All About Dogs
7 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Acting Scared All of a Sudden
October 20, 2023 By Grigorina S
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Let’s talk about some reasons why your dog is acting scared all of a sudden. I know it’s a common question among my fellow dog-loving friends.
If your pup is suddenly terrified of his own shadow for no apparent reason, you may wonder what’s gone wrong. Then you might be going out of your mind trying to figure out how to help your scared dog .
Fortunately, I’m here to ease your mind and offer you seven probable causes of sudden fear in dogs.
Related: My dog is acting strange and hiding . Why?
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Most Common Signs of Fear in Dogs
These are the most common signs of fearful behavior of scared dogs. It’s far from an exhaustive list. Just as all people experience panic attacks in different ways, so do dogs. One dog may tremble and cower, another may lunge and bark, and yet another may just turn tail & hide. Still, it’ll give you a general idea of what to watch out for.
- Avoiding eye contact
- Licking his lips
- Tail tucking
- Lunging, snapping, or other signs of aggression
- Circling (or tail-chasing)
- Vomiting or diarrhea
Before we continue, a gentle reminder: If your dog suddenly shows these symptoms, contact your vet. All of these symptoms can also be caused by a myriad of other underlying medical conditions. So, don’t just assume it’s because he’s scared.
Now that we know the signs of fear in dogs, let’s find out what could be causing Fido’s sudden paranoid behavior.
One of the worst things for any dog owner is to see their pet cowering in fear without having any clue what’s going on.
Unfortunately, until someone invents a reliable dog-to-human translator, dogs can’t tell you why they’re so scared.
However, if you know how to read your dog’s body language , you might be able to make a pretty accurate guess.
Let’s see what usually makes dogs terrified all of a sudden.
One of the most common reasons why your dog is acting scared all of a sudden is a phobia.
Dogs don’t form memories as we do, but they tend to remember negative/positive experiences strongly.
Phobia of noises is very common in dogs and often involves fireworks and thunderstorms . The bright lights, the flashes, and the ear-piercing noise freak dogs out of their minds.
Usually, a dog with a phobia will pant, whimper, pace, and show signs of anxiety and stress.
In addition to noises like thunder, sometimes dogs develop a phobia of objects or places.
For example, Rover might be reluctant to step into the kitchen or approach the TV. I have a friend with a dog who is terrified of baby gates!
So something must have startled your pooch so badly that he is afraid to go near the object or the place.
A fearful experience during your daily walk also might make Rover refuse to leave the house and act scared whenever you grab the leash.
In these situations, fear is a learned behavior. So you can desensitize your dog to whatever is frightening him with enough patience and tasty rewards.
Desensitization (also often called counter conditioning) is a science-backed behavior modification technique that uses positive reinforcement training to help your dog learn to associate that which they fear with something good instead.
For example, if your dog is acting weird and scared due to fireworks or thunderstorms, you can try to get him used to loud sounds by giving him a special treat while the negative stimuli (the noises) are happening.
To put it in simpler terms, when the 4th of July fireworks start, give Fido a tasty new bone to chew.
You could also try to drown the noise with other familiar sounds or relaxing music (like in the video below), but behavior modification really does work best long-term.
Just remember to go slow. As Debra Horwitz, DVM explains, “ The key to effective desensitization is to first find the threshold at which the pet first responds by designing a stimulus gradient (from low responses to high responses) so that the pet can be gradually exposed to progressively more intense levels of the stimulus without the undesirable behavior being elicited.”
Related: My Dog Yelps When Touched . Why is that?
Usually, a sudden change in behavior is a red flag for most dog owners. Since dogs can’t complain that they’re sick or in pain, they act strangely.
When dogs are not feeling well, they tend to hide until they start to feel better. It’s most likely a survival instinct throwback to their wilder days when being sick or weak could leave them vulnerable to predators.
However, some pooches might act scared all of a sudden when they are in pain because they don’t know what’s happening to them. You’d be afraid in a similar situation too.
For example, when my dog sprained her ankle, she didn’t go into hiding. Instead, she came hopping over to me as fast as her hurt paw allowed and gave me her biggest and wildest “I’m really freaked out right now” expression. Whenever she gives me that look, I know she’s not feeling well.
Observe your dog for other signs of illness such as lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or lack of appetite.
It’s not always a serious medical condition that makes your dog afraid, but you want to get to the root of the problem asap.
Take a look at some of the other symptoms and warning signs that your dog may be sick:
#3 Separation Anxiety
All dogs bond with their owners. But some pets form such a tight bond that they can’t stand it when their human is away.
This condition is called separation anxiety , and some breeds are prone to it .
Some dogs with separation anxiety bark, howl, and pace whenever they’re left alone.
Others become extra clingy and seem genuinely in distress when it’s time for their human to depart.
Often, dogs with separation anxiety act destructively when the owner is away.
That’s why owners often overlook it as a behavior problem. Some even resort to punishment (which you should never, ever, ever do)! But your dog is really suffering and can’t help his actions.
So, if your pooch is acting scared all of a sudden when you’re about to leave the house, it might be due to separation anxiety.
You’ll have to teach your dog that being alone is not a bad thing. Again, counter-conditioning and desensitization techniques come in really handy with that.
Professional trainer Zak George has great tips on dealing with separation anxiety , so check out his video below.
#4 Past Abuse or Traumatic Experience
When you adopt a rescue dog from a shelter you often don’t learn their whole history and what they’ve been through.
Your dog might have been abused by his previous owner, and as such, Rover might get scared when something reminds him of his ugly past.
For example, your pooch might get scared when you sound angry or when there’s tension in the house.
Accidentally stepping on your dog’s tail or paws also might make your dog terrified all of a sudden.
Particular smells, tone of voice, or hand gestures also could trigger an episode of sudden fear.
Your dog might even get shy around strangers if they remind Rover of somebody who abused him.
Even a dog who had a wonderful past may act scared when you first bring him home. A new environment can be very overwhelming for any creature. Heck, even I get a bit scared when I have to go someplace strange!
In these situations, you’ll have to earn your dog’s trust and work on desensitizing him to the triggers.
Again, Zak George is a great resource for training a scared dog. Take a peek at his tips below.
#5 Something Strange in the Environment is Scaring Your Dog
It’s a well-known fact that dogs have a remarkable sense of smell and that their hearing is far more sensitive than ours.
So when your dog is suddenly afraid, I say that you should check what’s happening outside your window.
There might be a construction crew making loud noises. Or perhaps there are other dogs or predators in the vicinity. Your pooch might be acting weird and scared because he has picked up their scent. Chasing the intruders away will usually calm down your dog .
You might also have mice, termites, or other vermin in the house. Some dogs might be afraid of vermin and act scared whenever they catch their scent or hear them moving in the walls.
In addition to this, your dog may be reacting to something you can’t hear.
For example, some owners have reported that thunderstorms miles away affect their dogs’ behavior .
Other pet owners say that their dogs and cats acted oddly in the minutes or seconds before the ground start shaking .
#6 Age-related Problems
When dogs get older, their senses are not as sharp as before. Many elder pets have trouble orientating around the house.
That’s one possible explanation of why your dog is scared all of a sudden.
Furthermore, sometimes older dogs get dementia . These dogs don’t know where they are and what’s happening.
If that’s happening to your pooch, he is bound to be scared out of his mind.
Other possible signs of dementia in dogs include aimless wandering, loss of direction, mood swings, aggression, and staring off into space.
While there’s no cure for canine dementia, there are medications that can help.
#7 Lack of Proper Socialization
Last but not least, sometimes dogs get scared all of a sudden because they haven’t been socialized properly .
During the socializing process, puppies explore the world so that they become comfortable with all kinds of people and objects.
However, not all dogs get properly socialized . As a result, your dog might be scared all of a sudden because they’ve encountered something they haven’t been introduced to.
For example, some dogs might be afraid of people with glasses or crying children. An unsocialized dog who has only ever spent time with women may fear men, and vice-versa.
If you think poor socialization could be the culprit behind your dog’s sudden fearful behavior, consider enrolling in a training course.
Should I be worried if my dog is acting strange?
Should you be worried? Yes. Is it always something worth worrying about? No. Confused? Let me explain.
Any time your dog starts acting strange out of the blue, it’s a good idea to worry enough to call your vet. That goes for a dog suddenly jumping at her own shadow, developing a habit of hiding under the bed at every sound, or just plain acting like anything except her usual self.
There’s a really solid chance that a checkup won’t reveal anything out of the ordinary. Dogs act strange for SO many reasons, as we just saw above, and very few of them have anything to do with life-threatening illnesses.
While dogs don’t always act differently when they’re sick, nor are they always sick when they’re acting differently, there’s enough correlation between the two to make it always worth investigating. Does that make sense?
FAQs about Fear in Dogs
Let’s quickly go over a few of the most frequently asked questions about fear in dogs.
Can a dog get scared?
If you’re wondering if dogs can even get scared, the answer is 100% absolutely and unequivocally YES. All creatures great and small experience fear. It’s one of the most basic instincts and it’s necessary for a species’ survival.
Why is my dog acting confused and disoriented?
If your dog is acting scared and disoriented, contact your vet immediately. The cause could be something as simple as an inner ear infection, but it can also be as serious as a stroke, intoxication from accidentally ingesting alcohol, or an early sign of dog dementia.
Why is my dog not acting like herself?
The reasons your dog isn’t acting like herself run the gauntlet from “I don’t like this new food” to “I’m very sick and need immediate medical attention.” Don’t assume you know the cause behind Fifi’s behavior. Contact your vet any time your dog acts unusual.
Dogs might get scared for many reasons, and it’s not always easy to identify the culprit.
But once you do, you can work on getting your dog the help he needs to live a life free of fear.
What do you think about these reasons why your dog is acting scared all of a sudden? Tell us in the comments.
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I’ve grown up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped me into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). I’ve got two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but I also feed my neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them.
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About Grigorina S
11 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Jumpy All Of A Sudden + 7 Tips
Your dog’s typical behavior is outgoing and playful.
But one day your pooch suddenly started acting jumpy. Like they’ve been spooked.
And you have no idea why.
Is it a certain sound that’s scaring them? Or something in the house?
How to help them?
In this article, you’ll find out:
- 7 things you can do to help your jumpy pooch.
- The real reason why Fido is jumpy when you touch them.
- 11 unexpected reasons why your dog is jumpy all of a sudden.
- And many more…
Table of contents
Why is my dog so jumpy all of a sudden?
#1: noise sensitivity, #2: hearing problems , #3: vision problems, #4: stress , #6: illness , #7: fight or flight response , #8: separation anxiety , #9: lack of training, #10: poor socialization , #11: phobia, #1: desensitize your dog , #2: counterconditioning, #3: proper socialization, #4: keep them active , #5: dog trainer , #6: seek a vet ophthalmologist , #7: pay a visit to your vet, why is my dog so jumpy when i touch him, why is my dog so jumpy at noises, why is my dog jumpy after grooming, why is my dog jumpy at night.
Your dog is jumpy all of a sudden because of being untrained or lack of exposure. They could also suffer from hearing and vision problems. Or stress, separation anxiety, trauma, illness, noise sensitivity, or phobia. They might also be in a fight or flight response and react instinctively.
11 reasons why your dog is so jumpy all of a sudden
Canines have a strong sense of hearing. Which makes them very sensitive to noises.
“How sensitive are we talking about?”
Here’s the thing:
Dogs can hear higher and further frequencies than humans. They can hear mice hiding in walls and even termites. What’s more, pooches can hear sounds from 80 ft. (24 m) away.
With that being said, dogs naturally react to sounds. But their response may vary.
For example, Fido’s reaction to a soft sound is likely calmness. While a loud noise will be responded mostly by barking or howling.
And dogs may startle or jump when there’s a sudden loud sound.
But what does their reaction say about what they feel?
A study says that a sudden and loud sound causes pain to dogs. And a jumpy reaction is a sign that the noise intensifies their pain.
Here’s my piece of advice. Be careful in exposing your dog to loud sounds because it may lead to…
Now that we’re aware of how sensitive a dog’s hearing is. This may also make them at risk of having hearing problems.
“Do I hear something wrong, hooman?”
“Or is there something wrong with my hearing?”
A pooch with a hearing impairment will rely more on their sight than hearing. And this is a possible reason why dogs are jumpy.
It’s like wearing earphones. While playing loud music at full volume. It makes you unaware of your surroundings. So, you often get startled when someone comes at you all of a sudden.
It’s the same for deaf pooches. This will make them unaware of what’s coming at them because they can’t hear it.
So, if something happens to land in front of them suddenly, it’ll startle them. And it makes dogs uncontrollably jumpy.
Now, let’s talk about how hearing problems develop.
It can occur in different ways such as:
- Old age.
- Ear infections.
- Ear wax build-up.
- Hereditary defects.
Deafness in dogs may happen gradually or suddenly. It can be either permanent or temporary. It may also affect one ear or both.
Wondering how you can test if your dog is deaf?
Stand behind your dog or to a place where they can’t see you. Test if your dog will respond to:
If your pooch’s unresponsive then it’s a sign to bring them to the vet. And have their hearing checked.
Do you have a shelter dog?
A study suggests that being housed in a kennel environment for too long can damage a dog’s hearing.
It’s understandable when you think about it. Since animals shelters are often overcrowded. And very noisy due to the non-stop barking.
Fur pal’s jumpy behavior may say something about their vision.
A dog with vision problems often mistakes what they see.
Being easily startled when petted or touched is one of the signs of blindness.
Just like hearing issues, blindness may occur gradually. And suddenly if caused by a direct eye injury.
Fido’s vision problems may also range from minor to complete vision loss.
MVS says that visual impairments can occur in dogs due to:
- Genetic blindness.
Here’s how to spot blindness in dogs:
- Cloudy eyes.
- Avoidance of stairs.
- Bumping into things.
- Having less interest in playing.
- Squinting or pawing at the face.
- No longer jumping on/off furniture.
- Anxiety when in new environments.
- Easily startled when petted or approached.
- Redness and swelling on or around the eyes.
Trivia: Did you know that vision problems can make dogs appear suicidal?
A dog suicide bridge in Scotland was known for the 300 dogs who jumped off it. People thought that the dogs committed suicide.
But upon investigation, it shows that the dog’s poor vision could be to blame. Dogs who jumped off the bridge are unaware of how high the bridge was.
You might also like: Can Dogs Be Suicidal? 9 Shocking Stories Revealed
Despite the fun life of pups, there are things that may stress them. And that could cause them to be jumpy all of a sudden.
Did you know that dogs get anxious like people do?
When a dog is stressed, their heart rate increases. As a result, they may become jumpy. This is because they’ll worry about their surroundings.
“How can my dog be stressed?”
Dogs may experience stress due to:
- Schedule changes.
- New people or animals.
- Memory loss due to aging.
- Separation from their litter.
- Changes in the home environment.
“Why is my dog nervous?” , you might wonder.
Let me ask you this:
Did your dog have records of traumatic experiences?
If so, that could cause them to be nervous and fearful. In the worst cases, they’ll be paranoid that their trauma will happen again .
That might be the reason for their jumpy behavior. Especially when their trauma is triggered.
WebMD says that triggers include sight, sound, smell, or thoughts. Each one of these can be a reminder of a traumatic event.
Trauma in dogs may occur due to the following reasons:
- Severe injury.
- Military or police work.
- Being attacked by other dogs or animals.
Keep in mind that trauma may also occur due to abuse.
Now, let’s dive into 2 different types of enforced abuse in dogs:
Meaning: Hurting canines physically. Some of it includes:
- Throwing against an object.
This type of abuse refers to failing to provide for a dog’s basic needs. Such as enough:
- Medical care.
Did you know where this awful abuse often happens?
Neglect is common to occur in dogs who are in puppy mills. It refers to a poor breeding facility. Wherein quick dog breeding takes place.
What’s worse is that it’s usually a dirty and overcrowded place. And dogs there often suffer from poor genetics and health problems.
Signs of neglect in dogs include:
- Ingrown collars.
- Overgrown nails.
- Excessive matting.
- Excessive external parasites.
- Diseases for which vaccines are readily and commonly available.
Does your pooch seem to be in pain?
If so, you need to know something.
Sickness in dogs may cause some behavioral changes. One of these is being jumpy or being less relaxed. Any sickness could lead them to jump as soon as the discomfort hits.
According to experts , jumpiness may cause commonly by conditions such as:
Canine distemper is a type of virus that affects a dog’s:
- Immune system.
- Central nervous systems.
This virus is difficult to predict. Because symptoms of distemper do not appear until 14 days after infection. It may also be spread between foxes, skunks, and wolves.
Signs and symptoms of canine distemper include:
- Skin sores.
- Eye discharge.
- Loss of appetite.
- Nasal discharge.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Thickening of nose and footpads.
Note: Canine distemper can be prevented by vaccination.
Study shows that there’s a great chance that unvaccinated dogs will acquire canine distemper virus.
WebMD says that this refers to an abnormal burst of activity in a dog’s brain. Which causes seizures and loss of consciousness.
A dog may show jumpy behavior after the seizure. The reason is it makes them confused and unsteady. They might also stare blankly into space as they recover.
Note: A dog who experienced repeated seizures may be frail, disoriented, or temporarily blind.
Causes of seizure in dogs include:
- Head injury.
- Brain cancer.
- Liver disease.
- Kidney disease.
- Electrolyte problems.
- Low or high blood pressure.
Reading tip: Why does my dog look up at the ceiling? 17 true reasons + 5 quick tips
Jumpiness might indicate your dog’s alarmed.
Are you familiar with the fight or flight response in dogs?
Canines are instinctive beings. The fight or flight response is their natural reaction to threat.
‘Fight’ refers to a dog’s aggressive reaction. It shows that they’ll be willing to attack.
While ‘flight’ is when dogs run away from the situation. This is where the jumpy behavior occurs.
Did somebody from your family leave?
This situation may cause a dog to suffer from separation anxiety. It makes Fido more sensitive and skittish.
Pooches with separation anxiety will constantly look for their people. So, they get reactive when they hear footsteps or any sound.
Because they’re expecting their loved ones to come home anytime. So, they’re extra attentive to the sounds they hear. And await their human in anticipation.
Some of the most common signs of separation anxiety in dogs are:
Check out next: Why Does My Dog All Of A Sudden Have Separation Anxiety? 18 Symptoms Of Anxiety In Dogs
Training is important for dogs. It keeps their body and mind stimulated. And makes them less reactive too.
But an untrained pooch won’t know how to respond properly to situations. So, they’ll act jumpy when new circumstances arise.
Aside from that, lack of training may cause canines to be:
- Be insecure.
- Be confused.
- Be untrusting.
- Be inconsistent.
- Develop bad habits.
Have you socialized your pooch?
Keep in mind that poor socialization causes dogs to startle easily and be jumpy. This is because they don’t understand the things that surround them. Plus, they don’t know how to react.
