Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all! It's been awhile since I've been on here, glad to see that not much has changed :)

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

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

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

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

The problem

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

I've tried literally everything I can think of:

1. I changed the bed

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

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

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

5. I tried taking out the night light

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

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

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

9. I closed the air vent that's nearby

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

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

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

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

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

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

·
Banned
Joined
·
625 Posts
IMHO, you have paralyzed yourself with fear about why he is whining and resisting a trip to the vet.

If he has had the seizures as you suspect, then a trip to the vet is warranted. I doubt if a trip to the vet will trigger the seizures.

You might try letting them out of the crates at night, but confined to the room with the crates.

Generally, any punishment for unwanted behavior usually does not work and will serve to aggravate the situation.

What is his current exercise/walking routine? You may have a dog that isn't tired enough to sleep.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,733 Posts
A couple of things:

First off, if he's on medication for the seizures, that could be causing at least some of the issues he is having. If he's not on medication for the seizures, then he might need to be.

The other thing to consider with a senior who is starting to have issues like this, is canine cognitive disorder. There are a couple of medications that can help improve their quality of life if it is CCD.

Either way, he needs to be seen by the vet. Doing bloodwork, including a full thyroid panel, to see if there is something metabolic going on would be a good idea. If you are concerned about him having a seizure because of stress, then asking for some medication to give before the visit, as well as scheduling it at as quiet a time as possible might help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
526 Posts
Definitely a vet visit! Night time issues like that can be caused by CCD as someone else mentioned. If it IS CCD, I know several people who give their dogs a low dose of melatonin (vet would be able to advise on proper dose) before bed time and that helps "reset" the clock.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
He definitely has seizures when going to the vet. It's happened twice.

The first time we had been in the waiting room for a few minutes, and when we were called back he started to have a small seizure before getting to the weight scale. I rushed him outside real fast, and the vet came outside to finish the check up. Based on his symptoms the vet was afraid that he was close to having a heart attack, so we've been very cautious. My understanding of the conversation is that his heart rate is so high that it's not getting enough blood to his brain, causing the seizure.

After that we agreed on the vet coming outside for him. But the last time I took him (January 2019), he started to have a seizure while sitting in the car in the parking lot! The vet came to the car to give him his shots and took a blood sample. Nothing bad showed up in the lab work.

It was a few days later at the kennel that he had his first a Grand mal.

Since it only happens during high stress the vet didn't want to medicate him (and I wouldn't have, either). He gave me some sedatives for high stress times that I used for a few days at home and then when I took him to the kennel, but then he had his biggest seizure ever so I don't know if they helped or made it worse.

After that, it just sort of became understood that I won't take any more trips or anything until after he passes. I'm not going to risk killing him just because I'm bored or have wanderlust.


You might try letting them out of the crates at night, but confined to the room with the crates.
My house is a split level, so the main floor is an open floor plan with dining room, living room, and kitchen, with front windows and sliding glass doors to the back yard. I have his crate in the dining room, so if I let him out then he barks out of the front windows and back door all night. That's why I tried the basement (the windows aren't dog level) but I think he just stayed at the door and whined all night.


What is his current exercise/walking routine? You may have a dog that isn't tired enough to sleep.
I can't really take him walking at all, honestly. I'm in a rural area but have neighbors about 1/4 mile away on either side of me. Both have big dogs that they leave outside and don't tie up or anything (one has two very large black dogs, easily 150lbs each; the other has 2 Rotts and a pit bull), and even though the dogs are friendly with me I worry that they might not be as friendly with another male dog. Or that he might get scared and have a seizure.

The last time I took him to my jogging trail, he had a seizure while hopping out of the car. There were no other people or animals around, so I guess it was just the excitement of being there.

After I came back from my trip in January, I started loading him in my car and driving to the end of my road, then just sitting there with him for about 30 minutes... trying to get him accustomed to it a little. His eyes stayed wide, he drooled a lot and panted heavily the whole time, and after a week of doing that every day he didn't seem to get any better.

I throw Frisbee with his sister every day (sometimes twice a day), but he doesn't really like to play. Sometimes he'll run after it, but most of the time he just walks around the yard and watches.

