Hello to all and thanks for taking the time to read my plea for help! I have had my female shepherd/lab/husky/malamute/wolf mix since she was 3 months old and she will be 14 this June. Her name is Tierra. We've been very blessed to not have too many issues her whole life. She's in very great shape and health for a dog her size and age but things are starting to happen that is making both of us stressed out and worried.
My dog has always been noise sensitive, but only to thunderstorms, fireworks and gunshot. She has also had a very mild case of incontinence ever since she got fixed at 1 year old. It's never been enough for me to feel like she should be put on a medication for it, so we've lived with it for years.
Last Feb., new neighbors moved in above us who are loud, rude and just all around horrible people. They are also the only ones in this old house which is converted into 5 apartments, with hard wood floors. The rest of us have carpeting throughout. So, since day 1 of their arrival, Tierra has been a completely different dog. It's as if her noise sensitivity just got worse, and every time these people walk through their apartment, drop things on the floor, argue with one another or play violent shoot 'em up video games all day, she is a nervous wreck. She trembles, tries to find somewhere to hide, will jump up in a startled reaction when something hits the floor (over our heads), etc. And, because I am a single woman living alone with her and my cat, I am the only one to care for her. When I'm home, I can calm her down, but when I'm not, she gets full blown separation anxiety. Since Feb. 1st, I have come home to: pee spots in the house, poop in the house, things ripped to shreds or chewed on, like doors, trim around doors, loose papers, towels left on the bathroom floor, and garbage bins dumped over with the contents spread out all over. This is very unusual behavior for my dog. I always make sure that she goes pee and poop before I leave home, and I am never gone for more than 6 hours during the day. At night, I am only gone for 2 or 3 hours at a time. It never matters how long I have been gone; one or two or three of the things I mentioned above are things I usually come home to.
Sorry this is getting so long-but I still have so much more to say!
I have tried so many things to calm her while I am away. I've made my bedroom available to her as a safe place, I've given her bones and kongs filled with goodies and the like, I've done research on training techniques and have tried them with no success. Then a friend suggest I put her on "doggie downers" which sounded horrible to me, but I made an appointment with my vet to see what my options were.
At the vets, the doc suggested I get blood work done on her and a urinalysis to rule out any diseases or illness that could be contributing to her behavior, so I did. When I called a few days later, he told me that her blood work came out fine but she had a bladder infection. He thought maybe this was why she was peeing in the house, and I should wait to give her any anti anxiety medication to see if clearing up the bladder infection will help. Even though I trust that what he tells me is correct about the bladder infection, I am still convinced that the urination in the house has more to do with her fear of these new neighbors and the separation anxiety that she experiences now every time I leave (which now doesn't matter if the neighbors are home or not-it's a pattern with me leaving the house).
So, I put her on antibiotics for 10 days, just like the doctor ordered, and lived through another 10 days with exactly the same separation anxiety symptoms. Today, I go in for another urinalysis to see if the bladder infection has cleared up but of course I won't know the results until Monday (2 days from now). While I'm there I ask about drugs for the separation anxiety again and he tells me that it could be her incontinence getting worse and that if she still has a bladder infection, she will need another round of antibiotics as well. So he suggests that I put her on incontinence meds for 30 days AND separation anxiety meds for only 10 days- to see if the incontinence meds will actually help the peeing in the house issue. And I am like-Whaaaaaat?!
Why bother putting her on anti anxiety meds for only 10 days then taking her off of them? I just don't get the reasoning behind this and he couldn't really offer me a good enough explanation. He kept going back to the same thing, saying something about the incontinence meds possible taking care of everything. It sounds to me that he was talking out his U-know-what and like they just want to make more money off of me!
So, feeling overwhelmed by all of this and knowing how little money I have in the bank right now, I told him that I will wait to do anything until I get the results of her urinalysis back this Monday.
So here's where I have questions and/or need advice.
1) Is it common for a dog to not be healed after 10 days of antibiotics for a bladder infection and need another round of them again? This is my 1st time ever dealing with this so please forgive my ignorance.
2) Is it common for a dog who is experiencing separation anxiety to be put on medication for that, for only 10 days?