So, socialization is an essential need of dogs to live life comfortably. If they haven’t been properly socialized, they’ll develop fear, anxiety, and aggression.
This might not show through puppyhood. But it’ll get evident in adulthood.
Your pawed child jumps all of a sudden and cowers. Now, it leaves you thinking:
“Why is my dog scared?”
A possible reason for a dog’s fear is a phobia. This causes pooches to be extremely and irrationally afraid of something.
Mind you, fear and nervousness cause some Fidos to be skittish.
Canine phobias are either a result of a bad past or lack of exposure.
For example, a dog will have phobias of stairs if they haven’t encountered a staircase before. It includes the sight and feeling of being on a stair step.
A dog may also fear stairs even if they used to love it before. The reason is falling or being pushed down the stairs. Which probably caused pain or injury to them.
Canines have common phobias such as fear of:
How do you stop a dog from being jumpy? 7 tips
Desensitization is a therapy to gradually expose your dog to their stressors. This will make them get used to what stresses them in time. And will eliminate their jumpy reaction.
It’s useful for dogs with noise sensitivity, stress, and separation anxiety.
What you’re going to do is allow your dog to experience their trigger. But only start exposing them at a really low level. And if your dog seems to show a calm response, gradually intensify the exposure.
Here’s how to deal with:
Let’s take stress due to a change in environment, for example.
If you’re planning to relocate, do it slowly. Start by visiting the new place with your dog.
Do this only for a short period of time. And if your dog acts calm during the visit, you may go onto the next step.
Bring your dog to the same place again. But for a longer duration than the last time.
You may also let them play there. Bring their toys and play a game with them. Again, the goal is to have a calm response from your pooch.
Do the previous steps again. And gradually increase your dog’s exposure to the new place. Then, keep doing it until your dog is completely used to it. That’s your go signal to move into your new home finally.
Leaving Fido is a necessary thing to do for fur parents. (Not to abandon them.) I mean for work and such. Anyway, here’s how to desensitize them.
A gradual leave will work for them. Start by leaving your dog for a minute. Then come back right away.
This is to make your dog understand that when you leave, you’ll still return.
When your dog doesn’t act jumpy anymore, try increasing the duration of your leave.
Do this until they show calmness when they’re alone.
It’s true that dogs naturally have sensitive hearing. But you can change their reaction to it. Make them react calmly instead of startled.
For a start, try playing the music of thunder on your phone. It may also be the sound of gunshots or fireworks. But put it in a low volume.
Observe how your dog reacts to it. If they’re still and there’s no change in the behavior, you may go on.
Increase the music’s volume as you move on. You may also try connecting your phone to a louder speaker. You’ll know it’s a success if your dog isn’t jumpy anymore.
For a more in-depth tutorial, watch this video:
Counter-conditioning is a way to change your dog’s reaction by using rewards. This is to make your dog associate a negative situation with a positive feeling.
All you need is a reward, proper timing, and consistency.
Now, do a keen observation. Watch when your dog’s jumpy behavior shows up. That’ll be your timing.
Then, give your pooch a high-value reward. Don’t forget to also talk to them in a happy tone of voice. You’ll then notice how your dog acts calmly towards the situation.
After that, be consistent in giving rewards every time they’re jumpy. In time they’ll be able to adjust. And your dog will show positive behavior as a reaction.
Proper socialization differs for different ages in dogs. Here’s how to do it:
Did you know that a puppy starts learning at 3 weeks old?
This phase makes pups encounter different sensations without fear. And it usually ends at about 4 to 5 months of age.
- Exposing them to sounds.
- Teaching them to be alone.
- Letting them touch anything.
- Introducing them to new people.
- Allowing pups to explore their environment.
Adolescence in dogs starts at 6 months to 1 year old. And ends when they reach 18 to 24 months.
Socialization shouldn’t stop only at a sensitive period. It’s a continuous process so, here’s how it works for an adolescent pooch:
- Changing their walk’s location.
- Letting them play with other dogs.
- Continue teaching them to be alone.
- Keep them interacting with other people.
- Don’t enforce punishment during training.
- Allowing them to explore their surroundings.
Adulthood in the doggy world starts at 18 months to 3 years old. Despite being an adult, dogs should still have social interaction. This can be done by:
- Allowing them to train and play outside.
- Setting a playtime for your adult pooch.
- Letting your adult dog play with puppies.
Aside from proper socialization, dogs should have a proper everyday activity too.
This will make your dog happier and confident. So they can explore their environment more instead of being skittish.
You may keep your dog active by:
- Obedience training.
- Rotating your dog’s toys.
- Letting them interact with others.
- Giving them stuffed or food dispensing toys.
- Enrolling them in an obstacle course to boost their agility.
If a natural or behavioral problem causes your dog’s jumpy behavior, it’s best to seek the help of a dog trainer.
They’ll be able to teach your dog the proper way of behaving. As well as ensure that your dog will undergo proper training.
Seek an ophthalmologist if you’re suspecting that your dog has eyesight problems.
In this way, you’ll be sure if there’s a need for eye surgery. Or any medication that can help your dog.
A dog’s jumpiness may have underlying medical causes. So, bring your pooch to the vet if you’re suspecting one.
Veterinarians will be able to run various tests. Such as urinalysis, blood tests, and full body examination.
People also ask:
Your dog is so jumpy when you touch him because of hand shyness.
Their jumpy reaction is a usual response of a dog with a fear of hands.
How does hand shyness develop?
It has 3 main causes:
- Lack of socialization.
- Negative experiences.
Let’s take abuse as an example. Such as canines who had episodes of being punched, slapped, or thrown something in the face.
As a result, despite your good intentions, dogs will fear any hands that’ll approach them.
Further reading: 7 Reasons Why Your Dog Doesn’t Like You Touching His Face
Your dog is so jumpy at noises because of noise sensitivity. This is when a dog gets spooked by a noise and needs time to recover.
Hearing a loud sound will make your pooch fidgety or jumpy. Since dogs have no idea what’s going on, they’ll be frightened.
Your dog is jumpy after grooming because they’re anxious or uncomfortable. It could be that your dog isn’t used to having their coat groomed.
Do you bring your dog to a grooming salon?
If so, your dog may be jumpy and anxious after grooming. Because they could be overwhelmed by what’s happening there.
Consider the clippers, presence of groomers, and other dogs. Particularly if this is your dog’s first time. It might be too much for a dog to handle.
It’ll also take some time for them to recover. That’s why they might still be sensitive even when they’re home.
Aside from that, your dog might dislike the feeling of their skin. Or they’re not used to not feeling the weight of their coat.
Your dog is jumpy at night because of anxiety. Having anxiety causes a dog to have sleepless nights. Because they worry so much about their surroundings.
A dog can be anxious due to various factors. Some of which include:
- Being alone.
- Other animals.
- New situations.
- New environment.
- New family member or pet.
Read next: 9 Reasons Why Your Dog Is So Restless At Night + 9 Tips
- 15 Reasons Why Dogs Are Suddenly Scared Of Everything
- 13 Reasons Why Dogs Act Paranoid All Of A Sudden + 5 Tips
- Why Does My Dog All Of A Sudden Have (Separation) Anxiety?
- 9 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Suddenly Being Destructive + Tips
My Dog Is Suddenly Scared At Night! (Solved)
When a dog suddenly begins to act up, it’s time to investigate.
You cannot ignore these changes in behavior as they are often a sign of something being wrong. Until you resolve it, the dog’s condition is going to get worse and it might not feel at peace.
A good example of this is when you are left saying, “My dog is suddenly scared at night!” and want to figure out what is going on.
If a dog is suddenly scared at night, the most likely cause is a change in environment (i.e. new sounds or sights) . To fix this issue, find a quieter place for the dog to rest, visit a vet for a full checkup, keep the dog active during the day, and create a more comfortable resting spot.
Dogs do not like changes to their environment and sometimes these things cannot be controlled on your part.
This is why it’s best to find a quieter place for the dog to sleep at night.
This article will provide tips on how to help a dog that is suddenly scared at night.
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How To Help Dog Suddenly Scared At Night
1. find a quieter resting spot.
If a dog is spooked at night, it is likely going to come down to external stimuli.
This could be something as simple as cars driving outside that are noticeable due to how quiet it is indoors.
This will make the dog uncomfortable.
Perhaps, it heard a loud bang during the night that caused it to get scared?
This can happen and it might even be a spooky sight that caught the dog off-guard. Any type of negative stimulation is going to put the dog on edge.
You will want to look to find a quieter part of the home for the dog to rest in.
It is best to look for a spot that is going to let the dog close its eyes and not have to think about sounds around it.
2. Visit The Vet
You will always want to take the dog to a vet when it is frightened at night.
In some cases, the dog is frightened because of its failing health. This is causing it to act in a different way.
You will want to think about this when it comes to the dog’s overall well-being.
When a dog does not visit the vet, you won’t know what is going on inside. Even if they are okay, it is good to be aware of this and remain up-to-date on your dog’s health.
3. Increase Daily Activity
You will want to look to keep the dog active during the day.
Some dogs stay alert during the night and get restless. This is due to having too much energy built up that has to be released one way or another.
You don’t want that to end up being with the dog making noise at night and refusing to sleep.
It’s important to increase the dog’s daily activity and make sure you are on top of how consistent you remain.
This includes daily walks and additional activities.
It’s not always easy to do this but it’s the best way to make sure the dog is tired at night. This will let them go to sleep right away.
4. Create A Comfortable Resting Spot
Have you taken the time to look at where the dog is going to be resting?
It’s best to make sure the dog has a comfortable spot to rest at night. This will make it a lot easier for the dog to stay calm and feel good about where it is resting.
Just like changing the spot is a good idea, it is also recommended to create a more comfortable resting spot that will ensure the dog gets to sleep the way it wants to.
Look into these details when it comes to a dog that is suddenly scared at night.
If a dog is suddenly scared at night, it is likely frightened by new sounds or sights. To fix the issue, move the dog to a different resting spot, create a more comfortable bed, go to the vet for a checkup, and increase the dog’s daily activity.
This is how you are going to make sure the dog does not get scared at night and continues to feel good in the coming days.
When you make these types of changes, you will notice the dog is going to feel better.
It will take a few nights but the dog is going to start to settle in. Most dogs will react positively to the changes and it will be noticeable instantly.
Read More About Dogs:
- How To Get Puppy To Walk
- What Makes A Dog Bob Its Head While Eating?
- Should Dogs Consume Scorpions?
- Why Is The Dog Breathing Heavily?
- Top Tips For Managing Dog Smegma
- Top Reasons A Dog Is Warm Near The Shoulders
Can’t settle down? Why your dog is restless and can’t get comfortable
Is your dog acting restless and pacing or panting? Watching your dog act uncomfortable can be alarming and upsetting. If your dog is acting unsettled and uncomfortable it can be due to a number of possible causes. The most likely causes for restless behavior in dogs: senility changes, abdominal discomfort, musculoskeletal pain, anxiety or difficulty breathing.
In this post I will explain distinguishing features for each of these causes. This will help you determine what may be the root cause of your dog’s behavior and how best to help your dog.
Table of Contents
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction can cause nighttime restlessness
Senility is caused by aging changes to the brain which affect cognitive abilities. These age related brain changes affect brain functioning and cause subsequent behavior changes. In dogs that are 11-12 years old as many at 28% of dogs develop cognitive dysfunction. This number rises to almost 68% of dogs that are between 15-16 years of age.
Senilife is available on Amazon. This product contains a number of specialized antioxidants that slow and reverse brain aging. It is available without a prescription and is highly rated.
She is back to sleeping through the night, very energetic and playful during the day, knows which way the door opens and much more. Her cognitive function has improved drastically, she’s well-rested and always ready to play with her toys. We are still on our first bottle of Senilife, but this is definitely worth a shot if you’re dog is experiencing a cognitive decline. Review on Amazon
To diagnose cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), medical causes should be excluded first.
A variety of cues related to behavior are evaluated. Signs of disorientation in a familiar environment, changes in social interactions, sleep-wake cycles, house training and activity can all be clues to CDS.
Repetitive behavior and aimless wandering and restlessness are prominent changes in senior dogs with cognitive decline. People who suffer from Alzehimer’s disease often develop movement disorders with restlessness, gait impairment and tremors.
Older dogs with senility changes spend more time involved in aimless activity and have higher locomotor activity than younger dogs. The more severe the cognitive impairment, the more time is spent in these activities.
Twenty percent of the body’s total oxygen is consumed by the brain. As dogs age, protective mechanisms to reduce oxidative damage to the brain are less effective. Oxidative damage to the brain is associated with cognitive decline in dogs.
There are a couple of therapeutic prescription diets designed to help dogs with cognitive improvement. The first therapeutic diet , Hills B/D by Science Diet, has shown proven benefit in clinical studies. B/D is rich in antioxidants and contains flaxseed, carrots,spinach, tomato, alpha-lipoic acid, vitamins E, C and B12, beta carotene and several amino acids.
Dogs with cognitive dysfunction can improve with a diet supplemented with medium chain triglycerides
The second prescription therapeutic diet is called Neurocare Diet and is made by Purina. This diet is formulated with medium chain triglycerides. Long term supplementation with medium chain triglycerides has been shown to improve cognitive function in dogs. Diets supplemented with medium chain triglycerides (MCT) increase ketone levels in the blood. Ketones are the preferred energy source for brain function.
Dogs given a diet supplemented with 5.5% MCT for 8 months performed significantly better on cognitive tasks than the control group.
Purina’s Neurocare diet and Hill’s B/D’Diets both require a prescription from your veterinarian. This food marketed by Purina also supports cognitive function in older dogs and is supplemented with medium chain triglycerides (MCTs): Purina One Vibrant Maturity 7+ Senior Formula
Other ways to improve cognitive function in older dogs
Exercise and brain games.
Focusing on providing more exercise during the day (to suit their physical capacity) and working with your dog 30 minutes a day to provide mental stimulation during the day can also be helpful to help maintain and improve cognition in senior dogs.
Having your dog “hunt” for food by placing the kibble into a food puzzle or snuffle mat helps brain engagement. Working with your dog to learn “tricks” and practice exercises such as settling on a mat can all be great brain games.
Using calming supplements for nighttime restlessness in your dog
The use of calming supplements at night can help encourage your dog to rest at bedtime. Supplements such as Solliquin or Anxitane and Composure all contain L-Theanine and are available on Amazon. L-Theanine is an amino acid that helps lower anxiety. Anixtane contains only L-theanine while Composure and Solliquin contain a few other natural compounds for anxiety relief.
Read this article for more tips on managing canine anxiety
Anxitane: L- theanine
Composure : L-theanine plus Colostrum Calming Biopeptide, Vitamin B1 and Shoden extract
Soll iquin: L-theanine, Whey protein and extracts of Magnolia and Phellodendron
Another calming supplement good for use at bedtime is melatonin. Melatonin has been studied to be helpful in lowering doses of premedication drugs needed in dogs prior to surgery. It has also been found to be helpful to lower anxiety in fearful dogs. The usual dose given to dogs is 0.1mg/kg rounded up to the nearest tablet or half-tablet size. This should be given 30 minutes before bedtime.
Most melatonin tablets come as 1mg , 2.5mg, 3mg, and 5mg tablet sizes
Chart for the amount of melatonin to give a dog based on weight
Some behaviorists use a benzodiazepine like lorazepam or a serotonin modulator like trazodone to help older, senile dogs settle and have a more restful night. If your senior dog also has arthritis pain or discomfort using gabapentin at night can help ease discomfort and also provide mild sedation to encourage relaxation.
A few other simple adjustments that can be helpful are providing a night light to help your senior dog see where they need to go at night, a heating pad to rest on if it’s cold in the winter time and a small easily digestible snack at bedtime.
Canine restlessness due to abdominal pain or discomfort
Restlessness in your dog may be due to pain or discomfort. A common source of discomfort is abdominal pain. One of the most serious abdominal emergencies we see in veterinary medicine is a condition called bloat.
Bloat and GDV in dogs causing abdominal pain and discomfort
Bloat happens when the stomach dilates with gas, fluid and food. The stomach can dilate like a balloon and this pressure can be very uncomfortable. This pressure within the stomach makes laying down difficult. A life threatening complication of bloat is when the stomach then twists on its axis . This twist cuts off circulation as the caudal vena cava and portal veins are compressed. This causes shock, low blood pressure and severe lack of oxygen to the body. This condition is called gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV).
Symptoms of GDV include a sudden history of restlessness, abdominal distension, retching, hypersalivation, collapse and trouble breathing. The abdomen has a tympanic quality from the gas distension of the stomach. Dogs that have delayed treatment or recognition of these symptoms will progress to have a fast heart rate and poor pulse quality. They will start to breathe quickly and develop pale mucous membrane color.
Dogs at risk for GDV
GDV happens most commonly in deep chested breeds of dogs that weigh greater than 60 lbs. The breeds at greatest risk for GDV are Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Weimaraners, golden retrievers, German shepherd dogs, wolf hounds and bloodhounds. The breed with the highest incidence of GDV is the Great Dane.
Dogs with a fearful personality are unfortunately at 2.5 times greater risk for developing GDV. Rapid eating, eating only one large meal per day and restricting water before and after meals can all increase risk of GDV. In Giant breeds only, eating from a raised feeding bowl also increases risk of GDV.
Other causes of belly pain in dogs
More common causes of abdominal pain are maldigestion, gas, acid reflux or inflammation of the pancreas. Concomitant symptoms of loose stools, decreased or no appetite, vomiting or lethargy would also likely be present.
Down dog position in your dog indicates extreme abdominal pain
A posture that indicates extreme abdominal pain is the down dog position. This is when your dog stretches out his/her front legs on the floor and pops his hips up. It is also called the prayer position. The most common disease that is synonymous with this posture is pancreatitis. The pancreas is an organ that secretes digestive enzymes.
The pancreas can sometimes become inflamed and cause a lot of abdominal discomfort. So, if you see your dog alternating between pacing and practicing this posture, you should definitely bring him/or to the veterinarian for evaluation and treatment
The best way to diagnose pancreatitis is with an ultrasound of the abdomen to visualize that organ and determine if it looks inflamed.
Treatment for pancreatitis is based on supportive care to reduce pain, providing plenty of fluids and feeding a low fat diet. Diets high in fat trigger the pancreas to release digestive enzymes and this can worsen inflammation.
Dogs at risk for pancreatitis
Chronic pancreatitis can cause chronic pain in dogs and has increased prevalence in the English Cocker Spaniel. Dogs over 7 years of age are at increased risk of acute pancreatitis. Terrier and non sporting breeds appear to be at higher risk for developing acute pancreatitis than other breeds. Many dogs also have concurrent diseases such as diabetes, Cushings, chronic kidney disease, cancer, heart failure and autoimmune diseases. Some dogs develop acute pancreatitis following recent medication use or abdominal surgery.
Dogs at increased risk for pancreatitis are: Dachshunds, Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Fox Terriers and sled dogs.
