Dogs are not completely like humans! You sleep when the lights go off, but do you know dogs stay alive still after that?
Seeing you sleeping makes him restless and anxious, he wants to play with you and cuddle. Although, I hope this is the reason why your dog is anxious at night.
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Any medical reason is a serious concern. They are a big part of your life!
I know how it feels to get up nervously at your dog’s barking sound instead of resting peacefully after a busy schedule.
It’s okay, you do not have to feel guilty, and dog anxiety at night is a serious topic to discuss.
In this blog, I would explain to you the reasons, share tips, and ways to calm him and make him happy at night.
So, let’s start.
Reasons for Dog Anxiety at Night
Dog anxiety at night is not something you can overlook. First of all, you’ve to realize that it’s a serious topic, it needs your and your vet’s attention.
However, I agree that some pets do it to seek your attention. In that scenario, you have to train and teach him.
Also, teach him the basic commands properly at an early stage of life. Apart from that, here are some reasons why dogs are anxious at night.
Eye problem or Congenital Stationary Night Blindness: Your dog might suffer from congenital stationary night blindness (CSNB), where he has a normal vision during the day and he finds it difficult to distinguish things at night.
Genetic mutation or certain diseases are the factors for congenital night blindness among dogs. This dysfunction impacts his quality of life and anxiety.
According to Dr. Gustavo Aguirre, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania states that – “In bright light, they can walk around and navigate easily, but in darkness, they sort of freeze. It’s really very dramatic.”
Additionally, as per research, most Beagles bred displays behaviors characterized by night blindness. Luckily, the condition is not painful or dangerous.
1. Post-traumatic stress disorder
As per statistics, 5% – 17% of dogs suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the reason behind his behavior is the way he has been brought up.
To be specific, if your dog was part of police or military work, raised in a puppy mill, a dog returning from war, abused in little stage, or lived mostly in streets, abandoned and suffering from disaster or attacked by big fierce animals.
The list can go on! These events result in the experience of traumatic events or anxiety when he is alone and the room is dark, at night.
At night, he gets vivid flashbacks of past events and becomes hypervigilance and the main reason why the dog is anxious at night. The trauma and flashbacks feel real to him.
2. Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CCDS) or Alzheimer
Brain disorder in canines is the major reason why dogs are anxious at night, some dogs over the age of nine not only start getting old but their brains undergo major changes.
Such neurodegenerative conditions among dogs result in the death of brain cells that do not multiply. This results in changes in behavior, memory loss, dysfunction, confusion, personality disorder, loss of sight, and stress.
Technically, such conditions cannot be cured but taken care of by medication and proper check-ups. Also, the absence of treatment can result in the dog crying in his sleep.
As per research, dogs with such conditions vocalized a lot, and exhibit shaking, circling, pacing and panting. However, there is no quick test available to determine his condition.
3. An unknown pain might be Cancer
You’ll be surprised to know, as per Animal Cancer Foundation research, on average every year 6 million dogs are diagnosed with cancer.
This disease can affect any part of your dog’s body, causing discomfort, and pain without even realizing it. Such an uncomfortable situation cannot be diagnosed with a blood test.
Dogs are good at hiding pain, at night there’s nothing to distract them from the pain and each second seems to be a long hour.
Let me explain further. Hog, my friend’s dog was walking at night and suddenly his leg bone broke, later she found out he had multiple myeloma.
Again, Coffee always used to get up at night panicking, after a few days I noticed her right eye bulging out. Later I found out she had a tumor growing. An unknown pain!
4. Night-time noise phobia
As per research, 1/3 of the canine population is affected by noise aversion. Also, Dr. Dodman suspects that cold weather influences noise phobia among dogs.
Noises like thunder, gunshots, fireworks, and the noise of vacuum cleaners, hailstorms, fighting, and garbage trucks down the block – instigate fear and panic among dogs.
You might see a dog panicking, climbing up your shoulder, hiding under the bed or burying his head in you in response to such loud music or noises. I have seen mostly German Shepherds prone to develop such a phobia. Dog’s borderline low thyroid value is the reason behind his sensitivity.
Dog’s noise anxiety can worsen when he is 12 – 24 months old. Know that fear, anxiety, and phobia have different meanings, so understand what your dog is suffering from. Do not overreact.
5. Eating disorder – Anorexia
Anorexia is a condition where your dog is having trouble eating and has a very low appetite. Such eating disorders have a negative influence on physical condition.
Regardless, eating disorders can be overeating, undereating, Pica, or Coprophagia or Faeces eating. Moreover, you might argue that overeating is a healthy habit but you’ve to agree that all these habits influence his emotional state.
Gaining too much weight may result in joint stress, liver disease, kidney problem, and heart diseases. Whereas, underrating results in jaundice, shortness of breath and more.
Pica and Faeces eating is a serious problem that needs to be reported to the veterinarian. In such situations, behavioral modification is the key to resolving his anxiety at night.
Your dog hates seeing you sleeping because he feels alone and lonely. Also, some pets fear being left alone, they crave being close to you, pampered.
