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Avatar universal

Dog moaning while just lying down

Hi, I have a ten year old black lab/springer spaniel.  About two months ago she started moaning a lot while she was just lying down.  Sometimes it is loud enough to wake us up at night.  It really does sound like she is in pain, and she is not the type of dog to ever whine or cry, she is very tough.  Prior to this, the only time she has ever cried from pain was when I accidentally closed the door on her tail.  It's not a constant moan, but somewhat frequent throughout the night or in the evening when we are watching tv.  

While upright she appears fine and not in pain, she plays and runs as much as usual, so much so that people still think she is a puppy even though she is over ten.  

I've been to the vet probably ten times in the past six weeks or so.  She's had multiple xrays to see if she's swallowed anything and to check her organs.  Everything looked fine in the xrays, the vet said the 'wall' of her liver may appear a bit thin (I believe that was the wording used).  She has had all her blood work done and everything came back fine.  

Of note, she had pancreatitis when she was younger and the test for that came back fine.  They also did a liver function test where she fasted, had blood work, ate, then later had blood work taken again and it was fine.  

Her joints all seem fine when the vet works them, just in case, we started Cartophen injections just over 4 weeks ago and have not seen any improvement yet, so thinking it does not have to do with joint pain.  

As per food, nothing has changed, she has been on Medi-cal gastro from the vet since she was about four.  In case it was a 'bad' bag that started it, I bought another bag with a different production code on it and started that, no change.

Any advice anyone else has or if you have experienced a similar problem thank you for the help.
180 Responses
675347 tn?1365464245
COMMUNITY LEADER
I may be far off the mark here, but could she be dreaming?
My dog makes the strangest noises when dreaming sometimes: howling/yipping/ and sometimes letting out a long moan which sounds terrible. I don't normally wake her from a dream, but if on the odd occasion she does wake, she is always her normal self.

That's just a thought. It may not be that at all.
82861 tn?1333457511
Since your vet did a very thorough workup, my guess is this is a frustrated dog dreaming out loud.  I had a dog very like yours who started howling in her sleep around the same age.  Very scary stuff there!  

As it turned out, she needed proper exercise outside her own territory.  Once I started a daily walking program, she calmed right down and we all slept in silence again.  If you already walk your dog daily, you may need to add an extra one.  Can't hurt - might help!
675347 tn?1365464245
COMMUNITY LEADER
Dogs can be incredibly vivid dreamers! Whenever I watch a video about wolves (particularly wolves)  my dog often howls in her sleep afterwards!! She hears the howling in the video, and it carries over into her sleep. I would love to see what dreams she's having!

Jaybay has a good point. Most dogs need challenges as well as exercise in the day. They need to problem-solve in one way or another, and the more intelligent they are, the more they need that. Walks in new territory are an interesting thing for them. Extra mental stimulus.

And most healthy dogs need more exercise than humans are normally accustomed to!
To be a five-mile-a-day (or even more, if necessary)person is almost obligatory with an energetic healthy dog around. However, even a happy, healthy, well loved, well exercised dog may still have vivid dreams. As long as you are sure they ARE dreams, and nothing else can be wrong, then a pair of earplugs when sleeping at night will come in handy!
Avatar universal
Thanks for you response (and sorry for my delay I've been away from internet access).  

I guess my original post may have been slightly misleading.  I don't believe it is dreaming as it also happens in the day (we just notice it more in the evenings as she is lying next to our bed).  She will let out big moans and groans shortly after just lying down if she is shifting positions (just rolling slightly while on her side) as well as just lying there.  I am confident that she is not asleep.  The evening moaning is more of a concern as I believe whatever it may be wakes her up.  

Any more ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  The vet has given me a generic pain medication which I started yesterday to see if it eliminates the moaning, if so, we will still be exploring as it will prove it is pain related.

