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Dr. Z.
Dr. Z., Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 5923
Experience:  Over 25 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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Our 10 year old dog stopped sleeping through the night 6 months

Resolved Question:

Our 10 year old dog stopped sleeping through the night 6 months ago and is constantly waking me up all night. She started this when our cat passed away, who was her buddy, and then after a couple months our dog was sleeping better. Then this fall she was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and is taking several medicines including a dirurectic for that and also takes Rimidyl for arthrithus. Moreover, she has small cateracts so our vet suggested leaving a light on for her at night so that she can see and doesn't get scared. OK. We leave a light on, we've even left a small radio on so that she hears human voices but she still wanders through the house waking everyone up from midnight on. She wimpers, cries and if we don't respond, she barks at the side of our bed. We never know if she really has to go to the bathroom, so we always have to get up and let her out, or if she just wants us up for company. Once the sun comes up, she sleeps like a baby. She can sleep for 2 to 3 hours without getting up to go outside and she's very calm and relaxed. We've tried to natural relaxing pills for her which don't work and we can't drug her with her heart condition. Any ideas as we're all suffering from sleep deprivation here at our house.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Z. replied 2 years ago.

Dr Z :

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. I am a licensed veterinarian and would be happy to answer your questions.

Dr Z :

What are the ingredients in the GNC relax pills?

Customer:

Chamomile 50 mg, Hops 50 mg, Ginger 40mg, Tourine 20 mg, L-Trypotophon 10 mg

Dr Z :

I would wonder if maybe she were starting to show signs of a condition called cognitive dysfunction. It is a condition that we see in older dogs with signs that vary from dog to dog. For lack of a better comparison, it is similar to Alzheimer's disease in humans. In the early stages, it can be difficult to identify as the changes are often gradual.


Here are some of the most common signs seen, but there are others as well:


 


general confusion - your pet doesn't greet or seem to recognize you as before, your pet gets 'lost' in the yard or house


inappropriate vocalization - barking or meowing in the middle of the night, or for no 'good' reason? (I know, some dogs don't need a reason to bark.)


getting day and night mixed up - sleeping all day, awake all night?


confusing indoor and outdoor - a previously housebroken pet soiling in the house?


personality changes - i.e. a formerly outgoing pet becoming timid or aggressive?

Dr Z :

I have seen a good number of dogs affected by this and all have exhibited different signs, especially in the early stages. I would have your veterinarian perform a thorough physical exam to make sure there is nothing else going on if she hasn't been examined recently.


 


Some dogs I have seen have responded to diet change alone. Hill's b/d diet is a good choice. If not, the medication called Anipryl® is very effective for many dogs.

Dr Z :

Here is a link to an information sheet about it for you as well as a checklist for you to use with your veterinarian.


cognitive dysfunction


CDS checklist

Customer:

She has always been very sweet and her personality hasn't changed but sometimes she does seems a little disoriented in the house. We had to change her food from Hills Prescription Diet ZD to the HD for Cardiac Health this fall because of her heart condition. She had an exam in November with a blood test and except for her heart and hips, her numbers were good. What is Anipryl?

Dr Z :

Anipryl is a medication that works to increase certain neurotransmitters in the brain. These nerotransmitters are often decreasd in dogs as they age. Here is a great website link. CDS II

Dr Z :

I generally start with the supplements first (+/- diet change to b/d if there are no other dietary restrictions needed). I usually recommend increasing the omega 3's in the diet as well. The active ingredient of fish oil is EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid). You just want to make sure you are seeing those on the label as an ingredient and not just the words "fish oil" as these are the important part of the fish oil and not all fish oil capsules have them in it, especially the cheaper ones. Aim for 180mg EPA and 120 mg DHA per 10 lbs body weight daily. There is a large range of safety and it doesn't have to be that amount exactly but this gives you some guidelines.


 


There are various additional supplements on the market to help with brain health. The three most readily available are: Cholidin, Senilife and Novifit. As far as which supplement to try first, I do not think there is any general agreement on that. Between the cholidin, senilife, and novifit I would make my decisions on which to use based on cost, ease of administration and availability. I do not see a problem with using them all if cost is not an issue and you have a dog who doesn't mind taking oral supplements. There may be more benefit to starting with multiple approaches for a greater combined effect and backing off to a minimum effective combination if you get a favorable response. It is not always easy to track response as the symptoms can be variable and intermittent.


 


I would add the Anipryl if needed for better effect or as the cognitive dysfunction progresses.


 


 

Dr Z :

These would be safe to use with her other meds on board.

Dr Z :

Do you have any further questions?

Customer:

We will try those supplements first and see if there's any positive change and I will do research on Anipryl. Thanks. I have one more question. We have a doggie door in our garage that leads to our completely fenced yard and when we leave the house for longer than an hour, we always put her in the garage with the radio on, the lights on and a nice, warm doggie bed and her water. We live in southern California and our garage never gets very cold and it's insulated. She always sleeps well in the garage when we're gone because usually when we get home an the garage door goes up, she's sound asleep on her dogbed. Should we pretend to go out at night and put her in the garage, sneak back in the house and see if she sleeps better in there for a few hours? Just curious.

Dr Z :

I think that plan may help she does not affected by CDS. If her days and nights are mixed up, I don't think she will sleep at night, no matter where she is, unless she gets some help. Melatonin may be another thing ti use with her at night to sleep better then.

Customer:

Thank you so much. We love our dog and want to help her and in turn, help us to sleep through the night again. You have given me a lot of great information.

Dr Z :

You are welcome. If you have no further questions, you can click on the accept and it will close out the post.

Dr. Z., Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 5923
Experience: Over 25 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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