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Old 05.02.2020, 14:46
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Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

Well my dear fellow doglet mums and dads

I wonder if you have made the same experiences with your elderly pooches and if there is a solution to the problem or if we just have to live with it and sit it out.

To cut a long story short, I am terribly sleep depraved, yet a-friggin'-gain.

Reason being:

Our Lizzie (12yo) and has phases, lasting anything between a week to 2 months, where she wakes us at night and wants to be let out. This can occur from just the once to up to 3 times a night.


We have been to the vet twice because of that and everything is shipshape, no kidney or bladder problems (incontinent she isn't either), blood and urine is ok too and she eats and drinks normally as ever.

Her daily output of Number 1's and 2's, and #2's shape, is also normal.

Her food is the same as always and acc. to the vet fine and right for her.

We don't know where those 'bouts' come from and why! They start and stop without a reason where we could pin that to and kind of prepare ourselves for it.


Have you made similar experiences with your ELDERLY dogs?
Is this a kind of normal occurrence?

Do you have any tips what I could try to ensure us a FULL NIGHT'S sleep again. Btw, walking her extra long late afternoon to tire her out....doesn't work either........

Grateful for any input

Signed

Zombie Pandaeyes......aka EE
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Old 05.02.2020, 15:13
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

Try to create a space in the house where the dog is allowed to perform its business.

And dogs are just like humans, some have to go more often than others, and the older we get the more likely it seems to become we have to go at night also.
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Old 05.02.2020, 15:40
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

Senility maybe? We have a problem with an old cat who tends to cry at night for no reason. Vet thinks it might be senility...it's not only humans that get it.
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Old 05.02.2020, 15:58
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

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Senility maybe? We have a problem with an old cat who tends to cry at night for no reason. Vet thinks it might be senility...it's not only humans that get it.
Hmmmmm, that could be something to look into at our next vet visit.

I can only compare from human senility , since I worked over a decade in nursing homes and on geriatric wards, I somehow don't think it could be it, for that she still has her marbles and isn't showing any special/other behaviour.


But then forgetfulness can be a sign as well......

Lizzie, the dog, for instance, is let out before we go up to bed for the night usually around midnight. She stays easily 10 minutes outside doing her rounds like a watchman and doing her 1&2 business.

And it can happen that less than 30 mins after she was let out, she comes and scratches at the bedroom door to be let out again.......

I will make a note of your suggestion and look at it with the vet! Thank you !!
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Old 05.02.2020, 16:00
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

I suspect the same thing for our 11 yr old Great Pyrenees. He has started to bark around 0300 to go outside and then just wants to stay outside. He has always liked the cold, but this is a little odd.
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Old 05.02.2020, 16:16
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

Well, I'm currently sleeping in the guest room because it has a door opening directly to the garden... so have an empathetic cyber hug.

Hooligan has a tendency to UTIs, so we are hoping that this is 'just' another round.

One rather unusual thing, though: This time the first urine sample tested, taken by me collecting it, showed nothing unusual. Because of her history we then took a urine sample directly out of her bladder (guided by ultra sound) so we knew it was 'clean'. The urine was green, usually a sign of infection. However, the analysis came back clear - no infection, nada.

Yet H was clearly in distress, needing to urinate every 20 minutes.

Sometimes you treat for clinical signs regardless of what the analysis says. Especially in an elderly pooch with a history. Which is what the vet decided to do.

H started ABs today, and already I am seeing improvement. (The lab analysis is important to pinpoint which AB, however. In this case, though, we don't have that so we went with the same AB used last time.)

So... if you haven't done a sample taken direct from the bladder, ask your vet if there is any merit in doing that.

Direct collection requires the dog to remain still on her side or upside down while an ultrasound wand is used and a needle inserted. If you thought that might be too much for Lizzie, her tolerance/discomfort needs to be taken into consideration. (H is something of a Stammgast at the clinic, so aaccustomed to 'the table'. Not all dogs are.)

