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I have an old Dalmatian, almost 16 years old and she has all of the problems one might expect. She's been checked out by the vet and he says that other than her age, she's still in decent shape, appears to be in no significant pain, still eats and drinks fine and has your typical Dalmatian energy and no sign of hip dysplasia. However, now that she's old, she has the common problem that she falls down a lot, and I mean a lot. On the order of 5-10 times an hour and the second she's down, she's screaming, 24 hours a day. She will only sleep on one couch and she has a hard time getting up there, more often than not, she falls off when she tries and then... the screaming starts. However, she refuses to allow anyone to help her, even though she will walk over and stand beside the couch and look at you, if you pick her up and put her on the couch, she will immediately jump off (and fall) and then do the same thing over and over and over again.

This is driving everyone crazy, especially me, who has to get up 6-7x per night, every single night, to pick her up, only to have to do it again 20 minutes later. We asked the vet about this, he says that it happens at this age and there isn't much we can do besides put her down if she gets too obnoxious, but she isn't in any pain, she still seems to have a decent quality of life (when she's standing up or sleeping on the couch) and I really don't want to do it if she isn't suffering. We all are though.

Any suggestions?
 

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Wow. I hope when I'm elderly, if I fall and can't get up without help the people who are supposed to love and care about me don't consider me obnoxious. Dogs who scream when they fall are usually in pain.

I'd consult with another vet who doesn't label this behavior obnoxious and can perhaps offer you some options.
 

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Wow. I hope when I'm elderly, if I fall and can't get up without help the people who are supposed to love and care about me don't consider me obnoxious. Dogs who scream when they fall are usually in pain.

I'd consult with another vet who doesn't label this behavior obnoxious and can perhaps offer you some options.
If you've never heard a Dalmatian bark, that's what they sound like. She's just barking to get attention.
 

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I have an old Dalmatian, almost 16 years old and she has all of the problems one might expect. She's been checked out by the vet and he says that other than her age, she's still in decent shape, appears to be in no significant pain, still eats and drinks fine and has your typical Dalmatian energy and no sign of hip dysplasia. However, now that she's old, she has the common problem that she falls down a lot, and I mean a lot. On the order of 5-10 times an hour and the second she's down, she's screaming, 24 hours a day. She will only sleep on one couch and she has a hard time getting up there, more often than not, she falls off when she tries and then... the screaming starts. However, she refuses to allow anyone to help her, even though she will walk over and stand beside the couch and look at you, if you pick her up and put her on the couch, she will immediately jump off (and fall) and then do the same thing over and over and over again.

This is driving everyone crazy, especially me, who has to get up 6-7x per night, every single night, to pick her up, only to have to do it again 20 minutes later. We asked the vet about this, he says that it happens at this age and there isn't much we can do besides put her down if she gets too obnoxious, but she isn't in any pain, she still seems to have a decent quality of life (when she's standing up or sleeping on the couch) and I really don't want to do it if she isn't suffering. We all are though.

Any suggestions?
A big, fluffy dog bed that she can't fall off? Take the cushions off the couch, and put them on the floor beside the couch?

Dogs do get dementia, so maybe that's also what's going on with her.

I second @Grabby's suggestion that a second vet opinion might be in order.
 

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Are your floors carpeted? If not maybe get some throw rugs or runners, or I've used yoga mats too. My dog has some serious muscle weakness going on in her back and a limp to boot but giving her some traction allows her to get up from the floor just fine.

If she falls off the couch attempting to get up can you keep her off? Get her a big thick bed and maybe she'll learn to deal? I've put up baby gates to keep mine off the stairs. She knows better than to attempt the couch though.

I also would find another vet. Not for the remark about obnoxious behavior but for the lack of suggestions to help her and blowing off of this as a problem.
 

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Something like Rimadyl may help, it did help with my elderly boy when he started having a lot of problems with arthritis. He got to the point that he'd try to stand but have trouble getting his footing. If the arthritis is not to bad then something like Cytel-M may help, it has great reviews on helping people and dogs with arthritis.

For the couch there's a few things you can try. One is a ramp, make sure it's sturdy, is not to steep, and preferably has rails on the side to keep her from stepping off the side accidentally. Another is a step, it'll help her to not have jump up n the couch. Make sure that the step is not to narrow or it will defeat the purpose and likely make it harder to get up their and not easier. The last thing to try is her own bed that's low to the floor. If you make it extra comfy and put a shirt that you have worn in it she's likely to favor it over the couch since it'll be just as comfortable and will still have your scent in it, they make dog beds that are slightly off the floor and are shaped like a human bed.
 

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Are your floors carpeted? If not maybe get some throw rugs or runners, or I've used yoga mats too. My dog has some serious muscle weakness going on in her back and a limp to boot but giving her some traction allows her to get up from the floor just fine.

If she falls off the couch attempting to get up can you keep her off? Get her a big thick bed and maybe she'll learn to deal? I've put up baby gates to keep mine off the stairs. She knows better than to attempt the couch though.

I also would find another vet. Not for the remark about obnoxious behavior but for the lack of suggestions to help her and blowing off of this as a problem.