Canine restlessness to due reflux or ulcers
Trouble getting settled as night may be due to nighttime esophageal reflux. Symptoms can be panting, pacing, hypersalivation and regurgitation.
If your dog has acid reflux, an antacid like Prilosec (omeprazole) can be given at 1 mg/kg once to twice a day. A prescription drug called metoclopramide given 30 minutes before meals and at bedtime can also help protect against reflux. Finally, a small meal at bedtime can help reduce extra acidity at night.
Gastric ulceration and bleeding in dogs can happen with recent use of NSAIDS ( non steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, certain gastrointestinal and pancreatic cancers, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Orthopedic or joint pain causing restlessness and discomfort in your dog
Another possible cause of restlessness and difficulty getting settled and in a comfortable resting position is musculoskeletal pain. This can be due to arthritic changes causing pain particularly when lying down or getting up. It may hurt to lay on harder surfaces. Providing your dog a comfortable resting spot is of course helpful. The problem is some larger breed dogs get hot easily and prefer to avoid their squishy beds. You may want to buy a hammock bed for your large breed dog. These are slightly off the ground and allow for more air circulation and a cooler resting spot. No slip treads on the floor like foam puzzle mats or yoga mates can help a dog feel more confident navigating around the house if they have pain and weakness and provide some cushion for the dog that avoids a bed.
Some dogs can develop acute back pain.Certain dog breeds such as French Bulldogs, Dachshunds, Pekingese can develop degeneration of their intervertebral discs and predispose them to acute back pain. Other dogs in this category (chondrodystrophic breeds) are Beagles, Basset Hounds, Cocker spaniels and Pembroke Welsh Corgis.
This article explains more about how to determine if your dog has back pain or possibly a herniated disc and how to treat and prevent back pain.
In non-chondrodystrophic dogs, some dogs can develop fibrous changes within their discs causing back pain. This typically occurs later in life at age 7 or older.
Signs of and treatment for dog back pain
Dogs with neck or back pain will yelp randomly when moving into certain positions that trigger their neck or back pain. If they have neck pain you may find that they guard their neck and won’t raise their neck above a certain level. Dogs with neck or back pain often will stop jumping up and down off furniture. They may be more quiet and not move around as much.
Treatment for neck or back pain often relies on giving anti-inflammatory pain relievers like a non steroidal anti-inflammatory medication or combining steroids with a pain reliever that is good at targeting nervous system pain like gabapentin. Occasionally muscle relaxants are prescribed to stop spasming muscles that can occur in the muscles supporting the neck or back.
Difficulty breathing in dogs causing trouble getting comfortable
Finally, another cause of discomfort and trouble getting comfortable in a laying down position is any disease in the chest that is causing difficulty breathing well at night.
Some dogs with heart disease may find that they struggle more to breathe well at night in a restful position. Dogs that have an enlarged heart from heart disease can compress their intrathoracic trachea and trigger coughing in certain resting positions. These dogs may have to raise their head to breathe more easily.
If your dog has excess fluid in their lungs or around their lungs, certain resting positions will further collapse their lungs and cause discomfort when trying to rest.
If you suspect breathing problems in your dog
f you suspect your dog may be having trouble breathing you should start by counting a resting respiratory rate. A normal respiratory rate is under 40 breaths per minute. If you see aresting breathing rate rise above this value, it suggests they are working harder to breathe.
A trip to the vet is always recommended for any breathing concerns. Your veterinarian will listen carefully to your dog’s heart and lungs to determine if there is a murmur present or any sounds of congestion in the lungs. A chest x-ray can be very helpful to measure the heart size and evaluate the health of the lungs and look for any disease in the lungs or fluid in the chest cavity.
Anxiety in your dog causing difficulty settling down
Anxiety is often at the root of difficulty settling down. Anxious dogs (just like painful dogs) may pant a lot. Even if the behavior is out of character, it’s possible your dog has developed a phobia and is anticipating danger. In these cases, changing the context around nighttime might be helpful to break up the routine. Perhaps you can try sleeping in a different room in the house. Anti-anxiety medications can also be useful to “melt” away the anxiety and help your dog to settle down.
Tricyclic antidepressants are often selected or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) like Reconcile. Benzodiazepines like lorazepam can be given with these drugs at nighttime. If you suspect your dog is more sensitive to sounds or reacting to nighttime sounds, a white noise machine can make a difference.
A dog appeasing pheromone collar like Adaptil can diffuse calming pheromones to help your dog relax . If you prefer not to use a collar, a plug in diffuser is available too. A good place to start is by using Adaptil and providing a calming supplement with L-theanine (like Anxitane, Composure or Solliquin).
If your dog is still unsettled and anxious after implementing a few of these suggestions, your best bet is to work on a plan with your veterinarian or a boarded veterinary behaviorist.
This article has lots of great information about how to diagnose and treat anxiety in your dog.
Conclusion: what is causing your dog to be restless and unable to settle down?
The top 5 reasons for your dog’s restlessness and inability to get comfortable are : senility changes, abdominal discomfort, musculoskeletal pain, anxiety or difficulty breathing.
I hope this article has helped you understand how to better decipher what may be the root cause of your dog’s behavior so you can create a plan to help your dog relax again.
Nicole Cohen, DVM DABVP
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My Dog is Suddenly Scared At Night
If your dog is suddenly becoming scared during nighttime, it can be a cause of great concern. For young puppies, being restless at night can be considered normal, since they are getting used to new routines and environments. However, for older dogs, it can be caused by an underlying medical condition that needs to be checked out.
Either way, we need to talk about all of the possible causes of nighttime fear and anxiety in both puppies and senior dogs, as well as the solutions that can help ease their restlessness during bedtime.
Why is my dog suddenly scared at night?
Night anxiety or night restlessness in dogs can be caused by a number of things. These reasons can either stem from dementia, general anxiety, or an underlying medical condition that causes pain and discomfort.
Puppies and younger dogs can experience night restlessness due to changes in their environment or routine. This is largely due to separation issues, especially for dogs who have gotten used to sleeping in their owners’ beds or with their mother.
If your puppy is suddenly put in a new dog bed or a different room for bedtime, it’s expected that they will show restless behavior. Don’t worry though, nighttime restlessness due to this reason often goes away on its own. That is if owners do not give rewards for this behavior just to get them to calm down.
Your dog cannot become ‘scared of the dark’ for no reason. If your dog, either young or old, shows anxiety or fearful behavior after the sun has set, it can be because of poor eyesight . Of course, you wouldn’t know for sure unless you take them to the vet for an eye exam.
When a dog cannot see clearly in low light, he will most likely be on high alert for stimuli that would otherwise be familiar to him in the daytime. A visit to the vet can rule out this possibility using an ophthalmoscope or neurologic examination.
Stress can cause nighttime anxiety in dogs. In turn, stress can be caused by loud noises, a stimuli-rich environment, or a big change at home. Your dog can experience stress-induced anxiety when you move houses, have new children at the house, or introduce new pets.
These situations can cause them to have trouble falling asleep. If you notice that your dog keeps pacing or changing positions, he may be too anxious to fall asleep. If and when he does fall asleep, it can be a restless sleep that can affect his energy levels the next day.
As a dog gets older, they become prone to age-related health issues such as dementia. This is called canine cognitive dysfunction and is an incurable disease, just like in humans.
Dementia in dogs can cause disturbances in their sleep pattern, anxiety, disorientation, and other behavioral changes that can be mistaken with signs of aging. A dog that is suddenly scared at night can be the first symptom of canine dementia. This fear or anxiety is often associated with forgetting where they are, general anxiety, and a combination of vision and hearing loss.
Other medical conditions
Often for older dogs, night restlessness can be caused by an underlying medical condition which can be painful. With that being said, it’s important to consult with a vet to find out if your dog is suffering from an undiagnosed illness.
Why you should relieve your dog’s nighttime fear and anxiety
A dog that is suddenly scared or restless at night needs to be treated before the behavior snowballs into a lifetime fear or phobia. Aside from that, a dog not getting enough sleep or one that has trouble falling asleep at night can cause other issues like lethargy and behavioral changes.
Furthermore, if your dog is scared at night, then he will probably let you know. Your dog’s anxiety can be the cause of your sleepless night as well, as restless dogs tend to bark, whine, or howl until they get some help from you.
How to relieve your dog’s fear at night
Consult with a veterinarian.
Fear, anxiety, or restlessness at night can be caused by a serious health condition. If your dog’s nighttime problem does not resolve itself through behavioral modification or adjustment, consult with a vet to diagnose a possible health problem.
Make sure your dog gets plenty of physical exercise
A dog that has had enough exercise and playtime during the day is most likely to become sleepy and happy when it’s time to go to bed. When they’re properly worn out but not exhausted, they can fall asleep more easily and sleep through the night without disturbance.
Create a more comfortable environment
Make sure your dog’s sleeping area is as quiet and as dark as it can be. The lack of stimuli can help them fall asleep much faster and decrease the chances of them waking up in the middle of the night. A comfortable bed is also important for your pup.
Train them in their first year
As much as possible, do not let your dog sleep on your = bed with you unless you plan on letting them do so for the rest of their life. Dogs are creatures of habit, so if you let them get used to a particular routine, expect that they will freak out if you suddenly change it.
In their first year, train your dog to sleep in their own particular spot. Provide them with a nice bed or crate-train them during bedtime. A bedtime routine can become something that is very familiar to them. If you move houses or change their rooms, nighttime fear or anxiety can be lessened with a familiar bed or crate.
Do not reward inappropriate behavior
Sometimes, you will be tempted to toss your dog a treat when they won’t stop barking in the middle of the night. However, it’s important that you do not do this! Rewarding their barking or whining can develop into a habitual behavior which you do not want.
Instead, try to comfort your dog with familiar commands such as ‘stay’ or ‘sit’. This can help them ease their anxiety and perhaps distract them from the fear-inducing stimuli. Either that, or you can leave a toy with them. Some dogs can sleep better with a familiar object that is near.
SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Toy helps your dog get through their behavioral issues by relieving their anxiety and providing them with utmost comfort with the heat pack and real-feel pulsing heartbeat
If all else fails
If your dog’s nighttime fear or anxiety does not go away with behavior modification or re-training, we recommend that you look into medication options with your vet. Sometimes, medications such as benzodiazepines, tricyclic antidepressants, and SSRIs are required to ease your pup’s ailment.
Nevertheless, do not give your dog medications that are not prescribed for them, as human doses are different from that of animals.
Nighttime fear or anxiety can be a sleep-depriving experience for both pet and owner. This nocturnal restlessness can be caused by pain, anxiety, or dementia among other possible reasons. Even though it usually goes away with simple behavioral training, dogs who experience this problem may need further treatment with a vet or a behavior expert.
P.S. Help a friend their scared dog by pinning this!
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Dog Suddenly Anxious at Night. The Why and The Fix
Here are the things that can make your dog suddenly anxious at night. Sometimes, doggies can get restless out of the blue in the nighttime:
- Lack of physical and mental exercise
- Fear of abandonment or PTSD
- Night blindness
Why is My Dog Suddenly Anxious at Night
About two months ago, my dog started experiencing energy bursts in the middle of the night.
Out of nowhere, it would become restless and loud, preventing me from getting any sleep.
After a week of sleepless nights (followed by too much coffee in the morning), I decided I’ve had enough.
So, I put my detective hat on to find out what was making my dog suddenly anxious at night.
Not long after I started doing my research, I realized there were many dog owners like me. Instead of spending their nights catching Z’s, they too were dealing with a restless pooch.
Therefore, I know that some of you would be curious about my findings.
Hopefully, this article will help you calm your doggy and catch up on your lost sleep.
Did you know that dogs are neither diurnal nor nocturnal animals? For the most part, they prefer to sleep when their human friends do.
So, random spurts of energy in the nighttime are unusual for doggies and should always be investigated.
Unfortunately, determining the exact cause behind your pooch’s unusual behavior is often a long and difficult process.
Since your furry friend can’t tell you what’s wrong with it, you will need to do some guesswork.
However, I’ve learned that the factors that can make a dog suddenly anxious at night are either psychological or physiological.
Let’s look at each of them separately.
Usually, the psychological factors that cause restlessness in dogs boil down to either behavioral problems or a mental health issue.
Luckily, both can be successfully handled and even eliminated.
PTSD or Fear of Abandonment
When dogs are still little puppies, they are quite impressionable because that’s when their brains are developing.
Therefore, young doggies tend to be oversensitive to their environment.
As a result, they can have extreme reactions to changes that happen around them.
For example, it’s common for new dog owners to want to be around their cute pets constantly. So, initially, they avoid leaving their fluffy companion alone for too long.
However, that is not a good tactic, because the pooch gets used to the constant presence of their human.
Eventually, when they are left alone for several hours, canines end up developing a fear of abandonment.
Sometimes, that fear can be so extreme that your fluffy buddy will have panic attacks when its environment quiets down.
For instance, when you go to bed, your dog may start worrying that you have abandoned it forever.
In comparison to pups that were bought, rescue dogs are more prone to having a fear of abandonment and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Many of them grew up under rough circumstances or were victims of violence.
So, if you own a rescue that has energy spikes at night, the odds are it has some form of PTSD.
The good news is that you can eliminate your dog’s fear of abandonment through behavioral training .
Also, you can try turning bedtime into your pup’s favorite part of the day. A great way to do that is by “showering” your doggy with pre-bedtime cuddles.
That will relax your pet and help it go to sleep quickly.
Another thing that can make your dog suddenly anxious at night is ( drumroll ) an anxiety disorder. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?
Still, don’t be too quick to embrace this theory because, typically, anxiety symptoms are not only exhibited during the night.
If your doggy does suffer from this disorder, you will notice telltale signs throughout the day.
Some of the most common anxiety symptoms include:
- Shaking and shivering
- Excessive digging
- Destructive chewing
- Excessive howling and barking
To check if your furry buddy has anxiety issues, try spending a few full days with it. For example, skip going out with your friends on the weekend and just stay home with your pup.
By doing so, you will be able to observe its behavior throughout the day and the night.
If anxiety is indeed the issue, you will need to rule out medical problems as the cause of it.
So, make a trip to the vet’s office and ask for your dog to get a full medical examination.
When it comes to non-medical reasons dogs may develop anxiety, the list is quite long.
The cause of the issue can be anything from loud noises to moving to a new home.
Like with PTSD, behavioral training can prove to be effective here. Also, you can try using aromatherapy on your pooch.
There are various homeopathic solutions you can buy, including dog colognes and essential oils for canines.
Usually, these products contain extracts from plants like lavender, evening primrose, and chamomile.
Don’t let the word “physiological” worry you, because it doesn’t necessarily suggest a medical problem.
Usually, most physiological factors that make a dog suddenly anxious at night have to do with the pup’s daily schedule.
When that’s the case, the solutions tend to be easy and simple.
Still, a doggy may also become restless in the middle of the night due to a serious health issue.
Even then, however, there’s usually an appropriate treatment that will cure your dog or reduce any symptoms it may exhibit.
Lack of Physical and Mental Exercise
In my experience, the most common reason canines get unusually active at night is a lack of exercise during the day.
I have many friends who have complained about this issue. The majority of them spend long hours at work and are unable to take their doggies for long walks regularly.
As a result, the pups end up sleeping during the day and running around the house in the nighttime.
If this sounds familiar to you, you’ll need to find a way to tire out your canine companion before bedtime.
No matter how busy your day is, you should take the time to play with your pup. Otherwise, it won’t let you get a good night’s sleep any time soon.
Personally, I’d suggest taking your pooch for a walk around the neighborhood shortly before going to bed. By doing so, you’ll help your pet use up some of its energy.
That should make it feel calm and ready to sleep.
Also, try to provide your dog with plenty of mental stimulation by teaching it new tricks. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that puzzle toys can work a dog’s brain just as effectively.
So, make sure you have a few of them at home.
I had to learn that high-pitched noises and dogs don’t mix well the hard way.
Shortly before my pooch started acting strangely during the night, I had a new smoke detector installed in my home.
It was one of those high-tech, new-gen fire alarms that can pick up the smoke before it’s even visible.
Sadly, it was the thing that made my dog suddenly anxious at night.
As I later found out, our furry friends can hear noises of up to 65,000 Hz. In comparison, we can’t detect sounds higher than 20,000 Hz.
As a result, dogs find the ultrasounds coming from some consumer electronics to be quite upsetting.
If you suspect that there are sources of high ultrasonic emissions in your house, unplug any devices you’re not using.
Also, set up a room that is free of electronics and LED bulbs. It will serve as a safe space where your doggy can retire at night.
Still, it’s best if you find out which of your electronics is causing the problem. In my case, my canine companion stopped feeling tense as soon as I removed the new fire alarm.
So, I didn’t have to make any other changes around my home.
Night Blindness in Senior Dogs
Night blindness is yet another thing that can make a dog suddenly anxious at night.
Usually, it occurs in senior canines, and it’s a sign of an eye condition such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
This symptom can make your doggy nervous during the night, as it can’t see well in the dark.
Aside from causing anxiety, night blindness can also change the appearance of your pooch’s eyes.
For instance, its pupils may dilate for no reason.
If left untreated, this condition can lead to complete blindness.
Therefore, it’s essential to take your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
As you can see, the list of things that can make your dog suddenly anxious at night is rather long. Luckily, I’ve already done the research for you.
So, all you need to do now is check which of these causes is the culprit for your dog’s problem.
Hopefully, you will get a happy resolution, just like I did.
Noise Anxiety In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & 5 Ways To Treat It
Noise anxiety in dogs is a phobia or strong feeling of fear around loud noises, like sounds from fireworks or thunderstorms. It can result in many anxious behaviors or even cause dogs to bolt out of fear and get lost.
When young children hear a scary noise at night, they often run to their parents. The response is usually something like, “Don’t worry, it was just thunder.” Or, “It was just a noise, nothing to be frightened of.”
Unfortunately for a dog who’s afraid of noise, no amount of explaining or consoling will help. Noise anxiety is a very common problem for dogs across the country. The estimates vary, but somewhere between 5 million and 15 million dogs suffer from noise anxiety severe enough for their humans to seek help.
If your dog suffers from a fear of loud noises, there are choices available to help relieve their stress. You must consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan before you attempt to remedy the problem on your own.
Here’s what you should know about canine noise anxiety including symptoms, causes, and treatments.
Symptoms Of Noise Anxiety In Dogs
Noise anxiety can result in many symptoms and have different severity levels for dogs.
On the less extreme end of the spectrum, a fear of thunder may just cause some shaking and clinging to their human. On the other extreme, it may cause panicked running, destructive chewing, defecating indoors, or even jumping through a plate glass window!
Here are a few symptoms that may vary in severity based on dogs’ levels of anxiety:
- Shaking or trembling
- Panting or drooling, even without exercising
- Tucking their tail between their legs
- Pushing their ears back
- Clinging to their human
- Hiding or cowering
- Refusing to move, sometimes to the point of seeming catatonic
- Unusual vocalizations (barking, whining, etc.)
