Dog Dementia Help and Support

Loving and caring for a dog with canine cognitive dysfunction

Keeping a Wandering Dog Safe and Happy at Night

My friend Jane Jackson has graciously agreed to share her story about her wandering senior dog Beetle and how she kept him safe at night. These are her words.

“I have a Jack Russell Terrier who will be 16 the day after Christmas.  In the last year, he had started to pace and wander at night and eliminate in the house. I had never crate trained him beyond the early puppy stage although I had tried a couple times. He hated confinement (this was before I had trained at the Karen Pryor Academy, so I didn’t know how to help him feel better about it). My husband was really tired of cleaning up the house or the alternative when he got up in the morning (he got up long before I did) though, so something had to be done. I put a wire crate in my bedroom, right next to my bed, put Beetle’s favorite blankets in it and when I went to bed, I put him in it with a treat or two and then dangled my hand through the wire in an effort to help him feel comfortable as I tried to go to sleep. Before long, I could feel and hear him start to shake, pant, and then whine, and so I opened the crate door. He walked a couple steps and pooped on the floor. That obviously wasn’t going to work. 

A brown and white terrier sleeps in his bed inside an exercise pen that prevents wandering

Next I thought I’d try an ex-pen setup as I had seen another trainer do for her elderly beagles. I was afraid he’d howl and panic being confined but I gave it a try hoping he wouldn’t soil his bed. I put the ex-pen around his favorite bed in his favorite corner and made it about the size of two crates, putting pee pads on the bare floor. I waited until he was asleep and then closed it up. I turned a night light on right next to it, crossed my fingers and went to bed. Lo and behold, he was sleeping peacefully in the morning and the pee pads were clean and dry. The same thing happened the next night, and the next and so on. In the approximately nine months since we’ve been doing this, I’d say he has peed on the pads maybe once a month. I’ve never heard a peep from him (our bedroom is close enough I would) and my husband says Beetle is sound asleep when he gets up in the morning. He opens the pen so that when Beetle does wake up, he can get out on his own.

It is astonishing to me that this works and I can justify it in various human ways but I just wanted to share it in case someone else has a dog who can’t tolerate a crate and assumes that an ex pen won’t work. 

I got this particular ex-pen because it is plastic and I didn’t want a wire one scratching up our wooden floors. The thing I dislike about it is that it is REALLY loud when you move the panels. They don’t slide open and closed, but POP, POP, POP. I find it annoying but it scares the bananas out of Beetle. I open it all up during the day (as seen in the photo below) so I have to remind myself to get it set up for nighttime before he drifts off. I do always sit with him (the dining room table is right next to this) until he goes to sleep. I don’t know if it’s necessary but I prefer it to feeling like I’m locking him up and leaving. 

A brown and white terrier is in his bed inside an open exercise pen

My human best guess is that being confined reassured him rather than panicked him because it limited his options. Rather than wandering around the dark house looking for me or a way out, getting more and more anxious, he just went back to sleep. I didn’t use a webcam so I don’t know how much he paced in there but nothing was disturbed and as I said, I never heard a peep even though he was always one to squeak or howl if he got locked somewhere behind a closed door by accident.”

This is Eileen writing again. What works for individual dogs really varies. But Jane and I wanted to share this method because it’s worth a try for others who are dealing with night wandering and incontinence issues in their dogs. Beetle doesn’t normally like being confined, but he felt safe and comfortable in the ex-pen setup. Some of the rest of you may be so lucky with your dogs as well!

Jane Jackson is certified by the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior (KPA CTP), is a Certified Level 2 TAGteacher,  and a member of Alexandra Kurland’s coaching guild.

You can contact her and read more of her work at The Dog Chapter . 

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23 Responses

Thank you for taking the time to share Beetle’s story.

While the exact approach will vary somewhat between dogs, this might also suggest the advantage of starting to work on this for an older dog, even before he really needs it. That would allow you to work out the method, and the dog to become very comfortable with the area and routine.

What a wonderful solution for him . God bless the old man!

Thank you Jane.. I’ve been able to do a similar thing as my house is only 2 rooms… so I keep him in the room with me and he seems to do ok instead of being in the living areal…Maybe I’ll try to make a small area just for my dog in the corner where he likes to sit.

I also had to use an ex pen for my gal who passed at 16 a couple of years ago. she did a lot of restless pacing, and couldnt make it up the stairs any longer. I penned her in the kitchen, used various non skid mats for the floor to prevent slipping (she had a bent paw and her hips were getting weaker and non skid socks wouldnt stay on). she slept and paced at night, (and probably in the day when i was out), but if she was free she would get stuck in tiny spaces, such as behind the bookcase with a paw caught in the radiator as an example. the other thing the pen prevented was her problem of stopping in front of the other dogs and ppearing to stare; NOT good for her safety! my other female was really nervous of this, though jessie was losing vision and hearing and unable to pick up on social cues. That could have ended badly! i think i could have done a lot of cc’ing for this for my other dogs, but didnt know about it at the time. How other pets feel or react to changes in an aging dog are important to be aware of.

now thats an awsome story i lost my oscar 24 years ago miss him terrably and he was 18 years old, and i got 2 kittens onee of em were murdered he had a companion called sox he used to hate cats but they were like twins nd died together i moved house and they moved with me he sved my life more than once wish i had that geat idea but he went before it got bad

I currently have a foster dog who was starved. As a result he has severe neurological issues (making walking difficult and balancing nearly impossible) and is essentially incontinent. I use a play pen for him as well. He loves laying in a laundry basket so he has that in his area with lots of comfy covers inside. On the ground, I put sheets meant for children who wet the bed (like $15 on amazon) and put a sheet over that. Catches and absorbs everything and saves a lot of money on pee pads!

Great suggestions! Bless you for taking care of him.

I used this type of setup with my elderly poodle. I might add that a big plastic tablecloth or a tarp under the whole area adds another layer of protection for the floor. Bless you for taking such good care of an old dog.

That’s a great idea, Pamela. Thanks!

I use an x-pen for many things. When getting a new dog and not yet earned free range of the house, when a delivery person or technician comes in the house to do some work. If I need to go in and out of the house numerous times, etc. And when I need to leave the house for a good length of time. I also put their crate in the x-pen along with safe toys.

Great ideas, Kathleen. I’m so glad you wrote about them. Using pens this way is a new idea to some people.

When a dog is legally blind and legally deaf, they DO need to be confined in a safe place for them when you are not around to watch out for them.

Bless you for loving him during these difficult for him times; so many owners drop them off at shelters as soon as they start needing some changes to their routine simply because it’s not convenient. I’m not shaming those who actually do not have a way of accommodating their senior or disabled pet. It’s awesome that you tried different ways until you could help him feel secure.

We aren’t getting our sleep bc our 14+ Yorkie is constantly walking and bumping into things. She doesn’t really know us anymore. When I come home she doesn’t wag her tail and come see me. She can’t walk along on a leash anymore. We have to carry her outside to potty and back inside. But she still has accidents. We have to keep her on a leash inside bc she won’t stop moving. I’ve been awake since 2:40 now bc she woke me up moving. Two hours later she’s finally still but I have to get up for work in another hour. I hate to say this but I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s been going on about a year.

The time stamp on posts is 6 hours ahead on this site.

Thanks. It’s a setting that keeps coming undone. Fixed it again.

I’m sorry, Terri. There are a number of us here who have been through that. Have you talked to your vet about medication (not necessarily for dementia, but something gentle to settle her down at night?). Your dog is so lucky you have given her such love and care. I hope you can have an easier time of it.

I called today and found they offer a geriatric check up. I expect we will go do that. What kind of life is it when we have to medicate her to go to sleep at night. Today I had resigned myself that it’s time to let her go and then tonight she licked my hand. I can’t do it yet now. It wouldn’t seem right. But this getting up every night is miserable. And I can’t just let her go outside alone cuz she can’t. I have to go with and carry her in. It’s cold and I want to sleep! It’s a sad situation.last night I smelled a skunk out there and was afraid! Besides, my hubs disagrees w me that it’s time. He’s in a little bit of denial bc he loves dogs more than people!

I use this system for Frosty as well. I also have it set up with fresh water, toys, his bed and some treats during the day and he goes to it (he can’t find the door so I lift him in) when he wants to ignore the activity going on around him. It seems to allow him to manage the amount of stimulation he gets which has helped to keep him from getting anxious.

Catherine, that sounds like a great system. I continue to be amazed at the ways we can help these dogs. Thanks for sharing.

Hi I have a 16 year old jack Russell dog every night she wakes up at 3.30 in a morning or at night she wakes up at 3.00 pasting up and down in my bed room in the end I get up take her down for food and bring her back upstairs and she sleeps again for a while and gets back up again at 4.40-5.00 in the mornings just don’t know what to do with her anymore she has accidents sometimes in the house when I take her for a walk in a morning just round the block she is ever so slow in walking like dose not want to go and wants to sleep in the day then around dinner time take her for another walk she is okay a bit faster but not much then at 7 take her for another walk on the evening she knows she is getting her biscuits at that time she walks a little fast round the block just need advice on what to do with her

Dear Karen, Oh my goodness, that must be tough. Nighttime wakefulness is one of the hardest symptoms for the whole family to deal with.

I know I’m late in answering and I apologize for that. Have you talked to your vet about a gentle sedative for her? I think you are doing well to still get her some exercise with her walks, but sometimes that isn’t enough to get them to settle down for the night. That pacing is a part of the disease.

Take care and I hope you can get some rest! Eileen

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Amherst Veterinary Hospital

Night-time Waking in Senior Dogs

by Amherst | Mar 10, 2017 | Blog

night wandering in dogs

Night-time waking in our senior pets is a common problem we hear from our owners. A good night’s sleep is essential for both dogs and people and when our pets wake up in the middle of the night, the disturbance can affect the entire family. Interrupted sleep in older pets can occur for many reasons including medical, behavioural and cognitive problems.

Medical problems that may cause our dogs to wake in the night are disease processes that cause pain or discomfort or increase the need for your dog to urinate or defecate. Urinary tract infections, kidney disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal upset are a few of the common problems that may cause an increase need to eliminate. This increased frequency will be present during the day as well but are often more noticeable to the pet owner in the middle of the night. Painful diseases, for example, arthritic pain or some forms of cancer, will affect your pet’s ability to lay comfortably for prolonged periods thus breaking up his sleep. Dogs that feel discomfort may pace, pant, vocalize or be restless and these signs can be most pronounced at night.

Cognitive dysfunction is a common reason for night time waking in our older dogs. This is generally a slow, progressive disorder that is similar to dementia in people. The hallmarks of the disease are increasing confusion, reversal of day-night wake sleep patterns and poor adaptability to new situations. Dogs with cognitive dysfunction will often sleep much of the day and be up a lot of the night. As the confusion and consequential anxiety progresses we see this as pacing and panting.

If your dog is starting to wake regularly at night, a visit to your veterinarian is indicated. With a thorough history and physical exam we will start to narrow down the most likely cause of the night-time waking. A basic blood test and urinalysis will determine if your pet has diabetes, kidney disease or a bladder infection. X rays or a trial of pain medication may be indicated if the most likely cause is arthritic pain.

For dogs with cognitive dysfunction, there is no cure and the treatment options are less straight forward. There are medications such as Anipryl and dietary supplements such as fatty acids and SAMe that claim to slow down the cognitive decline or lessen the symptoms, but the results are equivocal. Anxiety during the night can often be the most distressful symptom for our dogs with cognitive dysfunction so anti-anxiety medications such as Valium, Xanax or Trazadone may be recommended.

If your dog is waking regularly at night, seek veterinary attention. It may be necessary to rule out some disease processes but sometimes in the early stages all that may be needed is to establish a good night time routine. Even though this condition may be frustrating, avoid punishing or scolding your pet. They are our aging companions, whom in their twilight years, will require more TLC from their two legged family members.

Dr. Loretta Yuen D.V.M

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night wandering in dogs

Can’t settle down? Why your dog is restless and can’t get comfortable

Is your dog acting restless and pacing or panting? Watching your dog act uncomfortable can be alarming and upsetting. If your dog is acting unsettled and uncomfortable it can be due to a number of possible causes.  The most likely causes for restless behavior in dogs: senility changes, abdominal discomfort, musculoskeletal pain, anxiety or difficulty breathing. 

In this post I will explain distinguishing features for each of these causes.  This will help you determine what may be the root cause of your dog’s behavior and how best to help your dog. 

Table of Contents

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction can cause nighttime restlessness

Senility is caused by aging changes to the brain which affect cognitive abilities.  These age related brain changes affect brain functioning and cause subsequent behavior changes.  In dogs that are 11-12 years old as many at 28% of dogs develop cognitive dysfunction.  This number rises to almost 68% of dogs that are between 15-16 years of age. 

night wandering in dogs

Senilife is available on Amazon. This product contains a number of specialized antioxidants that slow and reverse brain aging. It is available without a prescription and is highly rated.

 She is back to sleeping through the night, very energetic and playful during the day, knows which way the door opens and much more. Her cognitive function has improved drastically, she’s well-rested and always ready to play with her toys. We are still on our first bottle of Senilife, but this is definitely worth a shot if you’re dog is experiencing a cognitive decline. Review on Amazon

To diagnose cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), medical causes should be excluded first. 

A variety of cues related to behavior are evaluated.  Signs of disorientation in a familiar environment, changes in social interactions, sleep-wake cycles, house training and activity can all be clues to CDS. 

Repetitive behavior and aimless wandering and restlessness are prominent changes in senior dogs with cognitive decline. People who suffer from Alzehimer’s disease often develop movement disorders with restlessness, gait impairment and tremors. 

Older dogs with senility changes spend more time involved in aimless activity and have higher locomotor activity than younger dogs.  The more severe the cognitive impairment, the more time is spent in these activities.

Twenty percent of the body’s total oxygen is consumed by the brain.  As dogs age, protective mechanisms to reduce oxidative damage to the brain are less effective.  Oxidative damage to the brain is associated with cognitive decline in dogs. 

There are a couple of therapeutic prescription diets designed to help dogs with cognitive improvement.  The first therapeutic diet , Hills B/D by Science Diet, has shown proven benefit in clinical studies.  B/D is rich in antioxidants and contains flaxseed, carrots,spinach, tomato, alpha-lipoic acid, vitamins E, C and B12, beta carotene and several amino acids.  

Dogs with cognitive dysfunction can improve with a diet supplemented with medium chain triglycerides

The second prescription therapeutic diet is called Neurocare Diet and is made by Purina. This diet is formulated with medium chain triglycerides.  Long term supplementation with medium chain triglycerides has been shown to improve cognitive function in dogs. Diets supplemented with medium chain triglycerides (MCT) increase ketone levels in the blood.  Ketones are the preferred energy source for brain function.

 Dogs given a diet supplemented with 5.5% MCT for 8 months performed significantly better on cognitive tasks than the control group. 

Purina’s Neurocare diet and Hill’s B/D’Diets both require a prescription from your veterinarian. This food marketed by Purina also supports cognitive function in older dogs and is supplemented with medium chain triglycerides (MCTs):  Purina One Vibrant Maturity 7+ Senior Formula

Other ways to improve cognitive function in older dogs

Exercise and brain games.

Focusing on providing more exercise during the day (to suit their physical capacity) and working with your dog 30 minutes a day to provide mental stimulation during the day can also be helpful to help maintain and improve cognition in senior dogs. 

Having your dog “hunt” for food by placing the kibble into a food puzzle or snuffle mat helps brain engagement.  Working with your dog to learn “tricks” and practice exercises such as settling on a mat can all be great brain games. 

Using calming supplements for nighttime restlessness in your dog

The use of calming supplements at night can help encourage your dog to rest at bedtime.  Supplements such as Solliquin or Anxitane and Composure all contain L-Theanine and are available on Amazon. L-Theanine is an amino acid that helps lower anxiety. Anixtane contains only L-theanine while Composure and Solliquin contain a few other natural compounds for anxiety relief.

Read this article for more tips on managing canine anxiety

Anxitane: L- theanine

Composure : L-theanine plus Colostrum Calming Biopeptide, Vitamin B1 and Shoden extract

Soll iquin: L-theanine, Whey protein and extracts of Magnolia and Phellodendron

Another calming supplement  good for use at bedtime is melatonin. Melatonin has been studied to be helpful in lowering doses of premedication drugs needed in dogs prior to surgery.  It has also been found to be helpful to lower anxiety in fearful dogs.  The usual dose given to dogs is 0.1mg/kg rounded up to the nearest tablet or half-tablet size. This should be given 30 minutes before bedtime. 

Most melatonin tablets come as 1mg , 2.5mg, 3mg, and 5mg tablet sizes

Chart for the amount of melatonin to give a dog based on weight

Some behaviorists use a benzodiazepine like lorazepam or a serotonin modulator like trazodone to help older, senile dogs settle and have a more restful night. If your senior dog  also has arthritis pain or discomfort using gabapentin at night can help ease discomfort and also provide mild sedation to encourage relaxation. 

A few other simple adjustments that can be helpful are providing a night light to help your senior dog see where they need to go at night, a heating pad to rest on if it’s cold in the winter time and a small easily digestible snack at bedtime. 

Canine restlessness due to abdominal pain or discomfort

Restlessness in your dog may be due to pain or discomfort.  A common source of discomfort is abdominal pain.  One of the most serious abdominal emergencies we see in veterinary medicine is a condition called bloat.  

Bloat and GDV in dogs causing abdominal pain and discomfort

Bloat happens when the stomach dilates with gas, fluid and food.  The stomach can dilate like a balloon and this pressure can be very uncomfortable. This pressure within the stomach  makes laying down difficult.  A life threatening complication of bloat is when the stomach then twists on its axis . This twist cuts off circulation as the caudal vena cava and portal veins are compressed.   This causes shock, low blood pressure and severe lack of oxygen to the body.   This condition is called gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV). 

Symptoms of GDV include a sudden history of restlessness, abdominal distension, retching, hypersalivation, collapse and trouble breathing.   The abdomen has a tympanic quality from the gas distension of the stomach.  Dogs that have delayed treatment or recognition of these symptoms will progress to have a fast heart rate and poor pulse quality.  They will start to breathe quickly and develop pale mucous membrane color. 

Dogs at risk for GDV

GDV happens most commonly in deep chested breeds of dogs that weigh greater than 60 lbs.  The breeds at greatest risk for GDV are Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Weimaraners, golden retrievers, German shepherd dogs, wolf hounds and bloodhounds. The breed with the highest incidence of GDV is the Great Dane. 

Dogs with a fearful personality are unfortunately at 2.5 times greater risk for developing GDV.  Rapid eating, eating only one large meal per day and restricting water before and after meals can all increase risk of GDV.  In Giant breeds only, eating from a raised feeding bowl also increases risk of GDV.  

