Old dog, old kidneys, old carpet, help?
November 26, 2015 7:56 AM   Subscribe

A few years ago we adopted an older dog. She's now an elderly dog. She has a kidney condition that makes her drink massive amounts of water, and she goes through periods where she'll pee in the house.

We've spent a lot of time working with her vet, and the consensus is to just give her as much water as she wants, and try to walk her more. We walk her lots. We've invested in a carpet shampooer and special pet smells rug shampoo. It's gotten to the point where we just can't keep up with it, and I can't deal with the smell anymore.

Fortunately, she only pees in one room, the one room in our house that has carpet. My hardwood floors thank her! I think we need to pull up the carpet (and I guess maybe sub flooring?) and replace it. But with what?

She's old enough that she avoids the patterned tile floor in the kitchen because it's hard to walk on. (She just won't go in there at all.) The hardwoods aren't her favorite, either. She seems ok with the slate in the foyer, but it's not big enough to judge.

Complicating factors: the carpeted room is the playroom, and is shared with elementary school kids who do flips off the sofa, hang upside down in the yoga swing, and lie on the floor to watch movies. And our dog is 12 or 13 years old, and probably has lung cancer. She may live anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. She is otherwise healthy, reasonably active, and enjoys life.

We can't live for two more years with the volume of dog pee we are cleaning up now, and it's only likely to get worse. I think we need a new floor option. But what will work for both dog and kids? Moppable is key, but so is injury-proof-ness. Slate with rubber gym-mat-style tiles? Sheet linoleum? Throw rugs over ceramic tiles? Help!

(And if you have any suggestions for cleaning the carpet in the meantime, my Thanksgiving dinner will thank you.)
posted by instamatic to Pets & Animals (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sheet vinyl. It's cheap and will be super functional in that room. Easy to install and you can just go over it should you decide later to do another type of flooring in the future.

The vinyls these days are very nice looking.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:00 AM on November 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

As I learned in a question I just posted, they make diapers for cats, so in addition to changing floors, you might look into dog diapers.

If I recall, linoleum is non-waterproof at the edges, so you'd have to have it professionally installed to get a good seal at the joints of the rolls. Disclaimer, it's been a while since I was researching flooring. I do seem to remember some hospitals using linoleum or another resilient flooring product like it. Maybe Google "resilient flooring for hospitals" to get ideas.
posted by slidell at 8:29 AM on November 26, 2015

Cheap, cheap, cheap, seamless, wall-to-wall vinyl you plan to rip out in two years, over an underlay your select for springiness in consultation with your flooring store.

The good news is that sheet vinyl flooring is no longer uniformly horrible, and even on the lower end of the scale you can get flooring that looks like hardwood or slate, ish. Alternatively, you can go immediately to the upper end of the scale if you can find something you're happy to live with long term.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:37 AM on November 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Regardless of the new flooring that you go with, have you investigated training your dog for an indoor potty station? google for "dog indoor potty grass" will bring up what are essentially large-ish shallow plastic bowls with a grate on top, and usually fake grass. Combine that with some phermone urine attractors, and your dog has a good place to go when the walks aren't happening enough.
posted by nobeagle at 8:47 AM on November 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

In Petsmart yesterday I saw diapers for dogs as slidell suggests. They also sell absorbent mats designed to be peed on. (Not a recommendation for Petsmart)
posted by anadem at 8:49 AM on November 26, 2015

If you DO end up deciding on some sort of foam mat for safety reasons (though personally, I'd do vinyl & doggie indoor grass pad), make sure you have as few seams as possible. Cleaning up spills from those puzzle piece mats is a complete pain in the ass.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 9:03 AM on November 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would go with diapers. I'm not sure if she's incontinence dribbling (yet) or actually squatting and peeing on purpose, but if it's the former she'll start getting urine scalds on her legs where it's running down.

But since it sounds like the carpet needs to go, is the underfloor cement? I'd strip it down to the cement and prime and paint for maximum cleanability, and then put down interlocking gym tiles in the kids' main play area. If you're willing to spend a little more on those, there's a heavy-duty foam tile meant for garage work areas and is extremely cleanable, but I have these and they're very sturdy and infinitely connectible for whatever size you need. And I see that they have the not-blue colors in stock now, which was not true when I bought mine.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:04 AM on November 26, 2015

When my dog was getting older and developed mobility issues, we covered an entire room in inexpensive bathmats from Target. They absorb liquid, and are machine washable. Prior to that, we had puppy training pads in the house, and both of our senior dogs would use those as needed. I would probably replace the carpet with something moppable, then layer washable bathmats or throw rugs over it.
posted by SobaFett at 9:06 AM on November 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions!

Regarding what's under the carpet right now: I think it's probably plywood (over a crawlspace, not on the ground). I wonder if we will need to rip up the plywood, as I was originally assuming, or if sealing it somehow is the more usual thing to do. Is this something that I could just go to Home Depot and hire them to replace the subfloor and lay down sheet vinyl?
posted by instamatic at 9:14 AM on November 26, 2015

Coming to suggest what you call Vinyl sheet flooring. I have a nice faux wood one that looks like hardwood flooring until you walk on it as it has a nice built in underlay making it softer to walk on. A few easy wash throw rugs for the kids to lay on to watch TV. If you have plywood underflooring you'll want to replace that to make sure all the smell is gone.