3) Does it sound like this vet is trying to rip me off??
4) What other things can I do or try, for both the bladder infection and the separation anxiety that are more cost effective and natural/holistic? I've tried Rescue Remedy in her water for 2 weeks- didn't do a thing.
Whew! If you made it this far, THANK YOU for reading. If you feel like commenting and/or offering advice, THANK YOU EVEN MORE!!!
Shannonbobannon: I'm sorry in that I can't offer you much more than emotional support for what you're going through with your beloved Tierra.
Sadly, I have no K9 medical training or K9 behavioral training that could assist you in dealing with Tierra's fears but if the urinalysis showed a bladder infection it seems like treatment is appropriate to deal with that particular problem & I hope your vet is on the right track there. If for whatever reason(s) you're not completely comfortable & confident with your vet I wouldn't rule out seeking a second opinion though.
What disturbs me, as a dog-lover, is how horrific Tierra's days must be for her, how terrified she must be when you're gone, & my heart goes out to her.
You mentioned making your bedroom a "safe room" for her & that sounds like you could be on the right track there but I'm wondering if that's too large of an area to bring her a sense of security & comfort. This may be a way crazy idea but is there any chance you could install a doggie door in a bedroom closet door & outfit the closet floor as a den for her? I'm even thinking maybe attaching carpet squares to the closet ceiling & the inside of your closet walls & door to help muffle any noise. Does that sound totally kooky?
My only other thought would have been to take her with you as many places as possible, leaving her in the car (weather permitting!) while you're at school or work, visiting her & taking her out for short walks frequently, but if she's now also terrified of car rides that would no doubt also increase her anxiety. One of my previous dogs loved being in the cab of my Ranger above anywhere else, to the point where I declared it an free & independent country with her as its ruler.
I wish I COULD help; it sure sounds like you're trying everything possible with the bones & kongs, etc., but what compelled me to respond to your post (sadly, without being able to offer any concrete help), was how terrified Tierra must be now. My heart goes out to you as well & I'll be praying your upstairs neighbors soon vacate so Tierra improves greatly & her quality of life returns! -
"rottweiler2882": I really saw no sense at all to your totally insensitive & useless post. Obviously "shannonbobannon" typing a shorter post couldn't possibly help solve her problem (???????), & by providing as much information as she could she no doubt saved other far more knowledgeable posters than me time & effort in responding with suggestions "shannonbobannon" has already tried without success.
Dogs have taught me all I need to know about life, love, loyalty, & laughter; & (heartbreakingly), loss & "letting go" of a loved one as well. God bless ‘em…
Thank you so much for your generous post. It's so nice to read that someone really cares.
Luckily, my room is somewhat small and quiet because it sits under the other 1st floor apartment which houses a single, quiet young woman who is never loud or a bother. The only issue there is that my room is so small, that I have to leave the door open so Tierra can spread out however she likes at the foot of my bed. It's both a good and bad thing- she can still hear the neighbors sounds coming from the living room sometimes, but if I were to shut her in there while I was gone for the day, I would come home to the door, or the trim, or something of mine ripped to shreds in my bedroom, so I don't even risk that.
Installing a doggie door in my bedroom door probably wouldn't go over well with my landlords, and I can only imagine that Tierra, after 14 years of never going through one, would be confused about the apparatus, and possible even scared of it.
I did take her with me a few times while I worked too, which seemed ok aside from her being scared while we were moving. She really likes being with me and never barks or whines when I leave her in my truck while I work (I think she likes all the pee breaks, short walks and treats she gets out of it!) The weird thing about that though, is that when we got home and I had to go out that evening for class or for whatever, her behavior was even worse than any other time before (things ripped to shreds, barking her head off for over an hour, pee and poop on the floor). It's almost as if I made the separation anxiety worse by taking her with me those days. So I stopped doing that and noticed that the level of anxiety returned to the lower, more usual level of it that we've been experiencing.
I did decide to at least seek out another vet. The vet I took her to is a new vet and after 2 visits, I feel like I got enough red flags to move on. I'm also deciding that I will move when my lease is up this August.
Wish me luck!