Other causes of belly pain in dogs

More common causes of abdominal pain are maldigestion, gas, acid reflux or  inflammation of the pancreas.  Concomitant symptoms of loose stools, decreased or no appetite, vomiting or lethargy would also likely be present. 

Down dog position in your dog indicates extreme abdominal pain

A posture that indicates extreme abdominal pain is the down dog position.  This is when your dog stretches out his/her front legs on the floor and pops his hips up.  It is also called the prayer position. The most common disease that is synonymous with this posture is pancreatitis.  The pancreas is an organ that secretes digestive enzymes. 

The pancreas can sometimes become inflamed and cause a lot of abdominal discomfort. So, if you see your dog alternating between pacing and practicing this posture, you should definitely bring him/or to the veterinarian for evaluation and treatment  

The best way to diagnose pancreatitis is with an ultrasound of the abdomen to visualize that organ and determine if it looks inflamed. 

Treatment for pancreatitis is based on supportive care to reduce pain, providing plenty of fluids and feeding a low fat diet.  Diets high in fat trigger the pancreas to release digestive enzymes and this can worsen inflammation. 

Dogs at risk for pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis can cause chronic pain in dogs and has increased prevalence in the English Cocker Spaniel.  Dogs over 7 years of age are at increased risk of acute pancreatitis.  Terrier and non sporting breeds appear to be at higher risk for developing acute pancreatitis than other breeds. Many dogs also have concurrent diseases such as diabetes, Cushings, chronic kidney disease, cancer, heart failure and autoimmune diseases. Some dogs develop acute pancreatitis following recent medication use or abdominal surgery. 

Dogs at increased risk for pancreatitis are: Dachshunds, Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Fox Terriers and sled dogs.

Canine restlessness to due reflux or ulcers

Trouble getting settled as night may be due to nighttime esophageal reflux.  Symptoms can be panting, pacing, hypersalivation and regurgitation. 

If your dog has acid reflux, an antacid like Prilosec (omeprazole) can be given at 1 mg/kg once to twice a day.  A prescription drug called metoclopramide given 30 minutes before meals and at bedtime can also help protect against reflux. Finally, a small meal at bedtime can help reduce extra acidity at night. 

Gastric ulceration and bleeding in dogs can happen with recent use of NSAIDS ( non steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, certain gastrointestinal and pancreatic cancers, and inflammatory bowel disease. 

Orthopedic or joint pain causing restlessness and discomfort in your dog

Another possible cause of restlessness and difficulty getting settled and in a comfortable resting position is musculoskeletal pain.  This can be due to arthritic changes causing pain particularly when lying down or getting up.  It may hurt to lay on harder surfaces.  Providing your dog a comfortable resting spot is of course helpful.  The problem is some larger breed dogs get hot easily and prefer to avoid their squishy beds.  You may want to buy a hammock bed for your large breed dog.  These are slightly off the ground and allow for more air circulation and a cooler resting spot.   No slip treads on the floor like foam puzzle mats or yoga mates can help a dog feel more confident navigating around the house if they have pain and weakness and provide some cushion for the dog that avoids a bed.  

Some dogs can develop acute back pain.Certain dog breeds such as French Bulldogs, Dachshunds, Pekingese can develop degeneration of their intervertebral discs and predispose them to acute back pain.  Other dogs in this category (chondrodystrophic breeds)  are Beagles, Basset Hounds, Cocker spaniels and Pembroke Welsh Corgis. 

This article explains more about how to determine if your dog has back pain or possibly a herniated disc and how to treat and prevent back pain.

In non-chondrodystrophic dogs, some dogs can develop fibrous changes within their discs causing back pain.  This typically occurs later in life at age 7 or older. 

Signs of and treatment for dog back pain

Dogs with neck or back pain will yelp randomly when moving into certain positions that trigger their neck or back pain.  If they have neck pain you may find that they guard their neck and won’t raise their neck above a certain level.   Dogs with neck or back pain often will stop jumping up and down off furniture.  They may be more quiet and not move around as much.  

Treatment for neck or back pain often relies on giving anti-inflammatory pain relievers like a non steroidal anti-inflammatory medication or combining  steroids with a pain reliever that is good at targeting nervous system pain like gabapentin. Occasionally muscle relaxants are prescribed to stop spasming muscles that can occur in the muscles supporting the neck or back. 

Difficulty breathing in dogs causing trouble getting comfortable 

Finally, another cause of discomfort and trouble getting comfortable in a laying down position is any disease in the chest that is causing difficulty breathing well at night. 

Some dogs with heart disease may find that they struggle more to breathe well at night in a restful position.  Dogs that have an enlarged heart  from heart disease can compress their intrathoracic trachea  and trigger coughing in certain resting positions.  These dogs may have to raise their head to breathe more easily. 

If your dog has excess fluid in their lungs or around their lungs, certain resting positions will further collapse their lungs and cause discomfort when trying to rest. 

If you suspect breathing problems in your dog

f you suspect your dog may be having trouble breathing you should start by counting a resting respiratory rate.  A normal respiratory rate is under 40 breaths per minute.  If you see aresting breathing rate rise above this value, it suggests they are working harder to breathe.  

A trip to the vet is always recommended for any breathing concerns.  Your veterinarian will  listen carefully to your dog’s heart and lungs to determine if there is a murmur present or any sounds of congestion in the lungs.  A chest x-ray can be very helpful to measure the heart size and evaluate the health of the lungs and look for any disease in the lungs or fluid in the chest cavity. 

Anxiety in your dog causing difficulty settling down

Anxiety is often at the root of difficulty settling down. Anxious dogs (just like painful dogs) may pant a lot.  Even if the behavior is out of character, it’s possible your dog has developed a phobia and is anticipating danger.  In these cases, changing the context around nighttime might be helpful to break up the routine.  Perhaps you can try sleeping in a different room in the house.  Anti-anxiety medications can also be useful to “melt” away the anxiety and help your dog to settle down. 

Tricyclic antidepressants are often selected or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) like Reconcile.  Benzodiazepines like lorazepam can be given with these drugs at nighttime. If you suspect your dog is more sensitive to sounds or reacting to nighttime sounds, a white noise machine can make a difference. 

A dog appeasing pheromone collar like Adaptil can diffuse calming pheromones to help your dog relax .  If you prefer not to use a collar,  a plug in diffuser is available too. A good place to start is by using Adaptil and providing a calming supplement with L-theanine (like Anxitane, Composure or Solliquin). 

If your dog is still unsettled and anxious after implementing a few of these suggestions, your best bet is to work on a plan with your veterinarian or a boarded veterinary behaviorist.  

This article has lots of great information about how to diagnose and treat anxiety in your dog.

Conclusion: what is causing your dog to be restless and unable to settle down?

The top 5 reasons for your dog’s restlessness and inability to get comfortable are : senility changes, abdominal discomfort, musculoskeletal pain, anxiety or difficulty breathing. 

I hope this article has helped you understand how to better decipher what may be the root cause of your dog’s behavior so you can create a plan to help your dog relax again. 

Nicole Cohen, DVM DABVP

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  • Constantly licking the floor or their body
  • Acting irritable
  • Forgetting routines (for example, forgetting they’ve already eaten dinner and waiting by their bowl)
  • Panting, pacing, and other signs of anxiety
  • Getting lost in familiar areas of the house and yard
  • Sleeping less or waking often at night
  • Eating less than normal or not eating
  • Seeming unusually fearful during walks or car rides

If your dog has any of these symptoms, take him or her to the vet. The doctor can check for underlying medical causes (for instance, a newly irritable dog may have arthritis pain, not dementia). Your vet may also recommend treatments to slow or reduce dementia symptoms if they’re caught early enough.

What you can do for a dog with sundowners

Follow any recommendations your vet has for dietary changes, supplements, and medications. You can also help your dog by:

  • Maintaining a regular daily routine of playtime, exercise, meals, and medication. (You may need to adjust the routine to sync with sunset after spring and fall time changes.)
  • Giving your dog daily exercise and outside time, for fitness and for sun exposure to help regulate sleep cycles.
  • Scheduling playtime early in the day when your dog is less confused and stressed.
  • Providing toys to occupy their time and give them a bit of a challenge.
  • Being extra patient with your dog when he or she seems confused or anxious.
  • Giving your dog a regular lights-out time at night.

Other things you may want to discuss with your vet are putting a Thundershirt (a weighted garment designed to calm anxious dogs) on your pet in late afternoon and adding a melatonin supplement to your dog’s evening meal for better sleep. If your dog’s symptoms become more intense or if your dog starts snapping at people and other pets, see your vet.

Ways to keep your sundowning dog safe

Keep your doors and gates closed to prevent your dog from wandering. Make sure your dog stays hydrated, and keep tabs on their food intake. Keep small objects and hazardous chemicals out of your senior dog’s reach. Finally, be extra cautious and patient when introducing new people and pets to your dog, to reduce confusion and anxiety.

Learn more about dementia in dogs , human dementia research and best practices , and care options for people with dementia at

Casey Kelly-Barton

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Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelance writer whose childhood was made awesome by her grandmothers, great-grandmother, great-aunts and -uncles, and their friends.

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Thank you for your article. Our dog was diagnosed with sundowners syndrome, and I am looking for information for how to help him. He’s a nine-year old dachsund mix rescued from a storm when he was a puppy. He has always been anxious when the weather would change, but now it is every night no matter the weather that he is distressed. He comes to me for assistance and will just stare in my face or aggressively try to get in my lap. In the middle of the night he seems obsessed with being outside, so I let him out and he then refuses to come back in. It’s hard to know that there’s no cure and that it will get worse. Our family loves him and we don’t want him to suffer.

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Im no expert but try cbd products for dogs..

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Our 14 year old senior dog displays similar behaviors, pacing, climbing on top of me in bed, walking around on top of me, wanting to go outside, panting, drinking water, and it goes on for ours. The one thing I have found that helps is to get him out for very long trail walks, like over an hour or more. This is possible on weekends but not during the work week. These long hikes with all the smelling he does and limbering up just seems to suit him well and “reset” his natural inclinations, and then he sleeps more soundly. Fortunately, he is otherwise healthy. We do give him Benedryl that helps also.

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Help! My 6/7 yo, mix terrier started a new behavior. Every night at the same time, bedtime, she starts to panic. Climbing on me, jumping on & off the bed, panting, and pacing and it goes on for hours. We’ve tried Trazodone, Gabapentin and a combo of those and still nothing. Last night we tried Sileo but I couldn’t get a full dose in between her cheek & gum so don’t know if it works or not – will try again tonight. I’m dumbfounded. The vet is stumped as well. Maybe I’ll try good old Benadryl next. I’m so sad for my girl.

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My 13 years old chihuahua has all the symptoms of sundowners … she was always an anxious dog but now is so much worse and absolutely nothing helps. I’ve been getting no sleep for nites on end and during the day she will not let me out of her sight. No medications have worked no shirts or containing her next will be the CBD oil but I don’t have faith it will help either … I’m at my wits end. Any new suggestions wud be greatly appreciated

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We have the same issues. We tried CBD oil last night. It made it worse. I don’t know what to do. I am at a lose, and with 2 hours of sleep.

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Laura, in my humble opinion it sounds like doggie dementia and if your vet has no idea as to what may be going on I would change vets. Doggie dementia is common in older,dogs as they are living longer and acquire dementia just like old humans. Google dogs with dementia and educate yourself. It can’t be cured but there are meds to please. Also either change vets or get a second opinion. Blessing to you. This is a heartbreaking disease.

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Where can U buy CBD products for dogs?

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We use a high quality therapeutic grade pet CBD. I helps our boxer with her anxious feelings

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Talking to a friend two days ago, I learned their dog has sundowners. Their vet recommended adding fish oil, high in omega-3 to the dogs diet. The dog didn’t like the oil added to food, so they regularly boil salmon to feed her. The dogs behavior has greatly improved. At least for early onset of disease, a diet change may be benificial. Talk to your vet for ideas.

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Trudy My little Missy, a Papillon will be 16 on Oct 6, 2019. She weighs 7 lbs. She started acting funny about two weeks ago. She is blind in both eyes now from glockcomma so i carry her everywhere. She sleeps with me and i have a calif. King waterbed. Any move she makes i wake up because i dont want her to fall off as it sits off the floor 3 ft. She started wining and panting moving from the head to foot and of course i thought maybe she needed to go out, so we kept going out and that wasn’t it. Now this only happens at night .My friend told me about Sundowners which i knew about because my dad had it in the hosp. This is heartbreaking. My little Missy also has seizure, her meds she takes every 12 hrs usually makes her sleepy but has no effect on this Sundowners. Poor baby.

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We have a 16 yr. old Shih tzu that we rescued when he was about 2. He has always had separation anxiety but at around age 10 he really got afraid of traveling with us, which was something he used to love to do. I took him to the vet when he started pacing and panting at night last March 2018. We’ve had him on prozac and xanax which helped quite a bit, but for only a few months. He now hates being in the house, mostly if we aren’t home or at night. I hate having to put him in the garage at night, but it’s too the point where he is suffering inside. I feel that his life has diminished to the point where he needs help getting to the rainbow bridge. And that will break my heart to do. But, he needs peace. I know he’s had a happy, comfortable life with us and he has brought much happiness to us too. I will miss my Joey so very much 🙁

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Having to put my dog Ringo down today after battling Sundowners dementia for several months. He has a bad heart, on meds for, seizures, on cbd oil for, but nothing helps the dementia. Daytime he is pretty normal but nights he is up all night long, no sleep for either of us. Dr. Says nothing he can do at this stage. Essential lavender oil, omega 3s,cbd, benedryl, nothing. I feel awful to put my little guy down. He is only 12 yo but we cant go on and my other dog is affected by his craziness at night. Just sharing.

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My heart is breaking… our 15 1/2 year old dachshund has all the symptoms of this. Now after reading about this I see it has been coming on for a while. I will take him to the vet tomorrow and see what they recommend.

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Hello, My pug Lambert is 12 years old mostly blind, and has no teeth. His cognitive decline has been progressively slow for about a year…now he has all the full blown symptoms of dementia. At night he whines and whimpers, is anxious and acts confused. He wanders around the house getting stuck in a corner…It seems like he is asleep when he whines and barks out…he is not alert. I have tried CBD and so many other things…My latest bedtime concoction of meds has been Trazadone 50mg, xanax 5mg, and a half benedryl tablet. Well, it isn’t really working. He is still up in night for several hours going on many hours. By the time the morning comes he sleeps… In the day time he is much better and likes to go outside in the sun, he likes to eat, but sleeps most of the day. I have begun to dread the night because I am totally sleep deprived trying to care for him. The latest thing I have done is bought him Purina Bright Mind food as recommended by the vet…For those our there with a pooch going through this…I feel for yay! This end has been unexpected and pain to my heart. This burden of the night is heavy for me and Lambert.

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I’m in the same boat with my poor girl. She is probably 11, and has a very, very long history of OCD and anxiety issues. Plus, she has horrible arthritis in her elbows, hips and spine. She’s on fluoxetine, gabapentin, thyroxine, galliprant, and proin. I started CBD oil about a week ago, no change so far. She is up all night, pacing, panting, hopping up on the bed (which is on the ground so she doesn’t have to really jump to get up) and pawing at me or licking me, looking very panicked. It is like she is in constant thunder-storm mode, at night. During the day, you would think there is nothing wrong with her. We walk 2 miles in the morning, then she is on her own, with a dog door, while we are at work during the day. On the weekends she just chills out and hangs out, during the day. Nighttime is still a nightmare. This has been going on for more than two months, I’ve been waiting for something to help, but nothing seems to. It is hard on all of us, and I’m thinking her quality of life is starting to deteriorate.

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Hi my baby Oreo is 10 yrs. Old. She has all the symptoms of (dementia) sundowner syndrome Been researching it on line because it’s very hard to function on 2 to 3 hours sleep aday. A lot of articles say trazadone will help them relax and not feel so afraid, anxious and restless. Its given by weight. Hope this helps.

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wow looks like i finally see what is wrong with my boston. He was having seizures got on meds for that and has helped. But now we are walking around on bed I make him lay down he sleeps for a little bit but back up. This goes on for a couple hours and it just started a few days ago he has never done this before and his age is 11. I have kids but now they r grown and Buggs is my boy. thanks for this site helped so much

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Same here. 14 year old lab mix. Liver disease dementia also. Up all night wines water out in goes on till around 6 a.m. . Have tried everything. Melatonin natural calmer tryptophan mix Rescue Remedy xcetera. Couldn’t take it anymore last night after several days of no sleep. Her whining gave my fourteen-year-old Dalmatian a seizure at 3 a.m. . Gave her a shot half a cc of acepromazine. She slept. 24 hours later still sleeping. Took her out to the bathroom this evening. She is sleeping so relaxed and on her side and so at peace. I’m a retired vet tech so I had the acepromazine and normally you’re not going to get it in injection form but you can get tablets and melt them in warm water and syringe the mouth. Get these from your vet. It is the only absolute thing that worked. I worried this will be hard on her failing liver but might be worth the peace. Also put night light in her bed area in laundry room. As a last resort I will get a kiddie pool and put a bed in it and for her in the family room in the bed and me on the couch where I can reach and pet. It is worth the probably small time she has left. She does wet the bed at night. So this might be a good solution. Please everyone try the acepromazine.

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My lhasapoo will be 14 in may 2020 and the last few months i have noticed that at night around 7 alot of these symptoms start occurring. Shes loosing weight and she seems to stare off into space alot and when u call for her she acts like she doesnt hear u. she will go outside on her lease and come in and want to go right back outside. She has been wanting up around 2 and 3 at night to go potty. She has a kennel she sleeps in and seems real comfy in it but reading this article i firmly believe she has this… i will be taking her to the vet to confirm but Im so devistated knowing my baby girl is going thru this and theres nothing i can do to change it.

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Donovan A beautiful 12 yo Irish Setter, sweetest boy ever… loves life but developed Sundowners like all the rest of the stories… vet was on it with 3 mg of Melatonin, Trazadone, and Acepromazine ( which I used for the 4th of July…plus high end CBD.. when it started he went into full panic mode of panting horribly and pacing accepting no help from me at all.. confused and scared with his beautiful eyes just staring at me for help…I think the Melatonin and Trazadone ate at least calming him down some.. still restless and no sleep for either of us… I have a heart condition and this is pushing me to the edge because I cannot bring him any peace ! There is mental suffering and pain, just as there is physical.. so my issue is trying to decide whether it’s his time… his back legs are getting weaker and weaker… I don’t want to wait until everything starts failing and I see nothing but fear in his eyes, then have to call the vet to set him free, or do it now knowing things are getting worse all the time, at least he would not be in a situation where he becomes frightened … it would break my Heart ❤️ My thoughts go out to all Of you out there going through this horrible disease… thank you all for sharing, it has brought me some Peace ?

