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Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16544
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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Hello Dr. Gary, Our 14 year old Shepherd mix (male dog)

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Hello Dr. Gary,

Our 14 year old Shepherd mix (male dog) has had some issues with limping and stiff joints. He has recently been on Phycox soft chews, but is having accidents in the house over the past two weeks. He also sleeps through much of each day, but when the opportunity arises, he seems to enjoy a walk. The biggest concern in all of this is the fact that a little over a year ago, his Veterinarian took an xray that indicated that the dog had heart problems. He had been on h/d diet, but stopped eating the food a little over a week ago. Now, he is on a/d diet and laps the food up. We recognize that our dog is old and the quality of life is changing. However, the fact that the dog is having accidents in the house on a daily basis is a huge concern from a health standpoint for all.
What might you attribute this to and is this common amongst old dogs that may be nearing the end of their life?
Hello! My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to help you with your dog today.

Unfortunately it is actually pretty common for older dogs to be unable to hold their bladder/bowels as they age. This is especially true if a dog has underlying health issues (such as a bad heart), that may take a toll on his energy.

That being's also possible that the urinating indoors could be related to something like a urinary tract infeection. This is often cleared up with a urinalysis done at the vet clinic and if it comes up positive, they send out a course of antibiotics.

If Charlie is mostly stable today, meaning he's not panting, pacing, being extremely lethargic (meaning he won't rouse when you want him to get up), or if ou notice any blue tinge to his lips or gums, then you can likely just monitor him for today and then get him in to see his regular vet in the morning for an evaluation of his quality of life.

If Charlie does start to show any more symptoms, or if you feel like he's more uncomfortable than you can manage at home, then you should have him seen at an emergency vet today. If you're not sure where there is an emergency vet in your area, you can go to: XXXXX XXXXX plug in your zip code. They'll point you in the right direction to the nearest clinic.

I wish I could give you more positive information, but with a 14 year old dog, it is very possible he is reaching the end of his life. That's truly one of the hardest things for those of us who share our lives with canine matter how long they live, it's never long enough.
Lisa and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello Lisa,


After reading your response, I needed to indicate that Charlie is panting and his heart also feels as if it is racing often. We lost my mother a few months ago, and he does live with my father. However, we wonder if any of his symptoms may also be stress related. He rarely barks and he doesn't make any sounds that are indicative of pain. He is such a sweet anf gentle dog, but we do not want him to suffer.

Thank you for the additional information Ann Marie.

If the panting and tachycardia (racing heart) are new for Charlie, then it could be a sign that his heart problems are worsening. In this case, I do think that having him seen by an emergency vet in your area is going to be the best for him.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. . .I appreciate your advice.


We will get Charlie to his vet tomorrow for an evaluation.



Ann Marie



You're welcome.
Hi Ann Marie,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?