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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10372
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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I am having an almost nightly event with my 18 pound Havanese.

Customer Question

I am having an almost nightly event with my 18 pound Havanese. He has always been afraid of storms, but he has gotten worse. I have him with a calming color, a pill called Composure Pro, a jacket on, and now he takes Acepromazine for the storms. However, there is something new added. When we go to bed at nigh, I may have about an hour before he jumps down from the bed, and starts to cry and wine. Last Monday, he managed to yank the cord out from the back of my tv which connects the cable. I had to buy a new tv. I just blocked off the doorway to that room, and he is going back and forth crying and barking. It is almost 1 in the morning, and I have had only an 1 and 1/2 hours of sleep. I have been doing this for weeks now. Last night, I did give him a dose of the Acepromazine because I am so worn out. I am afraid to give him this med because we are supposed to have storms this morning. It only seems to occur between the hours of 12:30 and 3am. His eyes get enlarged, he is panting, and crying. He will not listen to me. Can you help? He is ten years old.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I'm Dr. Deb.
I recently came online and see that your question about Peanut hasn't been answered. I'm so sorry that you've had to wait for a response, but if you still need assistance, I'd like to help if I can.
Sleep deprivation is never a good thing and I expect that you must be absolutely exhausted if Peanut is behaving this way just about every night (or early morning, I guess it would be)!
If the episodes were more sporadic or didn't last as long, I might suspect that he was having seizure events. But, a neurologic event doesn't really fit his behavior.
It sounds as if he may be suffering from something similar to Sundown Syndrome in humans which would be secondary to Cognitive Dysfunction (CD) or senility issues.
I've had a number of clients whose dogs behave as Peanut is doing and only behaving this way at nighttime, interestingly enough. I believe their behavior reflects the intense confusion they feel although I can't know this for sure.
If that's the case, then I do have a few suggestions which may be of help. Since we often do not know which neurotransmitters or neuro-pathways are most affected by CD in each patient, a better response may be seen in our pets if a combination of several supplements and drugs are given as opposed to only one or two of each separately. This sort of combination can help to improve the level of neurotransmitters in the Central Nervous System (CNS) and reduce oxidative damage to brain tissue.
There are other modifications which can be made to lifestyle which may be beneficial which I’ve included below as well.
1. Cognitive supplements such as Neutricks, or Senilife
2. Combination of antioxidants such as Golden Years (Sogeval) , Antiox 5000 Ultra (Sovegal), Cell Advance 440 for small and medium sized dogs (Vetriscience).
3. Anti-inflammatory agents such as high dose fish oils (DHA> 300mg… not the total mg on the capsule but the DHA content). Welactin in a good product since it's a liquid which can be drizzled on the food.
4. Over the counter, human Melatonin which can be especially helpful whe sleep issues are present but it also has antioxidant properties. 1-3 mg before bedtime would be the recommended dog. There's some evidence to suggest that this drug works synergistically with Acepromazine so the two together may be more effective than either one alone.
5. CNS stimulants such as Selegiline 5-10mg/day which is a drug licensed for use in CD but would have to be prescribed by your vet.
6. Consider a prescription diet such as Hills' B/D diet or Purina senior diet with MCT oil. There’s some evidence that calorie restriction can help some dogs with CD so reduce calorie intake.
7. Evidence also exists that daily and sustained exercise has positive effects in reducing progression of CD. Exercise daily: 1/2-1 hour walk twice daily
8. Sensory stimulation such as touching, brushing, and massage therapy may also reduce progression of CD.
There are always other supplements which can be added; however, patient compliance may become an issue at some point. But, others to consider would be:
a. medium chain triglycerides i.e., unprocessed coconut oil. 1-2 tsp/day
b. SAMe manufactured by Virbac aka Novifit
I've seen a few dogs with arthritis become agitated but the timing and intensity don't really fit with this condition.
I've also seen dogs with brain tumors behave in some odd and unusual ways but, again, the timing doesn't fit with this either.
I hope this helps to provide options for you to consider and that they will be effective. Again, my apologies for the delayed reply. Deb