I know vets are reluctant to use ABs unnecessarily - as they should be - but nonetheless ask if clinical signs merit a trial.

For Hooligan, clinical signs are desperation to get outside in a normally laconic dog. The urge comes on suddenly, and she clearly is distressed. It takes her several squats to empty the bladder, and often she continues to try even after there couldn't possibly be anything left. For me, that's a clear sign of another round of UTI.

---

During one particularly difficult round, when H was not responding to treatment as I would have expected, the vets screened her for bladder and other cancers. She was clear, thank doG.

Again, something to ask about.

Also, ask about Cushings. Does Lizzy show any coat problems, any sign of developing a 'pot belly'?

Has Lizzie had any spinal injuries, even in the past? If so, ask the vet if that could be an underlying factor.

There are several conditions that might lead to urinary incontinence, or a perceived need to urinate.

You might ask your vet for a full 'senior' check up. Ask what other conditions might make sense to test for.

---

Another possibility might be CCD, age-related canine cognitive decline. This can lead to house training reversion in some dogs. CCD is much like senility in people.

There are drugs used to help cognitive function. Some of mine have used Karsivan in the past, and I believe there is a newer, more effective drug out there now.

Does Lizzie show any other signs of cognitive decline? Any 'sundowning' aside from the need to urinate, such as not being able to settle at night, getting stuck in corners, atypical barking at nothing?

If so, ask your vet about the possibility of CCD, as well as possible treatments.

---

As to management:

Aldi washable (human) incontinence pads are a godsend. 60x90, perfect for covering many dog beds. CHF 9.99, often on sale for half of that. I buy them whenever they happen to have them, just in case. They are covered in a soft cotton so comfy for the dog to sleep on. Far less expensive than anything else I have found.

Does Lizzie enjoy being in a crate? For dogs who see their crate as a den, line the crate with incontinence pad and have Lizzie sleep in there. Some of my colleagues have found that dogs who are not used to crates inside but are used to their car crate will accept sleeping in a crate if the car crate is brought inside.


---

Incontinence pads will protect the bedding or furniture, but it's actually far simpler to protect - that is, diaper - the dog.

Doggie diapers are a right royal pain for a female dog - but if you are not sleeping you might want to consider them.

None of the brands out there are absorbent enough for a full bladder leak, so what I have done in the past is to buy the washable diaper (Waschbarwindel or Schutzhosen) in a size or two larger than recommended and add baby diapers. Cut a hole in the baby diaper for the tail .

Now - most female dogs hate hate hate diapers, so you have to train her to accept wearing them. They are a fiddle to get on and off, especially when the dog needs to go urgently. And you have to be vigilant about change them asap - you don't want a dog 'learning' to use the diaper rather than go outside. You especially need to be vigilant against urine scald. You would probably need to bathe Lizzie frequently. And then watch for dry skin.

(Male dogs are easy-peasy to diaper, you simply put a human diaper turned sideways so that the elastic leg bit goes around the waist, pleat and tape. My Puddle and Belltie didn't mind these in the least.)


I hope that a treatable cause can be found and that management is only a temporary step.

But do speak to your vet again, ask about all the other possibilities.

---

Fingers crossed, thumbs pressed for Lizzie - and for you.
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Old 05.02.2020, 16:29
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

This suit has an interior section that you can put incontinence pads in, might work better than human nappies etc. http://www.hundundso.ch/erste-hilfe/...hundebody.html

Dogs can just go funny with age, like humans. I had a border collie, who when she got older, suddenly just refused to go for a walk ever again. She'd get to the end of the driveway at point blank refuse to go any further. Didn't seem to be any obvious reason for it, just one day she was like...."Nope, I'm staying home, deal with it!".
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Old 05.02.2020, 16:58
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

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Well, I'm currently sleeping in the guest room because it has a door opening directly to the garden... so have an empathetic cyber hug.
THANK YOU !! It is much appreciated to know that I am not alone and that this happens to other dog owners as well!! Lizzie is our first 'own' dog, before I was just dogsitting during day time, mostly for the Ex-inlaws.




