Insomnia and nocturnal agitation are very common in older dogs: this is why the elderly dog sleeps little and badly and what we can do to solve the problem.
Older dogs tend to experience numerous behavioral changes as years go by and they age: it is not uncommon for an older dog to start experiencing nocturnal problems of insomnia or restlessness in sleep.
If the old dog sleeps little and badly, it could be a normal sign of advancing age or a symptom of some health problem: let’s try to understand what the possible causes of dog‘s night restlessness and how to help him solve the problem and rest better.
Why does the old dog sleep poorly and poorly?
There are numerous factors that can make an elderly dog restless and sleepless: if the dog is unable to sleep, we will hear him fidget and go around the house during the night, which could keep us awake but above all, worry us. In some cases, in fact, an elderly dog sleeps little and badly for some absolutely normal problems in old age: but there are also potentially serious pathologies that could keep him awake and it is good to know how to recognize them to cure them.
The dog is in pain
Sometimes the dog can stay awake at night due to the pain or discomfort that feeds a certain restlessness: among the possible pathologies typical of the elderly dog that can cause night pain, there are urinary tract infections, arthritis and some forms of cancer.
Dog is anxious
As dogs age, situations that did not cause any problems in the past can also become an important source of stress: this anxiety affects the nocturnal behavior of the animal, which goes up and down without being able to sleep.
The dog makes needs more often
In some cases, the elderly dog sleeps little and badly because he gets up several times to urinate or defecate: as the dog ages, his natural rhythm of sleep and wakefulness changes also because of these new needs. Furthermore, if your dog is experiencing mobility problems or pain, he may not be able to reach the right place to get rid of himself in good time and in the morning we may find some small “accident” on the floor or in the doghouse.
Changes in the senses
As the dog ages, changes in the dog’s sight and hearing may occur: this can affect their ability to sleep peacefully and the depth and quality of their sleep.
If there are no medical causes for the dog’s insomnia and restlessness at night and the difficulty in sleeping is found only with the onset of old age, the dog is likely to have some cognitive dysfunction. Neurological problems in dogs occur when the brain stops functioning effectively as in the past: a condition similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans.
Old dog that sleeps little and badly: how to help him?
Even if the dog is getting older, any behavioral changes with respect to both nocturnal and diurnal daily habits should always be discussed with the veterinarian: it is not always simply a matter of natural signs of age.
Often there is a basic medical condition that causes strange behaviors in your dog and it is precisely that which must be treated to solve the problem.
For example, among the problems that can lead an elderly dog to sleep poorly, there are cognitive dysfunction and anxiety that can potentially be kept under control with specific drugs: a veterinary treatment prescribed by a professional can improve the quality of life of the dog and make it live longer and more peaceful.
There are also other small precautions that we can put into practice to make our four-legged friend feel better now with age: for example, specific care for elderly dogs, but also some changes to be made to his feeding and specific exercises for you dog when he gets older.