Let me start out by saying this story shouldn’t be read by anyone with a weak stomach or anyone who has never changed a diaper. Because this post deals with doggie poop! As you’ve probably (hopefully) read in earlier Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog stories, when our dog Sophie became paralyzed she also became incontinent.
At first, her bladder leaked so Ken (husband) and I used doggie diapers. Later in Sophie’s disease, her body went in almost the opposite direction turning her muscles to concrete. That’s when we threw out the diapers and learned how to push on her bladder to express it. Even our veterinarian was perplexed by the restrictive nature of her bladder. I remember being told that most paralyzed dogs had weak muscles and leaked urine.
That said, no matter what your situation is you should keep in mind Lesson 13: If you have a paralyzed dog there WILL be 2am showers.
Bowel control can be tough
While we gained control over emptying Sophie’s bladder, the my husband and I never quite got the hang of expressing her bowels. In fact we never got the hang of determining when she was going to empty her bowels, so there were many times when we found a surprise waiting for us in her bed.
Generally these little accidents only required a quick “grab and toss” maneuver and all would be fine. If this part of the story seems a bit graphic, you might want to skip to the end because I’m about to paint a clearer picture of our life with a paralyzed dog. You see as Sophie lost more and more control of her body, she also lost control of her ability to move out of way of these surprise bowel movements. Ugh!
Night time accidents
This was never more apparent than in the middle of the night. Sometimes when our poor little girl would be sound asleep, she would poop and then in her sleep she would roll right into the mess. More ugh!
Generally this happened between midnight and 2a.m. At that time, Ken or I would sleepily turn over in bed and get our first whiff that something was wrong. Unfortunately that type of odor gets your attention so we would creep out of bed to check the damage. I won’t go into details, but sometimes it was a pretty sad situation. Neither of us wanted Sophie to suffer, so one of us would grab the stack of dog towels while the other got into the shower with Sophie.
Then after she was clean and dry one of us would put her back in the second bed we kept on hand while the other would start a load of laundry. A stack of doggie towels and air fresheners were always nearby.
When these accidents happened on a regular basis we reverted back to using diapers, but then Sophie would go for a month without any incidents and we would get lulled into our old ways. We made excuses that we were wasting the unused diapers or we guessed that her condition had changed and she didn’t need them anymore. I put-off writing this Lesson because of the subject matter, but mostly it was because I wasn’t sure how you as a reader would take it.
In reality, poop became a normal topic of conversation in our house. It didn’t gross us out as much as it made us sad. We were sad to see our dog’s body failing and we were sad there wasn’t anything we could do to stop it. Our goal was to keep Sophie as healthy and happy as possible for as long as we could. And just like our human kids; poop wasn’t so yucky when it’s from your own baby.
Things you can do to “catch” the poop
Since starting Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog, pet owners have shared their tips to “catch” poop and prevent messes. I’ve turned them into a series of stories that I hope you find helpful.
Posts about products and tips to keep pooh at bay:
Best Life Hacks For Getting A Diaper To Stay In Place – This story covers the creative ways pet owners modify diaper products to keep their paralyzed dog clean.
How To Make A DIY Dog Diaper Wrap – If you’re on a budget this is the story for you as one pet mom shows how to make a wrap to keep a diaper in place.
Taking The Mystery Out of Doggie Diapers – This is one of our most popular stories. It breaks down all of the products for incontinent dogs.
Related Story: Days Of Being The Fastest Runner In The Dog Park