Seeking advice: Helping a dog adjust to a urostomy bag


Hi! I'm caring for someone who is about a month out from bladder removal surgery. He has a urostomy bag with a stoma. He has a five-year-old golden retriever whom he adores! I've been caring for Maverick (golden retriever) at my house while he recovers from surgery. He's doing okay physically. All stitches dissolved and just getting his strength back. Mentally, he is a wreck. He doesn't think Maverick will ever be able to go home because he's afraid of his stoma and the bag. I'm hoping someone can share some words of wisdom that I can pass along!


Go take the dog over there, it'll be the best for both of them.

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If the dog is so rambunctious that he fears it'll jump on him and injure his stoma, he can get a stoma guard.   But AlexT is right; he needs a companion dog for sure.


The dog can be trained to not be a nuisance.


Good advice from AlexT. Any number of ostomates here will assure you that people with bags can take care of a pet. Bob, who has sadly disappeared from these columns, had several, including a horse, and was thinking of getting an ostrich till he was told that it kicks like a mule and can disembowel you with its claws. No reason why Maverick cannot be reunited with his master, especially since he is rapidly recovering and gaining his strength.

How to Manage Ostomy Leaks with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

Hello sreese12. 

As others have already said, Maverick will almost certainly be okay to return home. When people are new to stomas & surgery  they are often overly apprehensive about what 'might' happen. However, this is usually a passing phase and with more experience they come to understand that many of the things they worried about simply don't happen. 

A five year old golden retriever should be well past the the boisterous puppy-stage and would be less likely to jump on him ( unless he encourages it to do so).  They are usually very easy to train and are the preferred breed for guide dogs and service dogs of all kinds. I would proffer that  there will be a service dog group somewhere near that would be only too pleased to give advice on how to train Maverick if that becomes necessary. 

We are looking after a boisterous young retriever at present whilst my daughter gallivants off to Glastonbury. He has a tendency to want to be physically close and (at first) would think nothing of walking all over us! However, it only took a few moments of 'training' to stop him from putting his paws anywhere near the stoma. He now gently sits next to me and rests his head on my knee, rather than clambering over us. There is little doubt that such dogs can be much more benefit than they might be a nuisance and the sooner your friend starts on the road back to 'normality' the better he will feel. 

I wish you and him well for a happy reunion and ongoing companionship. 

Best wishes



I can't wait until I can take care of myself so I can get a dog of my own!
I completely agree with everyone here who says that dogs are great once trained and some of the best companionship a person could ask for. The man clearly loves Maverick and it would do him a world of good to see his dog!

ron in mich

Hi Sreese, we have a 6-month-old, 30lb. Staffy/Black Lab mix, and she climbs and jumps all over me, including stepping on my stoma or laying on my lap with no damage done as far as I can tell.


I second what everyone else said. Dogs are therapeutic, especially your own. Maverick may smell the area near his bag since their sense of smell is so remarkable (every dog does that with me!) I think Maverick will be just what the doctor ordered, but he needs to learn to calm his rambunctiousness during your friend's recovery. Just to be clear, it sounds like you said your friend thinks that Maverick will be afraid of his bag? Maybe your friend is putting his own feelings about his bag onto Maverick? Maverick will probably be curious, that's all.

Homie With A Stomie NS

Bring the fur baby over for short visits....please tell him I have an ileostomy stoma with the bag as well as two St. Bernards, each weighing 300+ pounds. They are no different now than 4 months ago when I had surgery and came home.....fur babies love unconditionally and know when we need them the most!!!!! Your charge is having typical reactions to our new will come back just like his strength.....


Stoma guards come in different shapes and colors :-) I have 2 of them that I wear often to "keep safe" from seat-belts, 3 year old nephew, 6 month old nephew, my own clumsiness, etc :-) 


Valuable insights from AlexT stand as a testament to the fact that individuals with ostomies can indeed responsibly care for pets. Numerous members in our community can attest to this, highlighting instances where people with ostomy bags successfully manage the responsibility of having pets. For instance, Bob, a member who is unfortunately no longer active in these discussions, shared his experiences of caring for several pets, including a horse. There were even considerations of acquiring an ostrich until the realization that it poses potential dangers due to its powerful kicks and sharp claws. In the case of Maverick, the beloved pet in question, there is optimism for a reunion with his owner. This optimism is fueled by the owner's rapid recovery and regaining strength, making a reunion between Maverick and his master a feasible and heartwarming prospect.


Reuniting dog & owner is therapeutic for both as the dog is also dealing with some anxiety of being away from its master. The dog is far beyond puppy and may very well not even pay attention to the stoma, more happy just to have you back. My 11 year old chihuahua at the time didn’t react to it at all, & 2 years later, still no reaction. I currently have a 9 month old chihuahua and he tries to get close to smell at it, but is then quickly distracted by something else, and generally is uninterested in it. 


I have a urostomy and previously had dogs that would lay on me with no issues. Also my grandchildren when they were little crawling on me or sitting on my lap with no issues.  Reuniting owner and dog would be beneficial for all.