or if the sound of his bark has changed, it can be both worrying and frustrating. Excessive barking in older dogs which is due to discomfort or pain is upsetting for both of you. This may only stop the noise for a short time, but with consistency it could be that little bit ‘extra’ that makes all the difference. This is scary, not to mention it makes life extra difficult when it’s combined with other problem such as creaky joints, or a twitchy bladder. If you can’t, consider hiring a dog walker or providing your dog with a place indoors to eliminate, such as newspapers, a dog litter box or potty pads. Plus, barking is annoying and frustrating to pet owners too. It’s all just part-and-parcel of getting older. He could be scared, anxious, in pain, confused… and this is the only way he has to get your attention. Reason Why Senior Dog Barking Some dogs bark for attention, plain and simple. If your older dog is barking a lot more than he used to, at odd times (like in the middle of the night!) Even dogs who are not showing signs of true canine cognitive dysfunction may experience changes in the way their brain processes information and the way he copes in his environment, causing more barking.”A lot of times what happens with our senior patients is [that] they have had an underlying behavior concern almost their whole lives,” explains Rebecca Ruch-Gallie, DVM, MS, assistant professor and service chief/community practice at Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. If they're alone for excessive amounts of time, they may bark as a sign of unhappiness. I’ve found great help with My 13-year-old labradors reoccurring barking problem it’s kind of an anxiety issue I think and he has bad arthritis so it’s hard for him to get around but I found great relief and CBD oil to relieve his anxiety it quiet some down and make some calm I love it. Luckily, there are several treatment options for incontinence, and your veterinarian will be able to help you figure out what’s at the root of Fido’s problems, as well as how to minimize them. It may take some trial and error to figure out the possible causes and solutions to barking. Too much change day-to-day can keep an elderly dog on edge.You can also help by touching your dog and letting him see your face when you speak so he can feel the vibrations of your voice and see your mouth moving. This can also help senior dogs. When a dog wants to get your attention, they may bark at you. Play soothing music throughout the day, and consider more ways to create a zen space for your dog. Excessive barking (or howling/whining) is actually pretty common in older dogs and, depending on the cause, lots of times there are simple things you can do to reduce the amount of noise and disruption this is causing. The example of stairs which I used earlier in this page is a classic example. I'm also an amateur equestrian and love working with horses. The IHC Group. More than eve… Some dogs may bark more as an expression of this concern. Or, try to figure out what will quieten him down…. Sensory limitations. ). This can  cause pain or discomfort, as well as other symptoms, and when the house is quiet at night and Fido’s brain isn’t busy, that pain or discomfort comes to the fore and he starts barking or howling. In fact, twice a day, almost like clockwork, my elderly canine pal Ginko barks – a lot. You can buy heated, or cooled, dog beds and if your dog is crated you can even use a small cooling fan, or space heater. Hearing loss is fairly common as well, and if Fido can’t see or hear properly, it changes his world in an even bigger way. If your older dog has CDS he might seem lost, confused, dazed or ‘out of it’ for periods of time. Things you can do to help with this include resisting the urge to move furniture around, keeping doors open as much as possible (so that he won’t walk into them), and putting up baby gates at the bottom (and top if necessary) of the stairs. Copyright © 2021 | MH Magazine WordPress Theme by MH Themes, My name is Dr. Winnie. A barking puppy can drive owners and neighbors crazy. (If your dog isn’t old yet, teach those hand signals now. BUT, there are some simple things you can do that may help the problem that’s causing the barking… and in turn that might reduce the amount of noise he makes, or the frequency with which he makes it. The dog barks, it’s a fact, it’s his way of expressing himself. There are a variety of reasons why we see behavior changes in elderly dogs, including: Because elderly dogs often experience additional medical concerns, it can be difficult to pinpoint how medical and behavioral issues interact and overlap. But, a TV or radio to keep him company at night (if he sleeps in a separate room from you) can ease his worries as he won’t feel so alone and isolated if he wakes up. “[A]s the brain ages-not even talking about cognitive dysfunction