Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. It is possible his hips are partly the cause of his loss of bowel control, however neurologic or muscular issues affecting the hind end may also be a cause. It is best to have him looked at by your local veterinarian, who can perform a neurologic test and may also recommend X-rays or blood work to check for other issues that could be causing a loss of bowel control. Depending on the cause, medications or even doggie diapers can be used to help decrease accidents in the house and make things more comfortable for you and your dog.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

German Shepherds are a breed that is known to be prone to hip dysplasia, which is a genetic condition where the hip joint doesn`t develop properly, causing the bones to rub against each other and leading to pain and stiffness.
According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, 19.8% of German shepherds suffer from hip dysplasia. The progression of it and the treatment options available depend on a number of factors, including the degree of misalignment and age of the dog.
Hip dysplasia is a condition that occurs during the growth stage in dogs. It results in the loosening of the hip joint, which causes dysfunction and pain. As the dog grows, the cartilage and bone of the hip begin to wear down. Over time, this causes arthritis, muscle atrophy, and limited mobility.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that is affected by factors such as diet, environment, exercise, growth rate, muscle mass, and hormones. As this disease is most commonly seen in large breed dogs, these puppies should be kept at a normal, lean weight during growth, not overfed or encouraged to grow big.
Dogs with hip dysplasia can live comfortably, long into their golden years, so even if your dear canine has been diagnosed with the condition you can expect many joyful years together. If your dog is over 7 years old, they may need additional support as they age – read more about caring for a senior dog here.
Experts recommend at least 30-60 minutes of exercise per day for adult dogs (and many dogs do better with even more). And while your senior may not be up for the half-day hikes they used to do, if they`re mobile, keep to a regular schedule of physical activity, including at least a half hour of daily walks.
Walking is a low-impact form of exercise that`s ideal for dogs with hip dysplasia. It`s a great way to get your dog moving without putting too much strain on their hip joints. Just be sure to start slowly and gradually increase the distance as your pup builds up their endurance.
The German Shepherd is an amazing dog with tons of excellent qualities. They have a lifespan of 9-13 years which is average for most dogs. There are several factors that can affect how long they live. It is important to recognize these factors and hopefully extend their lives as much as possible.
Average Age for German Shepherds

Most German Shepherds live between 11 and 13 years. Owners of small breeds of dogs might see their animals live up to 17 or 20, but larger dogs put more strain on their bodies and simply do not live as long, no matter how well they are taken care of.

