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Periodic Contributor

What can I do? My Mom keeps feeding the dog people food and its making him sick

I have been caring for my Mom for about 3 years now and over the last couple of years she has been progressively not remembering things. The last year she has been more and more feeding my dog things such as cantaloupe and bread which make him very sick. I have lost my temper, stayed cool and begged her to stop feeding him even put little signs in the kitchen and her bedroom that say "PLEASE DONT FEED THE DOG" . She promises me she wont do it again and yet she does. I don't even know where to go now. In her episodes of dementia she feeds the dog. ots making him sick.. Any suggestions?

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Newbie

I’ve done all of the above!  Your question could have been mine.  Did you find anything that works?  I have only been moms caregiver for 7 months.  It’s driving me nuts.

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Newbie

Old thread, but here is a worst case possibility for you: Your dog or cat could die. Really.

 

I have a 101-year-old mother with both dementia and narcissistic personality disorder (not caused by the dementia; she's always been narcissistic, and I had to undergo years of healing from her self-absorbed behavior in order to create a somewhat successful life for myself; plus, I'm a former psychologist, and I am fully able to diagnose narcissism). I've cared for her for 9 years, in her own home with my husband. My husand and I both lost our jobs and careers during the recession, have never recoverd financially, and lost our own home to foreclosure--moving in with mom solved two problems at once, her need for a caregiver and our need for a living space.

 

I had an Italian Greyhound (one of two dogs we had) when we moved in named Flash. Mom had only very, very mild dementia years ago, but has always managed to sneak people food to my dogs whenever my back is turned. She has been told hundreds of times not to do this, but her narcissistic need to control made her defiant when we talked to her about it. Also, her narcissistic need to be right caused her to claim that we were wrong, that people food doesn't hurt dogs, that she knows better than the vet because "I've had dogs for years," etc. etc.

 

Feeding dogs either onions or grapes can cause a lethal malady called Hemolytic Anemia, which costs thousands of dollars to treat long term and has a high death rate. My dog Flash contracted both Hemmorhagic Gastroenteritis (another sometimes fatal disease triggered by bad food) and Hemolytic Anemia after living with Mom for a few years, undoubtedly caused by the thousands of inappropriate, highly spiced people foods she snuck to him. He survived the gastroenteritis but eventually died at age 10 from the anemia, after we spent $8000 to try to save his life. We are still paying off the medical debt two years after he died. Mom never took any responsibilty for his illness, never contributed a penny for his medical care, and still denies that her defiant feeding of the dogs had anything to do with his health.

 

I personally took Flash's death very hard, and was depressed for about 6 months after he died. I'd never had a dog I loved as much as Flash, and knowing my Mom killed him has been very difficult to deal with. So think about whether you could deal with knowing your mother killed your dog, when it comes to considering solutions. I say lock the fridge and lock the pantry, and watch her like a hawk when she's eating, and take away any uneaten food from her immediately. It's the only way to be safe.

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Recognized Social Butterfly

Seems this is a very common obsession for people with dementia.  My mom is obsessive about feeding her little dog and it is beginning to show.  I am not yet too worried about the dog's health though.  Mom gives me many reasons for conern!

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Periodic Contributor

My mom feeds my dogs people food as well - wat I recently began doing was put the dogs in a huge kennel I keep in the family room wen she eats / also wen she is in the bathroom (as she is constantly cleaning her dentures) I go through her night stand drawers and remove any good she keeps in her drawers - I feel ur frustration because I am constantly telling her not to feed the dogs but with her dementia and love for dogs it is hard to stop her - I hope this helps 😊
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Contributor

I am having the same problem with my father. I keep a jar with dog treats on the counter and ask him to give those to the dogs, but he still gives them food from the table. I finally had to start keeping the dogs out of the room while while my father is eating. Best of luck to you!

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Bronze Conversationalist

Hi there,

 

Wow this thread has gotten hot! You're getting some good advice through the heat, though, so i hope it's useful to you.

 

I like the suggestion of labeling "doggie treats" in jars placed easily where your mom can get to them. Sounds like your mom likes to feed the dog what she's eating. If she eats some high protein stuff, like an omelette or some lean turkey, and some vegetables, the dog can eat that, too, i think (not so sure about the veggies.) Maybe padlocking the fridge, leaving the doggie treats (and some human snacks that aren't terrible for the dog) out for her?  (Cheese sticks, ritz crackers, celery and peanut butter...)

 

How cool that she has a dog right there with her.

 

One point i want to make: I want to make a distinction here between Senior Community Centers and Adult Day Care Programs. the former are for much more independent older folks and the latter are absolutely suited and safe for people with dementia. "Packing off" does sound glib, but if you're not around during the day to monitor what food mom has access to, it isn't a terrible idea. These programs vary a great deal, but are filled with professionals who offer activities, lunch, and therapies, too, that really help folks with dementia.  They are not free, but i have a number of clients who enjoy going. (I'm a geriatric care manager.)

 

Any of these suggestions helping?

 

Jane

 

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Periodic Contributor

We have the same problem at our home with the Mom's (dementia) feeding the dogs.  The dogs get sick.  Our carpets are a shambles.  It hurts so much to see the dogs sick and the Mom's feed the dogs.  The Mom's cannot remember us telling them to not feed the dogs.  It can only be a few minutes after I tell them the dog was sick that they feed the dogs again.  Locking the dogs in a different part of the house during meal time does not work either.  Moms and dogs get upset.  Because meal time is an upsetting time for all of us, I have just tried giving it up to the fact that dogs are like their children and they figure if the food is good enough for humans it's good enough for their best dog pal.  We set aside a special portion of carrots, plain pumpkin and green beans just for the Mom's to give the dogs and that helps.  Dogs eat bugs, chase lizards, chase quail and eat lots of disgusting stuff. Do not think there is an easy answer.