or Alzheimer’s at this point-just the nature of the aging brain makes that dog less able to cope with its environment. Sometimes older dogs with health issues can exhibit strange behavior - like barking for no readily discernible reason. Here are some of the most common reasons for older dog barking: Confusion. Still, if this is what’s causing him to bark excessively, there are still things you can do to help. For example, if he stands at the foot of the stairs and barks… barks…. It’s a way of ‘sounding off’. Although it’s quite common, CDS doesn’t happen to all dogs, and there are things you can do to alleviate the symptoms. Click here to jump to info. Author and Contribturor at, What To Do About Excessive Barking In Older Dogs. As your dog ages, controlling his bladder (and even his bowels) becomes more of a challenge. Picking him up will quiet him for a moment. “If you [the patient] bring it up,” she says, “it makes it so much easier to say, ‘Let’s talk about the quality of life.’ We can try some things, but what is the breaking point?” Unlike choosing euthanasia in a canine cancer patient, having the same end-of-life discussion is tougher and more nebulous in an elderly (and possible senile) canine patient. Did you recently add a baby or a new puppy to the equation? Dogs are naturally pack animals, meaning they prefer the company of others. Destructive Behavior Just as with other behavior problems of senior dogs, the underlying cause of destructive behavior needs to be determined in order to provide effective treatment. After he is walked he whines too. Sometimes, the changes are signs of underlying medical problems; other times, they are simply evidence of aging. Why would my 14 year old lab start barking all the time and wanting to in and out all the time. Canine Dysfunction Syndrome can wreak havoc on your senior dog’s personality, routines, attitudes and behavior. He barks in the morning when he first wakes up, and he barks in the late afternoon. I’m at a loss as what to do. After all we’re not the ones who are old and suffering, plus we can adjust our own clothing, bedding and so on to make sure we’re comfy too. Another possible cause of older dog barking problems (if the barking happens during specific activities) is that your dog is frustrated because he’s having difficulty managing some task. Dr. Ruch-Gallie often begins with simple over-the-counter interventions such as: Using my own example, I asked Ruch-Gallie about whether or not this kind of consistent barking indicates some level of “suffering” (for lack of a better word). Sometimes I think he knows he is barking. *. I'm a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. Such behavior canbe due to anxiety, or to cognitive dysfunction syndrome; a condition resembling Alzheimer's disease in humans. My sister’s sweet Bella is 10 and has begun to bark and whimper during the night. But the normal age-related deterioration of sight and hearing is just something that you and Fido will need to learn to live with. If you think your senior dog’s whining is the result of anxiety, here are some simple ideas to help them relax. Tips-n-tricks used for separation anxiety in dogs of all ages can also be helpful. Adding essential fatty acids to the dog’s diet (Omega-3 and Omega-6). Remember how as a puppy he needed night-time potty breaks because he couldn’t ‘hold it’ for 8 hours? ‘Forget’ to eat (or that he has eaten already). If he has enough control he may be able to keep himself from wetting his bed, crate or the floor… but it’s difficult and painful for him to do. Barking and growling are the warning signals your dog will give to show the newcomer who is boss and what the limits are. These include leaving a radio or the TV on at low-volume (providing your dog’s hearing is good enough to pick it up). Medications or even surgery can help. It’s best to start with a thorough medical exam from your veterinarian to address any medical needs that may be contributing to the barking behaviors such as pain, anxiety, and lost vision or hearing. Do so slowly, however, since fatty acids can cause diarrhea if introduced too quickly. Just this morning he barked for over 2 hours. Other sources of frustration may be being unable to chase a ball or play actively with a toy, having difficulty chewing treats or food, being unable to join in play or activities with other dogs and so on. Her sight and hearing are very bad but she copes well.. it is just so frustrating and whilst she had medication for dementia it’s not proved successful. Or you can throw a blanket or comforter over the crate as an extra layer of insulation if a chill is the problem. If the problem is with his hearing, unfortunately there’s less you can do to help. So, let’s take a closer look at what you can do to minimize your older dogs barking IF…. My 13 year old Shih Tzu has been barking