Lack of Bowel Control in Dogs

Lack of Bowel Control in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Diarrhea / Flatulence / Vomiting

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Rated as serious conditon

64 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Diarrhea / Flatulence / Vomiting

Lack of Bowel Control in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What is Lack of Bowel Control?

Aside from the puppy training moments, dogs are very conscientious creatures and will not defecate inside the house unless there is a problem. While fecal incontinence is most common in older dogs, there are medical reasons that may contribute to this problem in younger canines. An illness, disease or injury may be the cause for the lack of bowel control. Consult the appropriate veterinary professional without delay; her knowledge and understanding will be able to remedy the situation.

Fecal incontinence is the veterinarian term for a dog who is exhibiting a lack of bowel control. This can be an unpleasant situation for you as a pet owner, and will most likely cause stress for your dog as well. A visit to the veterinarian clinic is imperative in order to diagnose and treat the cause, as well as prevent further complications that can arise from the incontinence.

Lack of Bowel Control Average Cost

From 16 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,800

Symptoms of Lack of Bowel Control in Dogs

The inability to control bowel movements stems from a lack of communication of sorts between the brain signals and the colon. There can be various explanations for the problem, and the veterinarian will be able to diagnose and find a solution to relieve the difficult. Take note of the following symptoms, and relay them to the veterinarian at your clinic visit:

  • Lack of anal tone
  • Passing feces while walking
  • Passing feces while sleeping
  • Gas
  • Vomiting
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Scooting hind end along floor
  • Diarrhea
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Causes of Lack of Bowel Control in Dogs

There are many reasons why your dog may lose control of his bowels and have an accident in the house. Remember, this can be an upsetting occurrence for your pet. To avoid further complications resulting from the added stress, take your dog to the veterinarian in order to pinpoint the exact cause that may be included in the list below:

  • Degenerative myelopathy (spinal cord disease)
  • Peripheral myopathy (damage to nerves which impairs sensation)
  • Muscle atrophy (wasting)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Trauma after injury such as impact from car accident
  • Paralysis or debilitation of hind legs (this can lead to a colon that is never expressed fully, as the dog does not have strength to eliminate feces - because colon is not fully empty, your dog may lose bowel control when asleep or upon standing)

  • Infection of anal sac
  • Viruses such as Parvo, which cause uncontrollable diarrhea
  • Perianal fistula (chronic lesions around the anus)
  • Parasites (resulting diarrhea for an extended length of time can lead to damaged muscles in the rectum)
  • Spinal tumor
  • Myasthenia gravis ( a neuromuscular disease that keeps the muscles from contracting)
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Diagnosis of Lack of Bowel Control in Dogs

Diagnosing the cause for the lack of bowel control will be greatly improved if you are able to give the veterinarian informative, relevant information. Make a note of the incidences when your dog has an accident in your home, and try to document any behavioral changes that you may see as well. Collect a fecal sample to bring to the clinic for analysis.

Along with the feces analysis, the veterinarian will want to do a urinalysis. These tests, together with a chemistry blood profile and complete blood count, will diagnose infection or parasites if present. A discussion of your pet’s medical history and a thorough physical examination will be done, which will include checking the anal and sphincter muscles.

If required for an accurate diagnosis, the veterinarian may decide to do radiographs of the abdomen, thoracic spine, and lumbar spine to see if there are visible tumors or spinal arthritis.

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Treatment of Lack of Bowel Control in Dogs

When treating fecal incontinence, it is essential to address all of the complications and causes that may accompany it. For example, a dog who has incontinence in the form of diarrhea may have blistering around the anus, which if left untreated, can lead to a secondary infection. Another instance of a complication may be a stress induced illness. Though you may not be able to ascertain the amount of stress the fecal incontinence is causing for your pet, there is no doubt that the situation is causing him discomfort and quite likely mental anguish.

If the lack of bowel control is being caused by a simple infection, antibiotics can quickly resolve the problem. A parasitic infection, such as giardia or intestinal worms can be eradicated with the appropriate medication. There are drugs that can strengthen the sphincter muscles if necessary.

Surgical reconstruction of the anal and sphincter area may be required in some dogs. The veterinarian will be the absolute best person to decide on the appropriate treatment protocol. Some may recommend therapies such as chiropractic care, physiotherapy or acupuncture, for example, if the incontinence is resulting from lower back pain or weakness.

