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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Found this forum as my partner and I are really struggling to cope with our dog's behavior. My partner admits that she has always been a difficult dog, but over the last four months it has got so much worse. She doesn't seem to have any obvious medical issues, but we are facing oddly sporadic incontinence (e.g. she can hold it for 4 - 5 hours when we are out no problem, but when we are in the house and door to garden is open and a few feet away she will instead poop all over the house, including running up two steep flights of stairs and back to do so), moodiness, fouling the guest bed she liked to sleep in and lying in her own urine, suddenly refusing to walk on the return journey when I walk her (regardless of length of walk, and doesn't do it with partner). She also developed a weird hacking cough that doesn't seem to have any basis in a medical issue - I know that dogs faking/mimicing injury or illness symptoms for attention is controversial but it seems to be what is happening. This is among other things. I suspect that it's possibly doggie dementia compounded by behavioral issues she already had. There are also numerous other issues.
We're both finding it hard to cope with the stress, sleep deprivation, having an entire floor of our house currently disgusting, and costs associated with this, along with judgements from other people that we are just uncaring / terrible pet owners. We're getting to the point where we'd rehome her if we felt another home would have her, but sadly I think it would be a death sentence.
I'd find it helpful to have some support for how difficult this is. We are planning on taking her to the vet again to discuss doggie dementia.馃槶
 

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Found this forum as my partner and I are really struggling to cope with our dog's behavior. My partner admits that she has always been a difficult dog, but over the last four months it has got so much worse. She doesn't seem to have any obvious medical issues, but we are facing oddly sporadic incontinence (e.g. she can hold it for 4 - 5 hours when we are out no problem, but when we are in the house and door to garden is open and a few feet away she will instead poop all over the house, including running up two steep flights of stairs and back to do so), moodiness, fouling the guest bed she liked to sleep in and lying in her own urine, suddenly refusing to walk on the return journey when I walk her (regardless of length of walk, and doesn't do it with partner). She also developed a weird hacking cough that doesn't seem to have any basis in a medical issue - I know that dogs faking/mimicing injury or illness symptoms for attention is controversial but it seems to be what is happening. This is among other things. I suspect that it's possibly doggie dementia compounded by behavioral issues she already had. There are also numerous other issues.
We're both finding it hard to cope with the stress, sleep deprivation, having an entire floor of our house currently disgusting, and costs associated with this, along with judgements from other people that we are just uncaring / terrible pet owners. We're getting to the point where we'd rehome her if we felt another home would have her, but sadly I think it would be a death sentence.
I'd find it helpful to have some support for how difficult this is. We are planning on taking her to the vet again to discuss doggie dementia.馃槶
Hi. Welcome to the forum.

The vet might be able to suggest something for incontinence.

Not wanting to come home with you, but fine with your partner? Well, from the sounds of it, she was your partner's dog first, so if she has dementia, that could be why she suddenly won't go home with you - perhaps she forgets who you are? Also, get her eyes and ears checked, too.

Whilst I know it's incredibly stressful to look after an elderly dog (been there, done that - as have many of us), it's the height of selfishness IMO, to palm her off on to someone else. If you can't or won't look after her now that she's getting older and in decline, then you owe it to her to end her suffering and take her to the vet for euthanasia.

No, it's not easy. It's the hardest thing a loving owner will ever have to do. But it's also the kindest.

She deserves to leave this world knowing she was loved to the very end. Not by some random stranger who doesn't know her from Lassie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you. Let me reassure we are not actually going to rehome her - we are aware that this would just mean that strangers would end up making the decision to put her down at this point in her life. :( It's more a statement of how at the end of our tether we are, and a softer way of talking around things I guess.

Thanks for your insight about the walking thing - that makes sense. It's really puzzled us as it came on very suddenly, is very out of character (she loves to walk in any direction usually!), and she is also used to being walked by a variety of people. Unfortunately I've been through this before, and I've noticed other behavior that is familiar such as almost developing another personality that is an amplification of her 'worst' character traits yet sometimes being her normal self. In her this is also couple with staring into space a lot and sudden bizarre and unpredictable phobias. Just hoping she doesn't develop aggression.
 

