Sundown Syndrome in Dogs???

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Leah, CGC

All the Beauty- with none of the- Brains
Barked: Fri Mar 19, '10 6:17am PST 
A friends 15+ yr old 40lb mixed breed dog has been diagnosed with canine congnitive disfunction (ie doggy altheimers). She has noticied that not every evening but maybe 3/5 evening just after the sun goes down she goes into the stairwell and stairs at the wall barking! My friend is convinced this could be a dog sundown syndrome episode!! Has anyone ever experienced this with their elderly pets? Just to note she is completly deaf due to age and not currenlty being medicated for her cognitive disfunction.

If you are unfamiliar with the Sundown Symdrome Effect => click here
Tucker Max- Small Paws

Tucker Max- Protection- Agency-Pres.
Barked: Fri Mar 19, '10 6:24am PST 
Yes, I know a lady whose dog is sundowning too. He isn't very old either but he has Canine Cognitive Disfunction. He was being treated with Anipryl but it didn't really help. He stares at the walls at night and barks at nothing.

too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Fri Mar 19, '10 6:43am PST 
Wow! This is what I love about dogster. I learn things I have never heard of before. Poor dog & poor people. I hope they both get some relief.

Maggie - RIP - 1998-2010

Even senior dogs- make great new- pets.
Barked: Fri Mar 19, '10 10:35am PST 
Having a dog with canine congnitive disfunction is not always easy to deal with . My Maggie was diagnosed in Aug. We choose not to medicate either as it wasn't a cure. Maggie would be fine at first during the day but at night she would get lost in the house all the time. At times she would growl at nothing. I found that either tethering her to my side or crating her with a yummy treat for a bit helped. Once she calmed down and I could see the old Maggie return than I would let her loose again. She seemed to not mind being at my side as she was confused and craved someone to be with her at those times. I did find that I had to crate her at bedtimes due to her wondering all night and not resting. It allowed her and I to get almost a full nights sleep.

We didn't loose Maggie totally from this, but rather to her heart was starting to fail. I had to make the choice to say goodbye rather than let her suffer.

We don't- doodle!!
Barked: Sat Mar 20, '10 6:55am PST 
I had an elderly lab with it. It was amazing... he would stand in a corner and bark and bark all night long. We gave him something, I can't remember what, but it didn't help much. This was probably 25 years ago or more. I do remember talking with my vet about it and we felt it had something to do with air pressure changes.
Budrow RIP buddy

I am handsome - deal with it
Barked: Sat Mar 20, '10 7:22am PST 
I'm glad you posted the link, I had no idea what Sundown Syndrome was. shock
I learn something new everyday!

Once, when my younger sister was visiting during one of her school vacations, she said that one night she decided to stay up late and watch movies. Well, about halfway through her movie, Budrow just suddenly got up and started barking at the wall! She was a little freaked out by it.
I don't think it's happened again since then, but since I work nights, I really don't know if it has. None of the neighbors have complained of my dogs barking, so I'm asuming it hasn't. I don't think it's Sundown Syndrome, probably just an isolated incident. Weird, though.

Happy New Year!
Barked: Sat Mar 20, '10 7:38am PST 
I have heard of this in elderly dogs and even in cats too. A friend adopted an old cat who cried off and on when the sun started to go down and sometimes during the night. Her vet told her to give the cat plenty of exercise during the day (playing with some new toys, etc) and put her in a small confined crate or animal carrier at night. She did much better in the animal carrier. She kept the carrier in her bedroom at night too. Maybe when animals get old and confused they feel more secure in a small crate instead of being "lost" in a big house. And they usually want to be near their people too.

Work hard; Play- harder.
Barked: Sun Mar 21, '10 5:08am PST 
Yep. I've also seen other cognitive changes that can occur that are associated with the lunar phase (just like in people). There would be roughly a 5 day period (2 before, the day of, and 2 after) around the full moon where the CCD affected dog would have a MAJOR personality change.
Leah, CGC

All the Beauty- with none of the- Brains
Barked: Sun Mar 21, '10 12:00pm PST 
Thanks for all the responses - My friend was pretty sure this was what she was seeing but wondered if others had the same experience - Thanks for all the feedback! I am going to tell to she is not alone! CCD is a difficult diagnosis for any pet owner!

Member Since
Barked: Thu Nov 15, '12 12:26pm PST 
Absolutely. My 15 year old Shih-Tzu had Sundowner's. Just after dark he would wander around the room over and over again, taking the same path. Then he would walk around in a tight circle in one spot. It would drive me nuts. But I found that I could go over to him and cup his face in my hands and talk to him, and as soon as I got him to focus on me, he would calm down. Unfortunately, as it was with Frankie, it is my understanding that Sundowning is an end-of-life phenomenon. But we miss him.
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