We've had our JRT since he was 6 weeks old- he is the last of our grown, married daughters childhood dogs so he is a special guy to us. He is 15 years old now.
His overall body is in terrific shape in that he still runs and has no arthritis and is on no medicine other than heartworm pills. He has severe cataracts and he can't hear worth a damn; if we clap our hands he turns and comes. His nose still works- he loves to go mousing in the barn. He clings to my husband who works from home. "Micro" is by Mr. SLW's side all day and into the evening until we go to bed- my husband is nothing short of Micro's "Seeing Eye person".
The issue has been building. Micro doesn't want to sleep in a bed in our bedroom, he sleeps 25' away in a dog bed in the den....until sometime starting around 2:00 a.m. when he comes back to our room and whines. I'll get up and encourage him to sleep in the dog bed in our room but he won't. He'll go back up front and then come back and hour later and whine. He repeats that until we get up. Also, we'll let him go out to tinkle but lot's of time he doesn't want to go outside, he stands there. It use to be a once a night whine visit but now it is the second half of the night. There are cats up front in the den with him so he isn't alone in that sense.
Sometimes my husband has gotten up and slept on the couch to keep Micro company, when he seems the most angst. Is this angst on Micro's part? Are there sleeping pills our vet might prescribe if no other problems are present?? Micro doesn't do this during the daytime, just at night. And yes, we leave a light on in the den so he can see the shadows that he does due to his cataracts.
I am calling my vet tomorrow and will take him in. Mostly looking for others experiences with something similar.
Could be just the effects of aging on his mind; given long enough, most dogs have temperament quirks which develop in old age. If there is any way to humor him and comfort him as much as you can, I think you will be glad you did when the time comes to say goodbye. I would not give him anything to make him sleep even if he were a younger dog, but esp. not at his age. There is a chance he will come out of this new habit and return to his old ways. Let's hope so.
My sister's 13ish Yorkie does this - gets up in the middle of the night crying, wants to go downstairs, go outside, and it seems like he doesn't really have to pee, more that he wants her up and with him. He also has some vision loss, and is possibly a little senile. He seems to have gotten a bit better lately, as she's been able to spend more time with him during the day - previously, she had worked very, very long hours and the dog spent most of his day sleeping. I think he then would wake in the middle of the night, and get lonely/disoriented, and want her to start going about a daily routine. Also, I think older animals often get disturbed sleep patterns, and probably want their owners awake and around to comfort them.
Melatonin will help them sleep. But given his age, check with your vet about it before giving it. You can get it at grocery stores/drug stores in the supplement aisle or sleep aid aisle. Dosage for dogs is normally 1 mg per 20 lbs. It is normally very safe, however do at least just call your vet and verify he thinks that he is ok getting it at his age.
Be aware that it comes in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 mg pills.
Dogs can get canine dementia, and it will seem worse at night.