Poor Little Doge

I dropped Stewie (my 12yo Jack Russell mix) at the vet this morning. In the past week he’s had several nights where he’s been having what I would call anxiety attacks in the middle of the night.


I talked to the vet at the end of last week when it started and they suggested Benadryl to help zonk him out a bit, and hopefully it would pass. While he’s always been kind of a high energy, anxious type of dog (because JRT) he’s never done anything like this before. Poor guy wakes me up in the middle of the night trembling from head to toe, panting and cowering. Sometimes I’ve been able to get him to settle back down, but other times not so much. By morning he’s okay again. One night last week the Benadryl worked, then over the weekend it didn’t.

That time I tossed a treat at Quinn and he didn’t notice when it landed on his back. Stewie noticed…

Sunday night he woke me up at 1 and neither of us ever went back to sleep. A few hours were consumed with me googling this, reading about other people and dogs who have had this same problem. Stewie has been fairly normal during the day, and sleeps for most of it. That makes one of us. Luckily Monday was a good day and he was 100% normal, and slept through the night just fine with the assistance of more Benadryl (thank god, because I was so tired I was asleep before 9). Last night though he woke me up again at 3.

He’s been my best bro for all 12 of his years

All I could think the other night while I was trying to get him to settle was “I have no idea how people have babies. Who could do this for like a year straight without jumping off a cliff? And at least the dog isn’t screaming in my ear, he’s just sitting here vibrating.”. On the plus side, I’ve had so much extra reading time (in the middle of the night) that I’ve finished 3 books since last week.


So I dropped Stewie at the vet this morning (with an entire page of handwritten notes and a day by day record, because Crazy Dog Mom) to get a thorough checkup. Hopefully they can come up with an explanation and/or send him home with some drugs so that we can keep this from happening again. They didn’t seem particularly alarmed and said this was actually pretty common (google agreed). But poor dude, I feel so bad for him. It makes me sad to see him like that and be unsuccessful in all of my attempts to help him. I’ve been trying to deny the fact that he’s getting old, but little things have slowly been cropping up over the past year. 😦 Fingers crossed we can get this one figured out.

44 thoughts on “Poor Little Doge

  1. My old corgi started doing this at age 14. Scared the crap out of me. Thankfully I’m married to a vet and can make his ears bleed without having to pay for it. It started out just at night but eventually he got really bad with episodes during the day too. We put him on seizure meds and he was back to normal overnight. I had my dog back!

    We had hoped it was just dementia setting in which the hubs says can be a cause. Unfortunately for us he had a brain tumor causing it.

    I hope your guy has dog senility and can find some rest with some good meds.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. they have puppy xanax!! i hope they figure out what the old man has going on. Is there any new noise in your neighborhood? Alfie could hear a siren going from 20 miles away or a storm brewing and his anxiety would go into overdrive. A blind dog sitting on your head is not fun while trembling (the dog not me)

        Poor Stewie (and poor you!)

        Keep us posted…


        1. I can’t figure out anything that has changed. If anything, the GSD is a lot more noise sensitive/fearful than Stewie is, and she hasn’t batted an eye. He’s not even scared of storms. It’s really bizarre, mostly in how suddenly it started.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. i wonder if he is having mini seizures? Again meds for that. I hope they figure it out. And my vets always laugh at me cause i literally bring in pages of instructions and records etc when i drop my dogs off for any testing etc 🙂


            1. It looks exactly like what he does when he rides in the car. Starts as typical anxious vibrating, then after a while he starts panting heavily. I was able to get him calmed down a few times, but aside from once, it never lasted more than half an hour. As soon as it’s time to get up and go outside and get the day going, he jumps right up, tail wagging, playing with his toys.


  2. My vizsla did the same thing, starting when she was only 7 and it ended up developing into extreme anxiety and almost anything would set her off into a shaking fit (like when it rained, laughter, slamming a door too loudly etc). It was over a year later that she started to develop a pot-belly and she was only then diagnosed with cushings which was described by my vet as a chemical imbalance that can keep the dog in a constant state of stress and fear. We have since medicated her for the cushings and the anxiety went away. It may be a long shot for your guy, but it is cheap and easy to test for and may be worth ruling out. Hope it gets figured out soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i just emailed Amanda saying his insulin might be off (My schnauzer started out with cushings and ended up with diabetes and did similar stuff). I hope the figure it out and it is something fixable, cheap and easy. And if not that then fixable, expensive and hard but just fixable is important!!


      1. The vet just called and said the initial basic exam looked fine (teeth good, heart and lungs sound good, etc) so they’re about to pull blood work and test urine.


