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Sophie-Vet
Sophie-Vet, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 784
Experience:  Veterinary surgeon working in companion animal practice.
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I have a lovely Staffy of 11 years. My husband died at home

Customer Question

I have a lovely Staffy of 11 years. My husband died at home 3 weeks ago after a short illness. Although it seems Jack knows his master isnt coming back and is not pining or looking for him. Whilst my husband was terminally ill I bought a new smaller double bed to make room for my husband's hospital bed. Since my husband has died Jack persists in weeing on the new bed mainly in the evening even though he has been walked. I don't chastise him for this as feel there is a reason he is doing it and would like to understand why so that I can help him.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Sophie-Vet replied 2 years ago.
Sophie-Vet :

Hi there my name is ***** ***** I am a registered veterinarian and I would like to try to help you.

Sophie-Vet :

I am so sorry to hear about your husband and your dog.

Sophie-Vet :

Fortunately I think I can help you.

Sophie-Vet :

Dogs certainly grieve, and like people, we all grieve differently. I think it is worth getting a health check for your dog, including a urine sample to make sure there is no evidence of infection or another medical reason for his behavior but I think this could be due to stress.

Sophie-Vet :

Did your husband sleep in the bed Jack has been weeing on?

Customer:

yes until he became ill and the nhs supplied a hospital bed. Jack has always slept on the bed with us. As my husband went downhill quite rapidly I didn't even sleep in the new bed or put it up until the day after he died.

Sophie-Vet :

It is really common for dogs with separation anxiety to urinate on beds (the area that smells particularly strong for a person they miss). This is because when a dog is stressed or anxious the first thing they do is release their bladder and they go to the area that reminds them, become upset and urinate. This is commonly mistaken for a spiteful act but it is simply the opposite.

Customer:

sorry meant no to the last question. My husband never slept in the new bed. Only in the old bed which I got rid of and then he was in a hospital bed which, of course, Jack could not sleep on.

Sophie-Vet :

Ok, is the bed in the same area? So he may associate this as being his bed? Or completely separate?

Sophie-Vet :

I would consider getting an Adaptil room diffuser. These are pheromone diffusers that can reassure your dog and give a natural sense of security. They make a spray you can use to target areas like the bed where he has been getting stressed. There is also another great product called Zylkene. You can get online without a prescription. It is a natural milk based protein which again helps to reduce anxiety and stress levels without any sedation. It is the same comforting protein that nursing puppies get. These are all designed to mimic nature and do not cause sedation etc. They can offer some help during an adjustment phase which can be a stressful time. He may be missing your husband, or even just able to sense there is upset in the home and reading your body language. Grieving pets usually do very well with time.

Customer:

no it's in the same area as only a small bungalow with one bedroom. He doesn't wee on it when I'm in it. When John was alive Jack would often go off to bed (our bed) and wait for us to join him. Now since John has died and there is a new bed he just goes into the bedroom, wees on the new bed then comes back here into the lounge and curls up and sleeps. Jack though very loving has always been a man's dog so to speak and John and Jack were inseparable. Also when I've sat and cried for John Jack goes and hides in the bedroom. I try therefore not to show I'm upset as don't want to upset him any further.

Sophie-Vet :

I know it can be very very difficult. To me this sounds like a combination of grieving and separation anxiety. I think those products will really help. It can't be an easy time for either of you. I would just try and give him lots of cuddles and fuss so he feels reassured and I am sure with time he will understand. It can take varying amounts of time, but be reassured it is not abnormal.

Customer:

Thank you so much. I will do as you advise. Do you think I should take him to my local vet and just check for physical illness although that in itself is liable to stress him as vet is quite a few miles away and I live in a village in the country and I don't drive. Jack used to love going out in the car with John so of course he hasn't got that now either. Lot of changes for him plus getting on in years. We adopted him when he was 10 months old as he had been cruelly treated and beaten and still easily frightened although we've treated him with nothing but kindness.

Sophie-Vet :

Well I don't think a vet check would harm just to rule out infections etc. It certainly is most likely to be stress. I'm certain you can get all those anti-stress products online without a vet visit if it is very difficult to get their.

Customer:

I'll do that just to be on the safe side. Many thanks for your reassurance and I will take your advice. Feel so sorry for the poor old chap as can't tell me how he feels it's a case of reading all the signs isn't it. Again many thanks you've been most helpful.

Sophie-Vet :

No problem. They are all different. Your right it is all about reading the signs. He's just uspet. That is to be expected.

Sophie-Vet, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 784
Experience: Veterinary surgeon working in companion animal practice.
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