- Potty accidents, even though a dog is otherwise housebroken
- Destructive behaviors like chewing , digging, or scratching
- Bolting or trying to escape from the home or situation
Some pet parents aren’t even aware that an unwanted behavior they’re seeing is actually caused by noise anxiety.
For example, does your dog get upset when you take photographs using a flash? That may be noise anxiety! The flash may remind your dog of lightning, which may trigger them to feel frightened that a storm is coming.
Causes & Triggers Of Noise Anxiety In Dogs
Determining what caused your dog’s noise anxiety may be difficult to pinpoint. However, you may be able to trace the start of your dog’s anxiety to a traumatic incident such as being too close to a fireworks show or too close to a lightning strike and its subsequent thunder clap.
Here are a few common noise anxiety triggers in dogs:
- Loud gatherings
- Sounds from televisions, radios, or other devices
- Beeping noises from electronics, such as timers, smoke alarms, or home security systems
- Fire alarms
- Warning sirens, such as tornado sirens
- Ambulances, police cars, or firetrucks
- Car traffic or airplanes
- Other dogs barking
Your dog may also have a genetic predisposition for noise anxiety. Studies have shown that noise anxiety appears in some breeds, such as Collies, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds, more than others.
For some dogs, noise anxiety gradually appears and worsens as they age for no apparent reason. For other dogs, it appears in puppyhood and stays with them.
One thing that most experts agree on when it comes to noise anxiety is that petting, coddling, or otherwise consoling the dog when they’re exhibiting symptoms may worsen the problem. Your dog will most likely interpret your behavior as, “You see, I do have something to be worried about!”
It’s important for the people around the dog to behave normally during events that trigger the dog’s anxiety. In fact, a possible cause for noise anxiety in the first place is a dog’s humans displaying nervousness or fear of some kind of noise.
Most dogs are very sensitive to their humans’ moods. If a pet parent has a fear of thunder, a dog may pick up on it and also develop fearful behavior.
Treatments For Noise Anxiety In Dogs
Before you attempt to treat your dog for noise anxiety on your own, you must consult your veterinarian for a professional diagnosis and treatment advice.
Different treatments work for different dogs. There is no guarantee that any one alternative is best for your dog. Your vet can help you explore your options safely.
Besides the effectiveness at reducing symptoms, there are other issues to consider when evaluating which treatment may work best. Some treatments can be very time consuming for pet parents. Other treatments can become very expensive and pose risks of side effects.
It’s also not unusual for a combination of treatments to ultimately be the most effective for a particular dog. Here are five options you should discuss with your vet.
1. Change The Dog’s Environment
There are “common sense,” simple things you can try if feasible for your circumstances. Here are a few easy environmental changes you can make to curb your dog’s anxiety:
- Create a safe haven for your dog, such as a blanket-covered crate , or find a location that will reduce the noise level.
- Turn on soft music or the television to help mask the sound of the problem noise.
- If you know an event is coming, like a thunderstorm or fireworks, give your dog a lot of exercise beforehand. This can help burn off energy that would otherwise go toward anxious behaviors.
None of the above typically shows dramatic results, but they can help to reduce symptoms.
2. Pressure Wraps
This is a surprisingly simple and effective treatment for many dogs. A “pressure wrap” is anything that wraps around the dog’s torso and chest to provide a constant, gentle pressure.
Why does it work? No one knows for sure, but it’s likely a combination of making the dog feel comforted and secure while distracting them from concentrating on whatever they fear.
You can try to make one yourself out of an appropriately sized t-shirt, or purchase a Thundershirt . Pressure wraps often show good results with the first usage, however some dogs require two, three, or more usages before you see reduced or eliminated symptoms.
3. Behavior Modification
Desensitization is the most common behavior modification tried for noise anxiety.
In a nutshell, you begin by exposing your dog to a low level of the noise that bothers them in a controlled environment. As they get accustomed to it, you increase the levels louder and louder over time until they learn to tolerate the real deal.
If you want to give it a try, several books are available on the subject. However, it’s best to consult your vet and possibly a professional pet behaviorist for the most effective results.
If your dog’s anxiety is serious enough, there are a variety of prescription medications that your vet may suggest.
Some are administered on a regular basis for the life of the dog. Some are given only at the time of an anxiety event. Sometimes a combination of drugs are used.
If you go this route, make sure you ask your vet about any potential risks and side effects with the drugs you’re considering.
Many pet parents use over-the-counter medications like Benadryl to sedate their dogs. You should not do this without asking your vet first.
5. Pheromones & Supplements
Some pet parents choose to treat their dogs with more natural remedies, which can include pheromones and supplements meant to keep dogs calm. These can present alternatives to medication that often don’t cause as many side effects.
Several products on the market emit natural pheromones that can have a calming, reassuring effect on dogs. These can come in the form of collars, diffusers, sprays, and more.
Many calming supplements in the form of chews, additives, or drops can also help some dogs. Ask your vet for recommendations.
Does your dog get anxious around loud noises like thunder or fireworks? How do you help them stay calm? Let us know in the comments below!
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The team at Dogtime has been keeping tails wagging since 2008. Dogtime’s mission is to keep pets out of shelters and get them adopted to good homes by providing novice and experienced owners alike with the important information needed to make them, and their pets, very happy and healthy.
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Dog Spooked and Acts Like He Sees Something – Top 3 Reasons Why
You might have noticed that your dog stares in one particular direction a lot as if he saw something. This behavior could be caused by a number of issues including fly-snapping syndrome. If you noticed this behavior in your dog recently, here are a few reasons why this is happening and how to go about fixing the problem.
1. Your Dog Has Fly-Snapping Syndrome
Your dog could have fly-snapping syndrome, which is when your dog suddenly begins to snap in the air a few different times while still looking straight ahead. Your dog will focus his gaze in front of him and he will act like he sees something, even though there is nothing in the area.
Veterinarians believe this is caused by a neurological disorder, such as a partial seizure or epilepsy. It’s possible that fly-snapping syndrome is hereditary and is a result of canine epilepsy. This behavior could be caused by eye problems such as vitreous floaters. Your dog could have floaters in his eyes and the black spots he sees he is mistaking for a fly. Compulsive behaviors are also thought to be a cause of fly-snapping syndrome, and could occur as the result of lack of socialization, being left in small rooms, or possible physical abuse in the past.
If necessary, consider using dog eye wipes to keep your dog’s eyes clean of dirt. This may reduce the likelihood of floaters affecting your dog’s eyesight.
2. Your Dog Heard Something Strange
Dogs have very different hearing capabilities than humans, so it’s possible your dog heard something strange you aren’t aware of. Your dog likely will begin to stare as if he saw something in the direction where he believes the sound was coming from. The dog’s stare might feel creepy but there is probably a good reason behind it.
A dog can hear about four times the distance that humans can, so while their sight isn’t nearly as good as people, their hearing highly outweighs ours. If your dog is looking like he saw something, he likely heard something way off in the distance that you are unable to hear. While these sounds might not really be strange to you, your dog could be picking up on higher frequencies that you are unaware of.
3. Your Dog is Having Hallucinations
Hallucinations can be caused by fly-snapping syndrome, which likely is the result of canine epilepsy. Other medical issues could cause hallucinations as well, such as vitreous floaters and seizure disorders. Vestibular disease is also a possible cause of the hallucinations in dogs, which makes dogs feel like everything is upside down. You should take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible if you believe your dog is hallucinating, since it can be the result of an undiagnosed medical condition.
How to Minimize a Dog’s OCD Behavior
OCD behaviors can be minimized in your dog by incorporating more play time into their daily routine. You want to give your dog both more physical stimulation as well as mental stimulation to help ease the OCD symptoms. Take your dog on longer walks or get your dog some more interactive toys to keep them occupied throughout the day.
It’s also a good idea to try to distract your dog when you notice behaviors occurring, such as when they begin staring like they saw something. If your dog looks to be just staring off in the distance, distract him with treats or toys. Usually distracting your dog will snap them out of the behavior.
Call his name and try to get him to focus on something else. There are also medications that you can try if your dog is really struggling with OCD behaviors and nothing else has worked. You should take to your veterinarian to get an idea of what medications would work best to minimize these compulsive behaviors.
I have a 12 year old Pomeranian, it bothers me cuz he acts like he sees something flying around the room and he watches it. His ears are positioned back like he’s scared. Sometimes he’s physically shaking. Me and hubby are really worried, it’s spooky too cuz his head pops up from a laying position as if something unseen has his attention all of a sudden and he reacts to something we can’t see. Sometimes he’ll stand up, jump off the sofa, it’s constant anxiety except for when he’s eating, playing with us, or asleep. His ears go from a back position fear, to attention as if he is being called. Then at moments in all this he’ll stop and stare for about 2 minutes. Then lay his head back down but ears at attention. It only stops when he decides to go to sleep. What is wrong, can you help? This has been going on since we got him. We do know he is afraid of thunder and lightning but it’s not raining tonight. The creepiest is when he looks at one of us but looking pass us as if something is around us or above us. I read your article. We did rescue him from a semi abusive home. And his original owner was a man on oxygen, who smoked, set himself on fire and Leo was trapped in the bathroom with him and we were told he watched the guy burn to death. Then he ended up with the lady we got him from. We got Leo in 2013 from another lady that had him for awhile but he suffered from neglect, she hit and yelled at him a lot and we are unaware what other trauma he may have suffered. Then he will come sit beside me at my computer some times, not shaking or scared but more protective like,like he just got up and walked away as if following something I can’t see, as if he’s protecting me from some unseen thing. I wish I could send you a video of his behavior. Yeah I am very creeped out right now! I really need to know what’s going on with him, would like to get him the correct help. He’s such a little guy and i love him so much, i pray over him a lot. Thanks in advance for whatever you can diagnose from my info here. Clarence and Sarita
My 7 month puppy started doing this after coming back from the groomers a week ago. Staring at the wall, ceiling looking into space as if something is there, more so in the evening. I’m really worried about her.
Hi, My dog acts exactly the same as you described. He has always had the issue and he has had a nearly perfect life experience since birth. What was the outcome?
I’m so glad Hector. I have a ten pound gold colored long haired deer-head Chihuahua. He’s 5 years old. He was the runt of his litter and I found out the day after I bought him that he had pneumonia. He was in hospital for a week. Then we were told he had collapsing trachea. They told me if he had surgery, there was a good chance he could die in surgery. I love that little guy so much. I pray that the lord will heal him. God Bless you all.
I have a 2 yr old Maltese/terrier. The things described in the letter about just started 3 days ago. Took him to the vet. She examined his eyes and saw nothing. I’m so scared. This little guy has become so important to me. He does not want to go outside unless it is dark. He hides under a chair or my bed where it is dark. Can you give me suggestions? He has no other strange symptoms.
My 3 yr old shepherd acts like she sees something in the yard. We tell her to go outside and Use the bathroom but then she wants to hurry up in common scratch at the back door to get inside the house. This has been going on for at least 2 weeks now. She seems scared. Does she see some bad spirits or ghosts?
I have a female border collie. I’ve had Ruby since birth and she has one blue eye one brown. She’s 6 yrs. Very smart loves to play. A year ago she started staring at the ground as if she sees bugs and pawing at them. Vet didn’t know a thing about it and suggested specialist hundred miles away. Cant do that. What do you suggest? Thanks.
Hi Dreama, I’m curious if your border collie’s behavior was ever diagnosed? I have 3 y.o. male mix (of several herding breeds including border collie) and he does the same thing. Your post is the first I’ve seen anywhere on the internet about this. I’m not convinced at all that it’s fly-catching or something related. I’d love to know if you’ve learned anything since your post! Thanks, Christine
I read that its called fly-snapping syndrome, but it could also be a neurological disorder. You should take your furry friend to the Vet to be examined.
We have an 11 month old pomapug whom we bought from a reputable breeder, he began hallucinating 3 weeks ago. We took him to the vet who gave him an anti toxin and a prescription for activated charcoal as we thought he might have ingested mushrooms or some other stimulant whilest on his walk, nevertheless 3 weeks later and he is still fly snapping which is accompanied with periods of shuddering sometimes. He is otherwise healthy and happy, he is well socialised with humans, kids & other dogs so we are @ a loss as to what this is??
Our 7 month old Chihuahua started doing this recently. What ended up being the prognosis for your dog?
My dog sees dead people…
That’s what it seems like. Our 3 YO border collie mix just started this behavior and we are concerned.
Thst exactly how I would described what my dog does.
My 13yr cocker spaniel has started with cataracts. She has a bit of arthritis in her leg/hip and is now going deaf. She paces around too. She has started fly snapping and staring. Any advice please.
My nearly 2year old dog runs around the back yard and jumping up trying to catch invisible moths from the grass . Sometimes there maybe little bits of grass flying around , but she spends hours doing the . She is not bored at all but its puzzling me . She is a very active spoodle pup .
i have 1 yr old coonbeagle mix shes been fine till a couple nights ago she kept looking round like somwthing was there or crawling on her now shes doing it and wont get on couch which is where she lays any other time she was layin there stiood up n looking round at couch like something crawling on her then jumped down and wont get back up n keeps staring at ceiling and walls n table can anyone help me and tell me y pls
Did you ever get to the bottom of this? Our dog is doing the same suddenly.
My dog has also started doing this suddenly. I scheduled a visit with out vet in a few days, but I’m curious if anyone’s dog has stopped doing this?
My 3 year old goldendoodle/labradoodle has out of nowhere something is behind him and gets all skiddish. Really weird and started out of now where. Happened twice today and the last one was very obvious. He’s done it about 4 times in the past week or so. Anyone have something similar?
Yes my dog does the same it is neurological can long to fly snaping and liver disease
I adopted rescue a 4 months old Staffyxpom, she was a lovely dog, I had her for almost 5 years, Sadly 3 years after I had her, start having seizure, gradually ones, then twice a year, I took her to the vet on the first instance, they didn’t find anything. after few month or so, she had a bad seizure, rush her to the Animal hospital, was told Epilepsy. She was on medication. Blood test shows nothing. couple of months later it become regular seizures. Then becomes almost every other day. Took her several times to the vet, up until the last seizures, becomes so bad. She has to be put down as she has possible brain damage already. Its was hard for me. Because she was such a lovely gentle girl. My constant companion especially the times I was having chemo and R treatment. I misses her so much. She was just short of 5 days of her 5th Birthday.
I’ve recorded my 7yr old Shih Tzu acts like she sees something and her eyes and head move as if she sees something. It’s freaking me out. Do I need to take her to the vet?
My 9 year old Boston terrier started doing the same thing about a week ago. He only does it in the evenings, after dinner. I wonder if his brand of dog food has contaminants or toxins in it, maybe a bad batch or something. I’m going to feed him homemade cooked chicken and vegetables, no dog food, and see if that helps.
My 9 year old Boston Terrier started snapping at invisible flies and staring at something that we can’t see. It’s been going on for about a week now and I wonder if his dog food has some toxins in it or something.I will try feeding him home cooked chicken meat and vegetables to see if it is caused by contaminated dog food, which seems to be happening a lot lately.
My 7yo Maltese woke me twice in the same wee hours scratching at the door and whining to go out. I followed her to the lounge room as she went around the entire house sniffing the air and ‘searching’ for something. She was up on the lounges then up on her back legs looking up onto the cabinets etc. I took her outside but she didn’t need to do any business. It really freaked me out as she went to tte same places. It’s the first time ever that she’s done this.
I have a Maltese/Dachshund, 6 years old. She has been seeing things that aren’t there for years. She doesn’t just stare in one place…it is like she is following whatever it is. She follows whatever in this manner…she will start staring, then as it moves, she may look up, across, down. Could be any of those. Her movements are not jerky…she moves in a slow, deliberate manner. She does, on about 20%, begin barking. She does not look away from it ever. I am a christian. Because of this…when she begins staring and barking I talk out loud stating this home is only for anyone who is good and loves the Lord, if you are not good…you must leave immediately. (I know this sounds kind of strange.) But she stops barking. My husband passed and I am getting used to being alone. I absolutely believe she sees something I do not. Just in the past week she has begun doing the same thing in the bedroom. Really don’t like it in there. I am so glad to find a group who has the same issues as I do with my little dog.
my 11 year old Jack Russell has just started trying to catch something in the air (there is nothing there). i am really worried as she has never done this before. She is partially blind/ deaf with joint problems.
I guess no one’s been able to track down what this is? Sounds like all these dogs, mine included have a similar or variation of seeing things. Mine mostly in the late afternoon and then once it starts he’s not the same dog. Next morning he’s him again, repeats every night. No one able to get a clear diagnosis?
My dog is the same linked to liver disease and mild type of seizures tried prozac prescribed didn’t work I just live with it and take care of him.
Hi, my dog is almost 6 months and started to do da a few weeks ago. It’s worse at night time. Did you find out what it is?
My 10 year-old Pomeranian just started doing this about a year ago, after my husband passed away. Sometimes after he does the staring thing, he runs and hides under a bed.
Hi Jeanette, my 3 yr old Mini Bernadoodle started the same thing after my best friend passe I say hello Patrick. We love you. I think it scares her sometimes and she runs away..
It’s so nice to read everybody’s comments because my dog is doing the same. She’s a two year old Pomeranian and she looks around the room like she’s following some thing and she’s very afraid. Then she runs in the closet or in her crate. I think she’s feeling the bad energy of someone in my past, it’s funny when she does this my mom who is also disabled, becomes in a very bad mood or becomes very lethargic. I think they are more sensitive to bad energy. I think prayer and candles will help after reading your comments. I also may take her to the vet for some bloodwork just to make sure she’s OK.
Hi I have a three year old mixed breed who suddenly started jumping up and becoming very restless at night. Hides under kitchen table after walking round in circles for a while. At the same time we noticed bats flying round our garden. Have googled this and could be the cause. They do hear some bat frequencies which confuses and scares then. Just in case this helps anyone.
I have a female stafferdshire terrier she is loving and playful. 8 or 9yrs old ( a rescue at juvenile age) She is sitting in the back bedroom of the house with me now as she often does and staring at the corners of the bedroom at ceiling height. She starts to growl staring at the corners of this room. Hardly ever does this in any other room like once a year vs. every night in the back bedroom. She will start to growl and back up sometimes like something is threating us or her. What’s goin on here?
Our almost 2 year old Burmese mountain dog has started going around, poking her nose into sheets sniffing like crazy, on the couch she just kept poking her nose and poking her noshe, and then same thing she acts as if she sees something and she’ll flip her head to catch nothing, shes trying to find what’s around, but there is nothing .
Does anyone have an answer? My dog, 9, looks around, up, down and side to side like she’s seeing a ghost. The last 2 nights she has jumped off the bed and laid in the corner of the room. After 9 years of sleeping on the bed she now is sleeping in the corner. It would be very helpful if anyone has a reason for this behaver.
