You open the door. Toss your bag aside and flop on the couch. And your nostrils are hit by the unmistakable smell of dog poop. Here are a number of things to consider, before you decide to give Fido an earful.
1. Have You Made Any Recent Changes In His Diet?
All changes in your pooch’s food need to be introduced gradually. Sudden diet changes can cause an upset stomach and create a sense of urgency, especially if the food that you’ve switched to is rich in grains and fillers.
2. Is His Health Okay?
The first thing that you need to rule out before you term this a behavioral issue is an underlying medical condition that your pooch may be suffering from. There are a few illnesses which cause an increase in bowel movements and some intestinal disorders can cause a sense of urgency and frequent stools which your pooch may find hard to
control until it’s time for him to go out.
Your pooch could be suffering from gastroenteritis, a condition resulting in an inflammation of his intestines. This could be because of parasites, food allergies, a bacterial or a viral infection or inflammatory bowel disease. Having these ruled out first, is important.
3. Is He Suffering From Separation Anxiety?
Some dogs can’t cope with being left alone at home. If you come back home and find messes around the house, it may be a sign that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety. Other signs of separation anxiety include scratching at doors and windows, whining, barking, howling, destructive chewing or pooping inside the house.
Here’s what you can do, to keep him calm:
1. Don’t make any fuss while leaving home or coming back. Do it quietly.
2. Use over the counter calming remedies after discussing them with your vet.
3. If the anxiety is bad, ask your vet if prescription drugs can help.
4. Make sure your pooch is confined to a room that has access to a window that he can look out of.
5. Give him challenging toys to keep himself occupied with.
6. Leave some item of clothing with your smell, for him to calm down.
4. Is He Getting Old?
As your dog gets older, he will have less control on his bowels and may poop inside more often. Older dogs are known to have fecal incontinence or an inability to control their bowel movements. He may have what’s called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. A condition like Alzheimer’s, where he might forget that he needs to poop when he goes on his walks and comes back home and empties his bowels.
Talk to your vet if you feel that your pooch shows signs of this illness. As he grows older, your pooch may have painful conditions of the joints like canine degenerative myelopathy which causes hind-end weakness and incontinence, or arthritis which makes squatting difficult.
You can deal with this illness by taking him out more often when you are at home, and hiring someone to let him out when you’re away. You can even keep him in a part of the house that’s easy to clean.
5. Has There Been A Recent Change In His Environment?
Dogs tend to have accidents in the house if they’re stressed out. And any change in his environment, no matter how small, can stress your pooch out. It may be something as small as a renovation going on in the house.
Your dog can get upset even if a new pet or person is added to the family. Scolding the dog for the accidents will only worsen his anxiety.
6. Is He Holed Up Inside For Too Long?
Most dogs hate pooping at home and will hold it in as long as they can. But if you are out of the house for long periods of time, your dog will end up pooping inside and you can hardly blame him. What you can do if you need to be away for long hours, is hire someone to let him out in your absence.
7. Any Loud Noises Around Him?
Dogs relieve themselves at home when they’re scared and unexpected events like thunderstorms or fireworks going off are common triggers. While we can’t really control these outside events, we can do certain things to calm our pets down.
Dogs need a dark closed space to feel safe in. It can be their crate, or a small space under your bed. You can offer your dog treats when he stays in this place. The idea is to help him associate happy feelings with the place and find peace there when there are loud noises outside.
Also, if your dog is visibly upset from all the noise, you can distract him by giving him something fun to do – like playing fetch for treats or by offering him a new, fun toy. With the help of these distractions, you will see his fearful behavior lessening over time.