Potty Training Issues? Preparing Your Pet for a New Baby?

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Hi. I’m Doctor Fiona Caldwell and I’m a veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital and I’m at home today answering questions from Pets Best Facebook page. And this question comes from Dee, who asks, Our one and a half year old dog was completely house-trained, but has regressed to pooing in the house. Any suggestions? First thing I would ask is, I would make sure that the stools are normal. If they’re looser, or a different color, or changed in consistency, it could actually mean there’s something wrong. Submitting a fecal sample to your veterinarian could rule out things like parasites or giardia or some other problem that could be making your dog want to poo more.

If it’s completely normal, and the frequency is normal, it’s probably behavioral. I would look in to make sure that there wasn’t something that’s changed in the house that could be causing anxiety. A new dog, a move. Sometimes dogs that have separation anxiety or noise phobias can have some defecation behavior changes. So I would keep, it sounds kind of silly, but I would keep a journal, see when this happens. Was there a thunderstorm that day? Was your dog crated? Did somebody come to the door and ring the doorbell? Try to find a pattern. And once you can find a pattern, hopefully you’ll be able to discover what it is that’s causing this behavior change. If it continues, definitely consult your veterinarian and possibly a behaviorist.

The next question comes from Dwight, who says, We are expecting our first child this July. What is the best way to prepare and introduce our black lab chow mix to our new baby? First of all, congratulations. I love that
you’re thinking about this already. Dogs and babies can make great partners, but it is important that you do some things to try to make that transition smoother. First and foremost, I would recommend that when you
come home from the hospital, make it about the dog. Don’t be carrying the baby. Come in, greet the dog. You’ve been gone, they’re going to know something’s changed. So after the excitement of you coming home has died down, then bring the baby in. I would keep your dog on a leash during this time and have somebody that is in control of the leash, and somebody else that’s tending to the baby. I would let the dog sniff the baby. If he or she gets overly excited and wants to play, then distract her. Take her away from the baby. Walk away, and then try again a little bit later after everything has settled down again.

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Really, your goal in the beginning is to have them just peacefully co-exist. You don’t want her to be overly excited about the baby or want to play with it, but you want her to just tolerate the baby. If you’ve got a dog that’s sensitive to noises, it sounds kind of silly, but you can actually play recordings of crying, so that’s a sound that’s familiar to them. Sometimes when the babies start to become toddlers and walk, this can be a transition time and dogs may not tolerate a two year old pulling on their tail and that type of thing. Never, ever leave your baby or your toddler unsupervised with a dog. Even a trustworthy dog. You just never know with prey instincts, so best to be on the safe side when these guys are older. If you guys have questions for me feel free to post them on Pets Best Facebook page.

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