About a year ago our then 9 yr old greyhound starting acting strange. She looked spooked by something. She would look all around and then go upstairs to hide. She would go outside and not want to come back in the house, had to put a lead on her to get her in. Vet says something in the house is spooking her. Searched high and low but nothing found or new introduced into house. Vet gave us tom downers to help. issue mysteriously went away, only used a couple pills. Now almost a year later according to vets records, symptoms have re-occurred. Same as last time. Vet says something is spooking her again. She would stand panting or lay down in her upstairs bed and not want to eat. She would go outside and not want to come in. I can take her for walks and she acts fine. Just not in the house. More pills. Physically she is fine mentally a wreck. I think ghosts or spirits are the answer. Laugh if you will but no one else has an answer. Hopefully this will pass as it did last time. Until them my wife is frantic.
My 8 year old Shih Tzu has recently been acting like something is behind him. He will be laying down in a relaxed state or be standing and all of a sudden jump and turn around like something is behind him. This has been going on for about 8 weeks now. No change in activity or diet. Thoughts or suggestions? Thank you.
I lost my Lab couple of months ago to cancer. Couple of months later my cheeweenie started having bad allergies and upset stomach. Sandwich in with being very peaceful and suddenly jumps up and stares then takes off running and hides. So…took to vet and did not find anything wrong. Gave her antibiotic just in case. She was eating grass like crazy after the shot…but got better. She had stopped eating and got back to normal wantint only boiled chicken and broth which she has had since she was little. I removed a flea collar I had just brought for her. I stopped bathing her with the dog shampoo. I stopped feeding her the dry dog food cause it was several months old…although it is in a tight container. Also stopped spraying for bugs inside the house although the product says it is safe to use. She wants to eat meat and rice only and refuses her dog food. So baby steps here…process of elimination. Perhaps she’s depressed because her beloved companion passed awawa and misses him. We’ll see. Praying for a miracle…so tired of her staring…jumping up at something that is not there…And running and hiding all the time. Nights she sleeps well but wakes up at 3am with same problem. She is 12 years old.
My dog is having the exact same problem…I think it’s either the toxins they are spraying on us or the 5g causing this. Everyone should try to get a rf meter and see how strong the frequency is. Check when the dog is calm and when he isn’t. Check with local vets and see if they are getting reports of this and for how long.
Thank God I found this. I felt like I was going crazy. For the past month my 7 year old pom has been doing this. He is only calm when he is outside, as soon as we are in the house, especially my room and especially at bedtime he is painting, shaking, growling and watching things I can’t see. Looking past me. He climbs up on me or runs to the end of the bed to be let down. And he’s running out of the room to the outside door scratching, as soon as I let him out he calms down and lays down and breathing is normal and he’s not looking around anymore. But he refuses to go back in. I’ve cleansed my home and use sound, candles, prayer, meditation music etc. Even taking him on longer walks and getting him new toys. Haven’t taken him to the vet yet bc it happens every 4 days or longer sometimes. I don’t want him to be unnecessarily medicated if it’s an environmental problem, but I also don’t want him to be stressed and suffering and neglect him from care that might help. I’m so happy to hear I’m not alone in this, it’s creepy and makes me feel like I’m going crazy too. Maybe he’s seeing ghosts? But how the hell do you tell anyone that without them thinking your insane? It’s such strange behaviour, you just get desperate and consider everything. Sounds like we have similar problems and no answers…..
My Pomeranian does the same thing. He is 11 and has only begun doing this since my husband passed two years ago. I’ve taken him to the vet and to specialist eye doctor. There is nothing wrong with him physically. I do believe he sees my husband. S0 lots of questions here but no answers. What’s up with that?
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Why does my dog wake up scared?
- April 2, 2023
1. Most dogs wake up in the morning with a well-defined routine. This usually includes going out to pee, relieving themselves, then coming back inside to find their food and maybe a toy or two. But for some reason, one day your dog wakes up scared and doesn’t know how to get back into their normal routine.2. There are several reasons your dog might be scared during the morning. Maybe they heard something outside that made them scared, or maybe there was a scary dream they had the night before and they’re afraid it might happen again. 3. Whatever the cause, if your dog is waking up scared every day, it’s important to figure out what’s causing it and try to fix it.
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Can dogs have nightmares and wake up scared?
Dogs have been known to experience nightmares and wake up scared. While it’s not entirely clear why dogs might have these nightmares, there are a few theories. One theory suggests that nightmares may be a way for dogs to process or deal with fear or anxiety. Another theory suggests that nightmares may be caused by stress in the dog’s life or by traumatic experiences. Regardless of the reason, it is important to remember that dogs can experience nightmares and it is best to keep an eye on them if they seem scared or upset after their nightmare.
Why did my dog wake up scared?
My dog always wakes up scared every morning. I’m not sure why, but it seems like something spooks her every time she wakes up. Yesterday, she woke me up so abruptly that I thought something was wrong. When I got to her bed and petted her, she just laid there shaking. The last time this happened was a few weeks ago and I couldn’t find out what had scared her then either. Is there anything I can do to make her feel more at ease before we wake up?
Can dogs wake up scared?
Dogs have been man’s best friend for centuries, and in return, dogs have done everything from providing companionship to aiding humans in law enforcement. However, no matter how loyal a dog may be, there will always be occasions when a dog wakes up scared’afraid of something they don’t understand. This can sometimes lead to anxiety or even PTSD-like symptoms in some dogs.
Fortunately, there are ways to help your dog overcome their fear and get back to their normal self. One approach is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps your dog learn how to associate positive events with the environment they’re afraid of. Another approach is pharmacological therapy, which uses drugs like antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications to chemically calm a dog down.
Why does my dog get spooked at night?
There are a few reasons why a dog might get scared at night. One possibility is that your dog is reacting to things he or she sees or hears outside. For example, if there’s a lot of noise or movement outside, your dog may be scared because he doesn’t know what to expect. Another possibility is that your dog has experienced something terrifying in the past – such as being attacked by another animal or being left alone in the dark – and this fear has been stored in his memory. Finally, some dogs simply are scared by the dark and will react accordingly. If any of these explanations applies to your dog, you’ll need to do a bit of detective work to figure out why he’s so spooked and what can be done to help him feel more comfortable at night.
Should I pet my dog while sleeping?
Dog owners often wonder whether it’s okay to pet their dogs while they sleep. The answer is that it depends on the dog and the situation. For some dogs, petting may be calming and reassuring; for others, it may trigger undesired behavior. It’s always safest to talk with your veterinarian before giving any pet a treat or pat during sleep.
Do dogs dream about their owners?
Do dogs dream about their owners? This question has been debated by researchers for years, but recent studies suggest that dogs may indeed dream about their human companions. In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers from the University of Sussex and Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine used a special device to measure brain activity in 11 dogs as they dreamed. They found that when the dogs were dreaming about their owners, their brains showed increased activity in areas associated with memory and emotion. The study provides evidence that dogs do indeed dream about their owners, which might help to create strong bonds between them.
What are signs of anxiety in dogs?
There are a few key signs that may indicate that your dog is feeling anxious or stressed. These can include restlessness, panting, avoidance of situations or people, increased barking or whining, and an overall decreased appetite or weight. If you notice any of these signs in your pet, it’s important to immediately seek out professional help to rule out any underlying medical issues.
How do you calm a stressed dog?
If you have a dog that is constantly stressed, there are a few things you can do to help them calm down. The first step is to identify the source of the stress. If it’s from another animal in the home, try crate training your dog or getting them a pet. If the stress comes from outside sources such as other dogs on walks, voided garbage, or loud noises, then you’ll need to use some techniques to help your dog relax. One way is to give them a toy that they can play with when they’re anxious. Another is to take them for a walk and let them explore their surroundings. If all else fails, try medication such as Xanax or clonazepam.
How do you get a scared dog to trust you?
Getting a scared dog to trust you can be a difficult process, but there are several steps you can take to help make the transition more manageable. From establishing basic obedience commands to providing positive reinforcement, following these tips should help build trust between you and your canine companion.
Why do dogs lick you?
Dogs lick people for many reasons, but the most common one is to clean them. They use their tongues to swipe at any dirt or sweat on the person’s skin and then lick it off. This also helps to cool the person down. Dogs will also lick you if they are happy, sad, or excited.
Do dogs dream?
Dogs are considered to be one of the most popular pet animals in the world. They enjoy being around people and often get along well with other pets. However, there is still much debate surrounding the question of whether dogs dream. Some believe that all animals, including dogs, dream because they are creatures that are constantly interacting with their environment. Others believe that dreaming is something specific to humans and that not all animals experience it. There has been very little scientific research done on this topic, which means that we don’t know for sure whether dogs dream or not.
Can dogs see in the dark?
Dogs are able to see in the dark, just like humans. They have a variety of light-sensing cells in their eyes that allow them to see in low light, and they have a lot of experience interpreting shapes and patterns. Dogs also have a sixth sense, which is their ability to detect movement or changes in their environment.
What makes a dog scared of everything?
Most dogs are scared of some things, but what makes one dog scared of everything may be unknown. According to many experts, there is no single cause for this fear, but there are some common factors. For example, some dogs may be afraid of noise or sudden movements because they’ve experienced either as a child or during a traumatic event. Other dogs may be scared of anything that smells bad, such as poop or trash. Some simply have a strong instinctual fear and cannot help it.
Why is my dog all of a sudden scared of everything?
One day, your dog began behaving differently. It became scared of everything, including its own shadow. You could not figure out why this was happening and tried to comfort your pet, but it would only shake in fear. After some research, you discovered that your dog may be experiencing a fear response. This is when a dog’s natural instinct to flee from danger kicks in, causing them to become anxious and skittish.
What dog breeds are prone to anxiety?
There are many dog breeds that are prone to anxiety. Some of the most common breeds include German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Bulldogs, and Poodles. These are just a few of the dog breeds that have been shown to be more prone to anxiety. There is no one-size-fits-all answer as to why some dog breeds suffer from anxiety more than others, but it is likely due to genetics and a variety of other factors. It is important to remember that not all dogs with anxiety will exhibit signs or symptoms in the same way. Therefore, it is important to work with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist if you believe your pet may be experiencing anxiety disorders.
In conclusion, it is important to remember that not all dogs wake up scared every single morning. Some may simply be alert and looking around, while others may be reacting nervously to something they have heard or seen. However, if your dog consistently wakes up in a state of fear, it may be time to take him or her to see a vet for an evaluation.
I am a dog lover who helps others by writing blog posts about dog-related topics. I enjoy helping people find information they may have been looking for and giving them the opportunity to interact with me in a positive way.
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The post provides general informational content and is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice. The information may not be accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Readers should consult a qualified veterinarian before attempting any solutions or treatments mentioned in the post. The post disclaims any responsibility for adverse effects resulting from implementing the information without proper veterinary consultation. The well-being and safety of the pet should always be prioritized, and expert guidance from a licensed veterinarian is essential.
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Dog Suddenly Scared or Nervous of Something In House? 12 Possible Reasons
In most situations, dogs are confident creatures with nothing to worry about than the constant urge to play. Dogs have it easy. This is especially true if you’re prone to pampering your pup. So, when sudden fear washes over your dog, it can be a cause for concern.
Truth is, dogs are more complex than what people give them credit for. They can experience emotions just like humans do . Pups of any age can get scared or nervous.
Unfortunately, they’re not capable of expressing those fears in a rational way.
While fear and nervousness are to be expected when they’re in an unfamiliar situation or environment, what happens if those emotions creep up at home?
Home is supposed to be your dog’s comfortable space. It’s where they can be confident and stress-free. Chances are your dog spends way more time at home than you do. So, what gives?
Identifying the Signs of Fear
Before we get into the causes of sudden fear at home, let’s talk about how dogs show these emotions. As we mentioned earlier, dogs don’t have the ability to just come right out and tell you what’s wrong.
The key to understanding the issue is to read their body language.
Fear can manifest itself in many different ways. Oftentimes, the signs of fear are things that dogs normally do anyway. But, the difference lies in how often those behaviors are happening.
For example, if your dog suddenly starts spending all of its time hiding under a couch when they normally roam free, that’s a big red flag.
It shows that something is causing so much fear that your dog feels the need to protect itself.
Sometimes, dogs will even flee from certain parts of your home or bark at whatever is causing them stress.
Other times, the symptoms are a bit more subdued. Your pup might pace around in circles, drool excessively, or even start shaking.
In extreme cases, uncontrollable body issues can start happening. It’s not uncommon for dogs to accidentally defecate or urinate in sudden times of fear.
If your pup starts veering from their normal habits, use that as a sign, too. Dogs can lose their appetite, start excessively grooming themselves, or even bite their fur off.
Every dog is different , so you need to be able to identify unfamiliar behaviors for your pup.
Most likely, the signs of fear will be painfully obvious when they occur. No one knows your dog better than you, so keep an eye on their behavior.
Knowing how to spot these signs can help you be proactive and provide your dog with some must-needed assistance.
12 Common Reasons Why Dogs Suddenly Get Scared at Home
For dogs, fear is somewhat of a learned emotion. Dogs naturally react to their surroundings. All it takes is one negative experience for dogs to become fearful.
It’s like training. But instead of positive reinforcement, a bad event can create a negative memory.
#1. Loud and Sudden Noises
Has your dog ever started barking in fear during a thunderstorm or fireworks show? This is pretty common. Those loud noises can be torture for dogs.
It’s important to remember that canines have very sensitive hearing. Not only that, but they can hear in frequencies that are beyond the scope of human hearing.
While the loud banging from a thunderstorm might not seem like an issue to us, it’s a confusing spectacle for dogs. The best way that you can help your dog overcome these fears is to provide positive reinforcement.
Comfort them any time that those loud noises occur. It doesn’t just have to be an outside noise that causes issues. Inside your home, there are plenty of alarming sounds.
Smoke and burglar alarms often emit high-pitched tones that dogs are very sensitive to. Pups with perky ears are especially susceptible to the effects of these noises.
Your pup could have been around when an alarm in your home went off.
Say, for example, that you accidentally burnt some toast in your kitchen. This caused the fire alarm to ring, which was probably a traumatic experience for your pup.
Now, they may avoid the kitchen because they’re scared that the sound will happen again.
Other examples of this include noise from a washing machine, the roaring of a vacuum cleaner, and the whirring of a blender.
#2. Unpleasant Smells
Just like loud noises, awful smells can create some bad memories for your pup. I know what you’re thinking. Dogs love to smell things that humans can’t stand!
They love to dig in the trash, smell feces outside, and roll around in the muck.
While they have a pretty high tolerance to bad smells, some odors are just too overbearing for a dog’s liking .
Let’s go back to the example of the kitchen. When you burn toast, the smoke produces a strong smell that dogs hate.
They may also dislike strong spicy smells. Now, every time they go near the kitchen, those smells will be the only thing they can think about.
Another common issue for dogs is the smell of bathrooms. The cleaners we use to sanitize bathrooms are far too strong for your dog.
Bleach, ammonia, and even alcohol can cause their noises to feel uncomfortable.
It’s best to keep your pup away from the bathroom during cleaning time. Not only is it unpleasant, but the fumes can be toxic.
#3. Bad Experiences
Most owners aren’t around all day to keep an eye on their dogs.
When you’re away, your pup is left to their own devices and might explore your home. As they explored, they could have experienced something negative.
They could have bumped into a piece of furniture, which resulted in an object falling off and hitting them.
Obviously, the pain from that object falling is more than enough to cause some negative emotions.
If you live in a two-story home, your dog could have also taken a tumble while trying to navigate the stairs.
Whatever the case may be, that negative experience is going to have an effect on your pup.
The problem is that you’re not around to see the start of this fear. This makes it nearly impossible to diagnose the problem and find a solution.
We recommend investing in some security cameras or pet cameras. You’ll be able to go back and see what exactly happened to your dog. Then, it’s all about addressing the issue.
Take a look through your home and secure any wobbling furniture. You can also invest in a pet gate to keep your dog off the stairs while you’re away.
#4. Uncomfortable Situations
No dog likes to feel uncomfortable. However, sometimes those situations are unavoidable.
One of the most common uncomfortable situations that your dog has to muster the courage for is bath time.
Bathing your dog in your bathroom has its perks. You can easily contain your pup and control the situation. Plus, you can adjust the temperature to keep your dog as comfortable as possible.
However, there’s no amount of preparation you can do to get your dog to like bath time. Unless you have desensitized your pup at an early age, they’ll always dislike it.
That disdain for baths often causes dogs to get nervous around the bathroom. Most won’t even go in there at all unless forced to.
There are some things you can do to ease their fears . Like we said earlier, early training with positive reinforcements is the best method. Professional trainers can assist you as well if you’re trying to help an adult dog.
#5. Unfamiliar Pests
Have you ever seen any bugs or rodents in your home? If so, your dog has likely seen them too. Usually, pests will only excite dogs.
Canines have a strong prey drive and will often chase any unwanted visitors out of their territory.
With that said, things can go south if your pup had an unpleasant interaction with one of those pests.
For example, if they were bitten by a bug, they could be scared of the issue happening again.
The issue with pests is that they often pop up at inopportune moments. If your dog has seen the pests at various locations throughout your home, they could develop some anxiety. Think of it this way:
If you were trapped in a locked room with a bug you can’t see, you’d probably be a bit scared, too. Essentially, that’s what your dog is feeling.
To resolve this problem, you’ll need to get rid of the pest and show your dog that there’s nothing to be scared of. Positive reinforcement and comfort go a long way.
When dogs are young, many owners isolate them in a kennel or separate room before they get free reign of the house. This is meant to prevent separation anxiety and avoid accidents.
Once you let your dog start exploring the house on their own, you might find that they avoid the room you kept them in. This is perfectly normal. It’s a natural response.
They’re enjoying the freedom they have and don’t want to be left isolated again.
You can ease your dog into this freedom by creating a sense of open space . Leave doors open so that your dog never feels like they’re alone even if they’re locked up in a crate.
#7. Illness or Physical Pain
Sometimes, fear is simply a byproduct of health issues your dog is experiencing. Physical pain and illness can cause dogs to get very anxious at home.
A dog’s natural response is to hide health problems. So, they’ll go to great lengths to avoid you. This includes hiding out and exhibiting some grouchy behavior.
Give your dog a good examination .
Check their nails, teeth, and belly. If the problem persists, visit a vet. An internal problem may be causing stomach pain or sensitivity.
* Usually, once the health issue is taken care of, your dog will start feeling confident again.
As dogs get older, their responses to certain stimuli changes.
Beyond all of the obvious signs, dogs often exhibit brief moments of fear throughout the day. This is very common after a nap.
Your dog might take a second to come out of their slumber. During those first few seconds of awakeness, they could be confused or disoriented.
This leads to instant fear. It’s pretty common for older dogs to bark or hide after waking because they’re confused about their surroundings.
Luckily, those moments of fear and anxiety are usually quite short. Once they get their bearings, they should be good to go.
#9. Sudden Fear of You
While it can be alarming to hear, sometimes dogs become fearful of their owner. Despite all of the love they have for you, it’s possible for them to be scared of you.