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Periodic Contributor

My 14 year old dog was just diagnosed with kidney failure.  My mom still feeds the dog ppl food, although she says she does it less.  It is such a struggle, and I totally understand.  She gets so much joy out of feeding the do that I've been letting her.  Perhaps you can get some clear plastic jars that say DOG TREATS really big and space them through out the house or places that she normally gives your dog treats (like where she eats etc...).

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Periodic Contributor

I am caregiver for my 94 year old grandma with dementia. She has been living wirh me for year an half. When she moved in her cat moved in too. She does the same thing. Everything she eats she also tries to feed the cat. When the cat started puking, i explained people food is making cat sick. Works for while then right back to feeding cat, even off same spoon. Grosses me out. I'm not sure if she just dont want it or wants to share. I guess one day at a time . Long explanations dont work, so just gotta keep reminding her. Hope you find an answer good luck, God bless you.
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Periodic Contributor

My 102 year old mom does the same thing.  After the last vet visit (when she had gained weight) we told mom that the doctor said that the dog was getting too fat and could not have any more people food.  That sunk in, as she loves the dog and doesn't want to hurt her.  Do we have to remind her?  Yes, but not nearly as often as we were and when we do, we bring up the vet visit and she gets it.  Maybe because it's not just 'us' telling her not to do it, but the veterinarian?

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Recognized Social Butterfly

I had a similiar issue with my grandmother and her cat.  Is there any way you can limit the kind of food that is available for her to feed the dog?  

 

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Regular Social Butterfly

If this is happening while you are at work during the day,   is there a doggy daycare center in your area?   Most of them are priced very reasonably and many dogs love 'em for the socialization and fun stuff that goes on.    If there are none in your city  -   maybe the reverse would work. 

 

Let the dog stay home during the day,  and pack your mother off to the senior center.   Have you considered that? 

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Periodic Contributor

Please don't admit that you just suggested that she pack her mother off to the senior center.  Depending on the level of dementia, the senior center is the last place she should be.  They are not equipped to handle dementia.  Senior/Community Centers do not have upholstered furniture or activities suitable for those with dementia.

 

It sounds like she may need a companion.  If she is alone with the dog and does not have anything to do to keep her busy, she may be finding joy in feeding the dog (which it sounds like he enjoys).  Talk with a Caseworker or Social Worker - many cities provide case management for free.  They may be able to help you establish some activities for her. 

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Newbie

Could you have a special jar with treats for the dog that your mother could have by her chair or???   maybe she could learn to substitute these treats for the food that makes your dog sick.   Good luck!!

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Periodic Contributor

he has become my Moms service dog so its impossible for me to seperate the two of them
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Regular Social Butterfly

Huh?   How is that?   

 

A dog does not "become" a service dog through osmosis.     A service dog is one who has been carefully screened and then undergoes intensive training for weeks,  months.  Whatever it takes until the trainers are satisfied the dog is ready to be placed with a person with a disability.    

 

I think you mean your Mom has become quite fond of the dog,  and the dog,  especially if it spends all day alone with her,  has also become quite attached to her.  

 

That is a far cry from a true service dog.  

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Periodic Contributor

I'd appreciate you being a little less confrontational.  I am new caregiver and joined this message board to get support and practical tips not be "schooled".  Please review the California laws regarding the designation of "service dog". I'd appreciate practical tips on what to do. Dropping my mom off at a senior center is not something I can, or want to do. It seeems more like a punishment . Now if someone can suggest something that does not include me dropping my Mom off somewhere or incurring additional expense like day care for my dog I'd be more that grateful to take it into consideration. 

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Contributor

My mom has Alzheimers and I have 5 dogs (small) and she likes to feed them whatever she is eating, what I usually do is, while we are having breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. I put my dogs in an  outside patio. When we are done they come inside again. They are all very close to her and its important, it is a great therapy for her. Also you could contact an agency to get you help (respite) for a few hours like I do. Is she alone all day? Does she cook? You could do the cooking and make sure she doesnt feed him. Watch her intently like I do. I sit with my mom until she is done, and make sure she is not feeding them. Sometimes she will throw food on the floor even if the dogs are not there. hope this helps.

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Regular Social Butterfly

Quoting from the,  er,   Calif ,  um,   law,     

 

http://www.disabilityrightsca.org/pubs/548301.pdf

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Periodic Contributor

what a miserable person you must be. I was hoping that this message board could give me some practical advise .. but instead I get someone that gives me unrealistic advice and then proceeds to give me attitude. Its sad. Your unfriendly attitude and "must be right at all costs" behavior is, disappointing. I thought/ was hoping that there were some nice people here and that I could use this as a resource but this has made me very disillusioned about what it has to offer.
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Periodic Contributor

What inappropriate advice you are getting.  I would be upset if someone said "just pack your mom off to the senior center."  Wow. Good luck to you and don't let one person's negative comments affezct you.  My mom has advanced Parkinsons and that option isn't even a possibility!

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Contributor

How weird arguing about whether a service dog is a service dog and suggesting day care as the first option.  A lot of peole can't afford that or don't want to.  Anyway, AARP's "Prepare to Care" book has a chapter on how to start difficult conversations.  It sounds like you've already started, but she doesn't remember though... It might give some tips.  In MN the Area Agencies on Aging will conduct free home visits to assess how the environment can be improved for aging people.  They might have some ideas if they do that in your area.

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Periodic Contributor

thank you Jay. that is information I can use.
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Community Concierge

ntl291:

Hi there! I noticed someone mentioned the Prepare to Care. Here is a link to download a copy: www.aarp.org/preparetocare. 

 

We also have a Careguide on Dementia that may be of help. 

 

Please keep us posted!

AARPJen
Caregiving Concierge
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