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Our Sadie is a beagle/terrier mix. She turned 15 in November & is pretty much blind & deaf but still gets around great. Last summer she started acting weird & when outside would walk around & around the house (we have a big yard & she hasn’t wandered off so it’s good exercise for her). All day she’s good but as soon as it starts to get dark she wants to go in and out constantly. She’s up 4-5 times in the middle of the night & goes to the bathroom inside if we don’t let her out. Both my husband & I are exhausted. Where can I get some of this acepromazine? She can still go up & down steps, get up on the couch & bed with a stool, & has a good appetite, so we hate to put her down. She’s been such a gentle soul, this is so unlike her! It’s breaking our hearts.

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My Dachshund Pekingese mix is 15 and he’s started developing some symptoms. He can’t drink out of his water bowl and hovers his tongue above it. He’ll lick the sides of the bowl as well but can never get water. I don’t know what to do, he’s just unable to drink and he’s getting desperate… If anyone has ideas I’d appreciate it.

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I feel for everyone on this site. Our Silky Terrier has been exhibiting behaviors such as pacing, panting, climbing on and off our bed, where he used to sleep peacefully all these years (13 yrs. we’ve had him). Wanting to go out 4 or 5 times a night. Eats well and seems fine during the day, but come 8 PM or so, it starts all over again. He is taking Trazadone 50 mg. and Melatonin 3 mg. Our Vet suggested CBD oil as well. We are going to order this from Green Compass, as we are in NC and it is a company in NC and I think part of our hemp industry here. I can check on that. We are exhausted but feel somewhat comforted by everyone’s post here, so we don’t feel as though we are alone in this. God bless !

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[Updated March 28, 2018]


1. Help your senior dog at home by following a predictable daily routine.

2. Make gradual, rather than sudden, changes in the household or routine.

3. Use tactile (rugs, runners), and audible (TV, radio) cues to help pets maintain orientation and help with navigation around the house.

Each of us has, at some point, wandered into a room and realized that we’ve forgotten why we’ve gone there. When that happens, chances are we are momentarily perturbed with ourselves, but typically we chalk it up to too much on the brain, remember why we’re there, then move on. Should our dogs wander in the same fashion, it could well be a sign of cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), a condition quite similar to Alzheimer’s in humans. CDS happens when the aging process affects brain pathology, resulting in behavioral changes, including cognitive decline (memory and learning). One of the biggest culprits is the damage done to mitochondria caused by oxidative damage over time. Researchers also believe that a decline in cerebral vascular circulation contributes to the changes we see in our aging dogs.

How to Care For an Older Dog

Testing dogs’ cognitive abilities in a laboratory setting has shown that signs of CDS can be seen as early as seven years of age, yet we, as pet owners, often don’t realize a change in our canine companions until they reach 10 years of age or older. However, dogs trained to a higher level – such as service or guide dogs, agility, and other competition dogs – are those whose cognitive decline might be noticed sooner than that in “just” a pet dog because of a subsequent drop off in the highly trained dog’s performance.

Symptoms of Cognitive Decline in Old Dogs

The gold standard for testing for CDS is in the laboratory. In aged dogs tested in a laboratory setting, researchers observed poor performances on cognitive tasks using a “three component delayed non-matched to position task” (3-DNMP) that tested discrimination learning (ability to select one object over another), reversal learning (after training to select an object, criteria are reversed), and spatial memory (memory of places).

Unfortunately, such laboratory testing is not readily available to us mere mortals. So what should you do? Watch and observe your dog, looking for changes in his or her behavior that might be symptoms of CDS. Traditional “DISHA” categories include:

  • Disorientation, including appearing lost or confused in the house or yard; wandering aimlessly; pacing; staring into space or at walls
  • Altered Interactions with people or other pets, including not seeking attention or petting or failing to greet family members
  • Sleep-wake cycle alterations, including sleeping more in the day, less at night
  • House-soiling “accidents”
  • Altered activity level

Gary Landsberg, DVM, DACVB, in his paper “Therapeutic Agents for the Treatment of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in Senior Dogs,” published in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry , notes that we might also see:

  • increase in anxiety
  • decrease in hygiene/self-grooming
  • altered appetite
  • decreased responsiveness to stimuli
  • deficits in learning and memory

At the same time, it’s important not to jump to conclusions and self-diagnose our dogs if we see any of these signs. These changes can also be due to a variety of medical problems, so it’s important to first rule out environmental factors, physical health, and drug-induced behavior side effects with a visit to your dog’s veterinarian.

I had that very experience with my 12-year-old Bouvier, Axel. When I queried his veterinarian, Susan Wynn, DVM, as to whether his standing very still for periods of time when out in the backyard with me was a sign of CDS, her observation, after further querying me, was that she just wasn’t seeing it. Her hunch was that the behavior was most likely a result of pain from arthritis.

How to Care For an Older Dog

She further explains, “I think CDS is very difficult to differentiate from pain and this is a mistake that is made often. I do see CDS occasionally, but I treat for pain first, and as an acupuncturist, I often find pain that is missed on the conventional exam. If signs of compulsive walking and disorientation remain after two weeks, I’ll usually initiate a trial for cognitive dysfunction.”

What You Can Do for Your Old Dog

If you’re concerned that your canine companion might be showing signs of CDS, don’t panic, cry, or devour a box of bon-bons just yet. The good news is that there are traditional and alternative interventions that can both treat the symptoms and also possibly halt further progression of the condition.

Most exciting of all have been ground-breaking studies examining the positive impact of dietary supplementation and behavioral enrichment that includes social, cognitive enrichment (learning problems), and physical exercise components. Check with your veterinarian to discuss the following alternatives.

Dietary Intervention

A variety of clinical studies have revealed that dietary intervention in the form of an antioxidant-enriched diet improved the learning ability of older dogs, and a resulted in a subsequent decrease in CDS symptoms. Primary supplementation included:

• Vitamin E: Acts to protect cell membranes from oxidative damage

• Vitamin C: Essential in maintaining oxidative protection for the soluble phase of cells as well as preventing Vitamin E from propagating free radical production

• L-Carnitine: Mitochondrial co-factor

• Alpha-lipoic acid: Mitochondrial co-factor

• Other antioxidants from fruits and vegetables (i.e., spinach flakes, tomato pomace, grape pomace, carrot granules, and citrus pulp) that are also rich in flavonoids and carotenoids

Dr. Landsberg notes that it has been suggested that high intakes of fruits and vegetables might decrease the risk for age related cognitive decline through their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and the addition of omega-3 fatty acids can promote cell membrane health and provide a possible anti-inflammatory effect. Although available in a commercial prescription dog food, the diet can be mimicked by those pet owners who prefer to feed home-prepared, or another type of food by feeding an antioxidant rich diet and supplementing.

Dr. Wynn, who practices alternative and complementary medicine and is the nutritionist at Georgia Veterinary Specialists in Sandy Springs, Georgia, says that antioxidants are the single most important treatment for her clients diagnosed with CDS, adding that “any older dog with clinical signs” is a good candidate. In addition to antioxidants, she uses acetyl-l-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid. She also recommends herbs, preferring to treat with lemon balm, gingko, bacopa, and gotu cola. In her experience, she expects to see results “usually within two weeks.”

Dr. Wynn agrees, too, that for those people so inclined, “Use the diet you want, plus antioxidants and alpha-lipoic acid and acetyl-l-carnitine supplements.”

Behavioral Enrichment

Just as exciting is the research reported in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory , “Enhanced Spatial Ability in Aged Dogs Following Dietary and Behavioural Enrichment” (P.M.D. Nippak, J. Mendelson, B. Muggenburg, N.W. Milgram). This study tested aged dogs on a 3-DNMP test, and followed the results of dietary intervention and behavioral enrichment on the cognitive abilities of aged (and control) dogs in the trial for three years. As has been found in previous studies, dietary intervention in this study ” . . . led to rapid improvements in learning and within two weeks, significant improvements in spatial attention.” Over time, learning ability improved as well, while untreated dogs showed progressive decline.

In their test of the effect of behavioral enrichment on cognitive abilities, researchers reported that the dogs showed similar improvements to those receiving dietary intervention. Behavioral enrichment included increased exercise, environmental enrichment (kennel mate, toys alternated weekly), and a program of cognitive enrichment. Why? We can only guess, based on data from human studies that tell us:

• Physical activity is associated with improved cognitive function and lower risks of cognitive impairment and dementia.

• Enriched environments improve learning ability and ” can be sufficiently robust to reduce or eliminate age-dependent cognitive decline, particularly if intervention is instituted early in development.”

• Cognitive experience is linked to the absence of cognitive dysfunction, with an inverse relationship between educational level and rate of cognitive decline later in life; studies also show that patients with dementia demonstrated an improvement in cognitive performance following the implementation of special cognitive training protocols.”

Jonna Kanable, Certified Canine Rehab Practitioner (CCRP) with Atlanta Animal Rehab and Fitness in Roswell, Georgia, is a firm proponent of the exercise piece of the puzzle. “If you look at it from the common sense standpoint, if you increase blood flow to a particular organ, you’ll see more nerves firing and more synaptic involvement, and you should definitely increase cognitive ability at that point, too.

How to Care For an Older Dog

“In my own experience, I’ve had a lot of elderly canine clients for exercise (underwater treadmill) who were arthritic but also showed symptoms of CDS. They were prescribed exercise to help out with the arthritis, but we also saw their cognitive ability improve.”

Kanable also reported seeing dogs with “more peppiness, not that listless stare; they’re looking around more, and definitely seem to be more energetic afterward.” The more weekly sessions the dogs attended, the longer they “held” their treatments and demonstrated more voluntary movement at home instead of just lying or standing in one spot. Plus, she adds, “All the owners, every single one of them, said with exercise during the day they saw improvements (a decrease) in their dogs’ pacing behavior (a classic CDS symptom) at night.” Kanable believes daily exercise is the key. Even if it’s short periods of exercise – 10 to 15 minutes at a time, two to three times daily, for an elderly pet, depending on their level of conditioning – owners should expect to see better quality of sleep for their pets and better cognitive ability.

In addition to exercise, enriching your dog’s environment could include short outings to meet people and take in new sights and sounds; visits with other dog-friendly pets; mini-daily training sessions; a low key training class; and a weekly rotation of toys. Whole Dog Journal ‘s Training Editor, Pat Miller, lists the following activities as a few of her favorites to keep your dog’s brain engaged:

• Shaping games, including “101 Things to Do With a Prop,” or directed shaping of a specific task; great because these can be played no matter how much a dog may be physically limited.

• Playing with interactive puzzle games .

• Targeting games such as touch an object, go outs, and object discrimination.

• Learning to spell .

• Playing “find it!” (hide a toy or treat).

• Playing with interactive stuffed toys with “parts” the dog pulls out or apart.

Diet + Behavioral Enrichment = Best Formula

All these things are helpful for dogs with CDS, but what researchers discovered was that the combination treatment group – the one that received both dietary and behavioral interventions – consistently demonstrated greater benefit than groups receiving a sole treatment. Prior reports indicated that the “3-DNMP” task was too difficult for aged animals, yet this study showed aged dogs making fewer errors and responding more slowly (actually a good sign!) on these complex tasks.

While Dr. Wynn likes to start dogs on antioxidants at roughly nine years of age as “prevention,” she, too, is a big believer in the power of behavioral enrichment in combination with dietary intervention.

“I think that, as in humans, if you don’t use it, you lose it,” says Dr. Wynn. “Some older dogs are left at home with nothing to do but dwell on their anxieties – the gradual loss of hearing and sight, increasing stiffness and pain. I really think they dwell on these changes unless they are given other things to do and to think about, and are provided with adequate pain control. So we should manage their pain very aggressively with acupuncture, massage, herbs, chiropractic, physical therapy, and drugs, and provide them with small projects, or if possible, keep them in training. Training and exercise should never stop.”


A variety of nutraceuticals intended to boost brain power are available. Studies that indicate that Juvenon®, available for dogs as “Vigorate,” is effective for canine CDS. Other available nutraceuticals include Memoractiv™, Geriactive®, Proneurozone™, and Senior Moment®. At this time, the efficacy of these products has not been proven through clinical trials or cognitive studies, although some users report seeing improvements in their dogs.


Currently, the only veterinary pharmaceutical approved by the FDA for treatment of CDS is Anipryl® (selegiline hydrochloride, L-deprenyl hydrochloride). This drug has also been used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s in humans.

Like any drug, Anipryl can cause adverse reactions and side effects, and should not be used in combination with drugs that include, but not limited to, phenylpropanolamine, ephedrine, other tricyclic antidepressants (Clomicalm), amitraz (Mitaban dips or Preventic collars), fluoxetine, mirtazapine ( a tetracyclic antidepressant used as an antiemetic and appetite stimulant, often in cancer patients), and tramadol. A thorough review of current medications and an in-depth discussion with your veterinarian are in order should you decide to take this route.

Other pharmaceuticals being studied, according to Dr. Landsberg, are those that enhance cerebral vascular circulation and drugs that increase alertness and regulate sleep-wake cycles. Antidepressants might also help (i.e., clomipramine), as might anti-inflammatory drugs and hormone replacement therapy, although clinical trials have yet to be run specifically for treatment of CDS with these interventions.

Prepare While Your Dog is Sharp!

Think your friend is not quite ready for the senior center? Well then, now is the perfect time to get serious about updating his diet and engaging him in an active lifestyle. Human epidemiologic studies suggest that maintaining an active lifestyle can protect against pathological aging. Participation in cognitively stimulating or physical activities that lead to improved function reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Reduced intellectual or physical activity in middle age has been shown to lead to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s later in life.

Since some treatments might actually slow the progression of disease rather than simply treat symptoms, it’s best to start treatment of senior dogs prior to onset of clinical signs. At the end of the day, it’s a win-win situation, with both of you benefitting from a change in lifestyle that incorporates an antioxidant-rich diet, exercise, and cognitive stimulation.

Lisa Rodier lives in Alpharetta, Georgia, with her husband and two Bouviers.


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Why is Your Dog Restless at Night and What Can You Do About It?

Last Updated on October 5, 2023

Written by Jill Zwarensteyn

Jill Zwarensteyn

Written by Jill Zwarensteyn, Editor

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Trying to figure out why your dog is restless at night? We have a few potential answers for you.

Dogs make wonderful and loving companions, but that doesn’t mean they don’t come without their challenges. An anxious dog could easily become the cause of many sleepless nights. Just as the dog’s restless behavior can be disruptive, you may also develop anxiety yourself out of concern for your pup.

If you are currently wondering why your dog is restless and anxious at night, we are here to help. We will review different methods to help your dog sleep soundly through the night while examining the different reasons why your dog may be restless.

You and your pup might need more space, check out our expert recommended  Best King Size Mattresses  for you both to get the best nights sleep. 

Why Is My Dog Restless at Night All of a Sudden?

Whether you have noticed an uptick in nighttime restlessness or your dog has always been anxious at this time, the following reasons could explain your pup’s behavior.

Like humans, dogs can experience fearful feelings from time to time, and the reasons they get scared can vary too. For instance, dogs have very sensitive hearing, and as a result, they can become easily restless at night from loud noises. Thunderstorms and fireworks are several examples of loud noises that are known to exacerbate a dog’s anxiety.

Exposure to different environments may also cause them to be fearful. For example, a dog spending the night somewhere new may be extra intimated by their new surroundings and have trouble relaxing.

Separation Anxiety

Sometimes dogs can develop separation anxiety when they are not around their guardians. For instance, a dog’s anxiety could arise at night if they stay overnight somewhere without their guardian or have to sleep in a different room than where their guardian sleeps. Other  separation anxiety [1]  causes could be that the dog was surrendered or abandoned, adopted by a new family, changes to the dog’s routine or schedule, moving to a new home, or changes in the family such as a member dying or moving away.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ( ASPCA [2] ), senior dogs may experience nighttime separation anxiety because they view sleeping as a way of being isolated from their guardian. However, they add that senior dog anxiety from separation could be due to an underlying issue such as a medical disease.

Separation Anxiety Symptoms

  • As you get ready to leave your home, the dog may start pacing, panting, salivating, hiding, trembling, or showing signs of depression.
  • Shortly after you leave, they may become destructive or vocal.
  • Their destructive behavior may be specifically directed at exits such as doors and windows.
  • They may go to the bathroom in the house while you are gone or about to leave.
  • They do not eat while left alone.

Learn More:   How Much Do Dogs Sleep?

Also, like their human counterparts, pain can prevent dogs from sleeping through the night. Although they can’t describe their pain by speaking, dogs may try to share that they are in discomfort through various  signs [3] .

Signs a Dog is in Pain

  • Vocalization such as whimpering, yelping, or growling
  • Faster breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Reduced appetite
  • Hesitant to move

Dogs of all ages could experience pain due to medical issues, general wear and tear, or an injury. However, an older dog is at an increased risk for health complications or chronic pain. If you suspect your dog is in pain, you should consult with a veterinarian immediately.

Conditions That Could Cause Pain in Dogs

Infection or illness.

Like humans, dogs are vulnerable to  infections and diseases [4] . Lyme disease, ringworm, and giardia are a few examples of the types of illnesses that can affect canines.

Some of the more common injuries a dog could experience include ingesting foreign objects, scratches and scrapes, eye injuries, and ligament tears.

Whether they are elective or a medical emergency, dogs can also experience discomfort following surgery. Many dogs will inherently want to lick or bite at their post-surgery wounds, which is why you will usually see dogs wear special collars to prevent them from doing this.

Dental Problems

Dogs are also vulnerable to dental problems, such as Gingivitis and Periodontitis, that could become uncomfortable.

Canines can also develop  osteoarthritis [5]  that causes inflammation and pain in the joints. A veterinarian will be able to formally diagnose if a dog has arthritis.

Experts say there is not one specific reason why a dog develops this condition. Instead, they can develop osteoarthritis over time based on a variety of factors such as their build, being overweight, abnormal joint development, how active they are, previous injuries, orthopedic surgeries, and nutrition.

Bone Disease

Different types of bone diseases can impact young dogs still growing into their full size.  According to  VCA Hospitals [6] , younger dogs can experience specific bone diseases that include Osteochondritis Dissecans, Panosteitis, Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy, Elbow Dysplasia, Hip Dysplasia, and Luxating Patella. While some of these can lead to limping in the front and back legs, others can cause limping in just the front or back.

Unfortunately, dogs may also develop cancer during their lifetime. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ( FDA [7] ), over half of pet deaths over the age of 10 are due to cancer.

However, the good news is that preventive care, emerging treatment reserach, and early diagnosis can help pets live longer.

Experts say pet owners should be mindful of certain warning signs that a pet may have cancer. Look for lumps or bumps, wounds that do not heal, swelling, and abnormal bleeding. Additionally, changes in how they eat, sleep, drink, and go to the bathroom could also be cause for concern.

