My husband and I have a 13 yr old neutered fawn pug (Peanut) that I just began taking over care for from my dad. Peanut had several health issues when we got him, including two ear infections, dry eyes, severe untreated arthritis, an 'unknown' infection, terrible teeth, and badly overgrown nails just to name a few. However, something else has been bothering us. Sometimes in the middle of the night we will hear a scream, yes a scream. We were scared to death the first time, my husband jumping up and grabbing a weapon to scare away the nonexistent intruder. I had a feeling it was Peanut (he doesn't sleep with us for fear he'll fall off the bed) and one day I saw it.
He was taking a nap next too me when he started to shake. I wouldn't say it was a seizure, although it may have been, but it was more like he was running in his sleep- something he's done since he was a puppy. But this time, I noticed that his eyes were half-way open and moving rapidly- a sign he was in REM. Then all of a sudden he opened his mouth really big and screamed. That's really the only way I can describe it- a scream. I've never heard that sound from a dog before. As soon as I saw him doing that I worried he was in pain and gently began shaking him to wake him. It took much longer than usual. But when we finally woke he was normal and looking around wondering what just happened.
Has anyone ever experienced something like this? Any idea what could be causing this and/or if there's anything that can help? I will say that he seems to be doing it much less- I haven't heard him in a while- so MAYBE it was due to the stress of moving into a new home... Any comments are welcome.
I'm debating with myself whether it is the usual "chasing rabbits" dream that many of us experience. What you describe, except for the scream, certainly sounds like it. And occasionally, one of my lot will let out a screamish-like bark but I wouldn't really describe it as a full-out scream, more like a high-pitched bark. But then the mouth isn't open wide either. I would discourage you from waking him up. Let him waken naturally. It would be helpful if you could manage to get and post a video of the scream.
I'm glad you've taken him in and can see to his other health issues.
"You cannot afford to subject your animals, or your children, to medical interventions that you do not understand. The belief system upon which the conventional medical model is founded is so faulty, so corrupt and so dangerous that you simply cannot afford to follow blindly." Catherine O’Driscoll http://www.whale.to/vaccine/driscoll1.html
Hilary & the Pugpillow Gang: Rescues: Denver (10), Tina (7), Murdoch (5) and chihuahua puppy Maximus Spartacus. Always loving my angel-girl Mei-Ling (1994-2009), my cutie-patootie Kim-Soo (1995-2010), my precious Daisy-Bo (1998?-2006), my sweet boyfriend Jake (1997-2010), my little black beauty Betsy (1995-2010), my sweet old grumpy man Gooey (1996-2011), and my sweet gentleman Farnsworth (1998-2012) at the Bridge.
Phoebe has some pretty intense dreams. She has never screamed but she moans and growls and shakes; I do gently wake her up if it seems bad. I really just pet her and talk to her until she comes out of it but it can take a minute or so.
Good luck with Peanut. Maybe as Peanut becomes more comfortable to his new situation his dreams will go away.
PatriciaPV ModeratorMom to Phineas and the Fabulous Felines
And always remembering and missing Phoebe, my heart girl
"My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet..." ~ Edith Wharton
Leto is not a senior but he has a lot of dreams and flails wildly. We have heard yips, howls, moans, belches and barks, but not screams. Wally does this yawning thing; he opens his mouth so wide (think Muppet) and makes a wailing noise. Could it be a cross between the 2?
How is his breathing when he is asleep? I know people with apnea get night terrors.... Could it be a really horrific dream?
I agree with Patricia, maybe as he settles and his health improves, he won't have dreams bad enough to scream.
Heather, Mommy to skinkid Toby and furkids Sir Wally of Pugzu and Duke Leto Prancypants the Fragrant.
Also Mom to Archer the Canadian X and Willow the Paint.
Main squeeze of high school sweetie Scot.
The scream makes me wonder if they aren't seizures caused by lack of oxygen. If so, the real question is, what causes the lack? You may not be too far off base with the sleep apnea comment, if his palate or epiglottis is closing his airway in his sleep, panic and seizure will be the result.
Discuss this with a vet you trust, who knows pugs well and can give you realisitic assessment.
It might be a type of seizure. My Betty has something similar on occasion...she may also lose control of her bladder and spasm a bit. She didn't start them until she was 14 and had lost her hearing.
After doing some research on the matter I found that some people with senior dog seizures have success with liquid melatonin. Now I give her some at bedtime (and with my poor sleeping habits sometimes we share a dropper-ful) and they have reduced their frequency greatly.
Good luck with the sweetie...I LOVE the oldsters...they truly are the best!!
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My friend had one that had those kinds of seizures. They never lasted long.
Seeing this guy feeling better and better and you getting a handle on what this is!
Thanks for taking such good care of him!
Chairperson of PDCA Rescue Committee
Thanks everyone for the thoughtful comments. Peanut seems to be getting better day by day (he was actually playing tug-a-war yesterday!) We haven't heard any screams recently, so *fingers crossed* they're gone. He is such a joy to have around and I hope he still has at least a few years ahead of him~
(I'll keep you updated if the screams come back.)
My oldster, Wasabi, will be 15 in April. The first time we were woken up by his screaming was over a year ago. And yes, it's definitely a scream. He's always had vivid dreams. I've watched him "chasing rabbits" hundreds of times over the years! It's happened twice in the past year. Wasabi sleeps on our bed and I was able to reach and hold him before the screaming passed. My first thought was he's having a heart attack and that he was in excrutiating pain. The screaming lasted 3 or 4 seconds. I wrapped my arms around him (he was lying down) and I could feel his heart racing. He was breathing fast, but he was able to go back to sleep within minutes. I listened to him breath for quite a while afterwards trying to determine if he was having labored breathing, but did not hear any distress or whimpering. I described what happened to the vet. She couldn't say whether or not it was a dream or some type of pain. He hasn't had another screaming episode for a few months. But, I think it might happen again. I just hope I'm close by to make him feel better if / when it does happen. Good luck to you and Peanut.
I am not sure that this is the answer or not...but when dogs start to go deaf and that includes all breeds..help out with deaf bulldog rescue here..they will startle and scream in their sleep LOUD. sounds like they are in a panic...
turn on the light and pet them softly that usually helps..
my guess is his hearing is going and he is getting startled...and screams...
a deaf dog as a puppy and as an adult will scream in the middle of the night..my deaf bulldog does it off and on too. I tried to put on a night light but that did not help really...turning on the light and petting him worked wanders for this
A pugs world is full of play and sleep and of course good food.........