So your old dog kept you up all night yet again? Aging dogs are not too dissimilar to their human counterparts when it comes to having trouble sleeping at night. Don’t ignore these incidents for too long though as they can lead to health issues for your dog.
If you are looking for ways to help eliminate your old dog’s restlessness issues, look no further. We are going to give you all the tips you will ever need to help him be comfortable and happy just like he used to in his youth.
Causes of restlessness in old dogs
Your elderly dog may be restless at nights due to a number of issues
that can be health-related or behavior-related. If your dog experiences sleeplessness way too often, it is a surefire sign that not everything is well with him. Consider some of these issues and if you are concerned, take him for a check-up.
- Pain could be what is making your dog restless at night. If you notice your dog pacing and panting quite often, this is yet another sign that he is in pain. The pain may be due to joint issues, arthritis, cancer, or various other reasons.
- Bladder and bowel issues could also be reasons why your pup is losing his poise at odd hours.
- Sleep apnea has also been found to make a dog restless at night. You have further reason to worry if you have an English Bulldog, a Pug or a Boston Terrier.
- Anxiety might be causing your old dog all sorts of troubles with sleep. This is usually due to an increase in stress levels as they grow older.
- As dogs grow old there is a change in their sensitivity to noise which leads to sleep disruption at the drop of a hat!
- Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive dysfunction might be making your dog dazed and confused leading him to pace or circle aimlessly and have trouble sleeping.
How to treat your dog’s restlessness?
Restlessness could be a sign of some bigger problem. If you find your dog moving around more than usual at night or showing signs of irritation or distress, you need to be proactive. Here are a few things you can do to help your dog.
- The first step is to consult your vet in order to rule out any health issues that could be the cause of the restlessness.
- Engage in activities that promote sleep, like getting some exercise or mental stimulation in later in the day so your dog doesn’t have too much energy to burn at night.
- Make sure your dog has somewhere comfortable to sleep. You may need to consider a more comfortable and cushioned bed. Or consider purchasing an elevated, orthopedic bed as it can have a calming effect on the aching bones of your dog. These beds are more comfortable for senior dogs to get in and out of.
- Make the place where your dog sleeps warmer and well-ventilated.
- You may also think of buying dark colored curtains if the area where your dog sleeps is well-lit.
- Set up a sleeping schedule and stick to it. This one goes not just for your dog but for you as well.
- In many cases, sleep-inducing calming chews have been found to be of great help.
- Check for any new outside noises that might be disturbing your old pup.
- Adding a nightlight to the area where your dog sleeps might help if your dog has developed poor eyesight.
- Playing soothing music before bedtime, or giving your dog a relaxing massage may also help in reducing the restlessness in your dog.
- If your dog is wandering around the house too much you should try to confine him to a room or smaller area of the house. You can use a dog gate to do this.
Vet related treatments for restless dogs
If any underlying medical condition has been bothering your dog, the vet’s initial efforts would be on treating it. Conditions like cognitive dysfunction, anxiety including separation anxiety, can be managed through proper medication.
Some medications are known to increase blood flow to the brain which can prove beneficial in your efforts to keep your dog more comfortable. If your dog has anxiety-related disorders, it is advisable not to put him in a crate or confined space while you are away as it might worsen his condition.
Separation anxiety issues in dogs are entirely fixable using behavioral treatments. Consult your vet for a better diagnosis of the underlying condition.
Remember, you are your dog’s best friend. Nobody knows him better than you do. If you find anything strange or unusual in his behavior it’s time you take your pup to a vet. Early detection of health-related conditions can make the treatment procedures that much more comfortable for your dog.
With prompt medical attention and little extra care, you can ensure your senior dog’s health and well-being, and save him from suffering restless nights. Just keep your eyes open for the signs and give your pup all the care that he deserves.
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