excessively throughout the day and night. Why Older Dogs Might Bark More. As your dog ages, her senses begin to wane, and she can become increasingly anxious about her surroundings. Tracheal collapse is a condition that causes the trachea, or windpipe, to become … Is it time for euthanasia I ask myself. This causes them to startle more easily or to feel more concern about their environment in general. Keep your daily routines as consistent as possible. It’s probably the easiest one to diagnose, because the source of the frustration is easy to recognize. ….. all of these can make him anxious, and end up causing barking ‘episodes’. Maybe Fido has always slept on his bed (or in his crate) in the kitchen, but now he’s upset every night. Plus there are way to ‘manage’ the problem too, such as ‘doggie diapers’ or ‘belly-bands’. He might… Well, he may be having the same problems again now. Older dog barking that’s triggered by frustration often happens during the daytime when your dog is active, rather than at night. Lack of exercise could be a reason your older dog whining at night, the minimum time is 30 minutes every day. So you may ask yourself, “Why does my dog act hungry all the time?” The short answer is… we’re not absolutely sure. Incontinence in older dogs isn’t unusual, and your senior citizen can’t help what’s happening to his body, it’s simply part of the natural aging process. A growl or a snarl without a nip is normal, but if your adult dog shows other signals like baring his teeth, an intense, displeased stare or his hackles are raised, that likely means more -- such as a nip or a serious bite -- is to come. If your older dog’s excessive barking is triggered by anxiety or fear, you need to get to the root of the problem in order to improve the situation. Meanwhile, you can help Fido by not ignoring his barking. Obviously the first step towards stopping the noise is to take him outside so he can relieve himself. He starts to cry and then the barking begins. Senior dogs can go through some personality/behavior changes as they get older, and many become more anxious than they were when younger. … This is especially true for spayed female dogs, but it can happen to either sex. As the body ages, nothing works as well as it used to, and this is true of senses such as sight and hearing. We walk approx 10k steps a day and she’s really happy with that. Also, don’t allow the kids to leave toys lying all around the house (or in the garden). All dogs bark just like humans talk and birds chirp; it’s natural dog behavior. barks,  he may want to go UP those stairs but his old joints won’t let him. This may be a result of separation anxiety but it could also be your aging dog’s way of getting your attention. He may also seem to ‘ignore’ you when you call him, or seem startled when you pet him or disturb his day-dreaming (because he didn’t hear you coming.). I ignore this, but my older dog seems to get tired of her barking and just gives up whatever it is he has and she then takes off with it. A night-light, or a pheremone diffuser might also help. Barking cant be totally eliminated as it is a natural behavior and a form of puppy communication, but you can teach your puppy to reduce barking. Sometimes he may simply bark at nothing at all. If you can lessen his confusion, you’re likely to see a reduction in symptoms – which include the strange or chronic barking behavior. If you believe your dog is barking to get your attention, ignore them for as long as it takes them to stop. Putting a dog-appeasing pheromone collar on your pet. Your email address will not be published. When he’s not able to hang on long enough you’re going to be met with a mess in the morning. Tracheal Collapse. ©Copyright 1999 - 2021. If Fido is waking you up by barking in the middle of the night, he may be trying to tell you that he needs to pee or poop. ), and that is difficult for a pet owner to deal with. However, it can also be a sign of cognitive dysfunction. Don't talk to them, don't touch them, don't even look at them; your attention only rewards them for being noisy. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. My dog is 6 years old, he whines all the time. If you’re empathetic, creative and persistent you’ll be able to make life less frustrating for your senior dog with a bit of extra effort. It’s been frustrating on all of us and now we have a better understanding of what’s going on in Bella’s world. He’s making all that noise because he’s confused and anxious. We are losing sleep over this because he barks all throughout the night. Ask your vet for an anti-inflammatory med like rimadyl or dermaxx. Just like us, every dog sometimes swallows wrong and has a bout of dog coughing and gagging, so this isn’t a problem to immediately be concerned about. He has been on keppra for a seizure disorder for quite a while now, so I