Senior dog whining at night

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  • #148378 Report Abuse
    Dale F

    Hi all!

    I have an 11 year old beagle mix. I found him when he was around 1 year old; he was sick, abused, and terrified, and the vet didn’t think he would live through the night. I worked with him day and night and was able to save him, but he has always been terrified of other people.

    About 9 years ago I also adopted a very friendly and sociable Sheltie, and having a sister helped him a lot!

    Starting a little over a year ago, though, he started having stress seizures. It started when I took him to a walking trail, and when he hopped out of the car he started to have a minor seizure (face contorted, one of his legs pulled up against his body, drooling, but running around). Then much later I took him to the vet and he had the same reaction. A few weeks later I took him to the kennel that he usually loves, and he had a full on Grand mal seizure! After that I haven’t taken him anywhere, I don’t want to risk him having a heart attack.

    Being a beagle he’s always been a barker, so at night I crate both him and his sister (if I don’t then he barks out the window ALL NIGHT LONG!). I have them in large, separate crates, pushed next to one another. I have a night light a few feet away, and a memory foam mattress in both crates. At night I let them nap while I watch an hour of TV, then I love on them for several minutes before telling them to go to bed… they always go immediately, then I give them treats, pet their paws through the crate door, tell them good night It’s been like this ever since I got the Sheltie, and it’s always been fine.

    The problem

    Starting around 6 or 7 months ago, he has started whining at night. I don’t mean tiny baby whining, either; I mean chuffing, panting, pawing at the crate door, whining loud enough that I can hear it on the other side of the house through 2 closed doors while wearing ear plugs… and it goes on ALL. NIGHT. LONG.

    I’ve tried literally everything I can think of:

    1. I changed the bed

    2. I gave him a blanket with my scent on it

    3. I put a toy in his bed (a Tuff bear toy that his sister played with for awhile but got bored with it)

    4. I started giving him Melatonin treats at bed time instead of his usual Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul soft treat. I’ve also given him Benadryl

    5. I tried taking out the night light

    6. Then I used a dimmer bulb in the night light

    7. I let him go outside for as long as he wanted before bedtime

    8. I put pillows on the bed in case it was too firm

    9. I closed the air vent that’s nearby

    10. I covered the sides of the crate with a blanket so it would be darker and more closed in

    Most recently, out of fear that he was actually in pain (although he sleeps in the floor and on a foot stool throughout the day so I really don’t think there’s an issue of joint pain) I put him in the finished basement. I use the basement for a movie theater: it’s 800 sq.ft, carpeted, has heat and air, and a nice sofa that he has slept on plenty of times while I watch a movie. But he whined, chuffed, and panted all night there, too. So it’s not a physical pain.

    I’ve tried yelling at him, he ignores that. I’ve tried threatening him with a spray bottle, but he stops whining when I come in the room so spraying him wouldn’t make sense. I’ve mostly just tried to ignore him and make him see that he won’t get his way, but that doesn’t work, either.

    He doesn’t show any signs of dementia, vision loss, or hearing loss… although he HAS gotten really bad at not coming back in the house when I call for him. He’s never been great at that, anyway, but where he used to come slowly but surely, now sometimes he couldn’t care less that I’m calling him.

    I suspect that he’s just being bratty and wants out. But it’s been MONTHS!

    I’m at a complete loss here! I can’t just let him run free at night because he barks and I can’t sleep. But I can’t keep him crated, because he whines and I can’t sleep. I can’t take him to the vet to rule out physical problems for fear that he’ll have a seizure. I’m just running out of ideas.

    #148382 Report Abuse

    Please talk to your vet about medication options. I would not rule out canine cognitive dysfunction (dementia).
    Has he had a checkup recently? Lab work, etc.? That’s where I would start.

    This article/blog and comments may help you:
    (excerpt below)

    “The most important thing to know about determining whether your dog has CCD is that you can’t diagnose your dog yourself. Even though there are handy lists of symptoms all over the Internet, including one on this page, every symptom on those lists could also be a symptom of another disease or condition. Brain tumors, certain liver conditions, tickborne diseases, and other conditions can cause similar symptoms. Diagnosing canine cognitive dysfunction means ruling those other things out. It’s called a diagnosis of exclusion, and it takes a vet to do the appropriate tests to do that”.

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