Quote:
Also, ask about Cushings. Does Lizzy show any coat problems, any sign of developing a 'pot belly'?

Has Lizzie had any spinal injuries, even in the past? If so, ask the vet if that could be an underlying factor.

There are several conditions that might lead to urinary incontinence, or a perceived need to urinate.
Nope, nothing of the above, that said...she isn't incontinent and her urinating is the same as it always was, spontaneous, clear and non-smelly and in regards of the amounts and frequency, nothing out of the ordinary as well.

We got Lizzie (who is a black Labrador mix) 10 years ago through an animal trust, she was an estimated ~18months old when we bought her and was a feral dog in Greece.
If she had any spinal injuries as a puppy we never knew about them, the only thing she had was a palm sized wound on her shoulder because someone in Greece threw acid at her.So this is something I will note down too and talk to the vet the next time.


Quote:
You might ask your vet for a full 'senior' check up. Ask what other conditions might make sense to test for.
Good idea, didn't think of that......forest..trees and all that jazz!



Quote:
Another possibility might be CCD, age-related canine cognitive decline. This can lead to house training reversion in some dogs. CCD is much like senility in people.

There are drugs used to help cognitive function. Some of mine have used Karsivan in the past, and I believe there is a newer, more effective drug out there now.

Does Lizzie show any other signs of cognitive decline? Any 'sundowning' aside from the need to urinate, such as not being able to settle at night, getting stuck in corners, atypical barking at nothing?

If so, ask your vet about the possibility of CCD, as well as possible treatments.
Now you are on to something!! The one of barking at seemingly invisible ghosts....that has pricked my curiosity and I will follow that up.

It is not for very long, maybe 6 months or so, that she does this. At first we thought she heard the neighbour of the adjacent semi entering or leaving/talking or so, but at many times when it happened they weren't even at home! And also when she does it, it looks to us as if she sees something that we don't.



Quote:
Does Lizzie enjoy being in a crate? For dogs who see their crate as a den, line the crate with incontinence pad and have Lizzie sleep in there. Some of my colleagues have found that dogs who are not used to crates inside but are used to their car crate will accept sleeping in a crate if the car crate is brought inside.
No, not at all. We used a crate made of fabric for her a few times....she hated it so much, that she chewed holes into it and when we tried this once with the car crate, which is of aluminium, she got visibly distressed and had to be let out.


She is NOT incontinent, so luckily diapers et al isn't necessary and I hope never will be. because she would tear them up quicker than you can say Boo!
She is awful with that kind of thing and remember , last year she needed treatment because of a big atheroma on her tail.

Despite 'the collar of shame' and a big one at that, she managed to chew off all her dressings. Even the vet wondered how she was able to, because the collar was on purpose so big, she shouldn't have been able to reach the wound.......

Well of I go inquiring and asking Dr.Google and Prof. Wiki about that CCD, that really piques my interest and seems to point into a direction I could say, that could maybe be the root of the problem!

THANK YOU AGAIN x
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Old 05.02.2020, 17:50
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

EE, my Melon was often 'away with the fairies' in his latter years, and then started to show the classic signs of CCD. He was fine, responsive, his old self (but slower) during the day, but at night he often did the sundowning thing. He would forget that he had already been outside to piddle, forget that he had already eaten dinner, forget he had already had his bedtime treat... and would beg for those things All. Night. Long.

Honestly, the thing most effective in calming him down - thus allowing me to get some sleep - was to put him in bed with us. He needed to be close, needed to be surrounded, in order to settle.

He also responded well to tactile stimulation, so I would put him in our bed and do a bit of TTouch until he drifted off to sleep. When he would wake up in the middle of the night I would repeat the TTouch until he drifted off again.

A huge collie taking up most of the bed is perhaps not ideal... but ya do whatcha gotta do.

The various touches used in TTouch are easy to learn on your own - look up 'Tellington Touch for dogs' in youtube for tutorials.