Here are some large breeds who are affected by hip dysplasia and their average life spans: Bernese Mountain dog: 7 to 10 years. German Shepherd: 7 to 10 years.
Take your dog on regular, brief walks each day, as these short bursts of low-impact exercise will gradually rebuild their hind-leg strength. Take your dog swimming in a safe place to allow them to work their muscles gently and with less friction.
In some cases, lameness and gait abnormalities begin as early as 3 months of age, while other dogs may not exhibit signs for years. Some experts divide hip dysplasia into two forms based on the age of onset of clinical signs: juvenile and mature.
Hip dysplasia or arthritis are common conditions in older dogs, especially in some breeds. While massage will not cure these conditions, it can provide temporary relief of pain in the hip joint, by loosening up the muscles in the area and allowing the joint better range of motion.
Many dogs with mild hip dysplasia will show no clinical signs. As the condition progresses, owners may notice varying degrees of lameness, reluctance to jump, a “bunny-hopping” gait when running, and atrophy of muscles in both hind limbs. Some dogs may cry out in pain upon movement of the hip.
End-stage arthritis is the progressive wearing down of the cartilage that is present between the bones of a joint causing the bones to come in contact with each other and painfully rub against each other during movement of the joint. This results in severe pain with loss of movement and function.
The majority of dogs with hip dysplasia live a normal lifespan. Most do not experience any significant disability from the disease, and some do not even require treatment. Even in severe cases, options are available to help reduce pain and maintain adequate mobility.
A diagnosis of hip dysplasia is made by a veterinary surgeon examining the dog and taking x-rays of its hip joints. For a formal diagnosis, the radiographs are submitted to a panel for evaluation. German Shepherd dogs have a known predisposition to hip dysplasia.
Dogs who have hip dysplasia may sway back and forth when they walk. They may also have a bunny-hopping gait or may stand flat on their back feet. All of these potential gait issues are related to the pain they feel when they suffer from hip dysplasia.
A dog`s hip pain can be a chronic and constant pain. Chronic hip pain is usually attributed to canine arthritis or hip dysplasia. Acute hip pain is usually short term pain caused by an injury.
Even if your dog is considered senior, you`ll still want to give them at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. Because of their age, exercise might need to become shorter but it`s still necessary to make sure they`re getting the required stimulation. Choose low-impact activities. Go on walks, not runs.
Small dogs are considered senior citizens of the canine community when they reach 11-12 years of age. Their medium-sized friends become seniors at 10 years of age. Their larger-sized colleagues are seniors at 8 years of age. And, finally, their giant-breed counterparts are seniors at 7 years old.
Shivering and trembling may be symptoms of something serious — like poisoning, kidney disease, or injury. So, if your dog suddenly starts trembling or shivering, it`s important to take note of other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping. Then talk to your vet right away.
If your dog is staggering, stumbling, or falling over, it may be the result of a variety of medical issues, including injury, stroke, poisoning, or an infection. Here, our Matthews Emergency and Specialty Vets explain why you should get to a veterinary hospital right away.
In addition to being less active, many dogs at this age begin to develop digestive issues, kidney problems and other conditions that can benefit from diet modification. Only your veterinarian can accurately assess your dog`s needs.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. I have a 12 year old germen shepherd who has lost control of his bowels. This happens when he goes to stand up. Are his hips hurting him?
ANSWER : A. It is possible his hips are partly the cause of his loss of bowel control, however neurologic or muscular issues affecting the hind end may also be a cause. It is best to have him looked at by your local veterinarian, who can perform a neurologic test and may also recommend X-rays or blood work to check for other issues that could be causing a loss of bowel control. Depending on the cause, medications or even doggie diapers can be used to help decrease accidents in the house and make things more comfortable for you and your dog.

Q. I have a 13 1/2 year old Shih Tzu. How old is he in dog years?
ANSWER : A. It’s used to be that dog years were 7 years to every 1. Now it normally around 5 years to every year as long as your dog is healthy and kept up with vaccines. So he’s about 68ish in dog years.

Read Full Q/A … : Shih Tzu Age

Q. Does an indoor cat need to be vaccinated every year?
ANSWER : A. In practice, I recommend a feline combo vaccine every year, but will generally start administering every 3 years once they have had their kitten vaccines and 2 additional yearly vaccines. Rabies, is required yearly by law, and if kept up to date can be good for up to three years also. Based on the age of your cat I would give a yearly feline combo and rabies, and then boost the combo again next year.

Q. How do I FINALLY rid all 4 of my cats of tapeworms after 2 years of dealing with it? Fleas seem to be controlled. I know they are the vector.
ANSWER : A. If your cats keep getting tapeworms, then they are picking up fleas from somewhere. Fleas will hitch a ride on your pant leg from outside.

Get your pet on a good topical or oral flea control through your vet. In flea control, you get what you pay for. Consider asking your vet for a dose of Capstar. It helps get the problem under control by killing the fleas on the pet starting in five minutes but only lasts for 24 hours.

You need to treat your home environment. If you use a pest control service, tell them you are having a flea problem and they can adjust their treatment. Use a premise spray that also contains an IGR, insect growth regulator. This keeps eggs and larvae from maturing into adults and helps break the life cycle. Also, vacuum EVERY DAY, throwing out the bag or emptying the canister every time into an outside receptacle and spraying the contents with insecticide to kill the fleas you’ve vacuumed up.

Treat your yard too, since fleas are opportunistic and will hop a ride into your home on your pant leg without you knowing it. Concentrate on areas under bushes, in the shade. Fleas are less likely to be located in open sunny areas where it gets hot.