As mentioned, our furry companions experience an increased risk of health complications as they age. One of those issues is Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD), a behavioral syndrome affecting senior dogs. Several cognitive dysfunction symptoms could explain why an older dog might be restless at night. 

The first is changes to their sleep-wake cycle. For example, the dog may become more fidgety at night when they’re supposed to sleep, or they begin to sleep more during the day instead. Dogs may also display repetitive behaviors such as pacing and an overall increase in anxiety and restlessness.

Other Signs of Cognitive Dysfunction in Older Dogs

  • Disorientation
  • Changes in how they interact with you and others
  • Soiling in the house
  • Learning and memory impairments

Not Enough Physical Activity

Many dogs can develop a lot of pent-up energy, and when they do not get enough exercise during the day, this could cause them to become restless at night. So while a walk or two around the block to go to the bathroom is  some  activity, it likely may not be enough to expel their energy, particularly if the dog is larger.

How to Calm a Restless Dog at Night

Create a calm environment.

If your dog is extra skittish at night, try creating a quiet and dark environment where they can sleep. The dog could be easily startled by loud noises or lights, which may be why they appear restless during the night. 

In the event of thunderstorms or fireworks, keep the windows closed to help muffle the sounds as much as possible. You could also try putting on some calming music to help further drown out the noise outside. 

If you have a den or finished basement that is quieter, you could try letting the dog sleep down there. However, be sure that your dog is okay to be left alone, as this could exacerbate separation anxiety if they have that as well.

Provide Comfort

Sometimes, providing extra comfort for your pup could do the trick when it comes to helping them sleep better.

Good Dog Bed

Just as a new mattress can work wonders for improving your sleep, dogs may also benefit from a cozy bed. For instance, orthopedic dog beds could help relieve pain in dogs with arthritis. Furthermore, a cushiony bed is likely more inducive for peaceful sleeping than a cold hardwood floor.

Stuffed Toys or Blankets

Puppies recently separated from their siblings or mother may need extra comfort as they adjust to their new environment. To help them in this process, consider purchasing one or two stuffed toys and a blanket they can cuddle.

Soothing Noises

Playing soothing sounds at night could also help restless dogs feel more relaxed. You can find multiple playlists catered to calming down dogs on Spotify and Youtube.

Daytime Exercise

As mentioned earlier, not getting enough physical activity during the day could cause a dog to feel restless at night. Therefore, you should allow your pup adequate time for daytime exercise, particularly if you notice they are restless at night. 

If you have a backyard, this is an easy opportunity to let the dog run around. However, those who live in apartments or condominiums will need to make time to take their dog out. 

Dog parks, walks, the beach, and hikes are just some of the ways you can provide your pup with physical activity. If they are extra playful, consider bringing along a frisbee or tennis ball to play a game of catch.

Last Minute Bathroom Break

In some cases, a dog could exhibit signs of restlessness because they need to relieve themselves. Taking your canine for a last-minute potty break right before bed could help prevent this from happening, allowing them to rest more comfortably until morning.

Calming Aids

If you have tried multiple tactics but still have no luck, consider giving your pup calming aids. The good news is that calming aids for dogs can come in various forms, such as supplements, vests, collars, oils, and sprays. Although these aids are relatively easy to find, either online or in pet supply stores, you should get one that your dog’s vet approves of since they could affect certain dogs differently.

Speak With Your Dog’s Veterinarian

In general, your dog’s vet will be an excellent resource if your pup is anxious at night. A veterinarian can help determine if an underlying medical issue is causing the restlessness, or they can provide more specific solutions to help your dog rest better. Before the appointment, try to keep a journal of your dog’s nighttime symptoms, so the vet has a clear understanding of how the dog is behaving.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if i’m trying to crate train my puppy.

We covered earlier that puppies can experience nighttime anxiety after becoming newly separated from their mom and siblings. Many new pet parents will also try to  crate train [8]  their puppy during this time. Veterinary experts recommend several options to help a puppy sleep through the night while crate training.

The first is to try out a crate cover during summer when the sun sets later and rises earlier. Like humans, puppy sleep patterns can be affected by light and dark. Furthermore, the experts advise turning off additional lights in the room, such as televisions and cell phones.

They also suggest other ways to help the puppy feel secure and cozy inside the crate, such as a dog bed, blanket, soothing scents and sounds, and stuffed toys to cuddle with while they sleep. Pre-bedtime bathroom breaks are also important, but make sure it is relaxed and not an opportunity to play because this could wind them up before bed.

Lastly,  be mindful not to feed your puppy too late or early. If puppies eat too early, they could become hungry during the night, and if they eat too late, they may need to relieve themselves in the middle of the night.

Check Out Our Guide:  Best Rated Dog Crate Beds

When does canine dementia usually start?

Canine cognitive dementia [9]  typically begins when the dog is 11 years or older. Researchers say this neurodegenerative disease affects about 60 percent of dogs.

While no specific breed is more affected by this than others, experts say it is usually diagnosed in smaller breeds since they tend to have a longer lifespan than larger dogs. Furthermore, they say that CCD’s similarity to Alzheimer’s could provide helpful insight into the human disease.

Should I sleep with my dog?

You might wonder whether sleeping with your pet, either in the same room or bed, could help with their anxiety. Plus, some people sleep with their pets to relieve their own anxious feelings.

Sleeping with your pet is not inherently a bad thing. However, there are factors you will need to consider beforehand, in particular your health and the health of your dog. 

For example, dogs with arthritis could have difficulty getting in and out of bed. In this case, a simple solution would be to let them sleep in your bedroom instead of sharing a bed. 

If you have allergies, sleeping beside your pet could worsen them. Even if you are not allergic to dogs specifically, they can carry other allergens in their fur, such as pollen, dust, and danger. 

Furthermore,  co-sleeping with a dog  could lead to more disturbed sleep if the animal moves around a lot. You may also accidentally irritate or hurt your pup if you roll over on top of them while you are asleep.

Are some breeds more anxious than others?

Different dog breeds are known to have their own unique personalities, and researchers point out that these traits come from their specific  DNA patterns [10] . That raises the question, then, as to whether certain breeds are more likely to experience anxiety.

To determine this, a research team asked dog owners to fill out a survey about their dog’s personality. Based on the responses, they found that certain dog breeds are prone to anxious behaviors.

However, they limited their findings to 14 breeds and 200 responses. In total, the team had received over 13,000 responses covering 264 breeds.

They found that Lagotto Romagnolos, Wheaten Terriers, and mixed breed dogs were most sensitive to noises. Secondly, Spanish water dogs, Shetland dogs, and mixed breeds are the most fearful breeds. Lastly, miniature schnauzers were more aggressive and uneasy around strangers.

Furthermore, these findings may not be entirely genetic but rather a combination of DNA and environmental factors. For example, mixed breeds are more likely to experience time in a shelter, which could increase their risk of developing anxiety.

Jill Zwarensteyn

Jill Zwarensteyn

About author.

Jill Zwarensteyn is the Editor for Sleep Advisor and a Certified Sleep Science Coach. She is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.

Combination Sleeper

[1]  “Separation Anxiety” , ASPCA

[2]  “Behavior Problems in Older Dogs” , ASPCA

[3]  “How to Know if Your Dog Is in Pain: Signs of Discomfort” , American Kennel Club, May 23, 2021

[4]  “Infectious Diseases” , VCA Hospitals

[5]  “Arthritis in Dogs” , VCA Hospitals

[6]  “Bone Diseases of Growing Dogs” , VCA Hospitals

[7]  “My Dog Has Cancer: What Do I Need to Know?” , U.S. Food and Drug Administration, July 29, 2021

[8]  “Trainer Tips to Help Your Puppy Sleep Through the Night” , Preventative Vet, September 15, 2021

[9] Sonja Prpar Mihevc, Gregor Majdič,  “Canine Cognitive Dysfunction and Alzheimer’s Disease – Two Facets of the Same Disease?” , National Library of Medicine, 2019

[10]  “Is your dog anxious? Genes common to its breed could play a role” , Science, March 5, 2020

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Old dog on a couch

The Effects of Aging

As they age, our dogs often suffer a decline in functioning. Their memory, their ability to learn, their awareness and their senses of sight and hearing can all deteriorate. Aging can also change their social relationships with you and other pets in your home. Understanding the changes your dog is undergoing can help you compassionately and effectively deal with behavior problems that may arise in your dog’s senior years.

Be sure to report all changes you see to your dog’s veterinarian. Don’t assume that your dog is “just getting old” and nothing can be done to help him. Many changes in behavior can be signs of treatable medical disorders (please see Ruling Out Specific Medical Problems, below), and there are a variety of therapies that can comfort your dog and manage his symptoms, including any pain he might be experiencing.

In addition to seeking professional help from your veterinarian and an animal behavior expert (such as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, CAAB or ACAAB) for the age-related behavior issues covered in this article, a key contributing factor to keeping your older dog healthy is to continue to play with him, exercise him and train him throughout his life. You will likely need to adapt play and exercise to his slower movements, reduced energy level, declining eyesight and hearing, and any medical conditions he may have. Talk to a Certified Professional Dog Trainer in your area (CPDT) for fun ways to teach your old dog new tricks. Patiently keeping in mind his slower learning curve, you can have fun sharpening up rusty behaviors he once learned and teaching him some new behaviors and tricks. A CPDT can also help you change your verbal cues to hand signals if your dog has lost his hearing and help you adjust your training for any physical impairments your dog may have developed. There are many ways to keep your older dog’s life interesting and stimulating that don’t require vigorous physical effort. Just as with humans, dogs need to use their brains and bodies to maintain their mental and physical fitness. As the saying goes, use it or lose it!

Checklist for Cognitive Dysfunction

Following is a list of possible changes and symptoms in your senior dog that could indicate cognitive dysfunction.

Confusion/Spatial Disorientation

  • Gets lost in familiar locations
  • Goes to the wrong side of the door (where the hinge is)
  • Gets stuck and can’t navigate around or over obstacles

Relationships/Social Behavior

  • Less interested in petting, interactions, greeting people or other dogs, etc.
  • Needs constant contact, becomes overdependent and clingy

Activity—Increased or Repetitive

  • Stares, fixates on or snaps at objects
  • Paces or wanders about aimlessly
  • Licks you, family members or objects a lot
  • Vocalizes more
  • Eats more food or eats more quickly

Activity—Decreased, Apathetic

  • Explores less and responds less to things going on around him
  • Grooms himself less

Anxiety/Increased Irritability

  • Seems restless or agitated
  • Is anxious about being separated from family members
  • Behaves more irritably in general

Sleep-Wake Cycles/Reversed Day-Night Schedule

  • Sleeps restlessly, awakens at night
  • Sleeps more during the day

Learning and Memory—House Soiling

  • Eliminates indoors in random locations or in view of you or family members
  • Eliminates indoors after returning from outside
  • Eliminates in sleeping areas (for example, in his crate or on the couch or floor)
  • Uses body language less (body postures and signals associated with feelings)
  • Develops incontinence (accidental release of bladder)

Learning and Memory—Work, Tasks, Cues

  • Demonstrates an impaired ability to work or perform tasks
  • Sometimes seems unable to recognize familiar people and pets
  • Shows decreased responsiveness to known cues for obedience, tricks, sports and games
  • Seems unable or slower to learn new tasks or cues

Ruling Out Other Causes for Your Dog’s Behavior

If your dog shows any of the symptoms or changes listed above, your first step is to take him to his veterinarian to determine whether there is a specific medical cause for his behavior. Any medical or degenerative illness that causes pain, discomfort or decreased mobility—such as arthritis, dental disease, hypothyroidism, cancer, impaired sight or hearing, urinary tract disease or Cushing’s disease—can lead to increased sensitivity and irritability, increased anxiety about being touched or approached, increased aggression (since your dog may choose to threaten and bite rather than move away), decreased responsiveness to your voice, reduced ability to adapt to change and reduced ability to get to usual elimination areas.

If medical problems are ruled out, and if primary behavior problems unrelated to aging are ruled out (for example, problems that started years before your dog began aging or those that started in response to recent changes in his environment or family), then these behavioral signs are presumed to be due to the effects of aging on the brain and are diagnosed as “cognitive dysfunction syndrome.”

Treatment of Cognitive Dysfunction

The primary signs of cognitive dysfunction syndrome can be summarized with the acronym CRASH, which stands for:

  • Confusion/disorientation
  • Responsiveness/recognition decreases
  • Activity changes
  • Sleep-wake cycle disturbances
  • House training lapses

Cognitive dysfunction syndrome can be treated by your dog’s veterinarian with the drug selegiline hydrochloride (brand name Anipryl®). There are a number of other medications and supplements that you and your vet may consider as well. It’s most effective to combine drug therapy with behavioral treatment that’s based on the specific problems your dog is having.

Specific Geriatric Behavior Problems and Their Behavioral Treatment

Anxiety—Including Separation Anxiety Some common concerns reported by guardians of aging dogs are increased sensitivity and irritability, increased fear of unfamiliar pets and people (sometimes accompanied by aggression), decreased tolerance of touch and restraint, increased following and desire for contact, and increased anxiety when left alone. Noise sensitivity from hearing loss can also make some dogs more anxious and vocal. Your own frustration and distress over your dog’s behavior can add to your dog’s anxiety as well.

If house soiling has become a problem, some guardians opt to crate their dogs when they’re not home. Unfortunately, confining a senior dog to a crate can raise his anxiety level if he’s never been crated or is no longer accustomed to it. To make things worse, if he can’t get comfortable in the crate, or if he can’t control his bowels or bladder, he’ll be even more anxious and may attempt to escape. In these cases, it may be the confinement, not the guardian’s departure, that causes anxiety.

If it’s the guardian’s departure and absence that causes a dog’s anxiety, it’s called separation anxiety. The cardinal indicators of separation anxiety are:

  • Predeparture anxiety: pacing, panting, salivating, hiding, trembling or depression as you prepare to leave
  • House soiling (or soiling the crate), destructiveness or vocalizing that occur soon after you leave the house
  • Destructiveness directed at exit points, like windows and doors, and house soiling while you’re gone
  • Refusal to eat when left alone (even if you leave your dog food, treats or a food-stuffed toy, he doesn’t eat at all when you’re gone, but does after you return)

The most important factor in diagnosing these behaviors as separation anxiety is that they occur only during your absence. If these behaviors occur while you or your family members are home, other issues may be causing them instead. For example, if your dog soils in the house both when you're gone and when you're home, you probably have a house training problem. The same is true of destructiveness. If destructive chewing happens when you're home, it's a training issue, not separation anxiety.

A distinct feature of geriatric (late-onset) separation anxiety is that it can manifest as nighttime anxiety, almost as if your dog views your sleeping as a form of separation. Your dog may keep you awake by pacing, panting and pawing at you, and demanding attention. This type of separation anxiety may indicate undiagnosed disease, and it can be relieved by treating the disease or, at minimum, relieving your dog’s pain or discomfort. A thorough examination by your dog’s veterinarian is crucial to determine whether there’s a medical basis for your dog’s anxiety.

Treatment for separation anxiety involves controlling any underlying medical problems and using a behavioral treatment called desensitization and counterconditioning (DSCC). Identifying and changing any of your own responses that might be aggravating your dog’s behavior is also helpful. In conjunction with behavioral treatment, pheromones and drugs can be used to reduce anxiety and improve your dog’s cognitive function. Please see our article, Separation Anxiety , for more detailed information on this disorder and its treatment.   

Excessive Vocalization Your senior dog’s vocalizing can become a problem if he does it too often or at inappropriate times, like when you’re sleeping. Anxious vocalizing is usually a plaintive howl or excessive whining. If your dog does it only when you’re gone, it could indicate separation anxiety. If he does it when you’re home, then you’ll need the help of a behaviorist or veterinary behaviorist to determine what’s causing your dog to vocalize so much.

Loss of hearing, cognitive dysfunction, central nervous system disorders and medical conditions can all contribute to your dog’s excessive vocalization. He might whine or howl if he feels the urge to eliminate more, if he’s overeating and wants you to give him more food, or if he’s in pain. If your dog has become more fearful and anxious, he might begin vocalizing at things that scare or stress him, like noises or visitors. Showing your own frustration or punishing your dog for vocalizing can also increase his anxiety and aggravate the problem.

Once any underlying medical problem and cognitive dysfunction are treated, behavioral treatment involves identifying and modifying any of your own responses that might be reinforcing or aggravating your dog’s behavior. For some dogs, training them to be quiet on cue and rewarding quiet behavior is effective. For other dogs, nonshock bark-control collars, such as the citronella collar, may be needed. Drug therapy may also help if your dog’s vocalizations are motivated by anxiety. Please see our article, Howling , for more information on the various causes and treatments for excessive vocalizing. 

Restlessness/Waking at Night Dogs who sleep more during the day can become more restless and active at night. Some dogs start overreacting to things they once ignored, like the garage door opening or the newspaper being delivered. Keeping a record can help you identify what triggers your dog’s nighttime activity.

Sensory changes, such as eyesight or hearing loss, can affect your dog’s depth of sleep. His sleep-wake cycles may be affected by cognitive dysfunction or other types of central nervous system disorders. Ask your dog’s veterinarian to do a complete examination to look for medical problems that could cause restlessness, discomfort or an increased need to eliminate. Any medical problems should be treated first, and then, if necessary, you can gently retrain your dog to reestablish normal sleeping and waking hours. Try increasing his daytime and evening activity by giving him frequent walks, playing his favorite games, practicing obedience or tricks, and giving him food-puzzle toys and bones to chew. You can also ask his veterinarian about combining your retraining with drugs to induce sleep or, alternatively, drugs to keep your dog more active during the day.  

House Soiling As with all the behavior problems covered here, any number of medical problems can contribute to house soiling, including sensory decline, neuromuscular conditions that affect your dog’s mobility, brain tumors, cognitive dysfunction, endocrine system disorders, and any disorder that increases your dog’s frequency of elimination or decreases his bladder or bowel control.

If your dog soils in the house only when you’re gone and shows other signs of separation anxiety (please see above, Anxiety—Including Separation Anxiety), then he may be suffering from this disorder. Please see our article, Separation Anxiety , for detailed information on this problem and its treatment.

Since they’re often less adaptable to change, some older dogs might begin soiling in the house if there’s a change in their schedule, environment or household. Once your dog has used an indoor location to eliminate when you’re gone, that area can become established as a preferred spot, even if you’ve cleaned it thoroughly. It’s often necessary to have a complete behavior history taken by a qualified professional, such as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB), a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB) or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT), to determine the reason for your dog’s house soiling and design effective treatment. To find one of these experts in your area, please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help .