Dog emotions are complex, at one time he might be happy and at another, he might be growling in anger or sitting alone in sadness.
Dogs suffer from depression, and their withdrawal or lethargic behavior is a sign you should take them to the vet and treat them on time.
Dr. Yolanda Ochoa, director of Fetch My Vet, stated that if your pooch lost an animal friend or a human, they try to closely bond with the next person. If he fails to get that vibe, love, or care from you, he feels lonely and anxious.
Why is my Old Dog Suddenly Anxious at Night?
I can read your tone of desperation and exhaustion of mind while asking this question. I saw my friend waking up every night to her Coffee panting and pacing.
Nights after night paired with offering him water, calming him, settling him, and bringing him to her bed to sleep.
Sadly, this is not only her story, the parents of every older dog face this problem. Also, such behavior negatively impacts your dog’s quality of life.
Here are the reasons for your question – “Why is my Senior Dog Suddenly Anxious at Night?”
1. Medical problems
The senior dog urinates a lot. As per Benji’s vet, more than 80% of senior dogs come to him because they have urinary tract infections, kidney disease, gastrointestinal upset, and diabetes.
All these effects are noticeable throughout the day but get more noticeable in the middle of the night.
Also, arthritic pain can sometimes result in form of tumors, and cancers. He cannot stay in one place comfortably; this breaks up his sleep and yours.
You might hear him panting, pacing, and getting restless. Therefore, you’ve to understand that any medical situation leads to increased anxiety, aggression, and decreased responsiveness to your voice.
2. Separation anxiety
You’ll often hear dog parents complaining about the dog barking at night suddenly due to separation anxiety. Separation anxiety happens when dogs get separated from their parents, they try to escape from the room to see their mom and dad!
Also, dog problems are accompanied by drooling behavior, distress, howling, chewing, or digging. You’ll find some dogs crying when their guardian leaves for the office. And, once the guardian returns, he is super elicited.
Moreover, there is no conclusive evidence why a dog develops separation anxiety but as per research, a dog shelter or losing a close person is the reason behind his action.
Just remember, a happy and tired dog is always less stressed. Train him, use interactive puzzles, in a word, and keep him busy and happy.
3. New habits – crating your dog, or teaching new things?
Another predominant reason why your senior dog barks at night might be you trying to teach him new things.
You know, dogs are good learners but you’ve to understand that teaching new things at this age can be overwhelming.
For example, I saw my friend crating her dog because she was distressed by her urinating behavior. Now, this resulted in anxiousness and fear in her dog.
She never crated her dog in early days, it was very uncomfortable for her to accommodate, and she couldn’t control her bowel or bladder, which made her even more anxious.
So, never force any dog or pet to learn new things, rather give them some time adopt to the new situation. Be patient!
4. A side effect of any running medicines
Another reason why your senior dog has anxiety at night might be the side effect of ingestion of new medicines or medical syrup.
Symptoms like Cushing’s disease, abnormalities of the genitals, and urine incontinence are common side effects a dog gets from medical issues.
You will notice, even vets are sometimes cautious before giving any medicines. A number of medical issues or medicine composition might not suit his health resulting in urinating at night while asleep.
Tips: How to Calm an Anxious Dog?
As per my experience, the best tips to calm an anxious dog at night are to stay beside him, make him comfortable, and feel safe.
You should aim to calm him down, helping him to sleep easily and reducing his night anxiety.
Here are some tips on how to calm an anxious dog:
- Treat him. A hard chew, or Kong toy
- A safe comfortable bed. Just ask yourself, can you sleep without a cozy blanket and soft bed? So, buy him the anti-anxiety puppy bed
- If he feels safe, allow him to sleep in the same room with you. Because this is the best way to stop his anxiety at night
- Don’t you love a massage before going to bed? Similarly, your pup loves bed cuddles and massage. A little massage can help him to sleep peacefully without anxiety.
- Before, going to sleep, take him for a poop walk
- Studies shows, soft music can calm our dog by controlling his heart rate, and cortisol levels.
- Follow a proper bedtime routines
I hope now you know the reason for dog anxiety at night and why old dog pants at night. Remember, a dog sleep when he is not disturbed by any pain or noises.
Though it’s not unusual for your dog to want you to stay close to him, love him, or coax him, stalking you from room to room or whining by not seeing you is not a good sign.
Therefore, make sure you offer him focused attention and keep him occupied with his toys and interesting treats.
FAQ: Dog Anxiety at Night
1. What can I give my dog to relax at night?
A: A proper bed, a comfortable place, smooth music, or three to six milligrams of Melatonin hormone can relax dogs to sleep at night. Also, Melatonin or Benadryl medications offer him mental and physical peace while sleeping.
2. What are the symptoms of severe anxiety in dogs?
A: Anxiety is always associated with panting, urinating, pooping, dry mouth, restlessness, behavior change, increased vigilance, drooling, change in sleeping patterns, and sometimes also barking.
3. What makes dogs anxious at night?
A: Pain and separation anxiety are major reasons why dogs are anxious at night. Remember, all these things cannot be treated at home with care, so take him to the vet and seek professional help.