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Lack of Bowel Control in Dogs



  • If possible, your veterinarian will identify the underlying cause; fecal incontinence may resolve if the underlying cause can be successfully treated
  • Try altering diet. Feed low-residue diets or foods such as cottage cheese, rice, or tofu. Feed your dog on a regular schedule.
  • To lower the volume of feces in the colon, you can give warm water enemas.
  • If it becomes unbearable, you might move your dog outdoors. This may be a better solution than having to euthanize a healthy animal.
  • Some patients with rectal abnormalities will benefit from surgical reconstruction.
  • For dogs that are suffering from back end paralysis, You might be able to induce defecation by pinching the tail or the pelvis.
  • Or, you might try applying a warm washcloth to the anus to try to stimulate defecation in an animal whose posterior is paralyzed.
  • If behaviorally based, retraining methods may be required, along with a low stress environment in which your dogfeels safe and non-threatened.




Drug-choice will depend upon the cause of the incontinence. For example, opiate motility-modifying drugs increase the contraction of the bowl and slow the passage of fecal material. This will also increase the amount of water absorbed from the feces. Anti-inflammatory agents sometimes benefit patients with reservoir incontinence that is caused by inflammatory bowel disease.


Motility-modifying drugs should not be used if an infectious or toxic cause is suspected, and opiate motility modifiers should never be used in patients with respiratory disease. If the patient has liver disease, these drugs should be used cautiously. Use of opiates in dogs is not recommended at all, and motility-modifying drugs may cause constipation and bloating.


Living and Management


You will want to work directly with your veterinarian if your dog has been diagnosed with fecal incontinence. For example, if the cause is determined to be neurologic, the veterinarian will want to examine your dog frequently. Various kinds of radiologic tools may be used to measure progress. It will take patience on your part, as it may take a while for your veterinarian to come up with a therapy that will work for your dog.



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