dog on terrace

Find out How

Question:
I have an 11 year old Yorkie, Luca. He has heart murmurs and takes 2 diuretics. He’s been stable for a couple of years. The diuretics mean he pees a LOT. He had always gone outside but he had a bladder stone removed and now has issues holding it in. We have a little terrace that he can pee in, but he’s so house broken that he doesn’t go there. We’ve tried putting a rug soaked with his pee and inviting him there but he doesn’t like it. How do I un-house break him?

Dr. Nichol:
I am delighted that Luca’s heart failure is stable. Diuretics, like furosemide, help control fluid accumulation in the lungs or abdomen but I’m concerned about your boy’s excessive urine production and his recent bladder stone.

A special diet can prevent reoccurrence of some bladder stones but these foods can be heavily salted, resulting in increased urine production and worsening heart failure. Depending on the mineral composition of Luca’s bladder stone I may recommend Purina Urinary UR St Ox, Hill’s c/d Multicare, or Royal Canin SO. Bladder infection may be an important reason Luca formed a stone in the first place. Without the proper antibiotic it could happen all over again. His urine needs to be cultured.

Controlling blood pressure is essential to management of chronic heart failure. The right medication could make it possible to reduce Luca’s diuretic dose, resulting in less urine.

But another, often better, treatment for dogs in heart failure is pimobendan. This cardiac drug can improve Luca’s heart function while reducing or eliminating the need for a blood pressure medicine. Pimobendan plus just one diuretic, such as furoseminde, may allow Luca’s urine production to fall back to normal, eliminating his need to urinate at every single rest stop, gas station, or fire hydrant.

I advise against trying to erode Luca’s moral resistance by pressuring him to urinate on your terrace. He sounds like an excellent, well-trained canine gentleman who could buckle under the stress of public scrutiny. Finger-pointing, sniggering neighbors can be tough on one’s self-esteem. Trust me on this. I know these things.

Each week Dr. Jeff Nichol makes a short video, blog, or a Facebook Live to help bring out the best in pets. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Dr. Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). You can post pet behavioral or physical questions at facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.