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Getting up in the middle of the night.


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My 13 year old Staffie, Oscar, has started waking in the night and won't settle again unless we bring him downstairs. We have tried letting him out for a toilet, but he still won't settle, we even started letting him sleep on our bed at night; nothing seems to work.

It is like having a baby again that is keeping us up all night, it is so difficult, especially for my OH who is doing his final year of his degree, we are just exhausted all the time. Oscar seems to favour disturbing my OH than me, he noses him and nudges him until he wakes up, it's difficult to ignore him because he just gets right up in your face.

At the moment my OH tends to bring Oscar downstairs and then sleeps on the sofa, with Oscar sleeping in his dog bed. We have tried bringing his dog bed up to the bedroom, but he won't stay in it at night. We tried buying a new memory foam bed to help with his joints, but that didn't work either.

At one point we tried him with his old crate in our bedroom, but he just got himself into a panic and just kept rattling the crate (he previously liked using his crate in the living room), we tried shutting him in the kitchen, but he just worked himself up in to a state and scratched and chewed at the door.

I have been in touch with the vet and she suggested that it could be one of two things; either he has dementia and is getting night and day mixed up, or he is forming a habit of waking us up and then us bringing him downstairs. I'm reluctant to start the dementia medication as it is very expensive and we are a low income household, plus what if it isn't dementia. Oscar is already on a variety of pain medication for arthritis, I don't like the thought of just starting a new medication without pursuing all other options first. The vet suggested trying a distraction in the night, but I'm not sure what to try without creating a new habit. Does anyone have any suggestions please?

Has anyone else ever encountered an issue like this before? If so, what advice would you give please. We are so exhausted, we just need a good night sleep, we would be willing to try just about anything at this point!
Dementia was going to be my first suggestion.

If the medication is expensive, your vet can write you a prescription (for a fee) and you can buy them online - it should work out quite a bit cheaper. Your vet is not permitted to do cut price meds himself, in case you were wondering why doing it this way is suggested.
From what I've read, it's quite common - and some dogs flip night and day completely:eek: My dog is 11 and has had a few unsettled nights recently. My guess would be that this is an early sign of dementia, assuming it's only started recently and he's been fine through the rest of his adulthood. But then of course I'm not a vet and don't know your dog.

If you search for 'canine cognitive dysfunction' you'll find quite a lot of info, hopefully including any medications and supplements that might help. It might be possible to use a general calmer like skullcap & valerian, but I wouldn't give anything without speaking to your vet first. It could also be that your Staffie's joints are uncomfortable, making it harder to settle - trialling a painkiller e.g. parcetamol (ONLY if your vet agrees, and NOT at human doses) might help rule that in and out at little expense.

It may be that the solution is about putting up with this and working out the best way of getting the sleep you need - a camp bed downstairs, for instance. And you could also try alternating 'night duty' so that each of you know that one night in two you'll get a decent night's sleep. We did this when our lad was a pup and it really helped.
Thank you for your advice. Oscar currently takes Loxicom and Tralieve for his arthritic pain, we did try him with paracetamol as recommended by the vet, but it didn't seem to do much. The vet has offered to write a prescription for Selgian for the dementia, I have had a look online and it is half the price that the vet clinic charges, so I'll perhaps look into starting him on that. I will definitely research canine cognitive dysfunction, hopefully I will find some useful information.

Unfortunately I have a disability so I am unable to take the night duty on the sofa, I wish I could though to give my partner a break. We are thinking of trying putting a small amount of peanut butter in Oscar's Kong to try and distract him during the night, it's got to be worth a try. Luckily my adult daughter has offered to take Oscar overnight every other week to give us a bit of a break, she has Oscar's sister so he feels comfortable with her.

It is heart-breaking to see our fur baby getting old and not being able to do anything to help him. I suppose the best we can do is to make sure he isn't in any pain, he is comfortable and loved. I'm welling up just thinking about it.
It sounds like my dog and he has early onset dementia. ..he is only 10 and has staffy in him ....
Sometimes he is very unsettled at night so i sleep downstairs. .i bought a camp bed to sleep on ...we have tried taking him out later for a walk and giving him a small feed before he settles ....
Dementia can be quite frightening for them so if you can just go with the flow try exercise a bit later and something to eat before bed ...and as i always say ...make sure his quality of life is still good ...its
not easy watching our four leggers getting olderxx
Just a quick update...the vet has prescribed a medication called Selgian for Oscar's dementia. He has been taking it for nearly a month now and wow what a difference! He is less restless at night and also seems less confused and more steady when going up and down stairs. Luckily my vet was kind enough to write me two prescriptions for one charge and I have sourced the medication online where it is much cheaper than from the vet office. I would recommend speaking to your vet about Selgian if your dog has dementia. It's such a relief to see him more settled and like himself again :)
That is such good news, SuperCrazyMum - thank you for updating us. I hope Oscar hangs on to his marbles for a good long time to come :)
Thanks for updating us that is great news xx
Great news, and we really appreciate the update.

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