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Senior Not Sleeping, And Nobody Else Is Either-Help!


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It has been awhile since I posted, and a lot has changed. We lost my Diesel to pancreatic cancer in July and it has been a difficult time. I never in a million years would have thought Lucy was close to him, but she can not be left alone at all. So, now my 15 yo girlie goes to work with us everyday. She is incontinent, blind, deaf, and had multiple strokes, weak back end and a vestibular incident and seems to think that she is not ready to go. She recovers from whatever is disturbing her this week and gets it together, and for the most part seems happy. She sleeps part of the day sometimes all day at the shop and then of course won't sleep at night when the humans are trying to sleep. I can't really excercise her or walk her, as she does not make it far-but I think in the last week both dh and I have the luxury of about 3 hours of sleep per night. If I put pjs on her she is too hot, if I don't put pjs on her she is too cold. If I turn off the light she freaks out because she can't see, if I turn on the night light it bothers her. I tried walking her tonight and made it to the end of the block before her back end drooped and she couldn't go anymore and I carried her home. I'm crabby with a capital K, my dh is grumpy and loopy and it is effecting our work. I'm at my wits end and I don't know what to do. I've tried crating and she wails, no crating and she slips and falls or bumps into the walls. On her good days she greets everyone at the store, gets her rubs and gums her cookies-so she still is enjoying food and things-but I am at a loss for what to do to help her at night. ANy ideas are greatly appreciated.

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Have you tried melatonin? For a greyhound, I'd start with 3 - 6 mg about an hour before bedtime.

 

If no results with the melatonin, talk to your vet about trying Valium or Xanax at bedtime.

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Guest grey_dreams

Agree that melatonin would be worth trying. Not so sure about valium, and many animals can have a bad reaction to xanax. We've used Zylkene with really great success, better than I was even hoping for, to relieve stress. I gave it to all my animals in the weeks before we flew from Amsterdam to Chicago. They did very well with the flight. I've even taken it myself, and it does work.

 

Zylkene is a small protein that is isolated from milk. Unfortunately, I found that Zylkene is only sold in Europe for now. I think it's something to do with patent laws. Here is the Zylkene website

http://www.zylkene.co.uk/ For a greyhound, you would want the 450 mg dosage.

 

There is another version that is available in the US that is produced by Biotics Research, and it should be the same (the same smalll protein extracted from milk), but I haven't tried it yet. It's sold on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Biotics-Research-De-Stress-30-Caps/dp/B001PYULHC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352447516&sr=8-1&keywords=zylkene

 

I know how hard it can be with a sick friend and only getting at most 3 hours of sleep. Sending a lot of love to Lucy, and I hope you can find a way to help her sleep so that you can get the rest you need.

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Sorry to hear about your loss, and Lucy's loss, too. They do grieve, and it seems the older they are, the deeper they grieve. :(

 

If there is any possibility of your getting a second dog, I think that's your best bet. It's worked for two of our grieving oldies now - sure, they take a few days to accept the new one as a companion, but it's worked like magic for us. Mine didn't keep us up, but they'd continually ask to go out (like, every half hour) to stand mournfully staring at the ground in the garden, and then want to come in, and then want to go back out, as if they were searching for the lost one.

 

Other than that, you say she's too hot with jammies, too cold without them, so why not try a very lightweight PJ shirt? We have these from Equafleece and they're really enough in my centrally heated home, in my opinion.

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:nod >>howabout you & dh sleep apart and alternate with her>>

 

Also, although you will find it hard to be thinking about it, you are moving into 'no blame letting go territory'

 

A vet wrote this in their book:

 

When Considering Euthanasia ask yourself these questions:

1) Is the dog free of distress, pain or discomfort, and could the pain be controlled?

2) Can the dog walk and balance fairly well?

3) Can the dog eat and drink without vomiting?

4) Is the dog free of inoperable tumours which are painful?

5) Can the dog breathe without difficulty?

6) Can the dog urinate or defecate without difficulty or incontinence?

7) Does the dog have an owner who is able to cope physically and

mentally with any nursing that may be needed?

 

If treatment is not possible then answering 'No' to any of those questions means there is no blame in having the dog put to sleep.

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Thank you John for posting what I'm sure many of us are thinking.

 

Just reading the first sentence of the OP would have made my decision for me. I have a FATHER who could be described the same way right now--and with all of our hearts my entire family wish we could release him peacefully from what has become a prison--his failed body.

 

Best of luck to you and your whole family with whatever you do. I have no suggestions that might help.


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Guest SueG201

I have an almost 14 yr old greyhound that was waking me up every 2 wks twitching and running in her sleep on my bed. I give her one 3 mg of melatonin everynight and it has helped a lot. Best of luck, it is not fun being sleep deprived

 

PS I have no idea why I have lines under my statement

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Guest grey_dreams

... and seems to think that she is not ready to go. She recovers from whatever is disturbing her this week and gets it together, and for the most part seems happy. ... On her good days she greets everyone at the store, gets her rubs and gums her cookies-so she still is enjoying food and things ...

 

The only determinant for me is if they are ready to go or not. Obviously the OP knows Lucy best, and perceives that Lucy feels she is not ready.