While I find it hard to take much of the 'airy-fairy' cell memory stuff behind TTouch seriously, I do find theraputic massage very useful. It makes sense to me that a dog might respond to touch where other forms of communnication are not reaching him. So - if you read up on TTouch, don't necessarily be put off by that 'airy-fairyness'. Take what you find instinctively useful, ignore the rest.

---

Melon improved on Karsivan at first, but after a year I felt he reached a plateau and did not see further improvement. Then after a time I started to see decline again. But as above, I believe there are other drugs out there now to help with CCD.

Some people use Thundershirts for CCD, as the gentle pressure is thought to help with anxiety-driven behavior. But if Lizzie is one to rip off bandages I'm guessing she might not take kindly to a Thundershirt.

Have another cyber hug...


ETA:

When Lizzie asks to go out in the middle of the night, does she quickly urinate or defecate? Or does she wander around, sniff a bit, generally seem not to be in urgent need? If the former, that speaks to a medical or physical cause. If the latter, that is often a sign to investigate CCD.

And by the bye, for anyone reading this with suspicions of incontinence, many dogs can be managed quite well with Phenylpropanolamine, a drug that helps to strenghen the sphincter muscle. Much depends on the underlying cause.


ETA2:

Is Lizzie currently on any other meds?

Just remembered what happened to St Swimbo when she was prescribed a bronchiodilator - which is a smooth muscle relaxer. Suddenly she needed out with increased frequency, which over time became 'almost incontinence'. Now - nothing in the literature suggested incontinence as a side effect of this drug, but it sort of made sense that a smooth muscle relaxer would relax more than one set of smooth muscles. As a trial we took her off that medication and voilà, no more need to go out frequently.

So if Lizzie is on any other meds, ask the vet is there could be any kind of connection, even a far-fetched one.

Last edited by meloncollie; 05.02.2020 at 18:12.
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Old 05.02.2020, 18:36
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

Does it actually "need" the toilet or just wants out to wander around and have a quick peee meantime?

I'd try to ignore it or tell it to shutup and go back to sleep.. Obviously if you then get a poop by the door move on to plan B.


I don't mean that in a cruel way but you know, humans sometimes just wake up in the night too for no reason. When I wake up at 3am I usually go have a pee, even though I didn't really need one.
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Old 05.02.2020, 19:07
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

Does she do anything when you take her out in the middle of the night, either straight away or after a lot of sniffing? What time does Lizzie eat at night? Perhaps try feeding her before 5pm and restricting water after that time if she is needing to go in the middle of the night

Where does she sleep at night? Does she really want to go outside or just want to be close to you. Perhaps try having her sleep in the same room as you if she isn't already. You could put her bed next to yours and make it really cosy for her. Perhaps even with a child hot water bottle so there is something for her to snuggle up to or some cuddly toys and blankets.


We have also used the Relaxopet on Axel and there is a silent mode on it so if the restlessness at night is caused by sudden anxiety due to old age, that is something you could try.



Good luck with Lizzie
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Old 05.02.2020, 23:36
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

If she's not incontinent you might try not indulging her in this behaviour and see if she goes back to sleep (maybe protect the door somehow or put an additional gate so that you can sleep). Usually works with mine, otherwise you risk reinforcing the behaviour.
If it's not a behavioural issue it won't work of course but it's worth a try imho.
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Old 06.02.2020, 00:26
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

Here's a good article discussing CCD from Washington State University Vet School:
https://vth.vetmed.wsu.edu/specialti...d-dog-dementia

A symptom list, from the article:

Any of the following – and particularly significant changes regarding them – can be indicative of CCD:
- Confusion, especially standing in a corner, staring into space (‘zoning out’) circling behavior, and confusion regarding how to navigate doors, e.g., standing on the hinge side or apparently not knowing how to go through them
- Affected social relationships
- Changes in activity level
- Apathy
- Increased anxiety
- House soiling
- Excessive vocalizations
- Compulsive behaviors
- Restlessness
- Fear of familiar objects and people
- Aggression
- Changes in sleep-wake cycle


But the article also points out:

"The most important thing to understand is that any apparent CCD symptom could also point to a serious - and perhaps treatable - medical condition," Anderson stresses. The first stop, she emphasizes, is the vet.