In the evening (about 4 hours before bed time) I'll throw a toy with his sister for 10 or 15 minutes. He likes to get involved with that game, but where I get her to jump around and bark to wear herself out, he just runs to the top of the steps and waits for it. So she gets tired, but he really doesn't.

This isn't really any different than how it's always been, though, so I don't know why it would have suddenly changed one day.


The other thing to consider with a senior who is starting to have issues like this, is canine cognitive disorder.
This is my real concern, especially considering his age and the seizures. But he really doesn't have any other symptoms:

* Disorientation/confusion
Not that I've seen; no blank stares or anything.

* Anxiety/restlessness
Nothing other than the high stress times.

* Extreme irritability
Nope, he's been normal.

* Decreased desire to play
I can't say that he's ever really liked to play.

* Excessive licking
Nope. Although I did find a sore spot on one paw 2 days ago that made me worry that he had licked it raw. I suspected allergies or a bug bite from the back yard, though, because his sister has done that before.

* Seeming disregard for previously learned training or house rules
Umm... maybe? He's started ignoring when I call him to come in, but he always comes when I call him from another room. He sits, lays down, and jumps on and off of furniture on command, though. And there haven't been any accidents in the house.

* Slow to learn new tasks
Unknown, I haven't really had any new tasks to try.

* Inability to follow familiar routes
No problem here.

* Lack of self-grooming
No problem here, either.

* Fecal and urinary incontinence
Nope, all good.

* Loss of appetite (anorexia)
Oh no, he loves meal times and treats! Don't tell him, but his treats are just dog food... lol

* Changes in sleep cycle (i.e, night waking, sleeping during the day)
This is the only one that really applies, I guess. He's always slept through the day, but being awake all night is new.


If it IS CCD, I know several people who give their dogs a low dose of melatonin
I take melatonin myself :) I started giving him NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Aid Plus Melatonin for the last month (is it OK to give a link?). I give him 2 treats at bed time, and each treat has:

Chamomile: 150mg
Thiamine Moninitrate: 100mg
Passion Flower: 100mg
Ginger: 100mg
L-Tryptophan: 30mg
Melatonin: 120mcg

He likes these treats a lot, but I can't say that they've helped any. I tried giving them to him 30 minutes before bed, then 1 hour before bed... I tried giving him one 30 minutes before bed and the second at bed time. It didn't seem to have any impact. But I've read online that 3mg is the safe dosage for his size, so 240mcg might not be anywhere near enough.

I'm gonna buy some 3mg melatonin treats to see if that helps...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
122 Posts
Sorry to hear what you are going through Jason. If wish I could offer some good advice.
One thing you may want to try to help him sleep is some type of training with a clicker. We taught our beagle mix to sit, lay down and give paw really quick and she just loves doing it for treats.

It really keeps her engaged and focused. When she sees one of us get some treats or even just a little of her normal food in our hand, she immediately runs through all three tricks before we can even say or do anything now. Maybe getting his mind engaged might help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Well, I have some good news!

I got the 3mg melatonin in on Saturday, and so far he's sleeping like a champ! I'm giving it to him about 45 minutes before bed... he whines for a few minutes, but by time I'm in bed he's stopped.

The same day, though, I discovered that my garden vole repeller (a total piece of junk) in the back yard had stopped working properly and was just making a constant brrtrrtrrt sound. It was quiet enough that I hadn't noticed, but it was about 50' from where he sleeps AND he's a beagle, so maybe that was bothering him all along?

Either way, one or the other worked! I'm gonna wait about 2 weeks and then stop with the melatonin to see if he sleeps without it.

Thanks for the advice, all!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
526 Posts
Well, I have some good news!

I got the 3mg melatonin in on Saturday, and so far he's sleeping like a champ! I'm giving it to him about 45 minutes before bed... he whines for a few minutes, but by time I'm in bed he's stopped.

The same day, though, I discovered that my garden vole repeller (a total piece of junk) in the back yard had stopped working properly and was just making a constant brrtrrtrrt sound. It was quiet enough that I hadn't noticed, but it was about 50' from where he sleeps AND he's a beagle, so maybe that was bothering him all along?

Either way, one or the other worked! I'm gonna wait about 2 weeks and then stop with the melatonin to see if he sleeps without it.

Thanks for the advice, all!
It could be the culprit! Definitely worth checking into. But I'm so glad the melatonin seems to be working for the time being!
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top