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My elderly dog has a baffling problem!

braven
October 13th, 2007, 02:44 PM
My Sheltie is 15 years old and showing the natural aging losses of hearing, arthritis as well as some kidney disease. Yet, she is a very happy, active dog with a good appetite, no vomiting, no diarrhea, no symptoms of any problems at all... nothing, that is until the night.

Starting about 2 months ago, around 11PM she becomes so agitated, so pleading, so inconsolable, scratching at every side of my bed to wake me, panting.. that we are both literally up for 8 to 10 HOURS every night! I have tried everything. I've tried walking her in the middle of the night, sleeping with her on the floor, giving her water, giving her a prescribed tranquillizer, putting her up on the bed, petting, talking. Nothing pacifies her in the least. If I give up and put her in the other room so that I can get some sleep she scratches on the door and barks.

I've taken her to the Vet several times and no one can pinpoint the problem. Most recently I've been given a 'doggie-prozac' which I've just started dosing her with and from which so far she has not received any relief.

What is most baffling about this is that it doesn't ALWAYS happen. She can go long stretches where she sleeps through the night but these peaceful periods are becoming rarer. I am stretched to my limits in worry and concern. Anyone ever experience anything like this?

badger
October 13th, 2007, 03:28 PM
Maybe your house has a ghost? :)
I was about to say something neurological but it is too situational for that - always at night, but not always.
And he is inconsolable, you say, so it is not separation anxiety.
What could be the trigger?
Thanks for sticking by him, I hope you can sort this out. Have you looked at any alternative therapies (Rescue Remedy, homeopathic stuff)? Just because he doesn't respond to the drugs doesn't mean you wouldn't see an improvement with something 'softer'.
I'd also think about an animal behaviourist; try to find a 'real' one, like any other field, there are people who charge big bucks for stating the obvious.

otter
October 13th, 2007, 04:33 PM
This is probably obvious but, have you tried keeping the lights on - even put her in a room with full lighting so it's like daylight all night long?

Baffling is right:confused::confused:

Are there any changes to your night time routine now and then that might trigger something?

braven
October 13th, 2007, 05:39 PM
Thanks for your input!

As far as the lights-on situation, of course once she gets me up (there is no choice but to get up!) the lights are on and that seems no comfort to her.

I'm not sure what Rescue Remedy is but I will find out!

badger
October 13th, 2007, 06:10 PM
Rescue Remedy is made by Bach and is available in more and more places; but you can generally find it in a health food store or the natural remedies section of some of the bigger pharmacies and food outlets. I recommend you put a full dropper or two into his mouth the minute the behaviour begins. You can repeat it, but I would wait a couple of hours. It is completely non-toxic.

Afterthought: it may not work but there is enough anecdotal evidence and the price is cheap enough to make it worth trying.

mummummum
October 13th, 2007, 10:09 PM
How very strange. It sounds like you have ruled out everything that may be causing her physical pain or discomfort. Rescue Remedy might do the trick to help her relax. You might also try massage therapy in the hour preceding bed. I've been reading up on Tellington touch techniques lately and have been experimenting with my dogs ~ they are quite promising as well.

As you know dogs have excellent senses, she may hearing, smelling or seeing things which you cannot. Any chance you have mice? A gas appliance that might be acting up? Or, is it possible that an appliance or machine is running in your house or in your neighbourhood which is emitting a sound out of your range of hearing or which you might just be immune to? I've never used one but I hear white noise (or noise cancellation) machines are excellent for people who have sensitive hearing. A hot water bottle and one of those ticking alarm clocks might also do the trick.

You might also think along the lines of an aging brain. She may be experiencing sensory hallucinations ~ hearing and seeing things that aren't there because her sensory nerves are misfiring.

satchelp
October 13th, 2007, 11:55 PM
I can certainly identify with this whole scenario. My 10 year old dog has been doing this sort of thing off and on for at least 3 years. He underwent a lot of testing at the vet to make sure there was nothing physically wrong with him, because this sort of behaviour can be a sign of pain. We never found any problem. It seems to happen when the cold weather starts and only at night. When he is like this, he often doesn't want to spend much time in the house. I thought it was something with the furnace for a while, but he does it when the furnace hasn't been on for days. I tried Rescue Remedy to no avail, along with a specially crafted homeopathic treatment that was supposed to have a similar effect, again to no avail. What seemed to help him the most was trying the small circular Tellington touch motion, which I think I found on the Internet somewhere. It's the one where you visualize a clock so if you find something on TTouch, you will recognize it as they talk about visualizing a clock. One theory my vet had about this is that perhaps he was having headaches, but we ended up dismissing that. At this point, I have given up trying to figure it out.

I wish you good luck in getting to the bottom of this.

pitgrrl
October 14th, 2007, 09:06 AM
Rescue Remedy is made by Bach and is available in more and more places; but you can generally find it in a health food store or the natural remedies section of some of the bigger pharmacies and food outlets. I recommend you put a full dropper or two into his mouth the minute the behaviour begins. You can repeat it, but I would wait a couple of hours. It is completely non-toxic.

Afterthought: it may not work but there is enough anecdotal evidence and the price is cheap enough to make it worth trying.

If you're going to try Rescue Remedy, I would suggest that it be given every 15 minutes for up to an hour if you don't see any effect with the first dose.

RR never had any effect on my dogs until a homeopath (who works with animals) suggested I give 2 drops every 15 minutes. Usually I see a noticable calming after the second dose.

badger
October 14th, 2007, 10:14 AM
Thanks for that pitgrrl, another little nugget of information filed away.

Chilechops
October 14th, 2007, 12:15 PM
Hi Braven!
Yes I have gone through this with my girl Jalen...a shep/husky mix...who will be 16 this DEC! Your description is exactly what she was doing about a year ago and it went on for several months...but then it just stopped? So baffling yes....I thought she was going crazy....maybe the age? I just dont know? It seems weird tho that they are close in age and had what seems like a similar issue...I never put jalen on any drugs, as soon as I thought about it she would stop for a little while? My thought was she was really losing her hearing around that time...and maybe she was hearing things that were strange or regular sounds that she was used now sounds scary to her? Im so sorry...I remember the all nighters too! she would jump in and out of the tub, I would sleep with her on the floor etc.....too.:shrug: I wish i could offer some advise....

Chicklet
October 14th, 2007, 03:48 PM
Is the Dog Cold? or maybe even too hot?
I had a dog, Always at night, Came to me like he was scared or frightened acting, I swear he would have crawled inside of me if he could have.
Spent many nights with this till I finally put it together, He was Chilly,
So I started putting a blanket on him every night, I even get up several times to make sure its still on him, He never had the problem again.
~~
A ceiling fan, maybe on one night and not another, A Window cracked, things you may not notice different, But the dog does,
As we get older we mind little things like this more and more, as do our pets

Hogansma
October 14th, 2007, 06:13 PM
I was thinking that too ... maybe she's cold. My old girl Molly used to wake me at 2am every night in the winter. I would try to put her out to pee but that wasn't it. Finally she would go to my other dog sleeping on the dog couch and wag her tail. She wanted me to move him so she could have his warm spot and then I'd cover her with a blanket. Smart dog! You could try a fleece dog jacket if you think that is it. That is better than a blanket that falls off. Good luck.