CCD is generally an exclusion diagnosis.


ETA - not necessarily pertinent to EE's dog, but since we are on the subject of diagnosing CCD:

For a while I was worried that Hooligan was starting down the CCD road - she would be off into her own little world, was less in tune with what was going on around her, her recall and other skills she had once excelled at began to decline. Then I realized that she wasn't losing her marbles, but rather her hearing. We see this with elderly people as well: hearing loss is sometimes misdiagosed as dementia. Once I realized how far Hooligan's hearing loss had advanced I switched to hand signals and 'senior dog reinforcement' in our day to day interactions.

---

Thumbs pressed for Lizzie.

Last edited by meloncollie; 06.02.2020 at 00:41.
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Old 06.02.2020, 11:14
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

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Here's a good article discussing CCD from Washington State University Vet School:
https://vth.vetmed.wsu.edu/specialti...d-dog-dementia

But the article also points out:

"The most important thing to understand is that any apparent CCD symptom could also point to a serious - and perhaps treatable - medical condition," Anderson stresses. The first stop, she emphasizes, is the vet.

CCD is generally an exclusion diagnosis.

THANK YOU again, from teh list there are only two things that would apply to Lizzie, the zoning out as well as the occasional changes in her day/night
life...as told in my op.

Vets appoinment has been arranged, this morning, for next week,...

Quote:
ETA - not necessarily pertinent to EE's dog, but since we are on the subject of diagnosing CCD:

For a while I was worried that Hooligan was starting down the CCD road - she would be off into her own little world, was less in tune with what was going on around her, her recall and other skills she had once excelled at began to decline. Then I realized that she wasn't losing her marbles, but rather her hearing. We see this with elderly people as well: hearing loss is sometimes misdiagosed as dementia. Once I realized how far Hooligan's hearing loss had advanced I switched to hand signals and 'senior dog reinforcement' in our day to day interactions.

As so called late-deafened human (Spätertaubt). This means I was a long time 'only' hard of hearing, but have lost my hearing in the meantime to 99% loss and I am living a quiet (and peaceful!! ) life on 'Deaf Row'.

Hence, I fully support this statement, meloncollie. I suspect Lizzie's eyesight as well as hearing, ain't what it used to be, so far when I whistle through my fingers, which is quite a piercing sound, she always reacts and can easily be called to heel.

I have to add, when training her, I always used simoultaneously hand gestures with the vocal order too, so I can also give her orders silently, but that of course only works when she looks at me as well......

I'll keep you posted!


ETA: Lizzie isn't on any meds at all. Occasionally she gets CHILLAX (legal THC med), when we know about situations to come that could cause her anxiety or so.
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Old 06.02.2020, 11:17
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

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If she's not incontinent you might try not indulging her in this behaviour and see if she goes back to sleep (maybe protect the door somehow or put an additional gate so that you can sleep). Usually works with mine, otherwise you risk reinforcing the behaviour.
If it's not a behavioural issue it won't work of course but it's worth a try imho.

Thank you meerkat33, for your input

Unfortunately, I don't hear the scratching at the door, but my hubby does.

I don't think it is a bad behavioural issue per se with her. Since the behaviour comes out of the blue and lasts anything between a week and up to a month.

And then we can have peace again at nighttime for up to 7-8-9 months until it starts again.
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Old 06.02.2020, 11:29
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

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Does it actually "need" the toilet or just wants out to wander around and have a quick peee meantime?

I'd try to ignore it or tell it to shutup and go back to sleep.. Obviously if you then get a poop by the door move on to plan B.


I don't mean that in a cruel way but you know, humans sometimes just wake up in the night too for no reason. When I wake up at 3am I usually go have a pee, even though I didn't really need one.
Thank you JohnH!