Once your dog’s medical issues have been identified and treated—for example, after his anxiety has been eased, his pain reduced or his incontinence controlled through medication—then you’ll need to reestablish proper house training with the same methods you used when he was a puppy. These methods include close supervision indoors, confinement in a crate or other small area away from previously soiled sites when you can’t closely supervise, and a regular, frequent schedule of trips outdoors with tasty rewards for outdoor elimination. You may need to adjust your schedule to accommodate your dog’s need for more frequent elimination in his senior years. If you can’t, consider hiring a dog walker or providing your dog with a place indoors to eliminate, such as newspapers, a dog litter box or potty pads. 

Destructive Behavior Just as with other behavior problems of senior dogs, the underlying cause of destructive behavior needs to be determined in order to provide effective treatment. Some destructive behaviors reported in senior dogs are pica (ingesting inedible objects); licking, sucking or chewing body parts, household objects or family members; and scratching and digging. Each of these may have a different cause, so a thorough medical evaluation combined with a behavioral history is necessary to determine a cause or causes for your dog’s behavior. For example, cognitive dysfunction might be considered in dogs with licking, chewing or pica. Treatment of underlying medical problems and cognitive dysfunction may resolve some problems but not others. If your dog is suffering from anxiety, phobia or fear of particular things (people, situations, objects, thunder, etc.), these issues need to be treated. Please see Fears and Phobias below for more information. Modifying your home and your dog’s environment can be helpful as well. Prevent access to sites where your dog’s destructiveness has occurred or might occur, and provide him with new, interesting toys to chew (or bones, rawhides, bully sticks, food-stuffed toys, etc.).

Fears and Phobias Sensory decline, cognitive dysfunction and anxiety can all contribute to fears and phobias. The first step in treatment is to control underlying medical problems and cognitive dysfunction. Older dogs can suffer from fears and phobias of noise and thunderstorms and, less commonly, of going outdoors, entering certain rooms or walking on certain types of surfaces. Dog guardians’ own understandably frustrated reaction to their dogs’ behavior can also aggravate the problem—especially punishment is used. Try keeping your dog away from whatever triggers his fears or phobia, or masking the noise with background music. With the guidance of a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB), you can also use behavioral treatment to change your dog’s emotional response to things that frighten or upset him and, as a result, change his behavior. (Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help , to locate a CAAB or ACAAB in your area.) See your veterinarian about possible drug or pheromone therapy for panic and anxiety, which can also help ease your dog’s fears and anxiety. 

Compulsive and Stereotypic Behaviors Compulsive and stereotypic behavior problems encompass a wide variety of behaviors with many possible causes. They’re defined as ritualized, repetitive behaviors that have no apparent goal or function. Examples include stereotypic licking or overgrooming that results in self-injury (“hot spots,” for example), spinning or tail chasing, pacing and jumping, air biting or fly snapping, staring at shadows or walls, flank sucking and pica (eating inedible objects, like rocks). Some medical conditions, including cognitive dysfunction, can contribute to or cause these behaviors. Compulsive disorders often arise from situations of conflict or anxiety. Things or situations that make your dog feel conflicted, stressed or anxious can lead him to engage in displacement behaviors, which can then become compulsive over time. (Displacement behaviors are those that occur outside of their normal context when dogs are frustrated, conflicted or stressed. An example is a dog who stops suddenly to groom himself while en route to his guardian who has just called him. He may be unsure of whether he’s going to be punished, so he expresses his anxiety by grooming, lip licking, yawning or sniffing the ground.) Drug therapy is usually necessary to resolve compulsive disorders. But if you can identify the source of conflict early on and reduce or eliminate it (such as conflict between your pets or inconsistent or delayed punishment from you), behavioral drug therapy may not be necessary. 

Aggression A multitude of factors can contribute to an increase in a dog’s aggressive behavior. Medical conditions that affect your dog’s appetite, mobility, cognition, senses or hormones can lead to increased aggression, as can conditions that cause him pain or irritability. Aggression to family members can occur following changes in the family makeup, such as marriage or divorce, death or birth. Aggression to other pets can occur when a new pet is introduced to the family, as a younger dog matures or as an older dog becomes weaker or less assertive. Increased aggression toward unfamiliar people and animals can arise from your dog’s increasing anxiety and sensitivity as he ages.

Aggression can’t be effectively treated until a diagnosis has been made and the cause has been determined. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help , to locate a qualified animal behavior expert in your area, such as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB) or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB). If you can’t find a behaviorist, you can seek help from a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT), but be sure the trainer is qualified to help you. Determine whether she or he has education and experience in treating aggression, since this expertise is not required for CPDT certification.

One of these professionals can evaluate the situation and help you treat your dog’s aggression. Treatment—whether drug therapy, behavior therapy or making changes in your dog’s environment—will depend on the specific type of aggression and its cause or triggers. For example, treatment for fear-based aggression involves desensitization and counterconditioning (DSCC), as well as training to improve your control over your dog. Avoiding or preventing the triggers of your dog’s aggression may be the best option in these cases. Head halters can give you more control over your dog and increase everyone’s safety. Please see our article, Aggression in Dogs , for more information.

1Landsberg, G., Hunthausen. W., & Ackerman, L. (2003). Handbook of Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat. Saunders: New York.

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  • Dog Pacing At Night: A Guide To Stop The Nightime Frights

Dog Pacing At Night: A Guide To Stop The Nightime Frights

Dogs are known as "man's best friend" for a reason. They are loyal, loving, playful, cuddly, and we can't get enough of their happy dances and tail wagging. But that doesn't mean we get annoyed when we are trying to sleep and hear our dog pacing at night and howling.

A dog pacing at night may just be restless. But sometimes, it can mean something more concerning like stress, senior dog skittishness, or an injury. Don't panic right away, but keep an eye on your dog's behavior. Here is what to look for if you notice your dog is restless at night.

Is It Normal for a Dog to Pace At Night?

Pacing at night can be normal for some dogs, depending on their personality, health, and age. Some dogs may just have a hard time settling down, same as us. Domesticated dogs have learned to adopt the same sleep-wake cycle as us. They often sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time.

But just like humans, some dogs are more energetic in the evening. If you just adopted your dog or they are a puppy, they might not be used to your schedule just yet. Maybe they just aren't comfy. Of course, there are some more serious reasons why dogs pace at night. So it's always good to figure out what exactly is causing your dog to perform this behavior.

What Does It Mean If My Dog is Pacing At Night?

There are many reasons why your dog is pacing, ranging from boredom to a possible illness. Here are the most common reasons that dogs pace at night:

  • Restlessness:  This is very common in puppies and younger dogs. They sleep during the day a lot more than adult dogs, so they can get a bit restless at night while they adjust to your routine.
  • They need to potty:  A dog that's getting used to your routine may run on a different potty schedule at first. You might hear your dog whimpering or scratching at the door.
  • They're hungry:  Similar to needing to potty, your new dog may be on an entirely different feeding schedule until they get used to your routine.
  • Stress:  A dog's unease can affect their sleep schedule, keeping them up and pacing while alone at night. A dog's nighttime frights could be caused by a move, a new pet in the house, or another big change. Stress can lead to repetitive behaviors.
  • Cognitive dysfunction:  Senior dogs often pace at night due to confusion. Cognitive dysfunction is a slow, progressive disorder similar to dementia. It causes your dog to sometimes reverse their sleep-wake cycle, leading to senior dog stress, pacing, and panting.

We recommend this product line for dogs that are restless:

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dog laying on dog bed at night

Should I Be Concerned About My Dog Pacing At Night?

While pacing on its own isn't necessarily a reason to be concerned, keep an eye on your dog's behavior. If your dog is whimpering, limping , anxious, or afraid, there might be a concerning reason behind the pacing.

How Can I Help a Restless Dog Pacing at Night?

While waiting to hear your vet's opinion on your dog's pacing, there are things you can do to help your dog deal with its restlessness during the night. Here are some ways to address your dog's pacing.

Create a Schedule

Younger and older dogs alike thrive on schedules . Make sure your dog has a similar schedule each day. This will help your dog understand when it's time for bed. For example, walk them at the same time each morning, feed them simultaneously throughout the day, and play with them at the same time.

Make Sure They're Comforted

Your dog may have trouble sleeping if it can't relax. Sleeping on a hard, cold floor or itchy blanket can lead to pacing throughout the night due to restlessness and frustration. Give your dog a comfy dog bed (and place it in their crate if they feel safe there). Add their favorite toys and even throw in a shirt that you've just worn to further comfort your pup while you're not there.

Give Them CBD

If your dog's discomfort is the reason behind their pacing, try CBD dog treats — a non-psychoactive, natural compound found in the hemp plant. CBD supports your dog's endocannabinoid system (ECS), creating positive effects and improving their overall wellness.

CBD can help your dog feel comforted, soothed, and relaxed, relieving physical and mental issues alike. It will not only help your dog feel calmer but promote a good night's sleep. Give your dog CBD twice a day or every eight hours, including 30 minutes before bedtime. Consistent doses of CBD will make the effects more potent each time (even if you give them less over time).

You can try different types of CBD products depending on your dog's specific needs. HolistaPet has CBD oil for dogs , CBD treats, and CBD calming chews, as well as CBD dog shampoo. CBD oil is mixable in dog food in the morning and at night. CBD calming chews are a great choice for senior dogs since they are easier to chew and digest.

HolistaPet's CBD products are all vegan, organic, and natural. The CBD is safely and cleanly extracted from US-grown hemp, meaning it follows strict health guidelines. HolistaPet's CBD products are tasty and potent, making them a great choice for dogs with cognitive dysfunction or anxiousness at night.

Let Them Sleep With You

This isn't possible for every pet parent, but if you don't already share a bed with your canine companion, it could be a way to keep them comforted and relaxed. Dogs love being a part of every aspect of your life, even just cuddling in bed at night. Even placing a dog bed by your bed could reduce pacing .

Keep the Lights On

Senior dogs with cognitive dysfunction can become disoriented and distressed at night. Sometimes they end up sleeping in the morning and staying awake all night. Keeping the lights on may help them remain on your cycle. It can also reduce confusion if your dog feels lost or anxious.

dog yawning at night on stairs

When to Go to the Vet

If you notice your dog pacing repetitively all night, multiple nights in a row, you should contact a veterinarian just in case something happens behind the scenes. A veterinarian may be able to run tests that explain the reason behind your dog's behavior, helping you get the care they need and come up with a solution for your pacing pup.

Final Thoughts - Dog Pacing At Night

Puppies and newly adopted dogs will often stay awake at night when they aren't used to your sleep schedule. Sometimes pacing at night means that your dog is uncomfortable. Senior dogs will pace at night with cognitive dysfunction, causing disorientation and confusion. Dogs can also start pacing if their routine has changed and they feel nervous. They can also have trouble sleeping if they are sick or injured.

There are, luckily, some things you can do to keep your dog calm at night. You can reduce pacing by giving your dog CBD before bedtime, making sure they have a comfy spot to sleep, and keeping to a strict schedule they can get used to. Some dogs tend to adjust and sleep most the day . But if you notice consistent pacing each night, contact a veterinarian to see if there's something else going on with your pup. With the right help, your dog will finally get some much-needed rest.

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  • Los Angeles

Why Is My Dog Pacing: 3 Reasons & How To Help Them

  • by Dr. Hannah Godfrey


settle down stressed dog

If you are a dog owner, especially of an older dog, you may notice them pacing at some point. As a pet parent, seeing your dog restless and unsettled or being unable to distract them or get their attention can be distressing. But what can cause dogs to pace? Read on to find out about the potential causes and what you can do to help.

Variable, but often moderate to severe

Table of Contents

  • Pacing can be caused by stress or pain but also by neurological conditions affecting the brain
  • Your dog will need to be examined by a veterinarian and may need further tests
  • Your dog may need a referral to a behaviorist or a neurologist for investigation depending on the cause
  • Pacing can be related to a phobia or anxiety, so may happen at certain times of year e.g. firework season

Older dogs, although any age, breed, and gender may start pacing due to pain, anxiety, or distress

Symptoms and types:

Pacing in dogs is reasonably common and can be seen on its own or in combination with other symptoms.

  • If the pacing is related to stress or anxiety you may also notice panting and vocalizing as well. However, if related to stress or distress your dog should not seem drunk, uncoordinated, or wobbly and they may be distractable from their pacing.
  • On the other hand, if your dog is pacing due to a neurological condition , they may not be walking well and may seem drunk or wobbly on one or more legs. They may be circling continuously in one direction and seem reluctant if you try to turn them the other way. They might appear blind, or appear not to notice obstacles like corners of the room or furniture. Neurological conditions can also cause vomiting, nystagmus (repetitive movement of the eyes), seizures, or a tilt of the head to one side.
  • If your dog’s pacing is related to pain , you may be aware of an incident of trauma , they may be limping on one leg, or you may be able to see a wound or injury. Some causes of pain are not visible to us as owners, but your painful pooch might seem restless, unable to get comfortable, and maybe howling or vocalizing, or quieter than normal.
Giving any human medication is very dangerous and should be avoided since dogs do not react to all drugs in the same way that humans do.

Understanding the diagnostics

If your dog is pacing, our veterinarians will start by taking a history and giving your dog a full examination from head to tail, to try to determine the most likely cause.

  • If they believe pain to be the most likely cause, they may recommend a blood test, x-ray, or ultrasound scan , or they may want to assess your dog’s response to pain relief.
  • If the veterinarian suspects stress or anxiety as a cause, they may do screening tests like blood work to rule out an underlying cause before discussing trialing anti-anxiety medication or referral to a behaviorist.
  • There are many neurological causes of pacing, and if your veterinarian feels a brain-related cause is most likely they may perform a neurological examination to check the function of the nerves, brain, and spinal cord. Following a neurological examination, they may recommend a blood test, x-ray, or even advanced imaging like a CT or MRI scan.

Learning about the causes

1. anxiety or stress.

Pacing can be caused by anxiety and stress, especially phobias.

You might notice that your dog is particularly clingy and dislikes being left alone. If your dog has separation anxiety your neighbors may complain that they are barking when you’re not home and if you have a webcam you might see them panting and pacing around the house. This would be an example of stress-related pacing. 

Another example would be if your dog has a noise phobia, like fireworks. If your dog has a phobia of fireworks and they hear them close by, they may begin panting and pacing relentlessly. Although not a concern related to your dog’s physical health, it is certainly not a problem to be ignored.

Luckily, our team will be able to make recommendations to help with anxiety and phobias and can refer to a behaviorist if needed.

Pain can be a major cause of dog pacing. Commonly they also pant, and sometimes whine or vocalize. If they are pacing due to pain, they may be unable to settle or find a comfortable resting place. One of our veterinarians will be able to assess them to find the source of pain and give medication to make them more comfortable.

3. Neurological causes

Neurological or brain-related causes of pacing include a stroke, a brain tumor, blindness, vestibular syndrome, or just an age-related reduction in brain function . In these cases, the pacing might be accompanied by a loss of sight or hearing, vomiting, walking sideways, or walking in circles. A neurological examination by one of our vets team might suggest a lesion within the brain and this could be further investigated by a neurological specialist if needed.

If your dog also has any other symptoms like vomiting, a head tilt, or circling, you should speak to a veterinarian right away.

Best treatment options

  • The treatment options available for anxiety and pain are fairly straightforward. Your stressed dog may benefit from a trial on anti-anxiety medications like valerian compound, dog appeasing pheromone, or even something stronger like mild doses of sedatives.
  • Pain relief options are varied, from paracetamol to strong opioids depending on the severity of the pain, and of course, the cause of the pain would need to be investigated and rectified.
  • The treatment options for neurological conditions are less straightforward, some medications may improve brain function, which may have a place in the treatment of pacing caused by senile change. However, brain tumors, strokes, and other brain conditions would need assessment by a specialist. Whilst these conditions often can’t be cured, they can sometimes be managed for a while, ensuring your dog has a reasonable quality of life until the condition progresses.

Home remedies and their effectiveness

  • Many people will try to stop their dogs from pacing by restraining them, moving them to another location, or confining them to a smaller area. Sadly, this is usually ineffective no matter the underlying cause of the pacing. In fact, it is only likely to cause your pet more stress and may cause them to panic.
  • You may feel tempted to try to give your pet calming or anxiety medication intended for humans. Giving any human medication or supplement is very dangerous and should be avoided since dogs do not react to all drugs in the same way that humans do.

The best and most important thing that you can do if your dog is pacing is to ensure they are safe by removing any obstacles and blocking any potential falls like steps or staircases. Calmly reassuring them with your voice can be helpful.

When to see a vet

If your dog is suddenly pacing continuously and there is no obvious distressing cause it may be a good idea to speak to one of our veterinarians , especially if you are not able to distract them or get their attention. Equally, if your dog has any other symptoms like vomiting, a head tilt, circling, or wobbliness, you should speak to a veterinarian right away.

On the other hand, if you know that your dog has a particular phobia or anxiety, it may be worth speaking to one of our team about options to try to manage their stress. 

Dogs can pace because they are stressed, painful, or anxious. However, they can also pace because due to other conditions, often affecting the brain, so speak to your veterinarian if you are concerned.

Dogs may walk around aimlessly because they are less aware of their surroundings, unwell, painful, or feel stressed. However, boredom can also cause them to walk around aimlessly, so check whether this could be the cause before contacting your veterinarian.

Old dogs can experience senile change just like in people. This is one of the causes of pacing in older dogs, however, other conditions can affect the brain and may also cause these symptoms, so it is worth arranging a check-up with a veterinarian to find out the cause and possible treatments.

night wandering in dogs

Dr. Hannah Godfrey MRCVS graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2011. Although she initially worked in mixed practice treating all species, she found a love for small animal work and has worked exclusively with dogs and cats since 2014. She lives in Wales with her partner, son, and two cats (named Poppy and Ashton Kutcher), and writes comedy fiction in her spare time.

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night wandering in dogs

My Dog Is Pacing and Won’t Lie Down

When your dog is uncomfortable, it can make you uncomfortable. Not only because you’re seeing your baby suffering, but it can be distracting to everyone’s routine.

Dog keeps pacing and won't lie down

Your dog could be walking laps around the kitchen table or wandering from room to room.

It’s troubling to ponder why your otherwise healthy dog won’t settle down.

You might not want to take a costly trip to the vet right away. But you also want to rule out serious dog health issues that could be affecting your four-legged loved one.

There are a whole host of reasons you’re saying my dog is pacing and won’t lie down , and you might not be sure which one is the culprit.

We’re here to answer the riddle: why is my dog pacing?

Contact a Vet

If your dog needs medical intervention, plenty of things can be done for them under the guidance of a vet. Alternatively, you can quickly chat with a vet online now, which is both a cost and time savings.

Connect with a verified veterinarian in minutes. No waiting for appointments or office hours. No high fees. Your pet's health made convenient and worry-free.

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Beyond your immediate concerns, there is good news.

Pacing is a common behavior in dogs and usually has easy solutions, so here are a few for you to consider.