The good news is that these types of issues are relatively easy to fix.
Dogs are very forgiving . As long as you make the necessary changes, you can get your pup’s fear to subside with adoration and training.
#10. Accidental Injuries
Have you ever accidentally stepped on your dog? You’re not alone. Dogs have a knack of getting in the way and sleeping in potentially hazardous spots.
That accidental injury could be making your dog scared of you. The best way to overcome this problem is to simply apologize.
You don’t have to coddle them. In fact, it’s best to remain calm and not talk to them in a panicked voice.
Simply show them that the accident was not on purpose. Provide some positive reinforcement to let them know that they did nothing wrong.
#11. Bad Training Methods
Training is not always easy. While many owners try their best to stick to positive reinforcement, some will lose their cool every once in a while and use punishment for training.
Hitting and yelling at your dog is not doing them any favors .
All it’s doing is showing your dog that they should be scared of you. Anytime you lift your hand or get frustrated, they’ll brace for whatever is about to come.
You can rebuild that trust by switching over to positive techniques. Remain calm and work with a professional trainer to learn how to work with your dog’s unique behavioral challenges.
#12. Traumatic History
Finally, dogs could be scared of you and other humans because of a traumatic past.
Rescue dogs and those raised in puppy mills are known to exhibit fearful behavior. It takes time, but it’s possible to reprogram your dog.
You need to be gentle and provide as much positivity into their lives as humanly possible. The goal is to show them that you are not bad.
Over time, the fearfulness will subside and your bond with your dog will strengthen.
This is just a small collection of reasons why dogs can suddenly get scared of things in your home. Dogs aren’t as different from humans as people think.
They experience many of the same emotions and can be affected by everything in their environment.
The best thing you can do is identify the problem and rectify the situation. Be patient and gentle with your dog to help them overcome their fears. Before you know it, your pup will go back to their confident self in no time.
Also Read: Why do Dogs Hate Vacuums?
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How to Stop Your Dog from Waking You Up at Night
Last Updated: April 12, 2023 References
This article was co-authored by Beverly Ulbrich . Beverly Ulbrich is a Dog Behaviorist and Trainer and the Founder of The Pooch Coach, a private dog training business based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a Certified CGC (Canine Good Citizen) Evaluator by the American Kennel Club and has served on the Board of Directors for the American Humane Association and Rocket Dog Rescue. She has been voted the best private dog trainer in the San Francisco Bay Area 4 times by SF Chronicle and by Bay Woof, and she has won 4 "Top Dog Blog" awards. She has also been featured on TV as a dog behavior expert. Beverly has over 18 years of dog behavior training experience and specializes in dog aggression and anxiety training. She has a Master of Business Administration from Santa Clara University and a BS from Rutgers University. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 277,464 times.
Having a dog is one of the joys of many people’s lives. However, one of the downsides of dog ownership is getting awoken by a pawing, barking, or licking dog. A new pet may need some time and training to adapt to your sleep schedule. If a familiar dog has recently started to disturb your sleep, it's a good idea to have a vet rule out medical triggers.
Addressing the Root Cause
- Any significant change in behavior or sleep schedule could be a sign of a medical problem. Difficulty eating or eliminating could point to gastric distress that keeps your dog awake.  X Research source If the dog wakes you up to beg for food in the night, it may be experiencing increased hunger due to diabetes or another metabolic disorder.
- While doggy sleep patterns are different than that of humans – they sleep up to twenty hours a day and sleep for shorter amounts of time – your dog will get used to your sleep schedule over time.  X Research source
- A dog door is another solution if you have an enclosed yard and are not concerned about dangerous wildlife.
- If you think your dog is waking you because they're hungry, push back dinner time an hour or two. This way, your pup's belly will be fuller for a longer time.
- If you think your dog is waking you because they're hyper from the last meal, move dinner up a little bit. Feeding your dog at 6PM might work more than feeding them at 8PM.  X Trustworthy Source American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Leading organization dedicated to the prevention of animal cruelty Go to source
- Don't play with your dog for a couple of hours before bed.
- Don't leave toys around your dog's sleeping area.
- Turn off your TV or any music before bedtime.  X Trustworthy Source The Humane Society of the United States National organization devoted to the promotion of animal welfare Go to source
Training Your Dog
- Use a command like “lay down.” This should get your dog to stop pawing you and licking your face.
- Say your chosen command in a stern voice.
- Use the command only once.
- You may want to point to the ground as you say the command.
- Training your dog by commands might take several weeks. Don’t lose patience – your dog will eventually learn.  X Research source
- Remember, though, your dog might genuinely have to go to the bathroom. Don’t make them suffer because you want another twenty minutes of sleep.  X Research source
Changing Your Dog's Sleep Environment
- Make sure to provide your dog with a comfortable bed if you put them in another room.
- Be aware, keeping your dog in another room, especially if they’re already used to sleeping with you, might result in crying, barking, or a dog with hurt feelings.  X Research source
- Housing your dog in a crate at night will prevent them from jumping on you and licking you awake in the morning.
- Make sure that the crate is big enough for your dog. Dogs 0-15 pounds should have small crates, dogs 16 to 35 pounds should have medium rates, dogs 36 to 65 pounds should have large crates, and dogs over 65 pounds should have extra-large crates.  X Research source
- Provide your dog with a crate, bed, or somewhere to sleep in your room.
- Make sure to set boundaries from the very beginning. This means creating a space and then training your dog to sleep in until you are awake.
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://www.petcarerx.com/article/common-dog-sleep-disorders/896
- ↑ http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/13_5/features/Dog-Wakes-Up-Early_16220-1.html
- ↑ Beverly Ulbrich. Dog Behaviorist & Trainer. Expert Interview. 30 January 2020.
- ↑ http://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-long-dogs-sleep-average/
- ↑ http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/how_to_stop_barking.html
- ↑ http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/common-dog-behavior-issues/barking
- ↑ http://www.dogtrainingguide.com/commands.htm
- ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/19/dog-sleeping-in-daylight-saving_n_1987636.html
- ↑ http://pets.thenest.com/can-puppy-sleep-another-room-his-crate-night-12159.html
- ↑ http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/trainers-truth-about-crates/174
About This Article
To stop your dog waking you up at night, let it go to the toilet shortly before going to sleep so it won't wake you. If your dog has a weak bladder, consider using a pee pad or installing a dog door so it can get into the yard. Alternatively, exercise your dog more during the day so it will be tired in the evening and be more likely to sleep. If you think your dog is waking you up because it's hungry, feed it an hour later than usual. Over the longer term, train your dog to respond to your command to lay down or sleep. For tips on when to consult a vet about your dog's sleeping problems, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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Heavy Breathing in Dogs
Heavy breathing in dogs is often a medical emergency. If your dog is breathing heavily for no apparent reason—they haven’t been exercising or experienced stress or excitement—consult a vet immediately. This is especially true if the heavy breathing is accompanied by lethargy, coughing, eye or nose discharge, a change in the color of the gums, collapsing, weakness, an elevated sleeping respiratory rate, bleeding, bruising, or a known trauma.
Panting can be normal for dogs, especially after being active, in warm weather, under stress, or excited.
However, if this panting becomes persistent or turns into heavy breathing, it may be an underlying sign of illness or injury. Some conditions related to abnormally heavy breathing can be life-threatening if not appropriately diagnosed and treated.
10 Types of Heavy Breathing in Dogs
Heavy breathing is a general term that can include many types of abnormal breathing in dogs, such as:
- Labored Breathing —Labored breathing is a medical emergency. Dogs that are having trouble breathing often stand with their front legs wider apart to allow their chest to fully expand. They may also stretch their necks. Labored breathing can be accompanied by coughing ; pale , gray, or blue/purple gums; or fluid from the mouth or nose. If you see these signs, take your dog to an emergency veterinarian as soon as possible. There can be many causes for labored breathing, including congestive heart failure , pulmonary hypertension, pneumonia, pulmonary contusions, pneumothorax (air around the lungs limiting their ability to expand), fluid around the lungs (blood or infection), cancers, or bronchitis.
- Rapid Breathing —Rapid breathing is normal if your dog is exercising, excited, or stressed, but it should not continue when they are resting or sleeping. If your dog has an increased respiratory rate (usually greater than 30 breaths per 60 seconds) when sleeping or resting, this is a medical emergency; there may be an underlying issue with your dog’s lungs, heart, or airways.
- Breathing Heavily Through the Nose —Flaring of the nostrils can be connected to heavy play or exercise, stress , aggression, or excitement. However, if your dog is nose-breathing heavily while at rest or is experiencing labored breathing, it is a medical emergency.
- Breathing From the Stomach —Healthy dogs should have normal rhythmic breathing, and their chest and abdomen should move in and out together. If the abdomen is pushing as your dog breathes out, it could mean they are having trouble removing air from their lungs. This is considered a medical emergency that’s often seen in dogs with congestive heart failure, fluid or air around the lungs, or bronchitis.
- Shallow Breathing/Shortness of Breath —If your dog is taking short, quick breaths when they don’t have hiccups , have not been exercising, and are not under stress, it may indicate a deeper issue that should be evaluated by your vet.
- Breathing Heavily While Resting —Heavy breathing at rest or during sleep can be the first sign of a problem with the lungs or airways. The sleeping respiratory rate (or SRR) is monitored in dogs with heart disease or congestive heart failure because it can be an early sign that their lungs are filling with fluid.
- Breathing Heavily at Night —Breathing heavily at night or when sleeping may be a sign of underlying lung or airway conditions. If your dog is also pacing or coughing, has an outstretched neck, has changes in the color of their gums , or is having difficulty getting comfortable, these can be signs of congestive heart failure, and your dog should be evaluated as soon as possible.
- Older Dog Breathing Heavily —With older dogs, underlying conditions such as heart failure, lung cancers, and bronchitis may cause heavy breathing, so these dogs should be watched more closely.
- Puppy Breathing Heavily —Heavy breathing in puppies may mean there’s an underlying medical issue, or it might just be that your puppy is excited. If your puppy is bright, alert, playful, and eating well, heavy breathing may be nothing to worry about. Puppies are also prone to heavy breathing during sleep due to dreaming. However, if your puppy is lethargic , has nasal or eye discharge , is vomiting , has diarrhea , is coughing, stops eating , or gets tired quickly during their usual exercise or activities, have them evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Puppies can be prone to pneumonia, heartworm disease, lungworm, and even congenital heart issues.
- Stuffy Nose and Breathing Heavily —Your dog may breathe more through their mouth if they have nasal congestion. If the heavy breathing is paired with lethargy, nasal/eye discharge, changes in facial symmetry (bulging eyes or sinuses), chronic sneezing , or changes in appetite, call your veterinarian for guidance. Causes for a stuffy nose include allergies , viruses, infections, pneumonia , cancers, or foreign objects in the nasal cavities.
How to Help a Dog That’s Breathing Heavily
Heavy breathing should not be ignored and can be fatal if left untreated.
Your dog should be seen by a veterinarian immediately if they:
- Can’t get comfortable or lie down
- Pace constantly
- Are severely lethargic
- Are weak or collapsing
- Are standing with an outstretched neck
- Have a change in the color of their gums from pink to blue, purple, gray, or white
- Have a swollen belly
- Have fluid coming from their mouth or nose
- Have yellow or green eye or nasal discharge
- Stop eating
- Are vomiting or have diarrhea
Less concerning signs include:
- Chronic coughing
- Increased sleeping respiratory rate (greater than 30 breaths per minute)
- Slightly decreased appetite
- Intermittent vomiting/soft stool
- Exercise intolerance (for example: Your dog used to walk 1 mile with no problem, but now your dog lies down after a few minutes of walking or excitement.)
Unfortunately, there are no home remedies for heavy breathing in dogs, especially in severe situations. Getting them to a veterinarian as soon as possible for examination, diagnostic testing, and possible therapy is crucial.
Why Is My Dog Breathing Heavily?
Heavy breathing is a clinical sign of many medical conditions in dogs. These include:
- Left-sided congestive heart failure —When this happens, the main pumping chamber of the heart (left ventricle) has to work harder to push blood out to the body, usually because of a narrowed heart valve. Some blood might even leak backward into the left atrium. This raises the blood pressure in a dog’s heart and the lungs, which causes fluid to accumulate in their lungs.
- Pain — Dogs in pain may pant or breathe heavily. For example, a dog with pancreatitis may have significant abdominal pain, which can cause heavier breathing.
- Pneumonia —Viruses, bacteria, and fungus can all cause inflammation or infection in the lungs. This leads to heavy breathing with coughing, nasal and eye discharge, lethargy, fever , and decreased appetite.
- Bronchitis —Chronic inflammation or decreased elasticity (flexibility) in the airways and lungs can lead to heavy breathing and coughing.
- Heartworm disease —Heartworms can infest the heart and block the blood vessels between the heart and lungs. This can cause scarring of the lungs and congestive heart failure. Even after treatment, the lungs may have permanent scarring, which decreases the elasticity of the airways.
- Cancers —Certain types of cancers can affect the larynx (the beginning of the airway), trachea (the tube-like airway structure going from the mouth to lungs), or the lungs. Primary lung cancer is rare in dogs, but metastatic lung cancer (meaning it has spread from other areas to the lungs) is quite common.
- Lung Bulla —Bulla are walled-off air pockets within the lungs. Small bulla may burst and be of no consequence, but larger bulla may cause major breathing issues when they rupture. This condition can cause air to build up around the lungs, making it difficult for the lungs to expand. This can be fatal if left untreated. Veterinarians are unsure to the cause of bulla in the lungs, but it is thought these are congenital or caused by trauma to the chest cavity.
- Lungworm —Dogs can get parasites that infest their lungs, causing inflammation and infection.
- Pulmonary hypertension —This is a medical condition caused by high blood pressure (hypertension) in the arteries of the lungs. It can lead to coughing, trouble breathing, fainting, heavy breathing, congestive heart failure, collapse, or sudden death.
- Pulmonary contusions —Contusions, or bruising of the lungs, are usually caused by trauma to the chest cavity from penetrating wounds or blunt force trauma. It can take up to 3-5 days for the bruises to fully form, so it’s extremely important to monitor a dog’s breathing up to a week after a trauma.
- Noncardiogenic pulmonary edema —Pulmonary edema refers to abnormal fluid within the lungs that may reduce the amount of air your dog gets with every breath. Noncardiogenic means the edema isn’t caused by underlying heart disease, but instead could be caused by things like drowning, choking, or electrocution.
- Acute, severe bleeding —Blood loss from ruptured tumors, rat poison , clotting issues, or trauma can lead to anemia or low red blood cells. Red blood cells are carriers of oxygen to our body’s cells, so having less of them means there is less oxygen in the body, which can lead to heavy breathing.
- Cushing’s disease —This is a condition where the adrenal glands produce too much stress hormone and cortisol. The body responds with increased thirst, urination, and panting. You may also notice a bloated abdomen due to abdominal muscle weakness. This condition can also cause chronic skin and urinary tract issues.
How Vets Diagnose Heavy Breathing in Dogs
The first step is to identify any underlying conditions that might be causing the heavy breathing. Your vet will likely rely on a number of tests and procedures, including:
- Thorough physical examination and listening to the lungs and heart
- Chest x-rays
- Blood tests, including a complete blood count, chemistry, and acid/base status
- Heartworm testing
- Pulse oximetry to measure oxygen levels in the bloodstream
More specific testing may also be recommended, including:
- Echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart) to rule out heart disease, pulmonary hypertension, fluid in or around the lungs, tumors of the heart, and heartworm disease
- Bronchoscopy (endoscopy of the airways) to help look for inflammation, growths, or foreign objects, or to sample tissues
- CT scan to detail abnormalities in the airways and lung tissue
- Baermann fecal testing to rule out lung worms
Treatments for Heavy Breathing in Dogs
Treatment is based on the underlying cause of the heavy breathing:
- Left-sided congestive heart failure is often treated with oxygen therapy, hospitalization, and diuretics to remove fluid from the lungs to stabilize the pet. Once your pet is stable, oral medications are sent home to help support heart function. In milder cases, oral medications may be started without hospitalization. If your dog is coughing persistently, has an elevated sleeping respiratory rate, collapses or faints, has exercise intolerance, or seems lethargic, get them evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible, as this can be fatal is left untreated.
- Pain is treated with analgesic (pain-relieving) medications, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs, such as carprofen or Galliprant), steroids (such as prednisone), and/or anticonvulsants (such as gabapentin) or opioids in a hospital setting (such as fentanyl, hydromorphone, or morphine).
- Pneumonia treatment depends on the underlying cause. Bacterial pneumonia is treated with antibiotics, while anti-fungals, or anti-virals are used to treat pneumonia caused by fungal or viral infections. Treatment may also include oxygen therapy and intravenous fluid therapy. Severe cases of pneumonia can be fatal if left untreated. Bring your pet to a veterinarian if you notice heavy breathing with any of the following: persistent coughing, vomiting/diarrhea, decreased appetite, nasal/eye discharge, or lethargy.
- Bronchitis is treated by trying to decrease allergens in the home, as well as giving anti-inflammatories (often prednisone or Temaril-P) and bronchodilators (such as albuterol or terbutaline). Short courses of antibiotics may be necessary to prevent infection. Bronchitis can range from mild to severe, so monitor your dog closely for persistent or worsening issues and report these to your veterinarian.
- Heartworm disease requires a standardized protocol of injections to kill the worms. Treatment is typically administered in a hospital, since these injections can be fatal. Heartworm disease may also be treated with steroids, antibiotics, and sometimes sedatives to keep your dog calm over the 6-8 month period of strict rest. Left untreated, this disease is always fatal. If your dog is coughing, can’t exercise, and/or is lethargic, take them to a vet as soon as possible, especially if your dog has not been administered heartworm prevention or if you have lapsed in dosing intervals.
- Cancer treatment is dependent on the type and location of cancer. Most cases are treated through surgery and chemotherapy, with or without radiation. Sometimes steroid therapy is used for certain types of cancer therapy. Unfortunately, most cancers are fatal if left untreated.
- Ruptured lung bulla that cause symptoms such as air filling the chest and lung compression are treated with a chest tap (thoracentesis) to remove the air. If no air refills, then no further treatment is needed. If air continues to fill up the chest, the vet may place a surgical chest tube, order a CT scan to investigate the location of the bulla, and recommend surgery.
- Lung worm is treated with anti-parasitic medication or dewormers such as fenbendazole. These are usually easy to treat and are not often fatal.
- Pulmonary hypertension may require treatment from a medication called sildenafil (sold under the trade name Viagra) to decrease blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. Severe pulmonary hypertension can lead to fainting, collapse, congestive heart failure, or sudden death, so speedy diagnosis and therapy is necessary. Mild pulmonary hypertension usually shows no clinical signs, except perhaps coughing, and may or may not require therapy.