Thanks.
675347 tn?1365464245
COMMUNITY LEADER
Right, I see. I did assume you meant it was just when she was sleeping...
That is a good idea, to give her the pain meds, if the moaning stops, then it is most likely pain related (or pain/inflammation-related, if the meds are also anti-inflammatory)
Then I suppose the vet will run a series of tests to find out the cause of her pain.
I hope it is nothing serious, and the mystery is solved. If it happens to be arthritis, then a Glucosamine/Chondroitin supplement can work wonders.
I hope things work ok for her.
Avatar universal
My dog does the exact same thing after laying down or sleeping. She is a bichon/terrier mix.  When I try to explain it to someone or to the vet they all say she is probably dreaming. I know she is not. She first starts letting out little whimpers and then it escalates into painful yelps. My other dog even runs to her aid. When I try to move her she freezes up. Shortly after she is fine and alert and will run and play like nothing was wrong so she doesn't seem to be in pain. I am going to try and video record her next time this happens so that I can show it to my vet. It doesn't sound like it is common so it's difficult to explain to people who haven't seen it before. She isn't dreaming..I know this for sure!  
Avatar universal
Hi,  Well I've had her in to see a specialist now.  He said it does not appear to be pain because she is not in pain the rest of the time or when he moves or touches her anywhere.  They did ultrasounds etc. and could not see anything.  His best guess, was that she is starting to go senile.  The only way to test for this he said was to give her medication which takes months to work.  I have started to give her fish oil with her dinner (which I picked up at my local health food store, they had one for dogs).  This appears to have helped the moaning slightly, but that may just be in my head.  It has, however, made her much more alert and to begin acting and doing some of the things she did years ago that I totally forgot (and this was after only a few days on the oil).  For an extremely active dog, it has made her even more active and happy, which I like, so I am going to continue with the fish oil and give it some more time.  Might be worth a shot for you to try as well?  Good luck, I'll try to remember to keep you posted in a month or so.
1321692 tn?1304301671
I too had a black lab, that dreamed very loudly and frequently. She would moan, cry, twitch, and even run in her dream. I can't say for sure this is what it is, but it does remind me of my dog.
Avatar universal
I have a 7 year old male Irish Setter and he suddenly in the last week has started doing the exact same thing.
He had his yearly shots last week and was put on an antacid for megesaphagus that he has had since he was 1. And at the same time I changed his food to a Herring/adult formula. Same brand just different flavor. The moaning started a week ago, he is not in pain and not asleep. He runs and jumps fine and goes for walks normally but when he lays down he moans, a very low deep moan not a yelp in pain and will moan off and on when he changes positions. I have stopped the antacid in the last 48 hours with no change and am changing his food now to see what that does. If it is not either then it has to do with his shots. Did your dog have anual vaccinations before it started or has a history of acid reflux or megesaphagus?
Avatar universal
Hi Smithheat,  My dog had regular vaccines but has no history of acid reflux or meesaphagus.  She still does it, it seams to be less than before but more after heavy activity days which still leads me back to arthritis but I've been told from all the scans that it is not that.  We have begun to get 'more' used to it.  Has your dogs appetite changed at all?  Do you have to encourage him to eat his food?
Avatar universal
Hi there, no Homer does not act any differently than before. He has always gagged and had digestive issues but they have been under control. This "moaning" just started one day and hasn't stopped. It is so strange but he does not seem to feel bad and is extremely active but is not showing any signs of pain or weakness. No loss in appetite either. He kept me up all night three nights ago and again last night with constant moaning. It is very strange. I want to take him to the vet but it sounds like your dog and mine are doing the same thing and you didnt have any results from all your vet visits.
Keep me posted please as to how your dog is doing and if you ever find an answer and I will do the same.
Avatar universal
My dog is doing exactly as yours.  He is a ten year old Chessie and the moaning is day or night when he goes to lay down.  He also moans when in bed while moving.  He had pancreantitis at two and we just went through about 2 weeks of antacids. Going in tomorrow for xrays of the neck.  Keep us updated.
1423319 tn?1295655034
We have an almost 13 y.o. black lab mix. She often lets out some grunts and groans when she first lays down. We see it as a sign of contentment. She has a good life. Sleeps in the house, an acre of property, a pool to cool off in, trips to the dog beach, canned food and we keep her inside when its too hot or when it rains.  We don't worry about her grunts, she's been doing it for years.
Avatar universal
hi i have a chocolate lab i got him when he was eight weeks old.he just turned a year on oct 29 th but he has been moaning from day one that i got him .buddy has been to the vet several times  he is in good shape  .and it seems to happen only when he is trying to find the right position  for him to go to sleep.think of it this way when we as humans are trying to go to sleep  we toss and turn  and start to get pissed.i think that is the dogs way of getting it out.don't  worry to much your dog has been checked by a vet many times over . i wish you luck with everything..
Avatar universal
hi i have a chocolate lab i got him when he was eight weeks old.he just turned a year on oct 29 th but he has been moaning from day one that i got him .buddy has been to the vet several times  he is in good shape  .and it seems to happen only when he is trying to find the right position  for him to go to sleep.think of it this way when we as humans are trying to go to sleep  we toss and turn  and start to get pissed.i think that is the dogs way of getting it out.don't  worry to much your dog has been checked by a vet many times over . i wish you luck with everything..
Avatar universal
hi, our rottweiler lab mix started a couple of weeks ago to do the exact same thing. She is 11 and still runs around and plays like a puppy, but when she lays down she always goes chest first and then groans with a very deep voice. The vet found out that she has a bladder infection which is now treated with antibiotics but she is still making this noise when laying down. We are concerned that she might be in pain even though she seems active and happy besides that. Do you have any updates regarding your dog? Did you find anything that could cause her to groan? Did you think of muscular aches and tried massage?
1532221 tn?1292655878
My son's 9-yr old Samoyed was also moaning and complaining upon laying down.  The vet told my son it was either hip dysplaysia or some type of kneecap problem.  In her case she ended up with four surgeries to repair a genetic defect with her kneecaps.  Previously she practically had to be carried up/down stairs!  Good luck!
Avatar universal
Hi geha, I was wondering if you found out anything about your dogs moaning? We have a 9 y/o Lab mix that has moaning for a few weeks now. It started just when she would scratch at her ear, which she got meds for.  Then she started to chew at her back end, got some antibiotics for that but the moaning has got worse. She moans every time she lays down.  She's still her normal self, running, barking ect.. Just moans when she's still.  
Sounds like it's pretty much the same thing you dog does (with out the chewing).