don’t think that’s the issue. Your vet will be able to make an accurate diagnosis and get treatment started, so if your older dog’s voice sounds ‘funny’ – make sure he gets a check up. … and that he’s NOT doing this just to irritate you. You might wonder if your senior dog is barking for no reason… especially if you can’t see anything wrong with him. Separation anxiety is fairly common in older dogs, even if they’ve never been worried about you being gone before. One of the signs that your dog is going deaf can be that he barks more loudly than normal. If none of these work and you know that Fido’s distress is caused by his nerves, there are natural treatments that can reduce anxiety as well as medications your veterinarian can prescribe if he feels it’s necessary. Your older dog might start barking at strangers more often (or even at people he knows), he might bark at loud noises, or cars, or when you step out of his sight. Unusual night-time barking is a classic symptom of Canine Dysfunction Syndrome (aka ‘Old Dog Syndrome’). We hate not being able to make him less anxious and are now going to discuss with his vet who has cared for him since birth. I tried everything to get him to stop. I have been an animal lover and owners all my life having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! unless it’s securely fenced in. Some of these essential cognitive functions include: memory, awareness, perception, judgement, and many others. Sometimes Fido may not even know why he feels the need to be waking you up at night. If there’s a chronic condition (such as arthritis) which is causing Fido to hurt, discuss it with your veterinarian and get your golden oldie the help he needs to live comfortably. See things from your pet’s … If your older dog is having trouble with his eyesight, he might have trouble finding his way around at first. Sometimes there are things you can do to improve the situation – for example cataracts can be corrected surgically. If Fido wakes up because he’s uncomfortably hot or chilly, he’s going to let you know about it. As your dog gets older, they tend to have more medications added to their … Poor vision, or cataracts, can mean that your older dog is seeing the world from a very blurry, or foggy, viewpoint. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. I have a 14 yr old labradoodle who has just started barking at night over the past couple of months. A dog may also long for human company and not just another dog's company. One of the most noticeable things senior dogs exhibit is increased barking. There are a variety of reasons why we see behavior changes in elderly dogs, including: Canine cognitive dysfunction. The only answer to this type of barking is to help your dog overcome his limitations as far as possible (for example, by giving softer treats, or buying more sedentary but interesting toys), and then use distraction and substitution for the things he simply can’t manage. Our older dogs have bodies that have seen a fair bit of wear-and-tear over the years. Some veterinarians and pet experts believe that pups were first domesticated because of their almost supernatural ability to mooch food from human beings. on treating this old dog syndrome. Alas I don’t want to go to bed early but she is so persistent that I feel so tense as the barking is constant. My Nearly 16 yr old Jack Russell barks constantly from approx 5 pm until I give in and go to bed with her in my bedroom; she then settles well. If your older dog has CDS he might seem lost, confused, dazed or ‘out of it’ for periods of time. He doesn’t always eat all of his food, but still gas it available in case he goes hungry and he always has water. ), Be confused about where he is, or who you are. She explains that these kinds of behavior changes in elderly pets can sometimes lead to damage to the human-animal bond. They may bark because they want to be let outside or they may bark because they’re hungry, but the basic foundation of this barking behavior is attention-grabbing. All aspects of a dog’s cognitive functions or mental processes can be affected by CCD. I often refer to this behavior as “senile barking” but there are several reasons why older dogs bark, as well as several ways to encourage elderly dogs to bark less. This Alzheimer’s-like condition typically appears in dogs as several behavioral changes … If it’s night-time barking, sometimes just a few quiet words, or some gentle TLC can help him settle back down. The deterioration of the body is a natural part of growing older, and major organs and joints often don’t work as well as they used to. I often refer to this behavior as “senile barking” but there are several reasons why older dogs bark, as well as several ways to encourage elderly dogs to bark less. This sort of behavior is pretty common in older dogs, and there can be a lot of different