You can also use borax. Sprinkle it into rugs, into corners and under furniture, use a broom to work it into the fibers and let it sit for hours, days even. It won’t hurt you or your pet to have it present. Then vacuum it up, reapply as needed. Food grade diatomaceous earth can be worked into the rugs and corners in the same way as borax. These treatments aren’t as fast and effective as chemical insecticides but they can help.

You might want to consider boarding your pet for the day at your vet, to give you the opportunity to flea bomb your house without having to worry about your pet being exposed. They can bathe your pet and give a dose of Capstar while you treat your home.

Be patient, you may have to repeat these steps multiple times 10-14 days apart to help break the life cycle.

Q. My 13 year old male cat is acting lethargic & doesn’t seem to be feeling well. I don’t know what’s wrong except that he has fleas. Can too many fleas
ANSWER : A. Excessive fleas can cause anemia in cats, left untreated, this can be life-threatening. I recommend getting your cat seen by your vet right away for his illness. For every flea you see on your pet, there are 100 more in the environment. Get your pet on a good topical or oral flea control through your vet. In flea control, you get what you pay for. Consider asking your vet for a dose of Capstar. It helps get the problem under control by killing the fleas on the pet starting in five minutes but only lasts for 24 hours.

You need to treat your home. If you use a pest control service, tell them you are having a flea problem and they can adjust their treatment. Use a premise spray that also contains an IGR, insect growth regulator. This keeps eggs and larvae from maturing into adults and helps break the life cycle. Also, vacuum EVERY DAY, throwing out the bag or emptying the canister every time into an outside receptacle and spraying the contents with insecticide to kill the fleas you’ve vacuumed up.

Treat your yard, since fleas will hop a ride into your home on your pant leg without you knowing it. Concentrate on areas under bushes, in the shade. Fleas are less likely to be located in open sunny areas where it gets hot.

If chemicals are a problem, you can use borax. Sprinkle it into rugs, into corners and under furniture, use a broom to work it into the fibers and let it sit for hours, days even. It won’t hurt you or your pet. Then vacuum it up, reapply as needed. Food grade diatomaceous earth can be gotten from a health food store and worked into the rugs and corners in the same way. These treatments aren’t as fast and effective as chemical insecticides but they can help.

Be patient, you may have to repeat these steps multiple times 10-14 days apart to help break the flea life cycle.

Q. My cocker spaniel is 9 years old. He has involuntary bowel movements (little drops) very frequently, especially when he is asleep.
ANSWER : A. Is your dog on a senior dog food? I would get your dog on a high quality high protien dog food. Ask a pet store assosicate or your regular vet for a food recommendation. When you buy a better food the dog will have to eat less to get the same amount of energy from the food. The dog has to eat more of the cheaper foods to get the energy it needs from it. Meaning more poop and buying more food. So the cost really evens out. So the lessen your dogs bowel movements get on a better senior dog food. Next talk to your vet they may have a recommendation. If you switch dogs do it slowly by mixing the foods. Start with 10% new 90% old mixed for at least a week until you have switched to 100% new 0% old. Senior foods have more fiber to help with bowel movements. Take the dog outside to go potty more frequently, right before bed time.

Read Full Q/A … : Symptoms Questions & Answers

Q. Mail pug 12 years old having diarrhea with dried dog food lately. I treated rice water &. Soft rice. Shall I change food now on to wet food?
ANSWER : A. Why do you think your 12 year old pug is having diarrhea to their dry food and not something else? I would advise to take the dog to the veterinarian, if could be a variety of things and the best opinion would be to figure out what is exactly going on. In some cases with older dogs who have dental disease you can add water to dry kibble to soften it to make it easier to eat.

Q. We have a 1 yr old dog who once in a blue moon will go pee outside. All other times she pees and poops in house. Why. How can I get her to stop
ANSWER : A. Have her seen by your vet to rule out medical causes. Reinforce crate training (again if necessary). The crate should only be big enough for her to stand, turn around and lay down. She goes out FIRST thing in the morning. Pick a spot outside and wait. No walks until she goes. Praise and reward her when she goes. Place her back in the crate or on a leash attached to your hip so you can watch for her cues to go. Take up the water 2 hours before bedtime and take her out right before bedtime. Be patient. Be consistent.