At Dogville, we currently have the honor of helping a beautiful senior dog who is now suffering from dementia. We have experience along these lines and a heart to help owners and their fur kids out as much as possible. We found this article very informative and wanted to pass it along. From “Insomnia in Senior Dogs” by Dr. Julie Buzby:
“A couple of years ago, a gentleman came to me as a new client asking me to acupuncture his geriatric dog who frequently paced and barked at night. Though acupuncture can be helpful for dogs with sleep-wake cycle disturbances, I had never been asked this before. Hearing his story, I certainly developed a more acute sympathy for dogs who exhibit these symptoms and the people who love them, because both suffer.
The gentleman described his wife—the dog’s caretaker—as on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Like many moms, she was a light sleeper. At night, she would awaken when the dog began panting and pacing. She got up and tried to settle him by taking him outside, offering water, turning on a fan, moving to other rooms in the home, but nothing helped. The nighttime ritual had to run its course until the exhausted dog and woman fell asleep in the early morning hours.
I know this is not an isolated case. Restlessness, panting, pacing, and vocalization at bedtime (and overnight) is not uncommon in senior dogs. There are dozens of reasons why this occurs, and getting to the root cause can seem impossible, especially if there are multiple contributing factors. However, through a careful physical exam and with a “wholistic” approach, restful nights can be a reality. …”