reasons why it’s happening. Most of his barking takes place in early to mid evening. But waking up several times a night is exhausting for both of you, and is far from ideal long term. Territorial/Protective: When a person or an animal comes into an area your dog considers their territory, that often triggers excessive barking. Some experts believe that dogs came to look to us as a food source after early wolves basically domesticated themselves — the wolves that were curious but non-aggressive and came close enough to human camps to scavenge leftover scraps wound up being rewarded with more food. She may be in the early stages of dementia (she’s 13, for goodness sakes! Hand signals, in addition to verbal dog behavior cues, can also help you communicate better with an aging dog. Here are some of the most common reasons for older dog barking: Unusual night-time barking is a classic symptom of  Canine Dysfunction Syndrome (aka ‘Old Dog Syndrome’). However, it’s tough for veterinarians to bring up quality-of-life discussions when an aging dog is medically strong but perhaps not enjoying life anymore. We are at our wits end. When barking happens, it’s important to teach dogs to do something other than bark. All Rights Reserved. If Fido wakes up at night because he’s too hot, or too cold, these are things that you can usually fix pretty easily. It wears on me but I know there is a good chance he cannot help it. Sometimes just knowing that the people he loves are close by can settle him down. Thank you for your words of wisdom. If your pet is bright, alert, breathing normally, eating and drinking as expected, and appears to … Other possibilities include a tumor, or an underlying health condition, perhaps even heart disease. Also, a dog who is feeling generally anxious or upset might bark just to release that pent-up emotion. We are forever grateful for your article. Medication Side Effects. Try moving his bed/crate into your room. He needs to commit the layout of his home and yard to memory so that he can navigate it properly. Keeping a consistent and predictable household routine. A warm blanket or a snuggle/cuddle pal (some have inserts that you can heat or cool) can help too. Everytime my older dog has something like a toy or a bone, my Labrador puppy decides that she wants it and has started barking. This is a condition that’s pretty similar to Alzheimer’s Disease in humans. Some dogs start to bark or growl for no apparent reason or at inappropriate times. Forget where the furniture is, what door he’s supposed to use to go outside, Forget that he’s supposed to eliminate outdoors (or that he’s not supposed to just pee/poop whenever he gets the urge, regardless of where he is at the time! It may have been that things triggered barking behaviors when they were younger which were either trained out or [the owner was] able to cope with it, so it wasn’t as noticeable.”. So they get too hot, or too cold, quite easily. There isn’t much you can do about the barking, but you need to be patient. It makes me so tense and I feel so inadequate with my inability to calm her. I enjoy spending time with my husband, 2 kids and Big G in my free time. Using a Thundershirt or calming body wrap to provide a sense of security. A quick trip outside (even if he doesn’t need to ‘go’, because the change of scene can sometimes short-circuit the barking cycle). There are some health conditions which can cause this and are seen most often in senior dogs. If this is an absolute no-no (maybe due to allergies, or something similar), then try putting one of your old  (worn) T-shirts or (used) pillowcases into his bed or crate. A smaller space means less to watch over. The most common one is Laryngeal Paralysis, which can cause other problems as well as the strange-sounding bark. Stress in aging dogs tends to cause more vocalization such as whining, howling and barking. Lately he has been barking short whiles in the day time, but nights are very frustrating and we’ve actually taken in out the last two nights at 2am when he wakes us barking. Leaving a low light on where he sleeps at night may make him less anxious if he wakes up. An excited dog is full of energy. After all it’s pretty scary to wake up and not be able to see anything! This method is a little bit like swaddling a crying baby. The scent may be enough to calm him. As she ages, expect behavior changes in your dog. While there may be some underlying eating disorder as to why your dog acts hungry all the time, there’s also the possibility that this is “normal” behavior. These include dietary changes, behavior modification, lifestyle changes and medications. But as soon as I put him down he starts barking again. She’s also been licking more than she has in the past and has hot spots and sores. Or one of the ‘Snuggle Pals’ or ‘Cuddle Puppies’ which are specifically designed for calming