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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
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
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.

675347 tn?1365464245
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!  
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675347 tn?1365464245
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