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Has she been to the vet yet? If so, have they run blood tests with a full thyroid panel as well as a tick disease panel? Depending on her breed, she could also be experiencing spinal issues like wobblers.
 
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How old is she? I would get to a vet sooner rather than later to look for, as LeoRose suggested, hormonal issues or diseases that could be affecting her behavior. I'm also (sorry) put in mind of the possibility of a brain tumor or other neurological degeneration. In humans, dementia can be exacerbated by mild infections such as UTIs - there's something about that combination that often triggers really erratic behavior - and I wouldn't be surprised if the same is true of dogs, so that could be worth a look, too.

There are medications that can help slow and/or manage dementia if it is that.

In the meantime, and going forward, I would go back to treating her like a puppy - closing off house access to areas that are safe for her, and easy to keep clean for you. Focus on keeping her clean, comfortable, and safe, and managing the situation in a way that allows you to function. And don't beat yourself up if you have to euthanize - you have to consider both your quality of life and hers. If she's not terminally ill or in pain, I wouldn't jump right to euthanasia without first trying some medical and management interventions, but if you find that treatment and management aren't working, and that all that's left is further decline, the situation is what it is. Just make the time she has left as nice as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Has she been to the vet yet? If so, have they run blood tests with a full thyroid panel as well as a tick disease panel? Depending on her breed, she could also be experiencing spinal issues like wobblers.
My partner took her to the vet earlier in the summer as we were worried about her 'cough' - basically she had an upset tummy for a few days where she was being sick but no lethargy, still eating or drinking normally, no diarrhea. we assumed she'd probably eaten something she shouldn't have. But her cough persisted, and we took her then as was worried it could be something bad. Results came back good (sorry not sure exactly what was tested as I couldn't go owing to COVID restrictions), but she has declined so much we will take her again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My partner took her to the vet earlier in the summer as we were worried about her 'cough' - basically she had an upset tummy for a few days where she was being sick but no lethargy, still eating or drinking normally, no diarrhea. we assumed she'd probably eaten something she shouldn't have. But her cough persisted, and we took her then as was worried it could be something bad. Results came back good (sorry not sure exactly what was tested as I couldn't go owing to COVID restrictions), but she has declined so much we will take her again.
Sorry for double reply - forgot to mention that she is a Jack Russell, so I don't think she'd be a candidate for wobblers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
How old is she? I would get to a vet sooner rather than later to look for, as LeoRose suggested, hormonal issues or diseases that could be affecting her behavior. I'm also (sorry) put in mind of the possibility of a brain tumor or other neurological degeneration. In humans, dementia can be exacerbated by mild infections such as UTIs - there's something about that combination that often triggers really erratic behavior - and I wouldn't be surprised if the same is true of dogs, so that could be worth a look, too.

There are medications that can help slow and/or manage dementia if it is that.

In the meantime, and going forward, I would go back to treating her like a puppy - closing off house access to areas that are safe for her, and easy to keep clean for you. Focus on keeping her clean, comfortable, and safe, and managing the situation in a way that allows you to function. And don't beat yourself up if you have to euthanize - you have to consider both your quality of life and hers. If she's not terminally ill or in pain, I wouldn't jump right to euthanasia without first trying some medical and management interventions, but if you find that treatment and management aren't working, and that all that's left is further decline, the situation is what it is. Just make the time she has left as nice as possible.
She's about 12. The UTI thing is a good call as too as some of her soiling has become increasingly bizarre - e.g. left her for 4 hours on Saturday and came back to no messes; let her out twice this morning, the second time made the mistake of not forcing her to stay in garden until the peed and instead assuming that as she was at the door she would go out, and she went twice in the basement, including once less than a foot from the open door.

We've had to start shutting off some parts of the house to her (e.g. guest room as earlier this week she has peed and pooped on bed and was lying in her own urine, which apart from being gross, is hardly good for her). Thanks for the support.
 

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Spay incontinence is a possibility. I've had it afflict several spayed bitches in their senior years, and the most telling sign was they'd be fast asleep and urine would spread out behind them. There are meds to control it that worked completely for mine. Can't remember the name.
 
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