What Could Be the Reason for Your Dog Pacing and Not Lying Down?

So precisely why do dogs pace? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to that nagging question.

Various factors must be considered before trying to diagnose the reason: age, breed, and size of your dog could all be relevant.

You also should take into consideration any past or current health issues your dog has.

If they haven’t received a diagnosis, there are a few warning signs you should look for.

In addition to pacing, injured or arthritic dogs could display uncharacteristic aggression. Look out for unexplained swelling, as well as changes in appetite.

One of the core reasons your dog paces is because your dog can’t get comfortable. Discomfort can range from physical to psychological, even in canines.

No matter how pronounced your dog’s pacing is, it’s essential to understand the cause – it could be an easy fix or a more serious condition.

Dog keeps walking around

Anxiety is more common in dogs than some might think. And its symptoms can mirror those of human anxiety.

What do you do when you’re anxious? Do you find it hard to sit still? Your dog might, too.

Anxious dogs might not be able to sit for more than a few seconds at a time, or they might randomly pace. Just like with humans, anxiety has different levels in dogs.

Properly-adjusted dogs feel safe in their home.

A safe house and regular daily schedule usually result in an anxiety-free environment for a dog. However, slight changes to their surroundings or schedule can lead to anxiety.

When your dog keeps pacing and won’t lie down, that can be a warning sign of anxiety disorder.

Let’s go over some of the additional signs and symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms

Anxiety disorder in dogs is challenging to diagnose. A number of the symptoms are more intense versions of normal behavior.

Owners must recognize a pattern of changed behavior over time.

There is an array of symptoms that may be caused by anxiety. Here are some of the most common:

  • Continuous pacing
  • Is restless at night and won’t settle down
  • Trembling or shivering as if cold
  • Dislike of eye contact
  • Repeatedly tries to leave the area
  • Avoidance of petting
  • May stand on you if you sit or lie down
  • Dog not sleeping

Affected Breeds

Anxiety disorder can develop in any breed of dog. However, some breeds are more likely to develop the condition.

Here are some of the breeds that most commonly have anxiety issues:

  • German Shepherd
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Border Collie
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Bichon Frise
  • King Charles Spaniel

Many times the breed of the dog has nothing to do with the presence of anxiety.

Remember, the dog’s owner, training, environment, physical health, and several other factors contribute to the development of anxiety.

What can you do?

You can do more to help a dog with anxiety problems than most other health conditions.

Do what it takes for your dog to always have a safe, static environment. This includes making sure they have a regular daily routine and schedule.

Changes to a dog’s routine or environment should be done gradually, if possible.

Taking a dog to a new place and meeting new people or new animals every day can provoke anxiety.

This video touches on further treatments for treating anxiety in canines.

You should definitely seek the advice of a veterinarian when anxiety problems are having an effect on the dog’s quality of life, the owner’s quality of life, and before the anxiety-driven behavior has gone on for an extended amount of time.

If the irregular behavior is allowed to continue over a long time, it will be more difficult to correct.

They Need to Go Outside

This problem often has the easiest solution. Your dog might be pacing because she needs to relieve herself.

The first thing you want to try is letting them eliminate outdoors. Sometimes, busy schedules cause us to slip with our dogs’ routines.

A pacing dog might simply be telling you, “I need to go outside!” If they’re pacing to and from the door, it’s time to let them out.

They Need Attention

Dogs are social animals. And they rely on their humans to fulfill a lot of socialization needs.

Your dog might simply want to play or have lost their favorite ball under the couch. They could be telling you they need some contact – dogs enjoy attention just like we do.

Humans have learned to read dogs by evolving alongside them for so long. Pay attention to the cues your dog is giving you; sometimes, the solution is as simple as a scratch behind the ears.

We will cover more on this a bit later…

Their Usual Sleeping Place Needs an Upgrade

We replace and clean our bedding frequently. The exact needs to be done for your dog’s bed.

Their bed might be a special blanket, a dog pillow, or even a space on your own bed. But if something isn’t right with their space, they won’t want to settle down in it.

They’re Feeling Territorial

Dogs can resource guard when they feel threatened. They might guard food, a toy, or their entire domain.

A dog who feels their safe space is being encroached upon might be literally on guard by pacing. They feel they have to protect their zone.

They Want a W-A-L-K

Walking with your dog

Sometimes, a dog can want to go outside for another reason other than to use the bathroom. Walks or other forms of exercise are vital to a dog’s health.

A pacing dog could be a dog with pent-up energy. If they’re stuck inside a lot, especially if it’s a small space, it will make them restless.

This is more frequently seen in older dogs, but it can also happen to younger ones. Certain breeds can be more genetically predisposed to arthritis.

If your dog’s source of discomfort is arthritis, it will be hard for them to find a suitable resting position. The pacing could be a form of relief from aching joints.

Something Caught Their Attention

It’s no secret that dogs have a keen sense of smell . They can detect anything from drugs to cancer with their noses.

Their hearing is more sensitive than ours, too. They can hear further than humans and at higher-pitched frequencies.

Your dog could be smelling or hearing something you’re completely unaware of. It could be another animal, a person, or just the wind.

But a new smell or sound is the canine equivalent of a disturbance in the force. A dog who senses something might pace out of nervousness or excitement.

Injury or Illness

No one wants their fur baby to be feeling poorly, which is why pacing is something you should monitor carefully. A sick dog could pace out of discomfort or pain.

We’ll cover more below on possible illnesses that could be at play.

There could also be an injury to blame. Dogs can’t help themselves if they’re hurt. The pacing could be from pain or also to communicate they need your help.

Sundowners Syndrome

If you’ve been around elderly humans, you know that age-induced dementia symptoms can amplify in the evening. Well, canines aren’t immune to dementia or sundowners syndrome.

Elderly dogs might show extra confusion at nighttime. They can become forgetful and disoriented, just like their aging human counterparts.

Love Is In the Air

Male and female dog

Or at least pheromones might be. The pacing could be a symptom of a female dog coming into heat.

Similarly, if you have an unaltered male dog, detecting a nearby female in heat could also cause him to pace. In fact, it might cause him to act unusually agitated.

Remember when we talked about how well dogs can smell? They can smell each other too – especially when they know there’s a, shall we say, special someone walking the neighborhood.

Changes in the House

An anxious dog might be trying to adapt to something. It could be a new pet (or human) sibling, a new house, or visitors.

Even new neighbors could cause your dog to become anxious. If they have pets of their own, your dog could be hearing, smelling, and seeing new animals.

Changes in routine can trigger anxiety too. If you’ve changed your work schedule, your dog might experience some anxiety trying to adapt to the new regimens.

Anxious dogs might do more than just pace. They could become destructive towards furniture, toys, and your rose garden.

Be aware of your dog taking out their frustrations on innocent squeaking toys. Also, be on the lookout for signs of separation anxiety .

Heat Cycles

If you have an unspayed female dog, pacing could signal she’s about to come into heat. The clearest indicator of heat in female dogs is bloody discharge.

She might seem more restless in general. Heat can also cause frequent urination, which is expected during the cycle.

Male dogs who are aware of a female in heat might become agitated themselves. He might even try to escape to find the nearby female.

What Other Symptoms Should You Look For?

To help narrow down the cause of your dog’s pacing, keep your eyes (and ears) open for additional signs. Your dog could be displaying a variety of symptoms, and it’s essential to pay attention to them.

There could be other things in your dog’s surroundings that can help pinpoint why they’re pacing. Take into consideration some environmental factors that might be contributing to the cause.

Bathroom Troubles

Your dog will need to be let outside to use the bathroom several times a day; 3 – 5 times a day is normal. Any more than that could signal a urinary or intestinal issue.

If your dog is pacing to the door to signal, they need to eliminate more than every few hours, they need to see a vet. If an otherwise house-trained dog has accidents inside, it could be further proof they are having some sort of internal distress.

Loose stools, diarrhea but otherwise normal , or traces of blood are all signs of serious problems that require a vet’s attention.

Frequent, bloody, or foul-smelling urine are sign of a urinary infection and must also be treated by a vet promptly.

Dog talk

Dogs can whine, bark, and make a variety of unique noises (husky parents, anyone?). They often do so to try to communicate with us.

A dog who wants your attention might bark playfully, whine, or make growl-like noises that aren’t aggressive.

They might paw you or assume the familiar “play bow” to indicate they want playtime with you.

Bedding Complaints

Your dog might not be settling down in their bed because something is amiss with it.

You might observe them trying to scratch and dig at their bedding. They may even pee on their bed right in front of you to let you know they are stressed about something.

They could also abandon an otherwise prized spot altogether. If your dog suddenly dislikes their usual spot, they’ll seek a different place to sleep.

Border (Collie) Patrol

Dogs who are guarding their safe space could become aggressive. Keep a close watch on their body language; are they showing any “guarding” signs?

Dogs who feel crowded could bark or growl at people or pets who come too close.

They could become extra protective of family members, food bowls, and beds.

Pay close attention to a dog who feels they are being intruded upon.

Most dogs will give ample warning before they lash out – ignoring these warnings isn’t good for anyone.

A dog looking around frantically or acting unusually dominant could feel threatened.

It’s cute – not to mention hilarious – when your dog does a speedy “zoomies” circuit around the park.

If they’re doing it inside, it could be an indication they want to burn off some energy.

Zoomies has a scientific term: Frenetic Random Activity Periods, or FRAPs. When pacing evolves into a case of FRAPs, it’s an outlet for pent-up energy.

Stiffness and Slowed Pace

Especially older dogs slow down as a result of arthritis. They could take more time sitting, lying, and standing.

If they’re allowed on furniture, you might notice they have trouble jumping up on the bed or couch. They could be avoiding stairs as well.

Some tell-tale signs of arthritis is whimpering and yelping at the touch of the affected area. They also could excessively lick their joints.

When dogs smell or hear something unusual, they will often try to find the source.

Pacing because they smelled something could turn into a sniffing adventure.

A dog that hears a new sound will wander toward where they think it’s coming from. They frequently will “head tilt” as they try to figure out what they’re hearing.

When a dog is pacing because of a new smell or sound, they will almost always appear on alert. Their ears will be perked up, and sometimes they will stop and listen for the sound they hear.

A limp might not be indicative of arthritis. Active dogs can sprain joints and strain muscles, just like humans can.

If they pace and favor one leg, one thing you can check for yourself is an injury to the paw pad .

Sharp objects or even snow can become embedded and cause your dog pain and discomfort.

Small foreign objects lodged between your dog’s toes aren’t usually a cause for concern.

If there are any lacerations involved, it’s best to call your vet for further advice.

If you can’t find anything wrong with your dog’s paws, there could be a bone or ligament injury.

This is something that should be diagnosed by a vet right away – excessive pacing can exacerbate the problem in the meantime.

Dogs can indeed experience senility in old age. When your dog reaches their senior years, pacing could be a byproduct of dementia.

Your dog might pace and seem lost. They could wander into areas of your home that they usually avoid.

What Kinds of Dogs Are More Vulnerable?

Some dogs are more prone to pacing. Age, history, medical conditions, and breed can all affect whether or not your dog paces.

If your dog falls into one of the following categories, it could help provide some answers as to why they can’t sit still.

Elderly Dogs

Elderly dog

They’re more likely to have arthritis and other medical issues.

Any medical condition has the potential to cause discomfort, and discomfort often manifests itself with walking up and down and generally pacing around.

Canine Cognitive Disorder

Canine Cognitive Disorder (CCD) is also known as “dog dementia.” This disorder is often compared to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Although they are not the same, they do share several similarities.

Research backs up the statement that CCD will almost always present itself in older dogs .

The symptoms tend to appear gradually and increase in severity over time. Perhaps your elderly dog keeps pacing, won’t lie down, seems confused or disoriented, or presents other behavioral changes.

All aspects of a dog’s cognitive functions or mental processes can be affected by CCD.

Some of these essential cognitive functions include: memory, awareness, perception, judgment, and many others.

When an older dog won’t stop pacing or is restless at night over time, these can be early warning signs of canine cognitive disorder.

What else should you look for here?

As stated previously, all elderly dogs are susceptible to CCD. Additionally, the condition affects every canine differently.

Here are some of the most frequently reported symptoms of this condition:

  • Decreased vision, hearing, or loss of appetite and not eating
  • Dog pacing or wandering
  • Challenged to move around familiar areas
  • Restless during the night
  • Increased anxiety symptoms

Numerous other symptoms can be caused by CCD. Any significant behavioral change in an elderly dog should be taken seriously.

There is no specific breed that’s more susceptible to CCD than others. Veterinary medicine experts estimate that CCD affects 12%-14% of dogs aged over 10 years.

It is believed that CCD is more common in smaller dog breeds because they tend to have longer lifespans than older breeds.

Owners can help with consistent behavioral practice. Veterinarians recommend that owners retrain dogs with CCD, keep them active and stimulated, and have a regular daily routine in place.

Mental stimulation is thought to be the best method for slowing the progression of CCD.

So, owners should try to give their dogs every possible opportunity to use their brain, like: an exercise regimen, games, and training.

No, pacing around doesn’t count! We’re looking for healthy activities here, such as daily walks .

Additionally, the home environment is more important for dogs with CCD than in almost any other situation.

You don’t want to make any drastic changes to the layout or furniture of their home.

Puppies have a lot of energy, and they’re still learning a lot about the world. They need a constant outlet for all that baby energy.

Puppies who don’t get enough enrichment will find it very difficult to sit still.

Pacing to puppies is like babies crying. Puppies will often cry if they need something too, but the pacing is often the first sign they need something from you.

A dog left alone or not played with enough will become stressed. Dogs who stay at home all day need an opportunity to play and exercise.

Rescue Dogs

It’s difficult or impossible to know the background of your rescue dog. The unfortunate truth is that they could have come from an abusive home.

Innocent things in your home could trigger anxiety in a rescue dog and cause them to pace. Rescues are also at risk for separation anxiety , for which pacing is a common symptom.

Certain Breeds

It’s generally accepted that some dog breeds have more nervous personalities. This doesn’t mean they’ll make bad pets – it only means they require more attention.

Herding breeds, such as Australi an Shepherds, or working breeds, like the Belgian Malinois need a lot of stimulation.

Their proneness to pacing isn’t exactly in their genes; they’re more likely to be understimulated.

Dog breeds, big and small, can be more likely to pace. Lapdogs to labs are vulnerable to separation anxiety and pacing.

Dogs Prone to Canine Diseases

As with most species were are familiar with, there are disorders that top the list.

Just like humans with heart disease and cancer, canines also have their worst healthy enemies.

When it comes to the uncontrolled pacing symptoms of a dog, a few disorders can be brought to mind.

In all cases though, you need to check with your vet if you find that pacing and other abnormal symptoms are presenting themselves.

Below are a few general ones to be aware of.

Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s disease , or Cushing’s syndrome, is an endocrine disorder that affects dogs.

The disorder causes the two adrenal glands, which are found near the kidneys to produce excessive amounts of cortisol.

The adrenal gland functions are controlled by the pituitary gland in the brain.

This disorder is well-known for being difficult to diagnose. However, if your dog keeps pacing and won’t lie down, then that is one of the most common symptoms.

Similar to most diseases, catching it early can make a huge difference in the prognosis.

That’s why it’s essential to contact your veterinarian whenever you notice something unusual about your best friend.

What other signs should you look for?

In the early stages, dogs often show increased hunger and thirst.

Additionally, they will urinate more frequently. If your dog paces back and forth over a series of weeks, this could also be an early symptom of Cushing’s disease.

Symptoms take at least one year to develop, and they can advance slowly.

Here are the additional symptoms that are associated with Cushing’s disease:

  • Changes to hair growth, usually loss of hair.
  • Thinning or changing of skin
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Weight gain
  • Dog is more frequently sick; infections return quickly

Cushing’s disease is most common in middle-aged and older dogs.

Many owners mistakenly determine that the symptoms are normal signs of aging.

Breeds most commonly affected…

There is no definitive explanation for some dog breeds being more prone to developing Cushing’s disease than others.

There are three breeds that veterinarians agree are more at risk than any other breeds.

  • Dachshund s

Although those three breeds are the most at-risk, several other breeds develop the condition more often than any remaining breeds.

Things you can do…

Initially, you should frequently visit the vet for blood tests and check-ups.

These visits will help the vet determine the best method of treatment.

The treatment will depend upon the specific type of Cushing’s disease, the severity of symptoms, and the age of the dog.

Treatment for Cushing’s disease can be expensive.

The most likely form of treatment will be a prescription of daily tablets. You should diligently monitor your baby’s behavior and report anything unusual to your vet.

Brain Tumor

A tumor is technically defined as irregular cell growth. Tumors are split into the classification of either primary or secondary. Tumors are functionally the same in dogs as they are in humans.

The primary variety develops from a normal cell in the brain and surrounding region.

Secondary tumors are either cancer that has spread or a primary tumor from another part of the body that has extended into the brain tissue.

If you notice that your dog is standing up continuously or not sleeping, that can be a warning sign of brain tumors.

  • Behavioral changes
  • Reduced cognitive ability
  • Vision or hearing loss
  • Unusual aggression
  • Trouble with walking
  • Continuous pacing and unwillingness to lie down

There are various different types of canine brain tumors.

All breeds of dogs are at-risk for brain tumors, especially when they’re older than five years old.

Studies indicate that some breeds may be more susceptible to certain types of tumors.

These breeds include:

  • Long-nosed breeds, like Golden Retrievers
  • Short-nosed breeds, like boxers, terriers, and bulldogs

Research shows that all breeds of dogs are more susceptible to brain tumors once they’re older than five years old.

What you should do…

The cause of canine brain tumors remains largely unknown. Therefore, it is challenging to identify methods of prevention.

Canine brain tumors often present symptoms rapidly, which makes emergency treatment necessary.

If you suspect a brain tumor, you should schedule regular visits to the vet. It will likely be necessary to find a vet who specializes in canine cancer or brains.

Due to the medical complexity of canine brain tumors, stay in close contact with your veterinarians throughout treatment and afterward.

With a diagnosis like this, the dog’s quality of life should be among the most important considerations.

What Can I Do to Prevent My Dog from Pacing and Not Lying Down?

Lying down

Now that we’ve narrowed down some reasons why dogs pace, you’ll want to know if there’s any way to scale back this behavior in your pet.

Get a Diagnosis and Proper Treatment

Whether it’s because of age or not, a professional must treat your dog’s injury or illness.

Your dog’s comfort is the most important thing – self-treating serious issues is not an option.

If you suspect arthritis or an injury, you should contact a vet to find out your next steps toward your dog feeling better.

Follow all vet orders, including restricting activity if need be.

Arthritis is a chronic condition, so your dog might be on pain management medication for the rest of their life. Be sure to medicate your pet as directed.

Once your dog is feeling more like themselves, the pacing should subside.