puppies are even better. Outside, try not to change the layout of paths, or flower beds, and don’t add a water feature (or a pool!) her health is fine for - Answered by a verified Dog Veterinarian We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our website. By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. A bored dog or one that isn't getting enough stimulation (both mental and physical), can also bark excessively. It’ll be a big help later. Limiting the dog’s access to the entire house by creating a safe smaller space as a retreat. If you suspect arthritis is an issue, that is a very painful condition, and some dogs just bark a lot when they're hurting. Some dogs bark because they’re bored. This Alzheimer’s-like condition typically appears in dogs as several behavioral changes including barking, house soiling, and changes to interactions with people and other pets in the household. Canine cognitive dysfunction. This is a condition that’s pretty similar to Alzheimer’s Disease in humans. Elderly dogs often experience at least partial hearing or vision loss. There are lots of other symptoms of Canine Dysfunction Syndrome and as it’s very common (severity varies) in senior dogs, it’s worth being aware of what to look out for. Learn how your comment data is processed. Maintain low energy levels to reduce any excitement within your home. If your older dog’s barking SOUNDS different to the way it used to (whether or not he’s barking more), then it’s important to have your veterinarian check him out. But with the range of medications and treatment options available for pets today, there’s really no need for your senior dog to be in pain on a regular basis. Now, there’s no way I can promise you that any action you take will stop your old dog from ‘sharing the language of his people’ loudly, and often. 10 and has begun to bark excessively, there are a variety of reasons why see... You being gone before a snuggle/cuddle pal ( some have inserts that you and Fido will to... May also long for human company and not be able to hang on long enough you re! Talk and birds chirp ; it ’ s making all that noise he. A challenge, behavior modification, lifestyle changes and medications but waking up several times a night exhausting! Or mental processes can be corrected surgically these can make him less anxious if stands! Already ) that is difficult for a pet owner to deal with, bear in mind that older dogs IF…. Processes can be both worrying and frustrating to pet owners too old joints won ’ t the! Of behavior changes in elderly pets can sometimes lead to damage to entire! Needed night-time potty breaks because he barks in the past and has been barking excessively the. For as long as it takes them to stop have seen a fair bit of over! Ability to mooch food from human beings of others to Alzheimer ’ s whining is the is. A full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs you know about it functions:! Still, if this is especially true for spayed female dogs, even take. A sense of security or a pheremone diffuser might also help takes them to.! Tense and i feel so inadequate with my husband, 2 kids Big... Slowly, however, it ’ for 8 hours get your attention, are... Older dogs with health issues can exhibit strange behavior - like barking for no readily reason. 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From ideal long term he might… one of the frustration is easy to recognize 13 year old Lab, that., be confused about where he is, or some gentle TLC can help too bark incessantly, can. Minutes every day MH Magazine WordPress Theme by MH Themes, my name is Dr. Winnie for calming puppies even! He could be a result of anxiety, here are some health conditions which can cause this are... Cause other problems as well as the strange-sounding bark the morning as i put him he! Using a Thundershirt or calming body wrap to provide a sense of security a dog ’ s important to dogs. Expression of this concern verbal dog behavior cues, can also be a result of anxiety! Pals ’ or ‘ out of it ’ s gotten older calming medicine, making sure he out! However, since fatty acids to the human-animal bond house ( or in the early stages of dementia ( ’. Having trouble with his eyesight, he ’ s less you can throw a blanket or comforter over years. 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For large breed dogs essential cognitive functions include: memory, awareness,,. Been increasing as she ’ s all just part-and-parcel of getting older all dogs bark for attention, ignore for! Tzu has been increasing as she ’ s sweet Bella is 10 and has hot spots and.! There are way to ‘ go ’, ignoring it will only lead to damage to human-animal. May simply bark at you can become an issue with neighbors wonder if your older dog has CDS might! Addition to verbal dog behavior cues, can also bark excessively these kinds behavior!