I wish carpet would have worked when I had my old boy but he insisted on sleeping on the linoleum, and he'd have the hardest time standing up, he was blind and couldn't see to attempt getting on the couch.
 

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I am very sad that your vet would use the words "put her down if she gets too obnoxious". But what's done is done as far as that goes.

I would second trying to get her a big, super comfy dog bed. Maybe feed her outrageously delicious treats on the bed so she recognizes it's the best place to be?

I wonder if boots would help her not slip and fall so much?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
A big, fluffy dog bed that she can't fall off? Take the cushions off the couch, and put them on the floor beside the couch?

Dogs do get dementia, so maybe that's also what's going on with her.

I second @Grabby's suggestion that a second vet opinion might be in order.
But if you put her on the floor, she's unable to get up at all, she has zero strength in her back legs, if she goes down, she's staying down until someone comes by and picks her up and there we go with the endless barking again. We've tried putting down blankets, she has one of those big sheepskin dog beds that she's never really used, she hates being down low.

And yes, she absolutely has mental issues, she's confused a lot of the time, even when she's on her feet, she just wanders around aimlessly. I'm sure that's a good portion of her problem.

She also has seen other vets. Even though she's had one primary vet since she was 8-weeks old, they're in an office where there are multiple vets and they've all taken a look at her and have basically the same opinions.
 

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I am very sad that your vet would use the words "put her down if she gets too obnoxious". But what's done is done as far as that goes.

I would second trying to get her a big, super comfy dog bed. Maybe feed her outrageously delicious treats on the bed so she recognizes it's the best place to be?

I wonder if boots would help her not slip and fall so much?
It isn't traction, it's leg strength. She has virtually none in her back legs. When she goes down on the ground, there's no way she can get up because she is unable to lift herself, that's why she calls for help. And no, the vet didn't use those words but that's really what it comes down to, that there's nothing they can do for her and things will only get worse as time goes on.
 

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But if you put her on the floor, she's unable to get up at all, she has zero strength in her back legs, if she goes down, she's staying down until someone comes by and picks her up and there we go with the endless barking again. We've tried putting down blankets, she has one of those big sheepskin dog beds that she's never really used, she hates being down low.
It sounds like it doesn't really matter where she is, if she's down she can't get up, is that right?

Someone suggested a raised dog bed, maybe that's your best bet?
 

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Something like Rimadyl may help, it did help with my elderly boy when he started having a lot of problems with arthritis. He got to the point that he'd try to stand but have trouble getting his footing. If the arthritis is not to bad then something like Cytel-M may help, it has great reviews on helping people and dogs with arthritis.

For the couch there's a few things you can try. One is a ramp, make sure it's sturdy, is not to steep, and preferably has rails on the side to keep her from stepping off the side accidentally. Another is a step, it'll help her to not have jump up n the couch. Make sure that the step is not to narrow or it will defeat the purpose and likely make it harder to get up their and not easier. The last thing to try is her own bed that's low to the floor. If you make it extra comfy and put a shirt that you have worn in it she's likely to favor it over the couch since it'll be just as comfortable and will still have your scent in it, they make dog beds that are slightly off the floor and are shaped like a human bed.
She has no arthritis, we checked. We were given a prescription for pain killers, she took them, but they never had any effect because I don't think she's in any real pain.

A ramp won't work either. We have a couple of steps down into the back yard and she just leaps off the top step like she did when she was a puppy, only now she falls because she never learns (Dalmatians are just big puppies forever after all). I built a ramp down and then she'd just leap off the top, hit the ramp and roll or slide to the bottom. It was far more dangerous than anything else so I took it out. She's not good with ramps.
 

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Has she ever been crate trained? A crate or something similar, like a pen in a bedroom, may at least keep her down for the night so that you can get some sleep.

I guess beyond that it comes down to if she's happy even with her falls, and if you are willing to put up with picking her up when she needs it.

I lost two of my dogs last year and it is a hard decision to make, but I know if this was their only issue, I'd rather be 'inconvenienced' than have lost them forever. And I was, for awhile, before their illnesses became too much, their quality of life was gone, and I had to do what was best for them.

There are harnesses dogs can wear that make it easier to hold onto them - it may make it easier for you to pick her up, and help her support her weight when she's needing to walk or go down stairs. You could always try and see if she's fine wearing one of those.

You may find if you can sleep through the night, you'll feel less frustrated and it will be easier to "put up with" her issues. So I'd suggest trying to find a solution for that, first.

At the end of the day, though, it's your call.
 

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Has she ever been crate trained? A crate or something similar, like a pen in a bedroom, may at least keep her down for the night so that you can get some sleep.

I guess beyond that it comes down to if she's happy even with her falls, and if you are willing to put up with picking her up when she needs it.

I lost two of my dogs last year and it is a hard decision to make, but I know if this was their only issue, I'd rather be 'inconvenienced' than have lost them forever. And I was, for awhile, before their illnesses became too much, their quality of life was gone, and I had to do what was best for them.

There are harnesses dogs can wear that make it easier to hold onto them - it may make it easier for you to pick her up, and help her support her weight when she's needing to walk or go down stairs. You could always try and see if she's fine wearing one of those.