  3. Fingers crossed they can figure out something to help him! Also kind of glad I’m not the only neurotic dog mom on the planet. My vets probably cringe when they see my name on the caller ID.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Can confirm the puppy Xanax. Scarlette is on Clomicalm, primarily for her “aggression”, but really because she’s just bat shit crazy and it’s getting worse with age. It helps with anxiety and OCD behaviors, so she chills out about things (no more thunderstorm anxiety) and has stopped licking the walls. Mostly. She has tremors in her hinds, but that’s more muscle atrophy from joint pain. She needs to go to Henny’s rehab facility and beef up.


    1. Our 15 year old rat terrier who passed away in December (we adopted her in 2014) had seizures starting last May. They SUCK and they are so scary and horrible. I tried to prepare myself by watching a few on youtube so I would know what to look for, but ugh. She was on Zonisamide for the last 6 months of her life & that stuff really did work.

      Hugs to you Amanda! Also in Central Texas, we have a lot of great vets here.


  5. Poor Stewie! (and you!) I hope you get some answers soon and they have some cheap drugs to help. I’ve been trying to manage my dogs seizures this past year and it’s heartbreaking when dogs are upset/in pain and don’t understand. Sending good vibes!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Poor guy! I hope the vet can get him figured out. It could be dementia setting in, or possibly he has started having seisures. Both of these issues can typically be taken care of with meds and the dogs are back to normal quickly. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dog anxiety is the worst, I am dealing with it with my GSD. She went from typical GSD anxiety to full blown nut case after we moved to PA. Put her on Prozac but couldn’t deal with the side effects. And it takes a month to wean them on/off any dose so it takes forever. She is now started on Clomipramine and hopefully we will see an improvement. Good luck, better living through pharmaceuticals!


  8. I’m so glad you posted about this. Reef has been having weird anxiety at night recently, too. Mostly, he is asleep, hears some noise on the street (or maybe in his head) and wakes up in full panic barking mode. Sometimes he kinda whines and whimpers after he barks. Lately, it’s been one or two loud barks and hubby and I both jump out of bed and he calms down again quickly. The other night we were sitting on the couch and he was trembling, so I hugged him and that seemed to help, he sleeps in his own bed, so I don’t know if he is trembling at night, but I let him sleep in bed with us last night and while he did growl under his breath, he didn’t bark or tremble while he was in bed with us. My dog trainer said some dogs go through a fear phase when they are 1-2 years maybe, and he’s in that age so hopefully it is just a phase.
    I didn’t think to google anything because I didn’t really know how, or what it would bring up. I hope you get some answers and/or something to manage it for Stewie.


  9. Oh, I feel your pain. Our dogs ARE our children. If anybody is puking, limping, pooping weird, or just a bit off, I am the caretaker, runner to the vet, and Rx doler outer. Fortunately my husband loves the exercising part. I don’t think I could have handled being a “single mom.” Hopefully Stewie’s issue is an easy one to resolve.


  10. I went through this with my just recently passed 17-year-old dog. She definitely had dementia and for the past four months or so she just was awful at night. No one in the house was sleeping and everyone was miserable. We tried a few things and what actually worked the best for her was Melatonin. I ordered the dog one for her from Amazon (supposedly chewable but she didn’t like the taste) and within a week or so of taking them she was much much better at night.

    She still did not sleep the whole night through, but when she was up it was just a bit of gentle pacing, not full blown panic. I did cover every inch of available wood on the floor of my room with dog beds or rugs because I could not stand the clicking claws.

    The other drug we did experiment a bit with was Tramadol, and while it did help, I was not comfortable keeping her on such a high dose of it all the time.

    It’s not easy and we had definitely adapted our lives around her senility, but I did not begrudge her one bit of it! Good luck with your pup.


  11. That’s a tough one. What a cute little guy too! They do make”brain diets” for dogs that are starting to have cognitive changes as well.

    I am currently dealing with my senior Dane, and she is breaking my heart. She will be 11 next month, but I wish I could keep her longer. There are days were she goes to get up and her back legs won’t work, so I have to help carry her to the door. Which is really hard to do when you’re kind of crippled yourself.

    Hang in there. Hopefully the vet will get you some answers, and you will have your happy little guy back to sleeping normally.


  12. I’m so sorry, that’s so hard to deal with. My dog has more than her fair share of separation anxiety, and we have some calming treats that help with it, but she’s never woken us up with it. That seems scary. I hope the vet is able to pinpoint something that can be treated with drugs!


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