- Pulmonary contusions are treated with time and sometimes oxygen therapy. Usually, these contusions go away in 7-10 days, but in severe cases where they cause decreased oxygenation and heavy breathing, the vet may need to induce a coma and place your dog on mechanical ventilation.
- Noncardiogenic pulmonary edema is also treated with time and oxygen therapy. Again, in severe cases where the edema causes decreased oxygenation and heavy breathing, inducing a coma and placing a dog on mechanical ventilation is necessary until the edema resolves.
- Acute, severe bleeding is treated based on where it is. The veterinarian may recommend surgery to stop the bleeding and remove the source of the hemorrhage. Rat poison toxicity is treated by removing any blood buildup from around the lungs, often with chest tap and starting vitamin K therapy, which helps the blood clot. Unfortunately, this condition is fatal if left untreated.
- Cushing’s disease is sometimes treated and sometimes not. If your dog is frequently panting, drinking, and urinating a large amount, or develops chronic skin changes or frequent bladder stones, consider Cushing’s disease testing and therapy. Cushing’s disease is usually not fatal and often left untreated due to possible side effects from the medication used to treat it (trilostane).
Featured Image: iStockphoto.com/simonkr
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Why Your Dog Won’t Sleep at Night: Failure to Snooze
Dog Health By Kelsey Leicht 7 min read July 24, 2023 2 Comments
For most doggos, sleeping is an art form. Your pup may be an expert at the sploot , or he may perfect his cinnamon roll impression as he catches zzzs.
But not every dog sleeps with such ease, and a lack of sleep is never fun (or healthy) for our fur friends. Sleeplessness can occur at any time in a pooch’s life and may be caused by a number of factors, including environmental conditions, health issues, or age.
Luckily, figuring out what’s keeping your dog awake isn’t usually difficult, and there are plenty of ways to get him back to dreaming about bones again in no time. Explore them with us below!
Why Won’t My Dog Sleep at Night: Key Takeaways
- Dogs may struggle to get a good night’s sleep due to health problems, anxiety, or changes in their living arrangements . Just like when we don’t get enough rest, sleep disturbances can leave dogs feeling tired, groggy, and irritable.
- There are a few different ways you can try to help your dog get better rest each night . Calming supplements , increased exercise, and making simple changes to your dog’s sleeping station can help alleviate canine insomnia .
- You can also try letting your dog sleep in your bed, but there are pros and cons to this approach . And these pros and cons may affect you and your dog, so it’s important to consider the issue carefully.
Reasons Your Dog Won’t Sleep at Night
If your dog is restless or unable to settle in for bed at the end of a long day, it’s definitely something to pay attention to . Most puppers are happy to snooze and an unwillingness to do so is a clear sign of a problem.
The most common causes of sleep issues in dogs are :
- A new environment: Moving isn’t just stressful for humans. Adjusting to a new home is difficult for a dog who’s suddenly overwhelmed with new sights, sounds, and smells. If you’ve recently adopted your doggo, this amplifies his stress since he doesn’t know you yet either.
- Change in routine : Dogs get used to a schedule like humans. If you’ve recently started working a different shift or he’s getting less attention, your pupper may feel out of sorts and have difficulty settling.
- Change in household : The addition (or loss) of a household member or fur friend is hard on your dog. Your pup may feel uncertain about his place in the pack or anxious about the change. Consider consulting a trainer to help your dog adjust to a new puppy sibling .
- Skin problems or allergies: Skin issues or allergies are incredibly uncomfortable. Problems like food allergies , hot spots , or flea infestations can make settling impossible due to excessive itching and should be treated as soon as possible.
- Illness : Your dog can’t voice if he’s feeling off, but his actions can. Restlessness is often a precursor of things like tummy trouble or kidney issues, which require more frequent potty breaks. Always check with your vet if you think that something is wrong with your dog.
- Pain: Discomfort caused by arthritis or other ailments can make laying down uncomfortable, especially if your dog’s bed isn’t well-padded. A restless dog paired with drooling , pacing, or gagging with no vomit can mean bloat — an emergency condition requiring immediate veterinary care. Signs of pain include a stiff gait, whining , a change in breathing, panting, the repeated licking of a specific location, or an awkward posture. Any sign of pain is cause for a vet visit.
- Anxiety: Whether it’s ongoing general anxiety or a sudden spike in anxiousness caused by storms or fireworks, a stressed dog will refuse to settle. He may pace, hide, or vocalize excessively. Anxiety can cause physical side effects too, so it’s important to take it seriously and treat the underlying cause for a happier, healthier fur friend.
- Youth: Puppies are prone to sleeping problems thanks to seemingly unlimited energy. Your puppy may struggle to adjust to your sleeping schedule, which makes establishing a routine a must.
- Age-related illness: As your dog ages, he may develop dementia, which can cause sundowners syndrome , a condition that leads to restlessness in the afternoon and evening. Canine cognitive dysfunction is another sleep-stealer, rousing dogs from sleep at random and causing disorientation.
- Nightmares : Doggos can have nightmares just like us — some even appear to sleep walk! Your pup may snarl, cry, or yelp in his sleep, signaling that his dream isn’t so pleasant. Nightmares can be triggered by a trauma or linked to an overall anxiety disorder.
- Sleep apnea: Usually seen in short-snouted (bulldogs, mastiffs, and pugs) or obese dogs, dog sleep apnea restricts airflow while your pooch is sleeping and actually causes him to stop breathing, which jolts him awake.
- Lack of exercise: An under-exercised dog is not a happy dog. He’s also unlikely to be a good sleeper. If your pup refuses to settle at night and still wants to play, chances are, he needs more walks or playtime in his routine.
- Temperature issues : One of the simplest reasons Rover may not be sleeping through the night is that he’s hot or cold. So, you may want to experiment with a dog bed designed for the summer or a bed made for the winter .
Getting Your Dog to Sleep at Night: Strategies and Solutions
The good news is, you can usually help your dog start snoozing again in no time with a few changes . Conquer bedtime again by:
- Increasing exercise: Burning off excess energy is a surefire way to help tire your dog out if he’s struggling with a change in routine or an overall lack of exercise. High-energy breeds need an outlet and incorporating a new sport, an extra walk a day, or incorporating fun dog walking games can help. Don’t forget about seniors or mobility-challenged doggos either! You can still work out pupper minds with interactive toys that don’t require a lot of movement.
- Setting up a consistent bathroom schedule: Dogs, like babies, thrive with a routine. Maintaining a regular feeding and bathroom schedule can tweak his inner clock to sync up with yours, leading to a more restful night’s sleep.
- Providing security : A stressed out pooch may need extra care to feel more comfortable at night. Giving him a tight-fitting garment like a Thundershirt or a dark crate to hide away in with a comfy bed can help. This is especially true during storms or fireworks, when some dogs reach peak anxiety. Providing more belly rubs and other attention never hurts, either.
- Moving your dog’s sleeping quarters: Sometimes your pup may want to sleep closer to you. This doesn’t necessarily mean with you, but if your puppy is crying in the crate , moving his bed or crate closer to your bed or bedroom can help him feel more secure (and less forgotten.)
- Upgrading his bed : Not every bed will work for every dog. Arthritic dogs, for instance, benefit from memory-foam or other joint-supporting beds. Helping your dog sleep may be as simple as replacing his bed with something better.
- Calming supplements : A dog with general anxiety or occasional restlessness may sleep better after taking a calming supplement 30 minutes or more before bed. Typically offered in a soft chew, calming supplements can double as a nighttime snack and use active ingredients like melatonin and L-tryptophan that may help soothe an anxious doggo.
- Darkening the environment : If there are lights on in the house, your dog may still feel the need to be up and moving. Make sure his sleeping area is dark. If needed, try a crate cover . These are particularly helpful during storms or fireworks, when flashes outside may trigger anxiety.
- Introducing background noise: Playing classical or some other type of chill music on low can help lull your pooch off to sleep by blocking out strange noises. This is especially helpful in new environments, where simple things like a refrigerator or furnace may send your doggo into a fit of anxiousness.
- Trying CBD : Some owners have found that CBD supplements have helped their anxious dog relax, aiding in sleep. Offered in both oil and treat form, CBD can be implemented as an ongoing treatment or occasional helping hand during bouts of sleeplessness.
- Brushing before bed : Not only will a nighttime grooming session keep your pooch looking his best, but it can also be soothing. Grooming is a bonding experience and can help your pupper relax.
- Visiting the vet : If sleeplessness is prolonged, taking a trip to the vet for a thorough examination is a must. There are some medications available that can help with ongoing issues like sundowners and canine cognitive dysfunction.
If you’re dog’s insomnia occurs over a period of time, and you’re unable to help him settle with any of the other tips provided above, be sure to consult with your vet.
Your vet may identify a health problem afflicting your pet, and there are medications for many ailments that may help him sleep more readily and comfortably.
Should You Let Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed?
The age-old debate of sharing your snooze space with your doggo is a spicy one.
Advocates love a late night cuddle buddy, while opponents worry about health-related risks. There are two sides of this coin worth noting:
- Eases anxiety: Dogs plagued with separation anxiety tend to sleep better next to their owners. On the flip side, dogs can calm anxious humans, too.
- Enhance bonding: Life can keep us away from our puppers more than we like and cuddling all night is a great way to make up for lost time.
- Establishes routine: With your doggo in bed with you, he’s forced to adjust to your sleep schedule, which means saying goodbye to nighttime whining or early morning mischief.
- Parasite risk: Doggos (while cute) can carry all sorts of hitchhikers, like fleas, ticks , or ringworm.
- Allergies: Not only can your dog bring allergy-causing mites, dust, and dander into your bed to aggravate your allergies, but the detergents you use for washing your sheets can irritate him, too.
- Sleep disturbance: Sleeping with a fur friend can mess with your sleep schedule. Not only can your pooch wake you with barking, rolling, or adjusting, but you may find yourself waking up just to check on your fur friend.
- Comfort: Sharing a bed can force you into some interesting positions. It can also be hard on an aging dog, who may struggle with getting on and off of the bed.
At the end of the day, do what works best for you and your pupper.
Has your doggo ever gone through a bout of sleeplessness? What did you do to help him catch up on his beauty sleep? Let us know in the comments.
Like it? Share it!
19 Best Dog Beds for Your Pooch
Kelsey is a lover of words and woofs. She worked hands-on with dogs for several years at a boarding kennel as a shift runner and office manager before venturing into the world of writing. She lives in New Jersey with her crew of crazy canines.
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January 17, 2023
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Why Is My Dog Shaking? 6 Common Causes for the Shivers
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- Some of the most common reasons for your dog’s shaking & shivering are cold, excitement, stress & anxiety, seeking attention, pain or illness, and old age.
- It’s important to recognize the difference between normal shaking vs. signs of a seizure.
- A proper diagnosis is essential for treating a dog’s excessive shaking or shivering, so contact your veterinarian if you have concerns.
Even dogs bundled up in adorable sweaters and hats can experience shakes and shivers. That's because chilly temperatures aren't the only thing that causes our furry friends — and us! — to tremble.
Dogs often shake for harmless reasons, but sometimes their shivering can be a cry for help. But what causes a dog to shiver? And when should you take action? Here are six common reasons why dogs get shaky and what you can do to help.
What you should do: If your dog doesn't fare well in the cold, consider limiting their exposure. A dog sweater or coat can also help them stay warm and ease shivers. Also, give them a warm place to curl up; a dog bed near a heating vent with a warm blanket can do just the trick on a cold night.
Some dogs shiver when they're happy or excited. No one is sure why, but one theory is that it's an outward manifestation of intense emotion. There's no danger in this type of shivering; it will most likely stop once they calm down.
3. Stress, Anxiety and Fear
Other intense emotions that can cause shivers are fear and anxiety. While shivering, in this case, isn't harmful in and of itself, stress isn't any better for your dog than it is for you.
What you should do: Do your best to reassure your dog and, if possible, remove the source of the stress. If your dog is prone to shaking during thunderstorms, for example, try to help them stay calm by introducing therapeutic toys or masking the sounds of thunder. In general, if you notice something consistently turns your pup into a shaking state, try to redirect their attention. Dogs are also very perceptive and if you are stressed, anxious or afraid, they are very good at mimicking your emotions. In certain situations, when you remain calm and ignore a stressor in your house, your dog can pick up on it and learn that it's nothing to be anxious about.
4. Seeking Attention
However, if you rush to comfort your dog every time they're shaking, they may learn that shivering is a good way to get your attention. Some dogs even turn on the shakes while begging for food to earn sympathy.
What you should do: Millan points out that while this behavior isn't exactly harmful, reinforcing it isn't a good idea. If there's no other reason why your dog might be shivering, it's generally best to ignore this blatant tug on your heartstrings.
5. Pain or Illness
Shivering could be a sign that your dog is in pain or suffering from an illness. Shivering and muscle tremors can be symptoms of serious conditions such as distemper, hypoglycemia, Addison's disease and inflammatory brain disease, as well as more common ailments like an upset stomach.
Constant shivering could be a sign of generalized tremor syndrome, also referred to as shaker syndrome, a chronic condition that can be helped with medication, according to Wag! .
What you should do: Look for other signs of sickness or injury. If the shivering is accompanied by abnormal behavior or seems out of character for your dog, contact your veterinarian immediately.
What you should do: If you notice your aging doggy starting to shake, it's best to get them checked out by the vet.
Shaking vs. Seizures
Normal shivering and shaking are much different than a seizure, during which the muscles seize up and a dog loses both mobility and awareness of their surroundings. If you suspect your pup is having a seizure, and they're not already being treated for a seizure disorder, get them to the emergency vet ASAP.
While most causes of shivering in dogs are relatively harmless, it's best to reach out to your vet if you're wondering, "Why is my dog shaking?" They can explain what causes a dog to shiver as well as uncover if something serious may be going on. Even if there isn't cause for concern, you'll have peace of mind once you get a vet's assessment.
Jean Marie Bauhaus
Jean Marie Bauhaus is a pet parent, pet blogger and novelist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she usually writes under the supervision of a lapful of furbabies.
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Pet Got Skunked? Here’s a 9-Step Plan of Attack.
Getting sprayed by a skunk is no laughing matter.
I let my dog outside and heard quite the commotion coming from next door.
I walked over to my neighbor’s backyard and found her hosing down her Golden Retriever, Ansel, and spewing some choice words.
As I got closer, the reason was apparent: A strong skunk odor wafted toward me. “My dog got skunked!” the neighbor exclaimed. “What should I do?” I calmed her down and went to find supplies.
You’ll find commercial skunk odor removers, such as Doggiekleen and Skunk Off, in stores and online. But they have widely mixed reviews and are no help when stores are closed (skunks are nocturnal, so most sprays occur at night).
Tomato juice is an age-old remedy, but many studies advise against using it for reasons such as:
- It doesn’t actually remove the skunk smell.
- It leaves a tomato odor.
- It may attract insects and ants if not fully rinsed.
- If your pet shakes off mid- or post-application, your bathroom may look like something out of a horror film.
A Remedy That Works
Chemist Paul Krebaum created a simple solution to combat skunk odor on pets with these ingredients:
- 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide (new, unopened bottle)
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 1–2 teaspoons liquid soap (Dawn is recommended for its grease-cutting properties)
- Latex gloves
Prepare an open container for the mixture — never use a closed container or store the solution, as there is a strong possibility of explosion. Hold off on making it until you’re ready to apply it to the fur.
9 Steps to De-Skunk Your Pet
- Don’t wait. The longer the skunk spray stays on, the more time it has to dry and seep further in.
- Contain the stink. If your pet is outdoors, keep him there. If indoors, get him into a bathroom immediately, avoiding contact with any furnishings.
- Wear clothes you don’t mind ruining.
- Using paper towels, soak up as much of the spray as possible. Wipe only the affected area so the oil does not spread.
- Mix the solution in an open container. Again, never use a closed container.
- If your pet’s fabric collar was also sprayed, leave it on for the bath .
- Apply the mixture directly to the area most affected while avoiding your pet’s eyes, nose and mouth. Allow it to sit for at least 5 minutes. If your pet has long fur, trimming it to remove the smell is another option.
- Rinse off the solution thoroughly with warm water and wash the animal with regular pet shampoo. Rinse and dry.
- Pour any remaining solution down the drain. Do not store any leftover solution.
If your pet’s face was sprayed, flush the eyes with a saline solution. Apply mineral oil to the eyes to avoid stinging or redness from the bath. Flush the eyes again with saline to remove the mineral oil. Wipe the nostrils and mouth with a paper towel or cotton balls soaked in saline.
Milk may be another way to treat the eyes and face.
These alternative remedies can help temporarily reduce the odor if you can’t make the solution above:
- Apple cider vinegar (you can also substitute this for hydrogen peroxide in the solution)
- Peppermint mouthwash
- Quart of beer (the yeast cultures may help break down the oil)
Adding 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract can also leave a pleasant post-treatment scent.
Skunks can carry rabies . If your pet has a bite or scratch or is foaming/drooling at the mouth, get him to a veterinarian quickly. Always keep your vaccinations current and check your pets’ records for the date of their last rabies shot.
Small dogs may be at risk for additional medical trouble depending on how much spray enters their respiratory system. Use the recommended cleaning solution and visit the vet as soon as possible.
Check out this story of skunk spray removal:
Household and Clothing Issues
Wash affected clothes, towels or cotton items as soon as possible. Add vinegar and baking soda to double down on scent removal.
Boil vinegar and water or place vanilla extract-soaked cotton balls in bowls around the odor-affected rooms of your house. Bowls of bleach also work, but this method can be dangerous to kids and pets .
Look outside your home for evidence of burrowing/nesting areas of skunks or points of entry. If you find any, place mothballs in and around the area, making sure they stay put.
If your pet hasn’t been skunked but you live in an area where that’s a distinct possibility, please bookmark this page for future reference.
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Dog Panting at Night? Here’s What To Know
It’s easy to tell when your dog is panting from a place of happiness. They played, chased, and ran around, and needed a drink of water and a cool place to lay down. Problem solved. But what about when your dog seems to be panting for no reason, particularly after a calm night indoors?
Many dogs are content to sleep throughout most of the night. They acclimate to their environment and will naturally fall into a schedule that’s a bit closer to their human’s schedule.
Panting isn’t a behavior you can expect to see at bedtime. Most of the time, adjusting the environment will mitigate the problem. If it doesn’t, your dog may have an underlying health problem.
Here are the questions to consider and some guidance on next steps.
Is It Hot in The Room?
If your house gets warm at night, your dog could be panting due to the temperature. This might also happen if your dog lays too close to a heater or a fireplace in the winter.
Make sure the area where your dog is sleeping is a comfortable temperature. Placing a fan near your dog’s bed can help to keep the temperature down.
Does Your Dog Think Your House is Spooky?
Panting can sometimes be a fear response or a cry for help. If your dog doesn’t like the dark, strategically place a few nightlights in areas where your dog may need to walk around at night.
If your dog gets spooked when the house is quiet, playing music or keeping the television on at a low volume can cut through the silence.