Grizboy
Avatar universal
My lab/beagle mix (7 yrs) has been occasionally moaning for almost a year now.. Over the past month or we hear it more often. The only time he does moan is when we are in the car, mainly when i brake or accelerate. (i know that sounds weird, but we finally pin pointed out the point in time when he does do it).. I really don't think it is car sick or anything, because he will make the sound once we reach the 1st stop sign, which is about a 5 second drive from the house. He does have a large bed in the back seat, that he lays in, but wither he is in the front seat or in his bed, he moans most of the time when i am at a red light and then i press on the gas.. and i am not flooring it at all.. Then last week, i was scratching his belly kinda rough housing and then he totally yelped, which he never ever does unless, some stepped on his tail or something..soooo I am talking him to the vet today, hopefully to do xrays or something..
Avatar universal
Our dog, a five-year old black lab, kept us up most of the night moaning.  She did not want to go outside, need water or food.  I was concerned because it is a sound unlike any we have heard before, but she seemed fine (she has always dreamed, grunted etc. this is different)  She did have a big play session at the river yesterday and could be sore from that.  We also just changed her back to higher quality food--Salmon, so it could be adjusting to the food.  I am observing her and hope that she is okay.  It sounds very similar to other posts so please let me know if you discover anything new or your dogs stop moaning.  Thanks!
Avatar universal
Our dog, a five-year old black lab, kept us up most of the night moaning.  She did not want to go outside, need water or food.  I was concerned because it is a sound unlike any we have heard before, but she seemed fine (she has always dreamed, grunted etc. this is different)  She did have a big play session at the river yesterday and could be sore from that.  We also just changed her back to higher quality food--Salmon, so it could be adjusting to the food.  I am observing her and hope that she is okay, that it was temporary discomfort.  We are also tired and want to sleep.

Our experience sounds very similar to other posts so please let me know if you discover anything new, ways to make our dogs more comfortable, and/or your dogs stop moaning.  Thanks!
Avatar universal
this is very interesting. We have an 11 year old shepard that all of a sudden out of the blue one day just started moaning. He will moan when he is settling down and then will randomly moan with or without movement. I have noticed that he hesitant to go up/down our hardwood stairs more but once I turn the light on and talk to him, he is fine. he is eating and doing his regular daily routines normally, jumps up to go after our cats and will still barking and go crazy if someone is walking down the street with their dog or is at the door. It is driving me crazy because I feel like he is in pain but oither than the moaning, he seems fine. When I palpate all over his body, nothing produces any pain- Well, hopefully someone will come up with what it is and we will allbe reassured that it is nothing serious!!
Avatar universal
What type of food are you feeding your dogs?  My son's dog just started whimpering as well.  She is fed Canidae (sp?).  I pray there is not another bad batch of food going around!
Avatar universal
Our 4 year old goldendoodle has been moaning off and on for over 2 years.  She has been to a specialist and has had every test imaginable.  When we pet her, the moaning stops.  At times, she has difficulty getting up, and other times she will limp for a short time.  Her only abnormal lab test was the ANA which is high.  This shows some kind of inflammation, but we don't know where it is coming from.  She was predinose for 4 months and she seemed to feel better, but it wreaked havoc on her body.  She gained a lot of weight and her back legs became weak.  She is on fish oil and glucosomine/chrondrotin now.  Lupus was suggested, but she has no other symptoms.  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.  We are stumped and she is the most wonderful dog.
penny2910
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