. Taking us to the vet where “bad things happen” and then somehow being surprised that we get anxious when the scary lady in the white coat comes in
  4. Forcing us to learn how to do tricks that involve balancing food on our noses.  Even if we get a treat in the end, we hate this!
  5. Sweaters for dogs – have you not noticed that we have fur to keep us warm?
  6. The whole fake throw thing.  Big deal… you faked out a dog, is that really something you should be so proud of?
  7. Haircuts where we end up with fancy ribbons and bows.  Really?  We’re dogs, not Barbie dolls.
  8. Blaming us when you fart and it smells really bad.  Seriously, that wasn’t even funny the first time.

What do you think of our list?   I’m sure if there are any dogs reading this, we can come up with about a hundred (thousand) more  J
If you’re a human, are there things you do that you know annoy your dog?

How to Give a Dog a Bath, and Let You Both Live Through It

There is no question, dogs and baths don’t go together.  We don’t like them and they don’t like us.

Giving a dog a bath
Giving a dog a bath

And I hear humans like to give us baths even less.

However, I’ve been told that no matter how much we both hate it, it’s part of life I’m just going to have to learn to deal with it.

Over time, we’ve learned a few tricks that make giving a dog a bath a lot less painful… for everyone.

Use the Bathtub

Yes, you can give a dog a bath outside, but think about all of that room.  If the dog doesn’t like the water, shampoo, etc it’s much more difficult to control them when they aren’t in a confined space.

Keeping the dog in the bathroom (with the door closed) limits the amount of chasing you may have to do.  If you’re using a bathtub, you can even pull the shower curtain halfway closed, and put it on the INSIDE of the tub to make it even harder for the dog to weasel their way out.

You can also get a dog washing tub, but to us, these seem like more trouble than they’re worth.  Do you really have space in your home to store one of these when you’re not using it?   Do you really want to have to drag it out of storage and put it away every time you want to give the dog a bath?

Prepare, Prepare and Prepare Some More

One of the big keys to a successful dog bath is to really plan out the details. Don’t just think about it, you have to actually make a plan.

This includes having the proper supplies.  If you have to leave a wet dog in the tub because the shampoo is on the other side of the bathroom, bad things will happen.

Gather the following supplies and put then on, in or next to the bathtub.

  • Shampoo
  • Multiple towels
  • Something for your knees to make it more comfortable to kneel next to the tub, depending on how old you are J.   The boss is ancient and she has to put towels on the floor for her knees (and then she sometimes complains anyway!)
  • Prepare the water temperature – do you like baths that are too cold or too hot?  Dogs don’t either!
  • Hose attachment (we’ll talk about this more below)
  • Those dorky non-slip decals or mats.  Not having good footing can make us even more freaked out about the bath than we already are (of course, you should have these for your own safety too… assuming you use the shower for yourself)

Get a Shower Attachment

This is a must, must, must have when you’re trying to give a dog a bath. 

There are cool attachments shower attachments these days that make it easy to add a sprayer attachment to your showerhead.

Most of them have a simple piece that can be screwed in.  It goes between your showerhead and the pipe that comes out of the wall.   I know… don’t let it scare you if you’re not a plumber.  If you can use a wrench, you can install these.  The boss managed to do it and if she can do it… anyone can… except for dogs, you know… that whole “opposable thumb” thing causes us problems.

The big benefit of these is that you can get rid of that ridiculous cup that you used to have to fill up about 75 times for a decent shower sprayer

Not only that, but it is about 6,362 times easier for the rinse part of the dog bath too, especially the underside.

Some of these even have a soap dispenser built into the sprayer.  This allows you to switch from suds to rinse with the simple click of a button, and more importantly… only one hand.

Brush the Dog

Although this isn’t required, it’s a good idea to give the dog a good brushing first before you give a dog a bath.  One reason is that it gets out the mats in the hair before it gets wet (when it will be much more difficult to get out).

Another reason to brush the dog before the bath is to reduce the hair that would otherwise get tangled up in your drain.

How to Give a Dog a Bath

1 – Get the Dog in the Bathtub

One word… treats.  They work for just about everything, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a dog.

Once you get the dog in the bathtub, ALWAYS keep one hand on their collar.  If you don’t know why this is important, you’ve never given a dog a bath before, have you?

This is why it’s so important to have everything within arms reach BEFORE you start.

2 – Do the First Rinse 

You should have already checked the water temperature, so now all you should have to do is pull the knob to turn the shower part on – but make sure it’s set up to go through the shower attachment.  If the dog gets hit with water from the showerhead out of the blue… bad things will happen.

Use your handy-dandy spray nozzle to get the dog wet, but avoid the dog’s head (for now).

3 – Add the Shampoo

If you’re using a sprayer that includes a soap dispenser, flip the switch so the suds come out.  If you have to do it the old fashioned way, squeeze the shampoo onto the dog’s back.

Remember to keep one hand on the dog collar while you’re doing this.

4 – Do the Shampoo Thing 

Now you should use your one free hand to lather up the dog hair.  Sometimes if you turn this into a mini-massage, it can help the dog relax.

5 – Do the Rinse

Use your fancy shower sprayer to rinse the suds off the body.  This is really where the sprayer comes in handy.  It’s especially easy to rinse the belly area with a sprayer vs the cup.

Although, something to remember… don’t reach around the dog and point the sprayer toward yourself, even if you’re “positive” that it will be pointed up into the dog’s belly.  If you miscalculate by just an inch, you’ll say a lot of really bad words and I’ll get even more freaked out.

6 – Pre-dry the Body

When you’ve washed and rinsed the dog’s body, you should throw a towel over their back as soon as possible.  Don’t take the time to completely dry the dog at this point, because you still have to wash the face.

At any point between now and the end of the bath, “the shake thing” could occur.  As I dog, I think the shake thing is awesome, but I get the impression that people don’t think it’s nearly as cool.

If the dog shakes when they are still sopping wet, there is a lot of water that will end up on the walls, floor and YOU.  I suspect this is the part that people hate.

However, if you put a towel over the dog’s back and do a quick dry (again, with one hand) as soon as the rinse is done, you can soak up a lot of that excess water before it ends up in a bad place.

7 – Do the Face 

In talking to my dog friends, they all agree about one thing.  The worst part of the whole bath thing is when you wash our faces.  We really don’t like it so you should do it last.

The face is more sensitive than the rest of the body, so you should be careful about the water pressure before you hit the face.

8 – Dry

When the bath is over, the dog will be really excited.  At this point, you should be focused on getting us as dry as possible, before we completely freak out and shake like there is no tomorrow.

One More Thing

It’s been proven over and over and over again… yelling, screaming and saying bad words won’t work, but treats and praise do work.

Have you ever seen those trained dogs that show up on talk shows all the time?

Have you ever seen how the dog gets a treat EVERY SINGLE TIME they do what they’re supposed to?

The more you give the dog positive praise and treats, the better behaved they will be… even at bath time.

If your dog is a real scardy-cat (pun intended), you might try having a second person help you give the dog a bath.  Their job should be to have a bunch of tiny treats and keep the dog’s attention on when they get the next treat, instead of the evil bath.

Enjoy the After Effects

When everything is done and you forced me to sit quietly in the bathtub while I had to endure all that water and sudsy stuff, you can’t get mad at me when I run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off.

Instead of getting annoyed and trying to control the dog after a bath, sit back and enjoy the show!