Pay Attention to Your Dog

Dog taking a bath

Definitely shower your dog with as much attention as you can. But also, be aware of what they’re trying to tell you with their body language.

If nothing else seems abnormal, do a mental checklist of everything in their routine. Did they go out recently?

Or is it dinnertime? Did you spend enough time petting and playing with them today?

Is their favorite toy missing? If their prized stuffed puppy has gotten wedged somewhere, they could be asking for you to fetch it.

Sometimes just giving them attention can be beneficial.

Check on their bedding, and see if anything about it would make them not want to get comfy there. They could be pacing in search of a better place to rest.

Maybe their bed became wet or dirty. Or perhaps the cat stole it (because everyone knows cats can be bullies).

Get Your Dog Neutered or Spayed

An unaltered female dog will go into heat twice a year. If she’s agitated during her heat cycle, spaying her is an easy way to ease her stress.

An unaltered male will not only be extra hyper; he will mark his territory everywhere.

A dog pacing is the least of your worries when your dog is marking your furniture.

Both male and female dogs can benefit health-wise from getting fixed. Pacing is one of the many physiological issues solved by fixing them.

There are several health risks for dogs who aren’t spayed or neutered. You might save them from a lot worse than frequent pacing if you sterilize them.

Play Games With Your Dog

All dogs can become bored or understimulated, regardless of their breed. Pacing and FRAPs can be toned down by providing exercise and mental stimulation.

Dog brain teasers are a great way to engage your dog. It’s an excellent option for rainy days and apartment dwellers.

Make time for adequate walks. Outside time shouldn’t be reserved for eliminating only.

Allow your dog time to sniff and explore. Try to give them some time off-leash in areas where it is safe to do so.

Try To Reduce Stress

Dog competing for attention while standing up

If your new baby is causing your dog to stress-pace, don’t get rid of the baby just yet.

We’re kidding – but on a serious note, there are ways to introduce a new family member that makes it easier for everyone.

The same applies to a new cat or dog siblings . Bombarding your dog with change is a quick way to stress them out.

If your dog has separation anxiety, pacing can be one of the signs. This type of anxiety can be difficult to cure, but not impossible.

You can condition your dog not to fear your absence. In extreme cases, your vet can recommend some medical or alternative supplement to ease stress.

Comforting Your Best Friend

Anyone who has ever owned or been around a dog knows what great companions and friends they can make.

These beautiful creatures bring us so much happiness and company. The hardest part of being a dog owner is holding it all together when they get sick.

Even though pacing can be synonymous with stress for you and your beloved dog, it doesn’t have to be the norm. There are plenty of options to reduce pacing, no matter the root cause.

Some potential causes require urgent medical care.

If you see signs of intestinal distress or sudden abnormal behavior in your dog, call your vet right away.

If you’ve noticed signs of arthritis or a possible injury in your dog, the vet is also your best choice. Some conditions require medical guidance to provide the best outcome.

Other causes for your dog’s pacing and won’t lie down symptoms can easily be remedied with extra love and attention.

And seeing your dog feeling more like themselves is worth all the extra time you share with them.

Between you and your trusted veterinarian, there are many methods to use to decrease pacing in your dog.

Photo of author

Jacquelyn Kennedy

Benefits of daily dog walking, dog paws red between toes: reasons why and what you can do.

Is Your Dog Keeping You Awake at Night?

Is Your Dog Keeping You Awake at Night?

Move Over Rover

If you’re a dog owner, chances are you’ve been there or are going through it: Seemingly endless, sleepless nights because your pup refuses to settle at night. It not only barks you right into insomnia, but some very grouchy mornings, too.

So what can you do? And why do dogs behave this way anyway?

Michael's dog, Willy, was a barker. In fact, he would bark and whine all night long. "It got to the point that everyone in the house was sleep deprived -- the kids, the wife," Michael said. "We’d only had him for two years, when we moved to an actual house. Once we moved in, we decided to put him in the laundry room at night. It wasn't an awful place; it was comfy and even had a bed. But he kept barking from bedtime until morning."

Michael was astonished to hear from one of his friends that his dog might be suffering from separation anxiety. Willy couldn’t understand why he was so far away from everyone.

"In our last place, he slept in the kitchen, which was close to our bedrooms," Michael said. "So we decided to move his bed in the bedroom at night with us."

Alison had a different problem. "I’ve had Rex since he was a puppy and he has always slept with me. But now that he's grown up, he's become too big. He sprawls out and takes up a lot of the bed, causing me to sleep at weird angles -- it just doesn’t work. I push him down, but he gets back up again. I’ve tried putting him outside of the room, but he barks and whines and I still can’t sleep. And I feel bad."

So Alison spoke to her local vet for a solution and she suggested crate training the dog to sleep on the floor. It worked! "I felt awful doing that, but he had a comfy bed in there. And he didn’t bark because he was in the room with me. Now he has his own bed on the floor," said Alison. "He jumps on the bed to cuddle in the mornings, but I can live with that."

Laura’s allergies, meanwhile, meant their dog, Maya, had to sleep outside of the bedroom -- something her dog wasn’t happy about. "My boyfriend and I both work, so she wants a lot of attention and cuddles. Even if my boyfriend spends time out in the living room with her, the moment he goes to bed, Maya whines and knocks things down. It’s annoying."

Their solution? Adopt another dog. "Now Maya has a buddy to play with during the day, and companionship at night." As she pointed out, they were helping out another animal by rescuing him from the pound.

Jeff and his wife, Maria, are in a different stage of their lives. They work long hours and their only child has already left home. "Our dog is only a few years old and has a lot of energy, so he runs around the house all night long, barks at shadows, you name it," Jeff said. "We were exhausted."

They tried taking him for an extra walk in the morning, but it wasn’t working. "Finally we realized we needed to incorporate our exercise regime with him," Maria said. "Now when we get home, instead of going to the gym, we take him for walks or runs. Sometimes we play in the park, and later on, a few hours before bed, we'll walk. Basically, we wear him out." They have also employed a dog walker, one who will exercise their pet on a daily basis. The outcome? All three of them get a good night's sleep!

So now you have a few helpful tips to try on your dog if he won’t let you sleep. Good night, don't let the bed "bugs" bark ... I mean, bite.

Image: Ginny / via Flickr

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Where Do Lost Dogs Go at Night? | Clues and Tips

Dog owners have often expressed concern about their furry friends disappearing at night, only to reappear in the morning or after a few days. What may seem like a prank by an intelligent and mischievous canine could well be a behavior intrinsic to their species.

Unraveling the Canine Night Behavior

Dogs are descendants of wolves, which are naturally nocturnal creatures. Therefore, it's not entirely strange that our beloved dogs may have inherited some of these traits. Just as their ancestors might have ventured out at night for food or exploration, domestic dogs might do the same. Of course, this doesn't mean that all dogs will exhibit this behavior, but it's one possible explanation for the nighttime disappearances.

Reasons Dogs Wander at Night

There could be many reasons why dogs may wander off at night. Anxiety or stress, for instance, might trigger a dog to escape its environment. Loud noises like fireworks or thunderstorms can induce fear and trigger a flight response. Some dogs also have a high prey drive and may be lured away by the scent or sound of a potential quarry.

Another potential cause could be insufficient physical and mental engagement. Dogs need regular exercise and cognitive tasks to stay fit and cheerful. This includes activities that engage their dog paws , like walks, runs, or puzzle toys that encourage them to move around. In the absence of such stimulation, they might become restless and initiate explorations beyond their usual limits, often during quieter night hours when distractions are minimal.

It's also essential to consider the dog's health status. Older dogs or those with certain medical conditions may become disoriented, leading to unexpected wanderings. Dogs with conditions like dementia can experience "sundowning," where symptoms get worse at night, leading to confusion and aimless wandering.

Preventing Night-time Escapades

To help prevent your dog from disappearing at night, consider some of these safety measures. An adequately fenced yard with secure gates can prevent a dog from straying. Ensure the dog's living environment is stress-free and meets all their needs, including regular physical exercise, mental stimulation, and a comfortable place to rest. Adequate training from an early age can also teach your dog to stay within specific boundaries.

Implementing a regular routine can provide stability and comfort to a dog, reducing the likelihood of them seeking external stimuli. Moreover, get your dog regularly checked by a vet to diagnose any health conditions that may contribute to unusual behavior.

Tracking Lost Dogs

Microchipping pets has risen to a common practice, presenting a useful method to identify lost dogs, and reunite them with their owners. In addition, technological advancements have introduced GPS collars capable of tracking a dog's real-time location, simplifying the task of finding them if they stray away. However, it's essential to keep in mind that these are preventive measures. The optimum approach is to foster an environment where the dog doesn't feel compelled to escape.

where do lost dogs go at night

Dogs' Night-time Activities: Understanding Their Behavior

Animal behavior studies can illuminate this unusual nocturnal behavior of dogs. Research signifies that dogs possess superior night vision and an exceptional sense of smell, which might justify their fascination with the night. The calm, less bustling streets might feel akin to a hiking adventure for dogs, presenting intriguing sights, sounds, and scents.

Keep in mind that comprehending your dog's individual personality and behavioral traits can significantly aid in predicting and controlling their actions. Each dog is unique, and a behavior seen in one may not be applicable to another. Unraveling "The Mystery of Lost Dogs at Night: Where They May Wander" fundamentally involves understanding your dog's distinctive temperament and requirements.

Canine Navigation Skills: How They Find Their Way Back

One of the most fascinating aspects of the "Lost Dogs at Night" phenomenon is how they manage to find their way back home. Dogs possess an extraordinary sense of smell and spatial awareness, which can guide them back. Some scientists suggest that dogs may even use the Earth's magnetic field to navigate, although more research is needed in this area.

Night Time Pet Disappearances: A Closer Look

It's not just about dogs. Nighttime pet disappearances apply to various animals, including cats, which are known for their nocturnal habits. These instances beg for a broader understanding of animal behavior in general and how it correlates with their environment and relationships.

night wandering in dogs

Understanding Dog-Owner Relationships

One critical aspect of managing and preventing "The Mystery of Lost Dogs at Night: Where They May Wander" lies in the bond between the dog and the owner. Strong relationships, based on mutual trust and respect, can ensure that your pet feels secure and comfortable within the home environment, reducing the chances of them wandering off.

Training and socialization from an early age can teach dogs acceptable behaviors and set boundaries. However, it's also essential for owners to spend quality time with their pets, understand their body language and communicate their love and care effectively.

Role of Pet-Friendly Spaces in Cities

Another aspect worth considering is the urban environment in which many dogs live. The increasing awareness about the need for pet-friendly spaces in cities can play a significant role in curbing the wandering habits of dogs.

Dog parks, secure off-leash areas, and dog-friendly walking paths can offer controlled environments for dogs to explore and satisfy their curiosity, possibly reducing their urge to wander off at night.

What to Do When Your Dog Goes Missing?

When faced with a situation where your dog has disappeared, it's essential not to panic. Instead, use all available resources to look for them. Microchipping and GPS tracking are beneficial, but traditional methods like spreading the word in your neighborhood, putting up flyers, and contacting local shelters and veterinary clinics are still effective.

Engaging the services of a professional pet detective can also be a viable option in some cases. Utilizing social media platforms to broadcast your dog's information can also help reach a larger audience and increase the chances of finding your pet.

Introducing the Fi Dog Collar: A Solution to Night-time Wanderings

With advancements in technology, several tools and devices can help dog owners keep tabs on their furry friends' activities. Among these is the Fi Dog Collar, a game-changer in the world of pet technology that can help solve the problem.

The Fi Dog Collar is a state-of-the-art GPS tracker designed specifically for dogs. This smart collar does not just serve as a location tracker but also as an activity monitor. Here's how it can help you understand and possibly prevent your dog's night-time escapades.

Keeping Track of Your Dog's Location

The primary function of the Fi Dog Collar is to keep track of your dog's location in real-time. This collar uses GPS technology combined with LTE-M, a low-power cellular network, to give you the precise location of your dog. The collar connects to your smartphone via the Fi app, where you can see your pet's location on a map.

In case your dog decides to embark on a nighttime adventure, you can quickly identify their location. You can even set up 'safe zones' in the app, such as your home or backyard. If your dog leaves these areas, you will receive an immediate notification on your phone.

Monitoring Your Dog's Activity

Understanding your dog's behavior is essential in solving "The Mystery of Lost Dogs at Night: Where They May Wander." The Fi Dog Collar aids in this by doubling as an activity tracker. It records the number of steps your dog takes each day, letting you monitor whether they're getting enough exercise.

If your dog tends to be more active at night, this could be a sign they're prone to nighttime wandering. By monitoring their activity levels, you can adjust their exercise routine accordingly. A well-exercised dog is less likely to wander off due to pent-up energy.

where do lost dogs go at night

Sturdy Design for Night-time Adventures

The Fi Dog Collar is built to withstand all kinds of adventures. It's waterproof and comes with a long-lasting battery life of up to three months, depending on usage. This means, even if your dog decides to go on a night-time adventure, the collar is equipped to stay functional and help you track them down.

The Psychology Behind Dogs' Night-time Wanderings

To further delve into the mystery of lost dogs at night, it's crucial to understand the psychology behind these behaviors. Dogs are highly instinctual creatures with behaviors deeply rooted in their ancestry.

As descendants of wolves, dogs inherited certain nocturnal habits. Wolves hunt and roam at night, and while domesticated dogs don't need to hunt for their food, the instinctual drive for nighttime activity may still persist.

Moreover, dogs are packed animals, and their natural instincts might encourage them to patrol their territory, particularly when the environment is quieter and there are fewer distractions. Understanding these instinctual behaviors can help us manage them effectively and create a safe environment for our dogs.

The Impact of Breeds on Nighttime Wandering

Different dog breeds have different characteristics and instincts, and these can also affect their likelihood to wander off. Hunting breeds, for example, are bred with a high prey drive and may be more likely to wander off if they sense potential prey.

Working breeds may have a higher tendency to roam due to their ingrained behaviors related to guarding or herding. It's important to understand the breed-specific behaviors of your dog to anticipate and manage their wandering habits better.

where do lost dogs go at night

How Training and Socialization Can Help

Training is an effective tool to curb the nighttime wandering behavior of dogs. Basic obedience training and recall commands are crucial for every dog. Teaching a dog to come back when called, regardless of the distractions, can help prevent them from wandering too far.

Socialization is another vital aspect of a dog's upbringing. Dogs that are well-socialized are more likely to be calm and confident in various situations, reducing their need to wander off due to fear or curiosity.

The Influence of Neutering/Spaying on Wandering Habits

Neutering or spaying your dog can also impact their tendency to roam. In males, neutering can reduce the urge to seek out females, which is a common cause of dogs wandering off. In females, being in heat can attract males from far and wide, leading to potential wandering scenarios.

Collaborating with Animal Behaviorists

If your dog's nighttime wanderings become a significant concern, collaborating with an animal behaviorist can be beneficial. These professionals can provide insights into why your dog might be exhibiting this behavior and suggest targeted strategies to address the issue.

With their expertise in animal behavior, they can tailor interventions based on your dog's breed, personality, and your unique circumstances.

Final Thoughts

With a combination of understanding dog behavior, using advanced technology like the Fi Dog Collar, and implementing effective training and management strategies, we can ensure our dogs' safety and peace of mind for ourselves.

As we continue to explore and understand this mystery, it only strengthens our bond with our pets, reminding us of the captivating complexity of these creatures we're lucky to call our best friends.

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Thanksgiving dog safety: ask dr. jeff, halloween safety tips: ask dr. jeff, discover the fi collar.


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Safety Tips for Walking Dogs at Night

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Walking your dog in the fall and winter can be challenging. Not only are the temperatures colder and the weather not always pleasant, but it also starts getting darker much earlier. As the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, you may find that walking your dog at night is something you can't avoid. While walking with your dog after dark can be a fun adventure, nighttime also brings potential hazards that regular safety practices aren't enough to address on their own. Ensure a safe walk for you and your dog by following these tips for dog walking in the evenings.

Challenges of Walking Dog at Night

Walking your dog after dark brings challenges that you don't typically have to deal with during the day. Not only is it harder to see where you and your dog are going, but it's also harder for you to be seen by drivers, joggers, bike riders, and other types of traffic. All of which greatly increase the risk of accidents and/or injury. Whether you're walking on city sidewalks or country roads, predators (both the four-legged and two-legged variety) can also be a concern.

Less dangerous animals that come out at night may also pose a problem. While your dog might be conditioned to ignore common daytime wildlife, such as squirrels or rabbits, the novelty of seeing and smelling a raccoon or opossum might excite your pup so much that he becomes difficult to control. This could lead to a disaster if he manages to get out of his collar or yank the leash out of your hands.

Dog Walking Safety

Practicing proper night safety can not only reduce the risks associated with walking your dog at night, but also help you and your dog feel more confident about going on walks after dark. Here are some safety tips you can follow, broken down by category.

Increasing Visibility

To increase your own ability to see, consider wearing a headlamp, like those worn by climbers and cavers, instead of carrying a flashlight. This will free your hands to better control your pooch and also allow you to pick up after him without compromising your vision or grip on the leash. Beyond this, it's also important that drivers and cyclists see you at night. When it comes to increasing visibility for you and your pup, avoid wearing dark clothing and, if possible, stick to well-lit sidewalks and pathways. Here are some additional items you can use to make you really stand out:

Beagle in the snow at night in a red harness.

  • Reflective gear, including reflective vests, wrist and leg bands for both yourself and your dog, a reflective collar and leash, reflective dog tags
  • A light-up leash and collar
  • Light-up shoes for yourself
  • Wearable lights that attach to your dog's collar or harness
  • Glow sticks, or bracelets and necklaces made out of neon lights

Traffic Considerations

Even with plenty of light and reflective surfaces, you should still exercise caution when it comes to traffic. Keep an eye on approaching cars and be ready to move out of the way of those who aren't keeping an eye out for you. If you have to walk in the street, be sure to walk against oncoming traffic instead of moving with it, so you can see cars coming down the road. Try to stick to areas that are well-lit and offer plenty of visibility for both you and passing traffic.

Encountering Predators

One of the scariest things about walking at night is the potential of meeting a predator. Depending on where you live, potential dangers might include coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, or even bears. There can also be a risk of running into people who are up to no good. If possible, use the buddy system and bring a friend or family member along on your walk. If your dog is large enough to be intimidating, you might feel that he's enough to fend off any potential attackers, but keep in mind that, as his guardian, it's your job to protect him, too. Consider any potential predators you might run into and how to best defend yourself and your dog from an attack. Arm yourself accordingly, such as carrying a can of bear spray if you're walking in bear country, for example.

Other Things to Consider

While there's no need to be fearful while walking your dog after dark, it's important to stay on guard and remain alert. This means leaving the headphones at home, advises Dogster . And while you should bring a fully charged phone with you in case of emergencies, be sure you're paying attention to your dog and your surroundings and not to your phone screen.

