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Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16505
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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My 9 1/2 year old Golden retriever started panting heavily

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My 9 1/2 year old Golden retriever started panting heavily at night, at times he is too hot, but most of the times he seems anxious. He doesn't need to go outside but if he climbs on the bed then he can generally quiet down. For the past 9 years he sleep next to our bed and not in it. Any thoughts on the underlying reasons for behavioral change?
Hello! My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to help you with your dog today.

Is it every night that he acts like this?

Do you remember, or could you tell if there was something that started it (like a storm or strange noise)?

Will he calm down if you speak to him?

Does he have any underlying health issues you're aware of?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He started about one month ago, He will pant in my face until I help him onto the bed, he has never liked jumping up unless it is to chase a ball. If I tell him to lay down he will for a few minutes then back panting. Otherwise he is very fit for a 9 yr old golden. I don't recall anything triggering the behavior.

Thank you so much for the extra information Richard. I really appreciate it.

Some older dogs get a little anxious at night for reasons we really don't understand. At our clinic we refer to it as 'sundowning', where the animal is fine all day, but then becomes restless and agitated at night. Obviously, your dog is seemingly only like this at night, and it does sound a bit like he's having a dementia problem.


Some vets refer to it as geriatric cognitive dysfunction, and you can find more information here:



Something you could consider would be talking to your vet about a light sedative for your pup in the evenings. One that we use is called Clomicalm and really seems to work well. Of course, you'll have to talk to your vet to make sure that this is a good option to use for him.



Another option would be something to help with the anxiety that doesn't have to be ingested (eaten), so it wouldn't interfere with the other medications or supplements he may be on. I love using the DAP collar:


These are collars that are impregnated with a man-made version of the dog appeasing pheromone, which is a pheromone that nursing bitches give off to their pups to help them feel calm and secure. It's something that humans can't smell, but it has an amazing effect on dogs with anxiety and other issues. Although you can find them at your vet's can also find them online at places like and Ebay for much cheaper. Just make sure they're DAP brand, as they seem to work better than some other versions.


I've used the DAP collar in my own dogs and with some of the dogs I've rehabilitated and I really, really like the results. Just keep in mind that the collar only lasts for 30 days, so you'll have to replace it monthly if it works for you.


I hope this helps.

Lisa and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Richard,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Riley. How is everything going?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No real difference, taking him to the vet on Thursday for a thorough exam.


Thanks so much for the update. I'll keep my fingers crossed for a good outcome.