In the case of a senior dog, the incontinence may be a permanent situation, in which case diapers or frequent trips outside may be of help.

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Recovery of Lack of Bowel Control in Dogs

Working closely with the veterinarian will be a big part of taking care of a dog who has lack of bowel control. Pay special care to the instructions given to you by the veterinary professional; your cooperation will be instrumental in relieving your dog of this problem. Follow instructions completely when dealing with medication. If the veterinarian suggests diet changes, be sure to heed the advice. Your veterinarian may prescribe a hypoallergenic diet (with ingredients like rice, fish oil, and soy hydrolysate) or an intestinal diet (containing corn meal, chicken liver hydrolysate and soybean oil).

Psyllium supplements may help to slow down diarrhea, but can also aid in facilitating stool elimination. You will have to consult with the veterinarian in order to find the right diet balance that works with your pet’s digestive system.

At home, patience is key. We never want our pet to associate accidents of bowel control with anger. Frequent walks allow for plenty of opportunities for your pet to pass a bowel movement. Exercise can assist the digestive system with elimination, and chances are if your pet has emptied his colon after a long walk or run, you may have helped him to avoid an accident later. A long walk before bed may benefit the situation also.

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Lack of Bowel Control Average Cost

From 16 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,800

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Lack of Bowel Control Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Mutt

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Eight Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Uncontrollable Bowels

My dog is near the end of the process of being house trained. She will let us know when she needs to go outside. She will pee then come right back inside on her own accord. Soon thereafter, she poops in the house. Usually, as she poops she walks around while it comes out. The poop itself looks very normal. Is this due to her still being young or should I be worried about the possibility of something else?

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. This sounds like she is not housetrained, and thinks that she should defecate inside, I think. It may help if you take her for an actual walk when she needs to go outside, as that will often stimulate dogs to defecate, and she will learn that outside is where she is supposed to be doing that. I hope that helps and that everything goes well for her

July 31, 2020

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dog-breed-icon

Anatolian Shepherd Dog Mix

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Passing Feces While Sleeping

My dog has recently started to poop in his sleep. Not more than a nugget. He gets fed in the morning and spends time outside frequently. He is my SD so he is usually extremely healthy. This just started a couple weeks ago and has happened atleast 4-5 times? Just hoping he is okay and it’s nothing serious. Thank you.

July 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, This may not be anything serious. It would be best for him to go outside right before bedtime and make sure that he spends enough time outside to poop before coming back in. This will help prevent him from pooping in his sleep. If this still continues, it would be best to check him for worms.

July 26, 2020

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Beagle

dog-age-icon

Sixteen Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Frequent Dedication

Not normal stool for a week, passing a small amount of pasty substance day and night, smells like liver

July 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello What you are describing (and have pictured) appears to be soft stool and could be concerning. If it is not related to a recent food change, he should be seen by a veterinarian. They will want to run tests on the poop and possibly lab work to see what is going on. Good luck.

July 24, 2020

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Honey

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Golden Retriever

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10 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy Combined With Loss Of Bowe
Lethargy And Loss Of Bowel Control

My golden retriever will be 11 in February, 2019. She up until yesterday typically acts like a puppy interrupted by lots of sleep. This afternoon she pooped while laying down on the kitchen floor and appeared not to even notice! She is very lethargic...She doesn't seem to be in any pain and there are no marks or anything...just seems extraordinarily tired...her poop was perfectly normal and healthy looking.

Aug. 21, 2018

Honey's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Sudden lethargy can be a sign that something is wrong, especially in an older dog. It would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible, as they can examine her, assess her vitals and health status, and see what might be going on and what testing or treatment might be necessary.

