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Fecal Incontinence: What to Expect

Like us, our dogs' muscles get weaker as they age and illnesses may follow. This can create a dilemma where your dog has a difficult time controlling when and when not to poop. This is what we call fecal incontinence.  

Fecal incontinence, also known as bowel incontinence, is the inability of your dog to control their bowel activities. Meaning, their poop just passes through without any effort or urge. According to the experts at VCA Hospitals, bowel incontinence can present in a number of different ways. In some cases, dogs with bowel incontinence may drop small amounts of feces without any awareness that they are doing so. In other cases, pets may be aware of their bowel movements, but are unable to control them. 

Bowel incontinence can occur at any age but mostly in senior dogs, as they lack muscle tone and some simply don't want to go outside to potty because of arthritis, joint pains, paralysis, and other disabilities. 

fecal incontinence

"Fecal incontinence is not just something that will run its course and will eventually go away on its own. It is a serious health condition."

As a pet parent, fecal incontinence can be messy and difficult. But we're here to guide you on things you should expect and fecal incontinence management so that you and your fur-baby can live through the many beautiful years together.


Fecal incontinence can be caused by a lot of reasons. It can be because of:

  • Problems with your fur-baby's lower back such as degenerative myelopathy, muscle weakness, spinal issues, atrophy, paralysis, etc. With this, the communication pathway between the brain and the anal sphincter is compromised.
  • Issues in the anal sphincter can also be the cause as it loses its ability to function well and hold feces in efficiently.
  • Parasites can also be the cause of your fur-baby's fecal incontinence. Intestinal parasites can cause diarrhea and damage to the rectal muscles.
  • Other causes can be because of infections involving the anal glands, dietary problems, side effects of certain medications.

There are two types of fecal incontinence involving dogs. First, the non-nervous system-related that is caused by trauma and infections to the anal sphincters. The second is the nervous system-related that happens when a dog exerts too much effort when coughing, barking, playing, etc., loss of muscle contractions, loss of muscle tones, and lower back & spinal problems and paralysis.


For your fur-baby who suffers fecal incontinence, here are some things to expect:

  • It is given that they'll constantly have poop accidents while walking, sleeping, or just sitting down.
  • Constantly dragging their hind leg
  • Inability to wag or even move their tail
  • Signs of pain like whelping, crying, etc
  • Unwillingness to defecate properly when told to

Additionally, according to Mayo Clinic, fecal incontinence may also be accompanied by other bowel problems, such as diarrhea, constipation, and gas and bloating.


Consult your vet. Fecal incontinence is not just something that will run its course and will eventually go away on its own. It is a serious health condition and you should immediately bring your fur-baby in for a consultation so that your vet will be able to perform exams and tests to properly recognize the real cause and to provide better treatment plans.

Avoid messy clean-ups. To avoid messy clean-ups, it is best that you have your dog wear washable dog diapers from Pet Parents, as you'll never really know when they're going to have an accident. It is also best to have their bed, crate, carrier, and other places where they spend most of their time to be covered with Pet Parents® Pawtect® Washable Pads for extra protection. Note: Just make sure you change their dog diaper every 3 to 4 hours or immediately when soiled to avoid skin infections and irritations. 

Always observe cleanliness. To avoid any further complications from your dog's complicated case of incontinence, see to it that you're able to clean your dog as much as possible. This will prevent any odor, infections, and irritation from adding to your dog's situation.

Provide a healthy diet. A healthy diet leads to a healthy poop. And a good poop (the one that's not too hard) will be easier to pass. A healthy diet will also make sure your dog is getting the nutrients he needs for their day-to-day activities despite their condition.

Provide supplements. A variety of supplements can be very useful for a dog that has fecal incontinence. First, multivitamins are needed so that your dog will have a powerful daily health support. Second, probiotics are important to help promote proper digestion, calm your dog's tummy, and support his digestive and immune health (as the gut is a part of the immune system, too!). And third, hip and joint supplements that will aid help in supporting joint health for improved mobility and lesser pain. Especially to those dogs suffering from lower back problems, more so in senior dogs.


Pet Parents® offers a variety of products needed by dogs who suffer from fecal incontinence. We have washable dog diapers and Pawtect® Washable Pads to prevent accidents. This will help you and your pup live happier lives as you will not have to stress about clean ups.  

Pet Parents® also has supplements to make life a whole lot easier for your fur-baby.  

Pet Parents® Multivitamins are packed with a high-quality Proprietary Enzyme Blend that supports complete gut health, Niacin that helps in the breakdown of fatty acids to help your customer’s dog convert fats and carbs into sources of energy & a powerful Proprietary Probiotic Blend that not only supports a dog’s overall immunity but also aids with diarrhea and stool issues. 

Pet Parents® Probiotic Supplement contains pumpkin that is loaded with fiber, vitamins, & minerals that support the digestive tract, helping relieve an upset stomach. 

Pet Parents® Hip and Joint Supplement contains Chondroitin Sulfate (Porcine), a powerful substance that helps nourish tissues of joints, resulting in pain relief, boosted mobility, & improved ability to exercise. 

It can be hard to deal with fecal incontinence, but your dog deserves to live out his life as comfortably as possible. A healthy pup makes a Pet Parents day!

Fecal Incontinence

Pet Parents® offers a variety of products needed by dogs who suffer from fecal incontinence.

The Author:

Micka V.

Micka Virtudazo is a full-time content creator at Pet Parents who lives with thirteen adorable American Bullies and a Shih Tzu-Maltese mix named Gretel. She especially enjoys writing how-to articles as she feels through this she can connect to other pet parents on a more personal level.

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