Because dogs tend to be hypersensitive to the moods and attitudes of their people, your dog might pick up on your heightened awareness, which could make him more excitable than usual. Between this and the added excitement of seeing or smelling nocturnal wildlife, it's very important to keep control of your dog to prevent him from running into traffic or getting lost as he chases after a critter that catches his attention. If you normally give him a long lead or use a retractable leash during the day, for evening walks you should switch to a shorter lead and keep him close to you at all times.

While evening walks with your best four-legged friend can be a lot of fun and something you look forward to at the end of the day, staying alert and safety conscious doesn't have to put a damper on your enjoyment. Staying visible to others and aware of your surroundings will go a long way to ensure your night walks will remain enjoyable. Being prepared to handle any potential trouble that approaches yourself or your dog can actually make you more confident, an attitude that will help your dog relax and enjoy this special time he gets to spend with you.

Contributor Bio

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus is a pet parent, pet blogger and novelist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she usually writes under the supervision of a lapful of furbabies.

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Why does my dog sleep so much? Answer to how many hours dogs need to sleep in a day

night wandering in dogs

According to the Mayo Clinic, adult humans need approximately seven or more hours of sleep per night. This differs from other mammals like giraffes and horses, which need approximately two and three hours of sleep each day, respectively, according to the University of Washington. 

But what about our furry, domestic friends? If you have a dog, you may have noticed they love to rest and relax just as much as they love to run around and play. 

Your pup's typical day-to-day routine could include waking up, going for a walk and then heading back to rest on the couch, their bed or even your lap. 

Stay on top of your pet's health: Check out these pet care tips

Why do dogs eat poop? How you can get your pet to stop

Why does my dog sleep so much?

On average, dogs can sleep between 12 to 14 hours a day , according to Purina. A dog spends about 50% of their day sleeping. 

Unlike humans who have busy schedules and occasionally ignore internal body signals, dogs sleep a lot because their bodies are telling them to do so , says PetMD. 

Senior dogs, puppies and larger breeds also need more sleep than others. Larger dogs use more energy than smaller ones, while puppies are constantly exerting energy due to their age and curiosity, according to PetMD. 

Senior dogs also need more sleep thanks to their age since it helps their bodies recover from daily activities.

How to keep dogs cool: Tips to keep your pup cool in sweltering heat

What colors can dogs see? Explaining your pet's worldview.

Why do dogs sleep so close to you?

When your pet is resting or sleeping, they may snuggle up next to you. This behavior is inherently in their genes and is further cemented when they are puppies, according to 

It is common for dogs to sleep against you due to their wolf ancestry. Wolves, like domesticated dogs, are pack animals, and they tend to lay near others for warmth and security, says 

Another reason your dog sleeps close to you is protection. Your dog sees you as part of its pack and will be ready to attack any threat, just like its wolf cousins. 

Bonding could also be why your dog sleeps nearby. Dogs sleep near their owners to reinforce bonds. This comes as a result of genes as well, since sleeping in packs indicates trust and mutual support among wolves, says Dogs think in the same way.

Anxiety can contribute to your dog sleeping next to you. They could be experiencing separation anxiety, which should be checked out for your dog’s long-term health, says

How often should you walk your dog? Best practices for keeping your pup healthy.

What human foods can dogs eat? Here's what isn't safe for your pet to consume.

Is it normal for my dog to sleep all day?

According to the American Kennel Club, dogs spend around half of the day asleep, 30% awake but relaxing and about 20% being active. 

So, it is normal for your dog to sleep or rest for a majority of the day.

However, excessive sleep can be concerning for any pet owner. If your dog is sleeping too much, this could indicate health issues, such as  canine depression ,  diabetes and  hypothyroidism , says the AKC. 

How often should I take my dog to the vet? ow to know if your pet needs a checkup

Just Curious:  We're here to help with life's everyday questions

Wandering wolf hybrid, that had residents on edge, captured in the North Bay

night wandering in dogs

North Bay Animal Services captured a wayward wolf hybrid and reunited him with its owner on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. The animal was seen wandering Sonoma County, with 30-40 sightings over several days.  (North Bay Animal Services)

SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Animal control officers were reporting a happy ending for a wayward, wandering wolf hybrid that had residents in Sonoma County on edge over the weekend.

The animal, named Shadow, was back home, reunited with its owner on Monday morning, after multiple attempts to capture him.

Sightings of the animal prompted a warning from Sebastopol police over the weekend, as they urged residents not to approach the large, yellowed-eyed animal and to call law enforcement immediately if spotted.

North Bay Animal Services Executive Director Mark Scott told KTVU that initially authorities did not know what type of threat the wolf hybrid posed and didn't know it belonged to an owner, as no one reported the animal missing. 

SEE ALSO : Coyote caught napping on porch at San Francisco home

"The unknowns are the worst," Scott explained, adding that many were "shaken up" and concerned not knowing the animal's history and whether it was seeking prey.  

He said there were 30 to 40 reported sightings of the wolf hybrid over the last few days, including in the Santa Rosa neighborhood of Rickenbacker, where people were often out walking their dogs. 

On Sunday morning, authorities received a report from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife that the hybrid was seen heading south of the Highway 12 bridge on the eastern edge of Sebastopol.   

night wandering in dogs

California Department of Fish and Wildlife said a wolf hybrid was spotted on the outskirts of Sebastopol on November 5, 2023.

Police and wildlife authorities shared a photo of the animal running down a rural road but could not capture it.

He was then spotted again on Sunday night, running along Highway 12, coming from Sebastopol to Santa Rosa.

"We had to close down the highway to get off the main highway," Scott explained, for fear the animal would get struck. 

He said authorities did manage to use social media and other resources to determine that the wolf hybrid was not a stray and that he belonged to a Santa Rosa resident, so they called the owner who brought along his two Huskies to the site, and tried to corner the escaped animal.

But Shadow was clearly spooked and in "flight mode," according to Scott, so the wolf dog took off again.

Because of the wet weather and the fact that the hybrid had made its way into open space, animal control officials decided the safest action was to abandon the effort for the time being. 

But on Monday morning, there was another sighting, not far from the animal’s home in the Santa Rosa area of South Wright Road and Miles Avenue. And this time, efforts to contain the animal were successful.

"It was much more quiet and calm," Scott said, adding the capture was accomplished with the help of another animal care officer, a good Samaritan, Shadow’s owner and the owner’s other two dogs. "It wasn't easy to put a leash on him, so we had to get him into a corner to help him calm down," the animal control expert explained.

Scott managed to capture the emotional reunion in a photo, as the owner was clearly relieved to have his wolf hybrid back in his possession. The owner was seen down on the ground and embracing Shadow.

SEE ALSO : Infamous Santa Cruz 'Otter 841' gives birth to cute pup

On social media, North Bay Animal Services shared images from the capture and said, "This beautiful reunion shows the incredible impact we can achieve when we all work together for the well-being of our four-legged friends."

Scott said it was unusual for residents to have wolf hybrids as pets. 

"There are only a few in Sonoma County. They’re very large dogs. Think of a Husky, and a Husky’s pretty big, but much larger than a Husky," the animal care expert explained, adding, "Most people can't handle them, and they need a lot of attention, and they’re very smart." 

The 2-year-old wolf hybrid proved its intelligence as it apparently took advantage of an improperly latched gate to make his escape, according to Scott, who said he didn't know what type of mix Shadow was, but that often these hybrids were bred with Huskies.  

Because Shadow ended up being an owned animal, he may have not posed as great of a danger to the public as first believed, but the expert said, "He is a wolf hybrid, and he’s very much more wolf than hybrid," noting the animal’s yellow eyes. 

"These dogs won’t take long to do whatever needs possible to survive," Scott said, adding that this was the first case his agency has had dealing with a wayward wolf hybrid.

night wandering in dogs

North Bay Animal Services captured a wandering wolf hybrid (right) named Shadow on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. (North Bay Animal Services)

He commended residents in the area and the multi-agency collaboration to bring the wolf dog home safely. 

"A big shoutout and THANK YOU to the vigilant community members who reported sightings of Shadow," the animal services agency said. "Your alertness and cooperation made all the difference in bringing Shadow back to where he belongs."

night wandering in dogs

Wolf hybrid named Shadow reunited with its pack members, two Huskies named Max and Sky on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. (North Bay Animal Services)

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Good samaritans driving down busy palatka street rescue wandering 3-year-old from getting hit.

Erik Avanier , Reporter

PALATKA, Fla. – A 3-year-old was safely rescued and reunited with his family Monday night after two good samaritans spotted him in the middle of a busy street in Palatka.

Two men were driving down St. Johns Avenue near Pine Street when they nearly ran over the toddler in the middle of the roadway, according to the Palatka Police Department. At night, a section of the road is also very dark because of limited streetlights.

After the child was relocated to safety, one of the men was recorded on a Ring doorbell camera frantically trying to find who the boy belonged to. The Ring video also shows one of the men flagging down a patrol officer.

“Somebody’s baby is in the road. A little small baby is on the road. Somebody’s baby out here. You don’t know anyone next door who has a small baby,” the man was heard saying on video.

Palatka police spokesperson Matt Newcomb said the two men’s actions saved the child’s life.

“Luckily, they did not hit the child, but they were good enough people to stop, pull over, check on the child, and then go door to door to do their own canvas of the neighborhood to try and identify who the child belonged to. They stayed with the child until our officers arrived on the scene. It was phenomenal,” Newcomb said.

The men eventually came across the child’s father. The father told police that he left the child with his wife and another child to go pick up dinner. When he returned, the front door was open and the toddler was nowhere to be found.

Police said what happened is a teachable moment for parents.

“Ensure the doors are closed. With little children like that, have a door bolt or door chain up high that the child can’t reach so they can’t get out of the house because instead of this being a public service announcement, It could have been a story of we’ve lost another child,” Newcomb said.

The Good Samaritan said he has nightmares about what could have happened to that child.

The parents are not facing charges because the police said they did nothing wrong.

In other similar cases where parents are charged, those parents are accused of willful child neglect because they were either drunk or strung out on drugs.

Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4JAX - All rights reserved.

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Award-winning broadcast and multimedia journalist with 20 years experience.

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Fire department credits family dog with saving family from carbon monoxide poisoning

Posted: November 14, 2023 | Last updated: November 14, 2023

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM)- Fire officials in Dauphin County are crediting a family dog with saving its owners from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Crews were called to a carbon monoxide alarm late Sunday night in Lower Paxton Township.

Collin Weigle, Assistant Chief of Colonial Park Fire Company, was met by the homeowner who said the rest of her family was already asleep for the night.

“She was lying down for the night when she heard the dog barking downstairs and went down to figure out what the dog was barking at,” said Weigle.

The dog was barking at the carbon monoxide alarm going off in the basement. The alarm was too faint for anyone to hear upstairs, but not for the pup.

“I opened the basement door, and I was already met with a large volume of carbon monoxide in the house,” said Weigle.

The highest reading was 1,500 parts per million.

“It’s enough to knock a human unconscious in about 20 minutes and prove to be fatal in about two hours,” said Weigle.

Weigle says the exhaust pipe of the boiler had come disconnected. The cooler months are when more carbon monoxide-related calls.

“You have some malfunctions that happen over the summer months that you never know about and you go turn your heating on, and that’s when you get all these carbon monoxide emergencies,” said Weigle.

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To prevent any accidents, heating appliances should be checked out and dryer vents cleared.

“If they’re packed up with brush in front of them or snow that they can’t ventilate to the outside, that starts to back up and can cause a carbon monoxide leak in the house,” said Weigle.

Just like smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on every floor of your home.

“They can set up alarm systems by hardwiring detectors together so that if one goes off, every single detector in the house will go off,” said Weigle.

Last but not least, thank your pets because they could save your life.

“In reality, the dog is the one that saved the family and the detector,” said Weigle.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to ABC27.

night wandering in dogs

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  1. 5 Essential Tips To Walking Your Dog At Night

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  1. Keeping a Wandering Dog Safe and Happy at Night

    Keeping a Wandering Dog Safe and Happy at Night My friend Jane Jackson has graciously agreed to share her story about her wandering senior dog Beetle and how she kept him safe at night. These are her words. "I have a Jack Russell Terrier who will be 16 the day after Christmas.

  2. Old dogs: why they go walking at night

    The key features of dog dementia are: progressive confusion reversal of day-night wake-sleep patterns poor adaptability to new situations/change of routine There is no test for dementia in dogs (we can't get them to do the cognitive tests that people can do). Other brain diseases (eg tumours, meningitis) can also disrupt the sleep-wake cycle.

  3. Night-time Waking in Senior Dogs

    If your dog is starting to wake regularly at night, a visit to your veterinarian is indicated. With a thorough history and physical exam we will start to narrow down the most likely cause of the night-time waking. A basic blood test and urinalysis will determine if your pet has diabetes, kidney disease or a bladder infection.

  4. Pacing and Circling in Dogs

    Pacing and circling in dogs can be activities in which dogs engage in order to perform some normal activities like urinating, defecating, sniffing and investigating, or they can be compulsive behaviors which are not normal. They may also be indicative of underlying pain or a neurological disease or canine dementia.

  5. Can't settle down? Why your dog is restless and can't ...

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  6. How to Help Your Dog with Sundowners

    Keep your doors and gates closed to prevent your dog from wandering. Make sure your dog stays hydrated, and keep tabs on their food intake. Keep small objects and hazardous chemicals out of your senior dog's reach. Finally, be extra cautious and patient when introducing new people and pets to your dog, to reduce confusion and anxiety.

  7. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in Senior Dogs

    Whole Dog Journal contributor Lisa Rodier explains how to care for an older dog that may have cognitive dysfunction syndrome or symptoms of. ... Disorientation, including appearing lost or confused in the house or yard; wandering aimlessly; pacing ... (a classic CDS symptom) at night." Kanable believes daily exercise is the key. Even if it ...

  8. Why is Your Dog Restless at Night and What Can You Do About It?

    For instance, dogs have very sensitive hearing, and as a result, they can become easily restless at night from loud noises. Thunderstorms and fireworks are several examples of loud noises that are known to exacerbate a dog's anxiety. Exposure to different environments may also cause them to be fearful. For example, a dog spending the night ...

  9. Behavior Problems in Older Dogs

    Restlessness/Waking at Night Dogs who sleep more during the day can become more restless and active at night. Some dogs start overreacting to things they once ignored, like the garage door opening or the newspaper being delivered. Keeping a record can help you identify what triggers your dog's nighttime activity.

  10. 17 Reasons Your Dog is Pacing & Unsettled

    Elderly dogs becoming restless at night is a warning sign of dementia. Your pet's sleep-wake cycle will be reversed, and they'll grow distressed at night. It's dark, it's quiet, and the dog is wondering why their human family is ignoring them. Other symptoms of canine senility include: Staring into space, or at walls, for hours on end.

  11. Dog Pacing At Night: A Guide To Stop The Nightime Frights

    Pacing at night can be normal for some dogs, depending on their personality, health, and age. Some dogs may just have a hard time settling down, same as us. Domesticated dogs have learned to adopt the same sleep-wake cycle as us. They often sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time.

  12. Why Is My Dog Pacing: 3 Reasons & How To Help Them

    1. Anxiety or stress Pacing can be caused by anxiety and stress, especially phobias. You might notice that your dog is particularly clingy and dislikes being left alone.

  13. Why is my dog restless at night?

    Why Restless at Night Occurs in Dogs. Restless sleep is most commonly seen in puppies and younger dogs, especially after a big change or if sleeping arrangements are in a hot room. However, there can be more serious medical conditions that may be affecting your dog's sleep. We need to consider canine dementia, pain, or anxiety.

  14. The Reasons Why Your Dog May Be Wandering Around The House At Night

    If your dog wakes up in the night and wanders outside, he or she may have a medical problem, such as a urinary tract infection or Cushing's disease. An expert can diagnose and prescribe medication to help your pet deal with this problem.

  15. Wandering Older Dogs: Reasons Prevention And Solutions

    By Dog House There are a number of reasons why an older dog may wander around the house. They may be seeking attention, looking for something they need or want, or simply exploring their surroundings. Older dogs may wander around the house for attention. They may want to be near their humans and feel safest when they are close by.

  16. How to Safely Walk Your Dog at Night

    For yourself, a headlamp will help you navigate the night while your hands stay free for holding the leash. Amazon sells this waterproof headlamp for under $20. For your dog, consider a clip-on collar light. They attach easily to your dog's collar and shine bright so motorists, cyclists, and other walkers can see her coming.

  17. My Dog Is Pacing and Won't Lie Down

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  18. Is Your Dog Keeping You Awake at Night?

    Michael's dog, Willy, was a barker. In fact, he would bark and whine all night long. "It got to the point that everyone in the house was sleep deprived -- the kids, the wife," Michael said. "We'd only had him for two years, when we moved to an actual house. Once we moved in, we decided to put him in the laundry room at night.

  19. If You Ever Walk Your Dog At Night, You NEED To Read This

    Use a Leash. Taking your dog out at night means you are at a disadvantage. Your dog can see much better in the dark then you, so she will notice, say a rabbit hiding in a bush, that you will have no idea is there. So, while I always advocate leashed dogs, it is even more important at night when your dog could take off after something and you ...

  20. Where Do Lost Dogs Go at Night?

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  21. Why is my dog aggressive at night?

    Your dog may be exhibiting aggression at night due to various conditions. ... Signs your dog may be experiencing cognitive dysfunction can also include an increase in vocalization, aimless wandering, staring at a wall or an object for a length of time, disorientation, and changes in appetite and social interactions. ...

  22. Dog walking safety tips for walking your dog at night

    When walking your dog at night, there are two things you can do to make your walks easier and keep yourself safe. These are: Always carry a torch. Or better still, wear a head torch, as these leave your hands free. Wear bright clothing. It's equally important you wear a bright coat, ideally one with reflectors.

  23. Walking Dog at Night: How to Stay Safe

    Reflective gear, including reflective vests, wrist and leg bands for both yourself and your dog, a reflective collar and leash, reflective dog tags. A light-up leash and collar. Light-up shoes for yourself. Wearable lights that attach to your dog's collar or harness. Glow sticks, or bracelets and necklaces made out of neon lights.

  24. Why do dogs sleep so much? Is it normal for my dog to sleep all day?

    According to the American Kennel Club, dogs spend around half of the day asleep, 30% awake but relaxing and about 20% being active. So, it is normal for your dog to sleep or rest for a majority of ...

  25. Small white, short hair dog wandering around in the street N ...

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  26. Wandering wolf hybrid, that had residents on edge, captured in the

    North Bay Animal Services captured a wayward wolf hybrid and reunited him with its owner on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. The animal was seen wandering Sonoma County, with 30-40 sightings over several days.

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