Aug. 21, 2018

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Foxy

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Boston Terrier

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7 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Diarrhea, Vomitting,
Diarrhea, Vomitting, Lack Of Energy
Diarrhea, Vomitting

I have a 7 year old Boston terrier. She has never had an accident in my home after she was 6 months old. Last year the food she grew up on was discontinued and we had to buy new food for her. As soon as this happened she started to have poop left on her behind after she went potty - we have cleaned her with a wet paper towel after each trip outside for the last 6 months or so - she currently eats nutropro limited ingredient lamb and sweet potato recipe for small dogs. It seems to treat her better than other foods we've tried. It may not be related but timing wise it happened this way. She'll occasionally scoot her bottom across the floor. Anyway for the last 3 days she has had a larger and funnier than normal mess after her potty trips, today she started poopy water like diarrhea which smells super foul. This evening she had poop coming out of her and didn't even know it. I have taken her dog food up and cooked rice and scrambled eggs for her; going to give her some pumpkin later. She seems stressed; early had terrible panting and a rapid heart rate but that's calmed down. I'm super worried and don't know what I should do for her. Planning to take her to the vet Friday when they can see her. Any advice? Should I take her in for an emergency after hours visit, wait, or something I can do in the meantime while I wait for her appointment?

June 20, 2018

Foxy's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Diarrhoea from diet can be a difficult problem, as you know trial and error is the only real way to determine a suitable diet. If Foxy isn’t in any distress, she can probably wait until her appointment but ensure that she is kept hydrated since she will be losing a lot of fluid from loose stool; if she presents symptoms again of rapid heart rate or anything else concerning you may want to visit an Emergency Veterinarian to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 21, 2018

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Mr.M

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Great Dane

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4 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Pooping When Getting Up For A Nap,P
Pooping While Walking

We have a 4 year old great dane who is now pooping in the house at least twice a day. He was fully house trained. It seems when he gets up from sleeping and stretches it starts. we have brought him to our vet and have limited his food. We bring him outside constantly for him to come inside and poop in the house 15 mins later. He has now pee'ed a couple of times as well. Being that he just turned 4 I really do not know what to do at this point

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Radar

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Border-Aussie

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Fce,

My dog had an FCE event about a month ago and lost complete control of his back legs. The only bright spot (the neurological vet said) was he had 'good anal tone'. From what I read it means he avoided damage to the nerves connected to his anal muscles. If this is the case, why can't he control his bowel movements? He poops 3-5 times a day, normal poop (solid,Play-Doh constancy). I'm really confused as to why he doesn't let us know when he needs to go out.

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Daisy

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Labrador Retriever

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

My lab just turned a year old and for the past few months she’ll randomly have pudding or liquid diarrhea. Most of the time it’s around 4-8 am and after on and off diarrhea she’ll be fine around noon. I’ve taken her to multiple vets and they keep saying she doesn’t have any symptoms for epi but that’s the only thing it could be since we’ve taken treats and toys away from her as well as switched her dog food to a more healthier one instead of puppy food. She hasn’t lost weight she just randomly has these diarrhea episodes which can get extremely messy. The last thing the vet told me to try is Fortiflora and it seemed to work but again this morning she had another episode or pudding/ liquid diarrhea and ran outside and pottied for about 10 minutes straight. On a side note the vet already took a stool sample and said there’s no parasites it’s just fattening.

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lucky

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West Highland White Terrier (Westie)

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Leaking
Scooching
Bowel Elimination While Sleeping
Unknowing Bowel Elimination

Bowel incontinence. We have taken him to the Vet and they can't find anything wrong, neuro seems fine, rectal exam seems fine. However when he sleeps he has problems. Leaks during the day and just does not seem to realize he is going. He also is scooching. When we take him for a walk or out to the bathroom IF he poops he still squats and has soft movements. His anus seems to always be pulsating. I am cleaning him about 5 times a day from either poop or just complete wetness on his bottom and back of tail. This just started a week ago. But the scooching started about 3 weeks ago. Help! We just rescued a cat has could this be the problem?

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Gucci

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French Bulldog

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7 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

No Control Over Bladder And Bowel

I have a rescue French Bulldog who came into the country from Gran Canaria 10 days ago, when she barks she poos and wee's involuntarily and cannot control either - the fosterer took her to her vet who gave her antibiotics as she had a urine infection, and she has had nappies put on her for a short time each day, her back legs are not strong (we think she was tied up for breeding :() She is now with me and whilst very loving she just cannot control herself and messes everywhere, I have booked a vets appointment for tomorrow but worried this may be something serious - I have since been told she did have a slipped disc which has been treated but I am really not sure how to manage the situation

Lack of Bowel Control Average Cost

From 16 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,800

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