You may find if you can sleep through the night, you'll feel less frustrated and it will be easier to "put up with" her issues. So I'd suggest trying to find a solution for that, first.

At the end of the day, though, it's your call.
Yes, she was crate trained but I no longer have her crate, she hasn't been in it in more than a decade. She just doesn't want to stay down for long, she may sleep for a couple of hours, but otherwise, she's up and down constantly, I don't know that she'll stay still, Dalmatians are full of energy all the time, they're puppies forever, it just isn't in her nature.

I wouldn't say if she was in pain but she's not. I wouldn't say if she wasn't eating but she is. I wouldn't say if she had a bad quality of life but she's still active and loving and happy, except that her back legs don't work like they used to. I don't want to put her down to make my life easier, only if her life is no longer worth living but that's just not what I see, but the fact that nobody in the house is getting a good night's sleep because she's incapable of just laying down and sleeping through the night is making everyone frustrated. If she'd just lay down on the floor and sleep when she falls at 2am. And 2:15am. And 2:45am. And 3:05am. And 3:30am. And on and on and on, but she won't. Yeah, it's my choice but I'm at least seeing if anyone has any options before I have to make it.
 

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Yes, she was crate trained but I no longer have her crate, she hasn't been in it in more than a decade. She just doesn't want to stay down for long, she may sleep for a couple of hours, but otherwise, she's up and down constantly, I don't know that she'll stay still, Dalmatians are full of energy all the time, they're puppies forever, it just isn't in her nature.

I wouldn't say if she was in pain but she's not. I wouldn't say if she wasn't eating but she is. I wouldn't say if she had a bad quality of life but she's still active and loving and happy, except that her back legs don't work like they used to. I don't want to put her down to make my life easier, only if her life is no longer worth living but that's just not what I see, but the fact that nobody in the house is getting a good night's sleep because she's incapable of just laying down and sleeping through the night is making everyone frustrated. If she'd just lay down on the floor and sleep when she falls at 2am. And 2:15am. And 2:45am. And 3:05am. And 3:30am. And on and on and on, but she won't. Yeah, it's my choice but I'm at least seeing if anyone has any options before I have to make it.

Was that always her sleep pattern or is it something new?

My old boy developed canine cognative dysfunction, it's also known as sun downers, and it's like alzheimer in dogs. The reason it's known as sun downers is that a lot of dogs that have it seem worse at night, they cannot settle. My boy used to pace aimlessly at night, unable to settle down till he pretty much stopped due to being unable to continue because he was exhausted.

Some of the other things you'd notice if she has it would be if she's "forgetting" known commands, the ones she'd do reliable every time you gave them. Going into a room and getting "lost" or wandering into a corner and doing the same thing. Forgetting house training. There are other symptoms. CDSInDogs If it's that there are some things you can do, and some medicines to try. I managed it without medicine since my boy wasn't unmanageable and even to night time pacing wasn't to bad although it could get annoying as heck at times.

Just noticed that the link seems to be a sneaky ad for one of the medicines that help with CDS, but the check list they provide on it may help you determine if you dog has it, just ignore the push to use the medicine!

Here's a much better link for it :) http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/09/18/cognitive-dysfunction-syndrome.aspx
 
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Was that always her sleep pattern or is it something new?

My old boy developed canine cognative dysfunction, it's also known as sun downers, and it's like alzheimer in dogs. The reason it's known as sun downers is that a lot of dogs that have it seem worse at night, they cannot settle. My boy used to pace aimlessly at night, unable to settle down till he pretty much stopped due to being unable to continue because he was exhausted.

Some of the other things you'd notice if she has it would be if she's "forgetting" known commands, the ones she'd do reliable every time you gave them. Going into a room and getting "lost" or wandering into a corner and doing the same thing. Forgetting house training. There are other symptoms. CDSInDogs If it's that there are some things you can do, and some medicines to try. I managed it without medicine since my boy wasn't unmanageable and even to night time pacing wasn't to bad although it could get annoying as heck at times.

Just noticed that the link seems to be a sneaky ad for one of the medicines that help with CDS, but the check list they provide on it may help you determine if you dog has it, just ignore the push to use the medicine!

Here's a much better link for it :) 9-Step Plan to Fight Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in Pets
This is a natural sleep pattern for a Dalmatian, they are a naturally high-energy breed, always active, always wanting to be in the middle of everything that's going on. She's slowed down some, obviously, she's taking longer naps than she used to but she has never slept for a long time. In fact, she's probably never slept through the night but she's been able to get up, go eat and drink, wander around and then go back to sleep without help. Now she can't.
 

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That link by Rain is excellent! Not the one with the ad, but the Mercola one. :D

The 9-step plan that is mentioned on the page header was confusing until I got down to about the middle of the page, where the bullet points are. It's the 6th bullet point that applies to OP's situation, and it looks like melatonin might be of use in her poor dog's case. It was strangely hard to find an informative page that didn't push the viewer to purchase something, but this one seems to be the best. The site gives dosage recommendations and the various conditions that melatonin helps, including restlessness and anxiety. The best part is, like a lot of supplements, the human formulation is safe for dogs.
 
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