Actually she does both, when let out at night, she goes straight to her pipi spots and pees once or twice, and then she does her round

We often joke, she could join Securitas as a watchman, because she does one round around the garden, always the same way and always so, that when she returns she has checked every spot....in a way, I am not against THAT part when having t go up at night.

Ignoring her and telling her to go to sleep again, doesn't work, either she persists or goes up one floor and wakes my son who then lets her out.....
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Old 06.02.2020, 11:42
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

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Does she do anything when you take her out in the middle of the night, either straight away or after a lot of sniffing? What time does Lizzie eat at night? Perhaps try feeding her before 5pm and restricting water after that time if she is needing to go in the middle of the night

Where does she sleep at night? Does she really want to go outside or just want to be close to you. Perhaps try having her sleep in the same room as you if she isn't already. You could put her bed next to yours and make it really cosy for her. Perhaps even with a child hot water bottle so there is something for her to snuggle up to or some cuddly toys and blankets.


We have also used the Relaxopet on Axel and there is a silent mode on it so if the restlessness at night is caused by sudden anxiety due to old age, that is something you could try.



Good luck with Lizzie
Thank you MrDog,

Lizzie gets her daily fodder at once in the morning, although she is a Labby mix, she shares not many of the typical labby traits...terribly scared of water, playing fetch and bring isn't something she loves doing and she is definitely NOT greedy in regards to her food.

She portions her food herself, eats one half in the morning and the other when we return from our walkies between 3-4pm, this is a trait of her that she always has done ever since we bought her.

Her waterbowl is not refilled in the evening, meaning, there is about 200ml at most, so that if she is thirsty at night, she can drink but not too much.

Lizzie has never slept in my room or in my bed, she has the run of the house & garden and has overall 8 individual spots (furnished with dog baskets/cushions etc) she can call her own throughout the house.

However, from the beginning, we talked about whether she shall be allowed on the sofa and into beds, the kids wanted her in their beds and if she needs cuddles at nighttime, she goes up and sleeps in the bed with my son, which does not occur often actually, so I conclude, her waking us, it is not a need for being close to us.

I will look into Relaxopet all the same.
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Old 06.02.2020, 13:20
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

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Thank you meerkat33, for your input

Unfortunately, I don't hear the scratching at the door, but my hubby does.

I don't think it is a bad behavioural issue per se with her. Since the behaviour comes out of the blue and lasts anything between a week and up to a month.

And then we can have peace again at nighttime for up to 7-8-9 months until it starts again.
Is she spade? 1-4 weeks odd behaviour, followed to 7-9 months normal behaviour would strike me as hormone related!
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Old 06.02.2020, 13:22
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

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Is she spade? 1-4 weeks odd behaviour, followed to 7-9 months normal behaviour would strike me as hormone related!
She is sterilized, in fact twice........the vet in Greece didn't do a proper job and a tiny bit of ovary was left so she still came into heat... our Swiss Vet rectified that with a 2nd surgery.
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Old 06.02.2020, 14:22
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Re: Dog wants to go out at night time, yet is healthy according to vet

Heros, the ship's dog, eventually succumbed to dementia 2 weeks ago. He displayed many of the symptoms MC mentions about Melon, and the list she posted. He wasn't incontinent, but did indeed want to go out several times in the night, where he'd always had a bladder of steel. In the end he decided he was happier sleeping outdoors whatever the temperature (with a couple of blankets over him when needed).

It was the vocalisations that got us, crying and yipping because he was lost (he'd always been practically silent). Whilst it was the last 4-6 weeks that were bad, personally I suspect the trigger might have been losing our elderly cat, his soulmate, in August. I'd bought a Bach remedies mix for him then (which his vet had prescribed 8 years ago when I lost my deerhound) because animals grieve too and you can't tell them what's happened. When he was getting lost, I gave him some drops of that and it generally calmed him enough to get him to sleep.

Sorry, I can't help much more, but also empathise from very recent memory
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