Dogs/Can you help me?
QUESTION: I have about a 2 year old pit bull/lab mix I adopted from a rescue about a year ago. He's normally very energetic and playful. He's a very happy 70 lb boy. He's neutered if that means anything. The only real health problem that he has is hip dysplasia. I do treat him for that if I notice any flare ups. I have a pain medication that my vet gave me the first time I brought him in for the problem.
In the last week or two I've noticed a couple weird problems cropping up. I think - I think they're behavioral, but I'm not sure. Full disclosure, my father passed away shortly before Christmas so I have been under a lot of emotional stress. I know dogs can be sensitive to this - as is my dog.
I've noticed that he's been itching a ton lately. In fact he developed a hot spot right behind his left ear that got infected that I had to have treated by my vet. It was bleeding and certainly infected. He got antibiotic shots as well as a topical for the hot spot. I finally got to bathe him last weekend and it looks like the itching has stopped.
And over the past few days he's been peeing on the floor overnight. I always let him out the last thing I do before I go to bed. I can't tell if he's drinking more than he used to. honestly, the urine looks clean to me.
I had very little trouble housebreaking him when I got him which makes me think it's behavioral and perhaps a reaction to my change in mood and stress level.
Or perhaps I'm overthinking things. That's why I'm reaching out to someone on allexperts.
ANSWER: Hi, I'm sorry to hear about your father and yes, he may be regressing due to your stress and also if he knew and misses your father. If this is the problem, see if you can spend some time walking him and giving him other things to think about. Teach him a job, like fetching your shoes or the paper; it will let him feel needed and special again.
For the peeing in the house take him immediately back to the ABC's of house breaking. It can be he is feeling nervous and afraid and you will have to treat him like a puppy again for a short time. Good news, if you nip this in the bud, it won't take as long as the first housebreaking.
IF he is drinking a lot then it could be physical. Take a urine sample to the vet, if he has an infection, he will go in the house due to loss of control.
Check him for tape worm, if he has had a bout of fleas, he could have that and it affects housebreaking. It does not show up in the stool sample at the vets. And the heartworm meds don't take care of it. Shine a flashlight on his butt to see if there are little rice like specks there. If so. a simple pill from the vet will take care of the problem.
For his skin, make sure he is flea free!!!!!! and put him on a high quality food, such as Proplan sensitive skin, or Blue. It made a major difference to my daughter's pit's skin. Two years old is about the time the allergies pop up, but a good diet will stop that. It takes a bit to find the right dog food for your individual dog. Give him some Omega 3 fatty acids as well, since their skin gets dry.
Hope these things work for you.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: For the flea question, he's essentially solid white. It can be easy to see fleas on him unless it's buried in his thick coat. I check him every day though.
I got him a grain free food. It's from 4Health. My friend who works at Tractor Supply Store recommended it. Slightly more expensive than the stuff I get at the grocery store, but I think it's worth it. Hopefully it can help the skin issue.
I took him to the vet on Monday and he told me that the increased water and urination is a result of a steroid shot he got when I took him for his itching/hot spot problem. He says that it should go away. The problem is, he's still peeing on the floor. It's usually when I'm gone a few hours (work, meetings, gym, etc) or when I'm sleeping. I bit the bullet and bought some wee wee pads and put some down when I went to bed last night. Guess where he peed? In an area where I didn't down pads.
Like I said in my original question, he was essentially house broken when I adopted him at around 10 mos old. There were a few accidents in the early going, but he was essentially housebroken. And I know that the key to house breaking a young dog is catching him in the act, which I can never seem to do. It's driving me crazy and frustrating me! He won't do it when I'm at home, only when I'm either sleeping or gone. Any ideas? Should I just treat him like a puppy again and rub his nose it whenever I find it? (I never thought that was that effective.)
Did he start peeing before the steroid shot? Increased water intake means increased peeing.
He needs to go out about five times per day and at least once before bedtime when this starts to happen.
Start with that and if that is not working go back to the ABC's of house breaking. And do what you did to break him in the first place. Has anything changed in the last few months, an added house guest or a missing house guest. A move. Everything affects their emotions. Have you taken control of him? Like making him wait before he eats or wait before he goes out. Sit down and stay commands? Did you check for tape worm?
Last but not least, you can crate train. I still would have his urine checked if it were me.