Nighttime storms can also rattle dogs . Combining unpredictable thunder and lightning with darkness could be a recipe for environmental stress , along with other loud nighttime activities like neighborhood gatherings or fireworks over the holiday season. If your dog is experiencing environmentally-induced stress, a weight-appropriate dose of CBD may help to calm your dog down when things feel a little spooky.
Some dogs are afraid to be alone at night. If you close your dog out of your bedroom and your dog prefers to sleep near you, your dog may be experiencing some degree of separation anxiety. If it isn’t a bother to allow your dog to sleep on the floor in your room, it’s a solution worth considering. It may be a little more important to consider that solution if you haven’t gotten to spend much time with your dog lately. Your dog could be communicating that they miss you.
Is Your Dog Overweight?
Overweight dogs may pant constantly because they’re struggling to take a deep breath. This panting can happen at any time of day. Overweight dogs may be in pain. They may struggle to find a comfortable sleeping position.
If your dog is overweight, you can likely tell without taking your dog to the vet. It’s time to put your pet on a controlled diet (which you may want to go to the vet for guidance on). Make sure everyone in the house knows not to give the dog any people food. Only use treats infrequently and in small amounts, like when training your dog.
Switch to a high-quality, fresh dog food and adhere to the feeding instructions. The packaging will state how to measure food for a weight-appropriate serving. Do not give your dog less food than the packaging states. Your dog will gradually lose weight by switching to appropriate serving sizes, rather than by throttling normal portions.
If you have multiple dogs, feed them in separate areas. This will prevent your dog from eating your other pets’ food. Dogs that are accustomed to overeating will need to be fed separately until they develop better habits. These will come with time and training if you stay consistent.
You also need to encourage your dog to get more exercise. Dogs should enjoy a few hours of activity every day. Some of that time can be guided play sessions or walks with you. If your dog has access to a fenced-in yard, encourage them to play outside more.
If your dog seems to be experiencing severe health issues as a result of being overweight, it’s best to take your dog to the vet. Your dog could be dealing with diabetes, Cushing’s disease, joint pain, or cardiovascular stress. Your vet may recommend special food or exercise plans, including hydrotherapy, which is essentially water aerobics for your dog .
Your Dog May Be In Pain
Dogs do a remarkable job of hiding their pain . You may not suspect that your dog is in pain because things have been completely ordinary for the past several hours. Your dog could have gotten hurt playing earlier in the day, but you’re only seeing the signs of the pain when your dog is having difficulty attempting to find a comfortable position.
If your dog is in too much pain to sleep, this is a situation that requires an emergency vet visit.
Many dog owners are shocked to find their dog was successfully hiding or downplaying serious issues like broken bones or foreign objects in their digestive systems. Don’t wait until the morning to figure out what’s keeping your dog up. It’s better to overreact and discover that your dog is okay than it is to underreact and allow the situation to worsen.
Could Your Dog Have Heart Problems or Difficulty Breathing?
If your dog is panting and having trouble catching their breath, this is a situation that warrants immediate veterinary attention.
Do not wait until the morning. Take your dog to the nearest emergency animal hospital or after-hours vet.
This could be a sign of a serious heart ailment, an upper respiratory illness, or an allergic reaction.
If it’s possible that your dog is having an allergic reaction (or has been bitten or stung), you can give your dog Benadryl (diphenhydramine) as a first course of action . You still need to get your dog to the vet, but Benadryl will make your dog more comfortable in the meantime. Although Benadryl can reduce the severity of anaphylaxis, you should continue closely monitoring your dog to assure that the reaction doesn’t escalate.
You can call the hospital or vet to get guidance on an appropriate dosage for your dog, while also letting them know that you’re on the way.
Keeping Your Pet Happy, Healthy, and Safe
If you believe that your dog may be seriously ill or hurt, you should always schedule the soonest available vet appointment. Go to a walk-in emergency animal clinic for allergic reactions, potential heart issues, or difficulty breathing. These issues can’t wait until the morning.
If your dog is experiencing external stress by things that go bump in the night, VETCBD Hemp’s full spectrum CBD tincture for pets can be a useful tool for promoting calmness and emotional balance.
Use a nightlight, give your dog some ambient nose in a room that isn’t too warm or too cold, and give your dog 2 to 4 milligrams of CBD per ten pounds of body weight. Your dog will calm down and get some sleep, which means you will, too.
How Much Sleep do Dogs Need? | The Dog People by Rover.com
Should I Leave the TV on for My Dog? | Canine Country
Hydrotherapy for Dogs: A Growing Trend in Canine Physical Therapy | American Kennel Club
How to Tell if Your Dog is in Pain | American Animal Hospital Association
Benadryl for Dogs | American Kennel Club
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Sneaky Dog Pretends to Be Asleep in Adorable Video
A dog was caught pretending to be asleep in an adorable video that's gone viral on social media .
The video shows a black and tan Shiba Inu dog appear to be sleeping before quickly opening its eyes, spotting its owner filming him, and immediately closing its eyes again. After keeping its eyes closed for a few seconds, the dog takes another peek before suddenly acting again as though it's asleep.
Reddit user Complex_Difficulty shared the video on the r/AnimalsBeingDerps subreddit on Monday evening and it has since amassed more than 38,000 upvotes.
The post inspired Reddit users to share similar stories of how their dogs fake sleeping, with one saying: "Lol, reminds me of my boy successfully tricking the girl into thinking he's sleeping.
"Usually whenever she wants him to move out of a comfy spot or share a blanket he's hoarding, he'll fake this deep sleep breathing where every exhale causes his lips to billow out. He doesn't usually do it when he's actually sleeping, but it fools her every time."
Another user said: "Our [Shiba Inu] is 6.5 months old and it's the CUTEST thing. She does exactly this when she hears us getting ready to go for a walk, such a lazy sweet girl.
"She always has a good time once we're on our walk but she'd much rather just be lazy all day."
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A Reddit user and Labrador owner said: "My lab used to fake sleep when I would eat dinner at my coffee table. I would look at him and could see him squinting, pretending to sleep.
"I would walk into the kitchen and peek my head back around and he would raise his head. I would say 'MUD!' and he would slam his head down and pretend to sleep some more."
Other Reddit users point out how quickly and easily dogs are able to fall asleep and wake up, like one who said: "Every time my dog closes his eyes, he's lights-out, twitchy dreaming in like 10 seconds. Doesn't matter where he's out.
"Then I just, like, move my pinky finger or something and he's wide awake 10 feet ahead of me wondering why I'm not following him. I'm always so jealous of dogs' ability to turn sleep on and off."
However, some Reddit users believe that the dog is genuinely trying to sleep, but is struggling because of its owner.
One user said: "Legitimate sleepy, just worried about what you're doing over his face 'um, don't drop that,'" while another said: "Could be trying to sleep, but someone is hovering over him recording him like a weirdo."
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Sneaky dog pretends to be asleep in hilarious viral video
Watch this sneaky dog pretending to be asleep when he spots his owner filming him
We have all been guilty of faking sleep at some point; prepare to smile as this sneaky dog pretends to be asleep - even as his owner films him.
In this cute video clip that has gone viral, it shows a dog appearing to be sleeping before quickly opening its eyes. After the pooch spots its owner filming him, he immediately closes his eyes again, takes another sneaky peek then returns to faking a snooze.
This clip was originally shared on r/AnimalsBeingDerps by Reddit user Complex_Difficulty.
It was so popular with Reddit viewers that it had received 38,000 upvotes since Monday evening. Netizens were inspired to share their stories of their own pups faking sleep.
One user posted, "Lol, reminds me of my boy successfully tricking the girl into thinking he's sleeping. Usually whenever she wants him to move out of a comfy spot or share a blanket he's hoarding, he'll fake this deep sleep breathing where every exhale causes his lips to billow out. He doesn't usually do it when he's actually sleeping, but it fools her every time."
Another user and Labrador owner commented, "My lab used to fake sleep when I would eat dinner at my coffee table. I would look at him and could see him squinting, pretending to sleep.”
On the other hand, some users believed that the dog was genuinely trying to get to sleep, but its owner was interrupting him. "Could be trying to sleep, but someone is hovering over him recording him like a weirdo."
Well, whether the adorable pooch was really asleep (or not!), it is still the cutest trick in the book.
Watch the hilarious video below.
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Cynthia Lawrence is freelance lifestyle journalist. Starting off her career in national magazines, she moved to digital and e-commerce publications. When she's not reviewing exciting products, she is obsessed with home interiors and her neighbour's cat!
Is your dog reactive? Trainer shares surprising reason why and how to fix it
Dog owners! Here’s three trainer-approved things you can do if your dog freezes on walks
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- 2 Is your dog reactive? Trainer shares surprising reason why and how to fix it
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Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo gets mocked by Diamondbacks after his threat
Posted: October 25, 2023 | Last updated: October 25, 2023
In a way, the Arizona Diamondbacks were playing for more than their fans and their state as they clinched a spot in the World Series for the first time since 2001 on Tuesday night with a Game 7 win in the National League Championship Series.
They also had the future of one of the biggest mouths in sports media on the line, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, who said Monday on his SiriusXM radio show that if Arizona won Games 6 and 7 in Philadelphia, “I will retire on the spot.”
Well, the Diamondbacks won the decisive game 4-2 and they heard you loud and clear, Russo, so much so that they made it a part of their post-game celebration, chanting “Mad Dog!” in the clubhouse as the beer flowed .
[You can watch and listen here.]
In the lead-up to the win Tuesday night, Russo posted three sweating emojis on X , and 15 minutes later, posted a gif that said “enjoy your retirement.” He retweeted several posts alluding to his retirement.
To be fair to the former WFAN host, Arizona has defeated the odds: entering the playoffs as the No. 6 seed with an 84-78 record, it took down the Milwaukee Brewers in a two-game sweep of the wild-card round, swept the Los Angels Dodgers in the NLDS and won four of the last five games after a 2-0 deficit to beat the Phillies in the NLCS.
Now, they’ll face the Texas Rangers in the World Series starting Friday.
“I’ve been wrong on Arizona from day one,” Russo said on Mad Dog Sports Radio on Monday. “I’m stunned they beat Milwaukee. I thought they’d get swept by the Dodgers. I never thought they’d even go back to Philly for a Game 6. I’ll try it one more time. I would not be stunned if they won [Monday] — I would be floored. And I’ll say this right now: if they win the next two days, and win this series in seven games, if they win, I will retire on the spot.”
You’re up, “Mad Dog.”
- Collapse complete: Phillies fall to Diamondbacks in NLCS Game 7
- Phillies’ Bryce Harper disgusted that he blew chance to prevent NLCS choke
- Yankees legend Derek Jeter ripped by WFAN host because he won’t be a clown
Thank you for relying on us to provide the journalism you can trust. Please consider supporting us with a subscription.
Jimmy Hascup may be reached at [email protected] .
©2023 Advance Local Media LLC. Visit nj.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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8 Sex Myths That Experts Wish Would Go Away
Everyone else is having more sex than you. Men want sex more than women do. And more.
By Catherine Pearson
Chalk it up to the variability in sex education, in high schools and even medical schools , or to the fact that many adults find it hard to talk about sex with the person who regularly sees them naked. Whatever the reason, misinformation about sexuality and desire is common.
“There are so many myths out there,” said Laurie Mintz, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Florida who focuses on human sexuality. And, she added, they can “cause a lot of damage.”
So the Well section reached out to a group of sex therapists and researchers, and asked them to share a myth they wished would go away.
Here’s what they said.
Myth 1: Everyone else is having more sex than you.
“Oddly, this myth persists across the life span,” said Debby Herbenick, director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at the Indiana University School of Public Health and author of “Yes, Your Kid: What Parents Need to Know About Today’s Teens and Sex.”
Many teenagers think “everyone is doing it,” she said, leading them to jump into sex that they simply are not ready for. This myth can make older people in long-term relationships feel lousy, too — like they are the only ones in a so-called dry spell, when they may simply be experiencing the natural ebb and flow of desire .
“It’s pretty typical to find that about one in three people have had no partnered sex in the prior year,” Dr. Herbenick said, referencing several nationally representative surveys. She also points to research she has worked on showing that sexual activity has declined in recent years for reasons that aren’t fully understood. (Researchers have hypothesized that the decline has to do with factors like the rise in sexting and online pornography, as well as decreased drinking among young people .)
“It can help to normalize these periods of little to no partnered sex,” Dr. Herbenick said. “That said, for those looking for some longevity in their partnered sex life, it’s important to think about sex in a holistic way.” That means caring for your physical and mental health, she said, and talking through your feelings with your partner to maintain a sense of intimacy and connection.
Myth 2: Sex means penetration.
Sex therapists often lament that people get caught up in certain “sexual scripts,” or the idea that sex should unfold in a particular way — typically, a bit of foreplay that leads to intercourse.
But “we need to move beyond defining sex by a single behavior,” said Ian Kerner, a sex therapist and author of “She Comes First.” He noted that this type of narrow thinking has contributed to the longstanding pleasure gap between men and women in heterosexual encounters. For example, a study found that 75 percent of heterosexual men said they orgasmed every time they had been sexually intimate within the past month, compared with 33 percent of heterosexual women.
One survey found that 18 percent of women orgasmed from penetration alone, while 37 percent said they also needed clitoral stimulation to orgasm during intercourse. Instead of rushing toward intercourse, the focus should be on “outercourse,” Dr. Kerner said, which is an umbrella term for any sexual activity that doesn’t involve penetration.
“If you look at most mainstream movies, the image is women having these fast and fabulous orgasms from penetration, and foreplay is just the lead up to that main event,” Dr. Mintz said. “That is actually, scientifically, really damaging and false.”
In surveying thousands of women for her book “Becoming Cliterate,” Dr. Mintz found the percentage of women who said they orgasmed from penetration alone to be 4 percent or less.
Equating sex with penetration also leaves out people who have sex in other ways. For instance, Joe Kort, a sex therapist, has coined the term “sides” to describe gay men who do not have anal sex. Lexx Brown-James, a sex therapist, said that view also overlooks people with certain disabilities as well as those who simply do not enjoy penetration. Many people find greater sexual satisfaction from things like oral sex or “even just bodily contact,” she said.
Myth 3: Vaginas shouldn’t need extra lubricant.
Postmenopausal women sometimes describe the pain they experience during penetrative sex as feeling like “sandpaper” or “knives. ” But while vaginal dryness affects older women at a higher rate, it can happen at any point in life, Dr. Herbenick said, which has implications for women’s sex lives.
An estimated 17 percent of women between 18 and 50 report vaginal dryness during sex, while more than 50 percent experience it after menopause. She noted that it is also more common while women are nursing or during perimenopause, and that certain medications, including some forms of birth control, can decrease lubrication.
“As I often tell my students, vaginas are not rainforests,” Dr. Herbenick said, noting that her research has found that most American women have used a lubricant at some point. “We can feel aroused or in love and still not lubricate the way we want to.”
Myth 4: It is normal for sex to hurt.
Though lubricant can help some women experience more pleasure during sex, it is important to remember that sex should not hurt. An estimated 75 percent of women experience painful sex at some point in their lives, which can have many root causes: gynecologic problems, hormonal changes, cancer treatment , trauma — the list goes on.
Shemeka Thorpe, a sexuality researcher and educator who specializes in Black women’s sexual well-being , said many women believe that pain during or after sex is a sign of good sex.
“We know a lot of the times that people who end up having some sort of sexual pain disorder later in life actually had sexual pain during their first intercourse, and continued to have sexual pain or vulva pain,” Dr. Thorpe said. “They didn’t realize it was an issue.”
Men, too, can experience pain during intercourse . Experts emphasize that it is important for anyone experiencing pain during sex to see a medical provider.
Myth 5: Men always want sex more than women do.
“Desire discrepancy is the No. 1 problem I deal with in my practice, and by no means is the higher-desire partner always male,” Dr. Kerner said. “But because of this myth, men often feel a sense of shame around their lack of desire, and a pressure to always initiate.”
(Dr. Herbenick noted the related myth that women don’t masturbate, which she said holds them back from fully exploring their sexuality.)
But while there is data to suggest that men masturbate more often than women do , it is untrue that women don’t want sex, or that men always do, said Dr. Brown-James. For instance, one recent study found that women’s desire tended to fluctuate more throughout their lifetimes, but that men and women experienced very similar desire fluctuations throughout the week .
Myth 6: Desire should happen instantly.
Sex therapists and researchers generally believe that there are two types of desire: spontaneous, or the feeling of wanting sex out of the blue, and responsive, which arises in response to stimuli, like touch.
People tend to think that spontaneous desire — which is what many lovers experience early in relationships — is somehow better.
But Lori Brotto, a psychologist and the author of “Better Sex Through Mindfulness,” said a lot of the work she does is to normalize responsive desire, particularly among women and those in long-term relationships.
She helps them understand that it is possible to go into sex without spontaneous desire, as long as there is willingness and consent. Dr. Brotto likens it to going to the gym when you don’t feel like it. “Your endorphins start flowing, you feel really good and you’re grateful you went afterward,” she said.
Myth 7: Planned sex is boring.
Dr. Brotto also disagrees with the idea that “planned sex is bad sex,” because it makes it “clinical and dry and boring.”
That view is “so harmful,” she said. And it results in many people treating sex like an afterthought, doing it only late at night when they’re exhausted or distracted, Dr. Brotto said, if they make time for it at all.
When clients bristle at the practice of scheduling sex, she will ask: Are there many other activities in your life that you love or that are important to you that you never plan for or put on the calendar? The answer, she said, is usually no.
Scheduled sex can also lend itself to responsive desire, Dr. Brotto said, giving “arousal time to heat up.”
Myth 8: Your penis doesn’t stack up.
Men are under a certain amount of pressure when it comes to how their penises look or function, Dr. Kerner said. Younger men, he said, believe they shouldn’t have erectile dysfunction, while older men get the message that premature ejaculation is something they grow out of with age and experience.
The data tells a different story. Though erectile dysfunction — which is defined as a consistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection, not just occasional erection issues — does tend to increase with age, it also affects an estimated 8 percent of men in their 20s and 11 percent of those in their 30s. And 20 percent of men between the ages of 18 and 59 report experiencing premature ejaculation.
“We don’t have a little blue pill to make premature ejaculation go away, so we’re not having the same cultural conversation as we are with erectile dysfunction,” Dr. Kerner said. “We’re just left with the myths that guys with premature ejaculation are bad in bed, or sexually selfish.”
Likewise, studies show that many men — gay and straight — worry that their penises do not measure up, even though many partners say they do not prefer an especially large penis.
“Partnered sex is complex,” Dr. Kerner said. “It involves touching, tuning in, connecting, communicating.”
Catherine Pearson is a reporter for the Well section of The Times, covering families and relationships. More about Catherine Pearson
What to Know About Your Sexual Health
Sexual health can be an important part of personal well-being. the information below can help you demystify this often misunderstood topic..
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