Wow, I wish I had found this forum sooner - my greyhound Zelda had an accident 6 months ago and broke her back and two ribs, was paralysed from the waist backwards and completely incontinent (it was just leaking out of her 24/7 at the start). She had a metal implant in her spine and has been recovering since.
She can just about walk again now, and over the past couple of weeks her peeing has got loads better - she doesn't really pee in the house anymore and can make it outside (even throughout the night) and pees outdoors.
Bowel movements are still giving us trouble - I haven't slept through the night since October and desperate for advice! I sleep downstairs with her because I don't want her to spend all night covered in poop and wee (no more wee, but still the poo is a problem).
We were feeding her a couple of small meals a day, but this just resulted in poop all day and all night. We changed to just one evening feed around 7pm, sometimes we make it through the night with no poop, sometimes there are multiple poops throughout the nights. Usually they occur around 4am when they happen.
I added sweetcorn to her poop to see how long it took to process - the first sweetcorn poop took about 14 hours, but then about 20 hours later there was still sweetcorn poop coming out!
I thought feeding her at night would work because of this time frame, but it seems like because her mobility is limited at the moment it's hard to get her stimulated to go so we are still having night poops sometimes.
We use the ice cube method for stimulation (I have used the squeezing method as well but found ice cube worked better), but this doesn't always produce a poop before bed. Sometimes even when it does, she still ends up pooping in the night.
Generally the trend is that we always seem to have multiple poops between 7am - 9am (ish) - occasionally we will have one at about 5pm, sometimes one last thing at night.
I am at a complete loss at what to do because despite the overall time trends, there are STILL rogue poops that happen in the middle of the night, and sometimes in the middle of the day.
Pooping is the final hurdle we have to somehow manage with her - once we are confident she isnt going to poop the bed and mess all over herself I'll be able to sleep through the night.
She's had the runs a couple of times - sometimes seemingly randomly, sometimes caused entirely by us feeding her scraps - we shouldn't, but she gives me those eyes and I can't help it!!! We're moving her onto a hypoallergenic kibble (Wainwrights salmon and potato) - we have been feeding her boiled turkey, boiled rice and brocolli with the kibble mixed in but someone said to try and stick to one type of protein, so we're just going to try the kibble rice and brocolli and see what happens.
Does anyone have any other suggestions? I'm going to try moving her main feed to the morning, to see if that makes any difference ... but I would welcome anything else! It's been six months of very hard slog for me and my partner and though I love Zelda to bits I am desperate for a night of sleep!!!
It sounds like you are already doing so many things that are recommended to help. You are expressing her. I do that with my one dog and I agree, even when I express her at bedtime, there are usually still doodles in her bed in the morning, just less than there would have been. You tried timing her movements with the corn. That should have helped but the results were suprising the way she eliminated part of it, then more so many hours later. You tried changing her meal time. That was a really good idea. But she is going multiple times throughout the day.
Have you tried 2 or 3 days without any broccoli? I know dogs like it. I have one, I think broccoli is her favorite thing, she can smell when I'm cooking it, she'll stand there watching me and waiting for it to be done, and she HAS to have some. But it does cause gas in humans and the AKC website says it can cause gastric upset in some dogs. That would be so easy to try. Just give her no broccoli for a few days, see if she has fewer movements. If it works but you still feel you want to give her something green, maybe try a few green beans instead of broccoli? I don't know, I think they are a little easier to digest? If she is still going all day and night with green beans, then maybe just stick with the kibble and rice. The ingredients in the Wainwright's say it contains seaweed, that seems like an extremely nutritious green vegetable.
What has worked for my dogs is Science Diet w/d dry kibble. (Has to be dry, not canned). I used it with my first dog, Old Dog. After he went down from old age, he was doodling in his bed. I discovered that with the w/d dry, his stool quality was extremely good. Not smelly, not sticky, not soft or squishy, well formed and firm. If he doodled in his bed and it rolled under his hip, it did not get gummed up in his coat. And that was important because he was long haired and bathing him meant also blow drying and it takes time. If I came home from work, the house did not smell. And I did not have to get up at night. So the w/d dry was our answer. I have used it with 2 other disabled dogs. I did a video of expressing the bowel of my one dog so I could show people the stool quality. If you watch this video you will see the stools falling onto a clean potty pad and not leaving a trace(!) It is especially important with the dog in the video, because she bounces all over the house and sometimes leaves stools behind, and we have carpet. I do not need carpet cleaner with her eating w/d dry, just pick up the stools with a kleenex and dispose of them.https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/fruits-vegetables-dogs-can-and-cant-eat wrote: Broccoli florets contain isothiocyanates, which can cause mild-to-potentially-severe gastric irritation in some dogs.
I should add that I know the Science Diet w/d dry kibble works, but people here have got similar results with other quality dog foods. Possibly your Wainwright's will produce quality stools if you eliminate the broccoli, there's only one way to find out. Whatever food you decide to give her, the goal is what someone here once called "outstanding poop texture".