P.S. Thank you and lpn169 for the other comments as well. It's people like that who have inspired me to come up with my very own favorite quote.
Most of the time antibiotics clear a bladder infection. But in our rescue, I have seen a time or two when its had to be done twice or stronger meds.
Odd about her suddenly getting spooked about those new tenants. Dogs have a keen sense of good and bad, maybe she senses really bad with them. Nobody has ever been as loud upstairs before? Wondering if you have spoken to them and let them know its really loud. It works wonders if you do it in such a nice mannered way. Maybe even bringing your dog up so's she can see where all the noise is coming from. Couldn't hurt right. My terrier had sep. anxiety as a young dog. Got a second dog to help him feel safe. Thankfully the last 9 years I have not had anything else tore up. What about a large crate for her to rest in while you go. Most dogs rest while we are away. Maybe put some sound proofing like the above poster mentioned. Crates do help a nervous dog. Also what about the herbal remedys of calming her.
Whoever said you can't buy happiness, must have never owned a dog!!!!!!!!!!!
Some of your lovely doggies symptoms are to do with old age. All my dogs, on reaching teen years have displayed a fear of noise even the ones who have been gun trained. The bitches were worse than the dogs. It sounds as if your vet is ripping you off. It may be a good idea to go to a new one. This one doesn't make any sense at all. Go to a good pet store and ask about herbal calmers; there are some very good ones and they won't interfere with bladder medicine which she probably doesn't need anyway. My dog is sensitive to noises although he is only 4 yrs. old but I am home all day so he is o.k. Is there no way that you could complain about this family? They sound very inconsiderate and should be moved to a rough area. Surely their bad ways must be causing you stress too. Have you tried leaving a radio or television on to try and combat the noise from upstairs; it might work. I am very sorry for you and your doggie and hope you can get this sorted very soon.
Hey, thanks for the new comments, yeah, I've complained several times about the neighbors, the first time I went up myself and met them and asked them nicely to tone it down, that they were scaring my dog. All I got was a snide "thank you" and the door shut in my face. So all other times I've called the landlords to complain. I've banged on the ceiling and yelled out to them a couple of times. And one time I threatened to call the cops. Luckily, they only signed a 3 month lease and because of how many times I've complained, my landlords are not renewing it for them. They are gone by May 1st. They are def. bad news. They are extremely ghetto in the way they talk to each other and in the way they live, and they always have people over who seem just as bad.
Tierra hates crates. She was never trained in one and the one time I did try one with her, she totally freaked out it. She hates being confined, in any way, unless it's in the cab of my pick up truck.
So, the second urinalysis results, according to this red flagged vet, supposedly has crystals in the urine. He was vague when I asked him if the bladder infection had cleared up, and he was vague when I asked him about the crystals in her urine. I did some research though, and if this is true, it's not something to mess around with, so I'm taking her to another vet to repeat the whole urinalysis testing and see what they come up with. I've already changed her diet to a better one, which includes raw meat, but I may have to get some more meds to treat whatever is going on with her whole urinary sytem.
And I am still, living with the seperation anxiety...oy.
My old gal had crystals too. We put her on antibiotic and the vet said vitamin C. Gave her a half tablet crushed. Yous is bigger so perhaps a whole one. Mention it to your vet. You have just a short amount of time to go till those tenants are gone thank god.
Whoever said you can't buy happiness, must have never owned a dog!!!!!!!!!!!
I would call him back and ask what type of crystals they were. It is NORMAL to have some crystals (struvite) in the urine when there is a UTI or bladder infection. Its the type is what is important.
What kind of antibiotic was she already on? A 2nd round may do the trick, and see that they try a different one on that round. The first one they tried was obviously not effective.
Once the urinalysis comes back with no infection, ask if there are still crystals. The crystals will go away usually with the infection, if they are still present, then have them do an xray to check for kidney stones. This would be the next guess.
Thanks for the comments and advice everyone! I did do some research and discovered that there are different types of crystals, so that being mentioned here too confirms that I need to ask more questions of the first vet, who was way too vague for my taste. Still waiting for the next vet appointment to arrive...But at least I will have done some major homework this time around!