Night time anxiety Discussions

Discussion in 'Shih Tzu' started by Charles F Raysbrook, Aug 29, 2021.

  1. Charles F Raysbrook

    Charles F Raysbrook New Member

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    Night time anxiety

    My dog, Wallace, is 15 and has started to show his age. He's slowing down with osteoarthritis and has lost his hearing, sleeps a LOT, but he is sturdy (20 lbs.) and enjoys several walks a day. In the last few months he has developed a very disturbing habit. He has always slept in his bed just outside our bedroom door. He retires for the night when my wife and I do, i.e. around 9:30-10:00. He used to sleep soundly all night. A few months ago he started to awaken around midnight or 1:00 a.m. He then paws at the bedroom door and makes loud grunts and groans every couple of minutes. He keeps it up until I come out of the room. He is happy to see me but it is impossible for me to pacify him enough so that we can both resume sleeping. I end up taking him and his bed into another bedroom so that my wife can sleep. I stay with him but he remains very anxious--paces and pants and licks his paws/legs--for another hour or so before he finally settles down. Here's the crucial part. Even though he wears a calming collar and I have set up a pheremone diffuser eight feet from his bed outside our bedroom door, AND I give him a sleep aid in the form of Pet Relief Hemp oil in the recommended amount OR 0.5 mg of Xanax as prescribed by our vet, nothing makes him sleep through the night. It is beyond exasperating and I feel that Wallace's health and mine are suffering. Is there anyone out there who has had similar experience and has a solution they can share? HELP, please!
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  3. Chris

    Chris Member

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    Helidale likes this.
    May sound silly, but have you tried leaving the light on? If he's lost his hearing, he may be feeling a little unsure in the dark.

    Obviously, at 15 it's not unusual for changes in the mental state.

    It's also worth a vet check to make sure there is no underlying medical cause other than old age
  4. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    Helidale and GsdSlave like this.
    I'm guessing that since you have the xanax, you have taken him to see his vet and they are not finding anything wrong medically other than old age.

    I would set up his bed in the other bedroom and stay with him for a night watching. He may be having mini-seizures and what you're seeing are the after effects. One night staying up with him may identify that as the issue. And unfortunately a vet can't diagnose seizures unless they or you have seen one in action.

    If no seizures, you may want to adjust your schedule a bit and see if a "right before bedtime" long walk helps him sleep better.

    I have found things like pheremones and thunder shirts, etc, are hit or miss (and for my pets have been more miss that hit).

    Xanax doesn't have an "all night" effect - it's usually good to get them to sleep initially, but doesn't keep them asleep through the night. It also takes longer to work once he's in full anxiety mode. There is a sweet spot in timing to it for the best results. Are you giving it to him at bedtime or after he wakes up in the night? Try it at the other time and see if that works better. *(see below)

    You might also try putting an old tshirt of yours in his bed with him. Your scent on it may help him resettle quicker.

    As Chris mentions, try leaving a light on for him.

    If none of the above works, you may try bringing his bed into your room and setting it up by your bedside. At least that way when he wakes, you don't have the door scratching and you can drop your hand over the side of the bed and calm him before he builds up his anxiety. It may reduce the anxiety enough that you can both go back to sleep easier.

    *With him in your room, you can also have the xanax ready to go and give it to him as soon as he starts moving around in the night - rather than waiting until he's extremely anxious or giving it to him earlier in the evening.
  5. Charles F Raysbrook

    Charles F Raysbrook New Member

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    Thanks for the response. Lighting doesn't seem to have any effect. I suspect that dementia is the primary issue. Wallace's old age scares me, though. I'm seeing my vet today for a complete work-up.
  6. Charles F Raysbrook

    Charles F Raysbrook New Member

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    You gave my dilemma a lot of thought and I really appreciate it. There are a number of factors at play here, not least of which are plain old separation anxiety, advanced age w/ dementia, osteoarthritis. Vet visit scheduled for today.

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