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Dr. Duncan
Dr. Duncan, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 244
Experience:  DVM from UF, Internship in Surgery and Internal Med; ER vet; 11 years of veterinary experience
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My 12year old pug refuses to go to the bathroom outside, and

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My 12year old pug refuses to go to the bathroom outside, and will go a day or longer without urinating or pooping. I take him out numerous times daily, we walk around the block , he siffs, he smells, but that's it After 30 minutes I usually give up and we go inside. The problem is really bad when it's cold outside. What's frustrating is that I know he needs to go, probably pretty bad too. Any ideas??
Hi lo ristrong64,
Hopefully I will be able to help you with your situation. First can you answer a couple questions for me so I may better assist you?
- Has this been an ongoing problem or is it a new issue?
- Does he urinated and defecate on the pads normally if they are there or does he still go a day or longer without doing either?
- Has he had any past medical problems that you know of?
- has he been neutered?
- Have you tried letting him off the leash to go?

I have 2 pugs and absolutely love the breed!

I look forward to hearing back from you,
Dr. Sarah Duncan
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

This problem has been around, but gotten worse with the cold weather and snow. I have a fenced in back yard, he refuses to leave the paved patio area and go out in the grass. His normal pee area is my next door neighbors tree in the front yard. (which now has snow piled around it and he does not walk in snow, only shoveled areas.) As far as that goes, he won't pee on the patio either.


He does not urinate on the wee-pads when I set them out. He will have a poop accident occasionally, but for the most part goes he 24 hours without doing either.


Besides normal old age pug issues, he has no known health issues. He probably doesn't see too well, some arthritis , I adopted him when he was 9, no health issues for the past three years I have had him, he has regular vet. check ups.


He is neutered.


These "jaunts" outside in which I accompany him, he is off the leash, not the fastest guy, so no fear of him bolting on me. We walk around the entire block (providing it is shoveled) and he is off leash the entire time.


Simply put, he hates the cold, hates going outside, I know he has to be very uncomfortable, and I'm, tired of walking around for 30 minutes in the freezing cold myself. We also have a solid foot of snow with no thaw in the near future, we live in the Chicago area. This isn't going away soon. I'm looking for an answer ...say if I sprinkled a scent or something that would motivate him to pee...I don't know.


This is the 2nd pug I have owned, my first one wasn't big one the cold either, but nothing like this little guy. As frustrated as I am with my pug, they are great little dogs.


Thanks for your help.





He is off the leash during these

Hi Lori,
I'm sorry that you are dealing with this. I completely understand and have been through this myself when I used to live up north. I think you have 2 big options:
1. You try to make going outside more pleasant- buy him some booties to keep his feet warm and dry and put a sweater or jacket on him (I admit these additions may make the experience less pleasant but I don't know your dog) Keep doing what you are doing with rewarding him when he goes with treats. Also having a command word like "go potty" can help (I'm guessing you have tried this already)

2. You make it easier for him to go in the house in an appropriate location. Chances are the pee pads aren't really "telling" him this is where he should go. I have had luck with one of my pugs with litter box training. Since you are in Chicago you may not have access to this but the wood burning stove pellets are very inexpensive (used to be 4$ for 40lb bag) and can be placed either in a dog litter pan (purchased at the pet store) or in another pan of sort (a washing machine drip pan works great if you have the space). Alternatively care fresh bedding, feline pine, or yesterdays news newspaper litter could be used for the litter. You will have to reward him for using the new litter box but chances are he may be more inclined to use this versus having to go outside in the cold. I have also seen "pet grass" products which are artificial grass that have an absorbent replaceable material on the bottom that can be used alternatively. I would suggest keeping him in a crate or small room in the beginning and then walking him on a leash to the litter box or fake grass to improve the chance of him going in the right spot.

It is somewhat compelling to me that he hold his stool and urine for over 24 hours, granted he could be having accidents in the house when you aren't around. If you are 100% sure this is not the case then I would suggest having him examined by your vet to look for any abnormalities that could be causing this. If he is dehydrated for some reason (ie an underlying medical reason) he could be producing less urine and have harder more difficult stools to pass. Prostate enlargement can cause problems with defecation as well as urination.
I'm less inclined to think there is a medical disease, but giving his age I think it warrants at least an exam if not a little blood work just to be sure there is not a problem with his organs.
Here are a couple sites that I found that might be helpful:

I hope that this has helped. Please let me know if you have any further questions!

Dr. Sarah Duncan

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