My Dog Has Dementia and Is An Insomniac. Help. Please.

I am writing this hoping, praying, for any advice if anyone has had this problem.  

Spencer is our 14 year old beagle.  I have had him since he was a puppy.  In the last year he hasn’t been sleeping very well.  It used to be he would wake me up in the middle of the night to take him out and I did.  Once was fine, even twice was ok, but we are now at the point where he barely sleeps.  


I have taken him to the vet and his blood work is fine, but his vision isn’t as good as it used to be.  We put night lights all around for him about 6 months ago and that helped initially, but now it is bad again.  The medication the vets have tried to calm anxiety, etc haven’t helped at all.  Does anyone know of any other homeopathic options or anything at all that has helped?  I’m more exhausted these days than when I had a new born baby.

He is still a happy dog though.  He is happy to see us.  He is very happy to eat.  He is still happy to go for a walk, so he isn’t suffering, but we are.  It is also important for him to get sleep too though.  I have tried keeping him awake most of the day and that doesn’t help at all either.

I’m open ears.  Has anyone had this experience with a dog?


  1. Jennifer LE (@runningwithpugs) | 13th Aug 14

    First of all, so many hugs to you, your family, and sweet Spencer. He is adorable.

    It is so hard when our fur-babies get old. I don’t know that I have any major advice, but I will try. Do you have a homeopathic vet near you? I do know there are a lot of human remedies that are safe for canines (but not a vet and would never presume to advise you to give Spencer anything without express DVM approval), and might help. Maybe start by researching some things online, finding things that seem to be approved and then referring back to your vet or a different vet for advice.

    Our Oscar got very restless at the end. He was mostly blind, and we believe he had limited hearing at the end (of course, if you whispered the word “bacon” he came a-scrambling from several rooms away so maybe he was just ignoring us), so that had the double effect of making him more edgy (at night) and less anxious (during thunderstorms). He would often need to go out in the middle of the night and then we had to be up at the crack of dawn to get him out again. He also had some other health issues at play (arthritis, disintegrating vertebrae and displaysia), so at a certain point, the pain management was no longer effective and we had to finally say goodbye.

    Maybe a good, old-fashioned sleeping pill is the answer. I’m sure you and your vet have had conversations about what’s going on, but if he’s in otherwise good health, not in pain and engaging with the family, eating and going to the bathroom regularly… his quality of life is still great. He’s of an age where long-term side effects of something like a sleep aid would be negligible, and it would make things more pleasant for all of you.

    Sorry that’s so rambly. Hoping that you can find the answer, and sending you lots of love.

    • Half Crazy Mama | 13th Aug 14

      Thank you so so much Jennifer. It is hard when pets get old. I feel bad that I am so frustrated because I feel bad for him. I hope we can figure out a routine that helps us all. 🙂

  2. Shayna | 14th Aug 14

    Oh poor Spencer! I don’t have any advice because I have the opposite problem with my 14 year old Lab mix. He sleeps all the time! Unfortunately he has started pottying in the house. He never used to do this! I try to take him out often but he will refuse sometimes. It’s so hard when our fur babies get older. I’m so sorry, that must be so tough! Maybe have you thought about giving him benadryl? I know that it’s safe for our doggies because they do get allergies out here. And one of the added benefits is they will be more calm and sleep. Hopefully you can find a safe homeopathic remedy for him!

    • Half Crazy Mama | 14th Aug 14

      Oh no! I wish you luck with your 14 year old too. It is so hard to make decisions just based on your gut feeling. The vet also suggested benadryl and melatonin. I keep trying one thing a night hoping one will work. Fingers crossed. Good luck 🙂

      • Shayna | 14th Aug 14

        How did Spencer do last night? Did you get any sleep?

        • Half Crazy Mama | 14th Aug 14

          He slept from 12:45- 5:45. I’ll take it. That is way better than past nights. 🙂

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