You have done so much with this dog going 6 months now. I would expect you to be tired even if you were getting 7 hours' uninterrupted sleep. There is a saying that has kind of gone around among caregivers for a number of years. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first. When you are on an airplane and they give the safety instructions, they say when the oxygen mask drops down, put the mask on yourself first, then put one on your child. I think this is true with caring for a dog, especially long term like you've been doing. You have done so much for her, but you have to be sure YOU are taken care of first, so you can care for her. It's OK to think this way, at a certain point you have to. She just may need to not have treats. Or not have added vegetables right now. I know it's so tempting to spoil her (or maintain her previous lifestyle) and try to keep her happy while she recovers, but you've got to think of yourself, too. You can help her better if you get your sleep, and she may have to give something up for you to do that. You are a team. It would be fair to ask something of her. And from her perspective, she would probably be glad not to face being messy every night. A few dry stools falling in the bed without incident during the night and you both sleep through it, what a positive lifestyle change that might be for her, too. I hope you will report back what you find that finally works with her system. It may help someone else.
I would say give yourself permission to be stricter, to possibly ask for a small sacrifice from her...for now. Later you can make it up to her with extra treats. She knows you love her either way.
This morning I fed my partially paralyzed dog breakfast, then expressed her bowel and put on her diaper, which has a tail hole for stools to fall out. At lunchtime I left to do some errands and when I came back at 2 PM this was what her bed looked like. You can see there is a doodle in the bed, which appears to have actually broken in half, probably when she was getting out of the bed. You can see there is no soiling of the white towel lining the bed, it is still fine. I give her a white towel in the morning, and another one in the afternoon when I change her diaper, because she dribbles 24/7 and sometimes when she lies on her side the Poise pad will not be against her skin close enough to catch it, and I don't want her to wet the bed.
If you enlarge the photo you can also see a couple of little specks or crumbs in the bed. Those would be from the stool breaking. The texture of her stools reminds me of Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough. You know how you take the wrapper off the dough, then slice it, then roll each slice into a cookie dough ball. If you look down on your pastry cloth and see some stray crumbs of dough, what do you do? You take a dough ball and press it down onto the crumbs and it picks them up and they join into the dough ball. It is exactly the same with stools you get from feeding your dog Science Diet w/d dry. If I grab a kleenex to pick up a stool out of her bed or off the carpet, and I see some crumbles nearby, I just press it onto the crumbs and it picks them up, and it does NOT soil the towel or the carpet. That is "outstanding poop texture". Not soft, not hard, kind of doughy. Dog stays clean. Bed stays clean. Carpet stays clean.
Just wanted to post an update. Thanks so much for all your advice CarolC, it really helped especially the part about trying to look after ourselves!
We have managed to get her to a good pooping schedule, we are now sleeping upstairs and she is mostly sleeping through the night without any accidents! She hasn't pooped at night in a couple of weeks now.
What worked for us:
We tried to make the move to raw but have ended up using a cold pressed food called Gentle. We are UK based so I'm not sure if the food is available overseas, but it is like a dry kibble but made using cold pressing, which means it's basically like feeding raw. The food digests much more slowly and she absorbs more, so the poops are smaller, they don't smell as much. They are a bit sticky as the food is rehydrated in her stomach, but because there's less chance of doing it in her bed I can handle the consistency! I am open to making the move to fully raw but she just didn't want to eat it straight away (we tried a brand called Nutriment and she refused to eat it - we went nearly two days without her touching it or eating anything, which we just can't do at the moment - she needs food for energy to help her recover from her broken back so I wasn't willing to keep pushing that!). Also I didn't want feeding to be a battle, I want her to be eager to eat her food. So we have started with the Gentle cold pressed pellets, and now introduced raw tripe alongside each meal which she LOVES. So I think slowly we will transition her over to raw once she is used to the Gentle pellets. She's a greyhound and has a very delicate stomach, so hopefully once she's used to the Gentle it will be easier to add in variation.
We feed her twice a day now, the same sized meal - once around 8am and once around 8pm. Because the Gentle is cold pressed we feed her a lot less than we were (she only needs about 260g per day for her size!) but she has treats in between and the raw alongside. We are now walking her three very small walks per day (two minutes per time). Also thank you SO much for that video of you expressing the bowel - it gave me a better idea of how the pinching method works and I've been able to use that for expressing her instead of the ice cube. Now I know roughly what times of day she needs to go, it's much easier to anticipate and check for poop when I take her out.
Her pooping schedule is now: always in the morning, sometimes at lunchtime, sometimes around 5pm, and sometimes before bed. But because I know these are the times, I can check for it and prepare rather than being surprised by it!
This has made such a difference. I can't thank you enough.
Glad the pinch method is working for her. I really feel like I get the most out that way, but I think it might depend on the dog. I got a smile out of your mention of checking for it. It becomes second nature, like checking baby's nappy.