Also dog diapers are a thing.
posted by wwax at 9:26 AM on November 26, 2015

If vinyl sheet flooring is too slippery for her, you can buy yoga matting by the 100' roll to lay on top. Cut it into pieces that can go in the wash and it should solve all problems. I had this all over my house for months for a dog recovering from an injury to prevent slipping. It's great and inexpensive.
posted by HotToddy at 10:25 AM on November 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

We also had an elderly dog who developed a lot of bladder and bowel control problems. We tried a few brands of diapers and settled on Four Paws Wee-Wee Disposable Doggie Diapers (Amazon link). They come in several sizes, and they were the only brand we found where the largest size actually fit our 75-lb. dog.

Good luck, and give fido extra hugs from me. It's a tough situation.
posted by underthehat at 10:40 AM on November 26, 2015

Best answer: If you do have plywood under the carpet, there's a 97% chance it will need to be completely replaced. When I was a landlady, a long time ago in a galaxy far away, I had tenants with pets. Said tenants evidently didn't believe in litter boxes for their cat or walks for the dog. I had to replace roughly 75% of the subflooring in the house.

It looks like Home Depot does "top" floowing installs - vinyl, hardwood, carpet, etc., but I don't see anywhere that they do subfloor replacement. Never hurts to ask, though. Their contractors are all licensed and insured, and I would imagine they do a superlative job, else Home Depot wouldn't keep them around. Reputations to maintain and all that. Me, I'm a DIYer, so I did all the work myself. It's not as difficult as you'd imagine, just incredibly time-consuming. If I were to be in a similar situation again, I'd definitely pay someone to do it.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 12:44 PM on November 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We have an elderly dog in a similar situation and have had success with puppy training pads. At first we used disposable ones (Wee Wee Pad brand) and then invested in washable ones (PoochPad brand). If your dog has a favorite spot to go in this can be a good solution as I can imagine some dogs are not too keen on wearing a diaper.

That being said it turned out that our dog has diabetes insipidus which is apparently quite rare but can be treated with eye drops. It may be worth asking your vet if they checked for that since the main symptom for our dog was constant drinking and peeing. After treatment her accident rate has gone way down.
posted by dweingart at 6:55 AM on November 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

A few suggestions from another dog mom dealing with a similar situation:

1) Slate (unless sealed) is porous and hard to get completely clean - I found this out the hard way - we also have it in the foyer. ;) A sheeted linoleum is definitely the way to go.

2) Please consider washable pads (or even old towels on the floor - garage sales/freecycle!) instead of diapers for your dog. These are the same pads that we use in the hospital under patients. Very effective at absorbing huge amounts of fluid.

3) Urine soaked diapers against her skin will invite a whole new set of problems. Best case scenario she's stinky and will need constant wipe downs and baths; worst case scenario she gets red and sore from the acidity of her urine. Diapers are also expensive and don't stay on very well with dogs that have tails.

4) Nature's Miracle is great, but Method All Purpose spray has been surprisingly effective and significantly cheaper. It also smells good.

5) Clorox Wipes (the gianormous round tub) can be had from Amazon Subscribe and Save!

Unfortunately, I've had experience dealing with very similar dog issues. My hardwood floors are a disaster (I've just decided to wait it out and eventually have them refinished at this point).

Good luck and hugs to both you and your doggy!
posted by dancinglamb at 12:43 AM on November 28, 2015

We went with Vet's Best dog diapers (though human incontinence pads are a cheaper option), covering the floor in yoga matting from the very site HotToddy mentions, and Nature's Miracle for our incontinent elderly dog. It was expensive but made the last year of his life a lot better for him and for us.
posted by thetortoise at 2:06 AM on December 1, 2015

You can order belly bands from the company, but they are much cheaper and are sold by many people on ebay. They can be used alone or with sanitary napkins/adult incontinence pads inside them.

I also use whelping mats in crates or small rooms.
posted by answergrape at 1:40 PM on December 1, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks again, everyone. I think I will try another round or two of rug shampoo with a rented commercial grade shampooer, and then try some form of indoor grass/padding/designated safe (and cleanable) spot. Poor old dog is fine most days, and even most weeks, so I don't think a diaper would work for her. She just somewhat unpredictably will have a run of 5 accidents in a row, then be fine for days or weeks.

I will definitely ask the vet about diabetes insipidus, though she's had a lot of urine tests since this started, which makes me think I'd know if that were it. I know they tested for UTIs, specific gravity, creatine(? Maybe I'm remembering that last one wrong). I don't remember diabetes results, but symptoms wise it would make sense.

She's also got some weird heart fibrillation thing going on (it's usually fine, but occasionally races for a few beats depending on her positions-- it's hard to catch on EKG). And probably lung cancer, based on lung X-rays over the course of several months. Given her age and multiple issues, we are pursuing comfort care and treatments that have a high cost-benefit ratio. So diabetes eye drops or antibiotics in case the lung mass was pneumonia related would be a yes, lung or heart surgery would be a no.

Poor sweet awesome dog. Adopting a senior dog is amazing, but also eventually heartbreaking.
posted by instamatic at 9:06 PM on December 26, 2015

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