Incontinence is one of the "scariest" parts of having a disabled dog, but with a little preparation, it's not so bad.
Male dogs can use a belly band for urinary incontinence, it's a like a kind of diaper cover. You put a human incontinence pad in it, Copper wore the second to the largest size. Here's a very nice belly band I got from www.smallpawsrescue.com:
Myself, I'm a pretty sloppy seamstress. His around-the-house belly bands aren't nearly as nice, but they work. Fortunately he still has some control and I usually only need to use them at night. I zigzagged the hems and just folded them over once since my machine is an old cheapie and wouldn't like the thickness in the corners.. I get a little unravelling after every wash, but it's not too bad. An old pair of jeans makes 4 bands and I used scrap velcro that I've gathered over the years. Marking the center with a line of zig zag makes it easier for me to center the pads quickly.
I made some with short handles to help
pick him up when the occasion calls for it:
At home I don't worry about it, with the vinyl it's easier to clean poop off the floor than the dog. But at other's homes, I have put diapers on Copper. I started with a diaper cover I got at the local pet supply. I cut a size 6 huggies in half and hold it in place with a piece of masking tape at the top. Beware, a wet cut diaper these days will drop all sorts of filling if you lift it wrong. Copper has no tail whatsoever, not even a nub, so I put a denim patch over the tail hole to help prevent possible leakage problems:
Ok, so it's not the same color demin, but that's ok with me. I also put an elastic loop so I can use a velcro strap to attach it to a harness to help keep it on. Some people use elastic sheet straps for this, and I did too. But I figured I'd permanently install some elastic as long as I was sewing on it anyway. Copper's very long bodied and needs more to cover the gap between the elastic and the harness, so that's why I'm using velcro too. That way it doesn't slide off as he drags around. Usually it's his cart harness, not this one.
If you use a diaper or just a belly band, or if your dog is dragging around nekkid, you will have to be concerned with urine on your dog's skin. On males, keeping the area around the penis and inside the hind legs shaved down prevents hair from holding urine and it can help prevent UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections). I wipe under him with baby wipes a couple times a day and any time I express him. I use cornstarch in a powdered sugar shaker as a baby powder, the shakers are available at a restaurant supply store. When I go to put a belly band on him, I smear Bag Balm on the shaved areas, it's available at many drug or feed stores. Do NOT ever use a baby ointment with zinc on dogs.
Copper's thick fur on his hind legs helps pad him and has protected him from abrasion as he drags around. So I won't cut any of it off, but he now needs more grooming than ever before. I rake him throughly every day or two. He sometimes drags through his own poop, and he's a mud hound anyway, so he can be a real mess. One thing I found really helps is Show Sheen, a silicone grooming spray for horses. It's non-toxic and safe for topical use on dogs. I spray the top coat of his haunches and hind legs with it, I don't need to get down to the skin, but I comb it well through the guard hairs. I use a blow dryer to dry it quickly. It really helps prevent anything from sticking to his fur and as a bonus it gives him a nice shine.
A couple of grain feeders make a good "sitz bath" for larger dogs to just wash off their back ends when necessary. You can see one here. These ones are somewhat soft sided, so if you get these, use them outside or in the bath tub. One for soap, one for rinse. Use the mildest soap you can find that's formulated for dogs.
You can use cornstarch as a dry shampoo. Sprinkle it on, rub it in with a paper towel, and brush it out throughly. It can take a while but it works.
For longer haired dogs, a "sanitary clip"
on the back end can really help. Clip around the anus to prevent "cling-ons".
In this photo, you can see the vinyl runners I've put down in the areas where he stays the most. That means almost my entire bedroom. They make it easier for cleaning and for him to drag his hind legs around. They're pretty cheap at home improvement stores. I used duct tape on any overlapping areas to make sure nothing seeps through. I've found that for poop accidents, it's MUCH easier to clean the floor than the dog.
I have found that I can use paper towels on a Swiffer mop. For urine accidents, fold over a couple of paper towels in half for absorbancy and use another paper towel to hold them onto the swiffer. I can also use a Clorox wipe on the swiffer too, the larger ones just fit.
These days I often heave Copper onto my bed for grooming or physical therapy. Between his incontinence, his penchant for sitting in the rain, and tons of fur flying, I needed to protect my bed. He never got on my bed before all this because my other dog, Leilah, would have a fit. But now Leilah just has to live with the temporary intrusions when I want to work on him, and just sulks for the duration.
Rule #1: Keep a roll of paper towels and a poop bag within quick reach if you let an incontient dog up on your bed or any other furniture!
Large flat sheet
Waterproof mattress pad
That first waterproof matress cover? It sure didn't go to waste. It's now been cut down and sewn into bags I put over Copper's bed stuffing, inside the bedding covers. Very handy for during our recent record rainfall, since he likes to sit in the rain and often came back in soaking wet.
I've found that cheap rubber gardening clogs are great for late night trips outside with Copper in the sling. I got them for maybe $12 at Savon's drug store. The tread isn't too deep, so if you step in a landmine (or you don't get your feet out of the way quickly enough), they clean off pretty quickly with a plastic brush.
A metal bbq grill brush is good for cleaning shoe soles with deeper tread.
Smart n' Final or other restaurant supply/bulk
stores are a great place to get trash bags and other cleaning supplies.
If you're going to let a paraplegic male dog into the ocean or anywhere the water quality isn't excellent, you can possibly help prevent UTIs by applying a 50/50 mix of triple antiobiotic ointment and vaseline to area of the penis opening. Use a baby medication syringe to get a bit under the foreskin. Copper really doesn't mind this part at all, but I need to put a belly band (without a pad) on him to keep him from licking the ointment. I don't think he can feel it, but he can smell it. This might also be helpful for dogs dragging through less than pristine conditions on land too.
It's recommended by the medical "powers that be" that you wash your hands a full 30 seconds to get rid of the germs, about the time it takes to hum Twinkle twinkle little star or any similiar little ditty that strikes your fancy. Buy a mild handsoap that won't be too harsh for your hands, you don't really need the antibacterial types if you are thorough. Save money and buy it by the quart, you're going to use a lot of it. You may need large amounts of hand lotion too for all the hand washing you'll be doing. If you use Bag Balm on your dog, it works well for your own hands too.
On longer haired dogs, make sure to keep underneath the paws trimmed for maximum traction.
When giving doggie sitz baths - express
them FIRST! (I accidently pushed his bladder putting him in the tub - better
than afterwards at least!)
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