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Help! My Old Dog is Barking at Night

Close up -half face view of a whit and brown pit bull terrier

It can be extremely frustrating if your dog tends to bark at night, especially after a hectic day at work. This problem is more common in older dogs because they tend to bark more than normal. Fortunately, there are many ways to curb this behavior. Read on to find out why your old dog is barking at night and how you can solve this problem.

Why is My Old Dog Barking at Night?

There are plenty of reasons why your old dog might be barking at night. According to Pet Place, it can be a sensory loss, some underlying health condition, or just old age. Some of the most common causes that can make your old dog bark at night are as follows.

Old Age

Old black and white hound dog with saggy eyes, laying on a burgundy blanket

The old age of your pup can, itself, be the reason for his/her barking at night. As your dog grows older, his/her behavior and personality are also likely to change. He/she starts to perceive things differently because his/her brain will process things at a different pace. These changes can urge your old dog to bark while you are sleeping.

Canine Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS)

This medical condition is very similar to Alzheimer’s in humans. A dog with this condition tends to bark a lot and may also urinate in random places around the house. Likewise, the way your dog interacts with other people and animals may also change if he/she is suffering from CDS. All these changes in your pup’s personality, routine, and behavior can be quite frustrating for him/her.

Pain

Old black dog with greying face laying on dog bed

Wag Walking explains that the body of a canine undergoes a lot of wear and tear as he/she grows old. Similarly, the efficiency of organs and joints decreases. Although it is completely natural, this situation can be discomforting and even painful for your pooch. Consequently, your furry friend may start barking relentlessly to get your attention.

You can get several ointments that can alleviate the pain. Likewise, body massages can go a long way in making your dog relaxed and comfortable.

Anxiety

Canines like to follow a certain routine and sudden behavioral changes can make your old dog anxious. Likewise, the condition of pups who are suffering from separation anxiety may worsen as they age.  

Sensory Problems

Brindle Boston Terrier laying on a grey fuzzy blanket

According to Senior Tail Waggers, blurry vision and hearing loss are quite common in old dogs. Combine these sensory problems with physical discomfort and you will get an anxious and frustrated pup. In addition to that, older dogs also find it hard to regulate body temperature and this adds to their discomfort. All these problems can make your dog extremely agitated, resulting in a lot of barking.

Other Medical Reasons

If you think that your old dog is barking at night due to an underlying health condition, consult your vet immediately for professional advice. An early diagnosis can also help you in avoiding complications in the future.

What Can I Do If My Old Dog is Barking at Night?

Yellow Labrador Retirever laying in a dog bed

It is crucial to take special care of aging dogs because they are more prone to sickness. For example, schedule regular health checkups of your old dog to ensure that he/she is healthy. Additionally, you can also try the following things to help your senior dog to stay comfortable.

Help Your Dog

If your dog is struggling to perform some basic tasks, you should try to make them easier for him/her. For instance, you can make multiple toilets for your pup around the house. This means that he/she won’t have to move a long way to relieve himself/herself. This practice is particularly helpful if your dog is suffering from incontinence.

Avoid Leaving Your Dog Alone

Bull dog with tongue sticking out laying on a couch in a living room setting

If your old dog has separation anxiety, try not to leave him/her alone at all. This is because separation anxiety gets worse with age. After all, separation anxiety is one of the biggest reasons due to which your old dog is barking at night.

Keep a Dim Light On

Keep a small bulb (or any other source of light) turned on when your old dog is sleeping. This helps your canine companion to see better when he/she wakes up. A pitch-black room will exacerbate the anxiety and can lead to excessive barking.

Use Pheromones

Diffusers or pheromone collars can help your dog relax. These tools are especially effective for keeping old dogs calm. They usually last for about a month after which they need to be replaced.

Don’t Change the Surroundings

Golden Retriever laying on a pink and white blanket in a dog bed

If your dog has vision problems, try to keep the layout of your home exactly the same. This is because your pooch might use his/her memory to navigate around the house. Frequent changes in the layout can confuse your dog and he/she will become agitated (and may start barking).

Try to avoid adding dangerous things, like a pool, in the house because your dog can accidentally fall inside it. Likewise, you can leave the room doors open so that your dog doesn’t keep walking into them.

Give Your Dog a Comfortable Bed

Make sure your dog is comfortable during his/her sleep because it is extremely important to keep him/her happy and content. Place a warm blanket and comfy bedding to ensure that your dog sleeps well. You can also give him/her something to snuggle while sleeping. Although this technique is generally used for puppies, it can also work on senior dogs.

Health Checkup

If your dog’s barking sound is different from its usual tone, make sure to get him/her checked by your vet. Old dogs can develop a condition (called laryngeal paralysis) that can cause a strange-sounding bark. However, it can be treated quite easily.

Regular checkups can also help in identifying other health problems that your dog might have. For example, early diagnosis and timely treatment of tumors, infections, and heart diseases can be managed through regular checkups.

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