Last week during the show, Lisa called from Arizona – she was looking for some advice to stop her 2-year-old, female, Pekingese from toileting on Lisa’s bed during the night. I encouraged Lisa to use management techniques-- specifically, put the dog in an adjoining room/bathroom with a baby gate where she can provide the dog with a comfortable place to sleep and a wee-wee pad for toileting.
One of the reasons I love hosting "It's A Dog's Life" is because my listeners love to share information and experiences to educate and help each other. And last week was no different-- following the show, I got an email from Michelle in Texas who was very concerned about my reply to Lisa. She said:
I’ve been desperate to get a hold of you and couldn’t get through to the show last night. I am very upset at the advice you gave Lisa. The question you should have asked Lisa is, “is the dog toileting in her sleep?”…and the advice you should have given is, “talk to your vet.” It is possible that the dog has bladder over activity incontinence. I experienced the same with my Jack Russell terrier and my vet explained this as a complication from spaying which can be managed with a drug called Proin. I certainly hope you can correct this oversight.
Michelle, I'm very glad that you cared enough to share your experience and am sorry you were unable to get through. Thank you for following up with me.
I agree that recommending a thorough veterinarian check-up should always be considered to rule out any medical condition than might be presenting itself as a behavioral issue...in fact, I mention it very often during "It’s A Dog’s Life." I have also mentioned that dog owners should consider speaking to a qualified vet in regards to the use of Proin for urinary incontinence (during very recent shows).
Certainly suggesting to Lisa that she get a 'clean bill of health' from her vet would have been good additional advice on my part and could have benefited Lisa and her Peke as well.
Here are some common medical issues that may present themselves as behavioral issues and may be consideration for a visit to your veterinarian:
Urinary Disorders: May present themselves as ‘accidents’ but could be caused from bladder infections, urinary crystals, bladder stones, leaking, and urinary blockages.
Orthopedic Disorders/ Injuries: May present themselves as aggression (from pain), crying, ‘accidents,’ and lethargy but could be caused from arthritis, hip dysplasia, torn knee ligaments, back and neck pain, or painful joints.
Neurological Disorders: May present themselves as aggression (due to disorientation) or irrational behavior but could be caused from epilepsy, vestibular disease, Horner’s Syndrome, etc.
Cardiac Disorders: May present themselves as anxiety or lethargy, but could be caused from congestive heart failure, fluid retention, and cardiomiopathy.
Endocrine Disorders: May present themselves as anxiety, lethargy and/or aggression but could be caused from hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, and diabetes.
Dental Disease: May present itself as fearful of being touched (especially around the head & face), food guarding/aggression, lack of appetite but could be caused from inability to eat due to pain in teeth and gums from plaque, tartar, gingivitis, cavities, rotten/broken teeth, etc.