 

I had a cat that lived to be 25. During the final years, she was unable to do anything anymore, and I helped her with everything. She was happy and not ready to leave. It was a lot of work and not much sleep for me, but for me there was no question. She was such a special soul.

 

I hope you can find a way to help Lucy during this time, and that will help you too.

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I sympathize. We went through the same thing with Mimi. It's totally exhausting. Have you tried Benadryl before bed?

 

I'd do it all over again though to have her back.

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We just got a lightweight sleep shirt from Downtownhoundz, and it's brilliant.

 

We also use small down throws acquired from Overstock.com. The nice thing is that they're light enough to be unimposing and maneuverable, warm but not hot, and the dog can always stick a leg out to cool off, kick it off themselves, etc. (Spencer usually has it in front of himself by morning and is using it to keep his feet and ears warm.) Here's the link to what we got a year ago; it's out of stock now, but you can put your email addy to be notified if they get it back, and it gives you an idea of what's possible (washability, size, etc.):

http://www.overstock.com/Bedding-Bath/Microfiber-Premium-Down-Throws-Set-of-2/5615629/product.html

 

You might consider a complete thyroid check, as those hormones tend to reduce with age and cause problems such as flipping of the sleep/wake cycle, increased feelings of insecurity, cognitive problems, etc. etc. On the other hand, a dog already on supplementation may need the dosage reduced in older age.

 

We've used the one-of-us-sleeps-with-the-dogs approach, alternating nights when possible, to good effect when we've needed to. No sense in both of you being awake all the time. Good luck, and keep us posted.

Mary with Jumper Jack (2/17/11) and angels Shane (PA's Busta Rime, 12/10/02 - 10/14/16) and Spencer (Dutch Laser, 11/25/00 - 3/29/13).

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I appreciate all the input. While digging through the cupboards last night looking for melatonin, I found Diesel's tramadol and we all slept. :) Amazing what a little rest will do for a person and a dog. We do have a redbone coonhound that is 5 now, so Lucy is not alone at home. She can't stay in the kennel with the hound during the day because Sally will bowl her over and I am afraid she will get hurt. I think in my sleep deprived desperation some of you have the wrong idea about Lucy's condition. For 15 she is great, but she is incontinent which is frustrating and really frustrating when you are exhausted, late for work and step in it when not 3 minutes ago you took miss stubborn britches outside for 20 minutes...

 

Anyway, we will give the melatonin a shot. I know it didn't work for fireworks, but it might work for sleeping...and if that isn't the answer I can call the vet. :) Drugs had never been a thought in my head....but she did sleep last night. The biggest problem is that she is restless and confused at night and keeps wandering/falling ect. I can't figure out a way to wear her out when I am at work, since I am waiting on customers and cough cough working. When we split up and try to sleep separate, one dog or another is disturbed and there is running back and forth down the hall and again nobody gets any sleep. I know you are thinking...just close the door-but it is a very long and boring story where there is no door on the bedroom and thus no quiet. There isn't anyway to put a door on the bedroom right now either, so it is all about getting Lucy comfortable and trying to help with her disorientation at night. She had the vestibular incident about a month before Diesel passed, ad the vet talked me into giving her 3 days to recover. We did bloodwork and the diagnoses from the vet was she is a 15 year old greyhound. :) And, for pajamas, she has multiple pairs in fleece and tshirt weight. Tshirt weight is often too hot for her, and naked is too cold. I put a blanket on her and she kicks it off and then is cold, so I am frustrated trying to figure out how to make her comfortable so she can sleep at night so that we can too.She still loves greeting people, getting scritches and eating. I just want her comfortable so we can all get some sleep.

 

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Guest undergreysspell

Was just wondering if she might be uncomfortable or in any pain at night and that's why the tramadol helped her rest ? I give my 14yo a gabapentin before bed and it really helps him sleep.

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Guest grey_dreams

I can't figure out a way to wear her out when I am at work ...

 

Lucy is still a beauty :heart One possible way to engage her and drain some energy while at work might be to use a food-puzzle-toy. If you could put some pieces of kibble, or if you feed kibble, then maybe put her whole dinner inside one of those puzzle toys where she has to work it to get the kibble to fall out. That might help.

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Guest grandmagrey

What a beauty Lucy is! I would bet she still grieves and the night is the hardest time for all who grieve. I hope you find something to help. We've had good luck w xanax and no luck w melatonin for anxiety.

Kathy

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Guest sireltonsmom

Sweet Lucy. Our Sir Elton had a TIA in August. He's 14 and generally in good health. The occasional accidents, the confusion, the anxiety are new since then. We feel for him. the Gabapentin at night works wonders for relaxing him and letting him (and us) get the needed sleep. We only use it when we know he's anxious. I hope you consult your vet as you may need a lot of different meds to control the various symptoms. My boy is on 3 rx and Traumeel for pain. We keep vigil for when it's time for him to be released. Not yet . Kiss your sweet girl and we hope she can get some relief. This is no fun for her either, is it.

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What about Benadryl? I had a dog who was 18. I was up every 2 hours at night for a year. Vet said try Benadryl. It increased the sleep to 6 hours.

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Thank you for all the positive advice, it helped. Lucy has been resting at night and so have we. She passed away peacefully this afternoon. I think being able to rest gave her the calm she had been looking for.

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