Can Dogs Get Dementia? Everything You Need to Know!

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Author: Tilly Walker

It’s true, dogs, and humans do share many things in common, including severe underlying health issues. Whether it is Diabetes, Hypothyroidism, Cancer, Brain Tumour, or any other health issue. In fact, Dementia is also a common health issue in dogs as well as humans.

This blog: Can dogs get Dementia? Will give you an overview of what is dementia. Plus, the possible symptoms, which your pup’s body indicates. That confirms he has canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) or another form of dementia. In addition, we’ll also discuss how you can take care of your canine companion at home. Give them some sort of relief to deal with such an underlying health issue.

So, whether you’re worried about your current pup or want to prepare yourself for a future companion. Read on for everything you need to know about canine dementia!

Can Dogs Get Dementia?

The short answer is yes, dogs can get dementia issues, and it is very common in dogs. They suffer from dementia, which is also known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CCDS). It’s somewhat similar to Alzheimer’s, which is common in oldie humans. Furthermore, it has been noticed that signs of dog dementia are commonly encountered, when they start ageing or reach their oldie stage.

PDSA organization states,”Dementia in pets, or CDS, affects ageing pets. It causes problems with their memory, confusion, anxiety and disorientation – much like Alzheimer’s in humans.”

So, it’s important to take better care of your canine companion, especially when they are growing old. Or their body indicates any unusual behaviour, which might be a threat to your canine’s life. So, that they can get the treatment on time. Plus, your attention, love, and care will help them to stay happy during such difficult times.

What Are the Signs of Dementia in Dogs?

As we know, just like humans, dogs also suffer from dementia issues with their growing age. Their body indicates basic symptoms, which can draw your attention towards their health. So, for your convenience, we have jotted down the basic eight signs of dementia in dogs. It will give you an alert sign of taking him to the vet immediately. Let’s quickly, check out!

1. Confusion or Disorientation

Well, confusion or disorientation is one of the dog dementia signs that pet parents should be aware of. During this phase, it’s possible your canine companion will not recognize the surrounding, or family members. Plus, your pup might also get confused and feel lost even though he is in a safe place.

confused or disorientation

So, it’s important to take your furry pal to the vet clinic. Also boost their mental health by showering lots of love and care, and conducting interactive sessions, all these tricks will help to divert their mind. By being proactive about noticing early signs of dementia in dogs. You can ensure your best friend stays happy and healthy into his later years.

2. Change in Sleeping Pattern

Dogs with dementia issue face difficulty in their sleeping schedule. At night, they cannot sleep peacefully, so they end up howling, whining, and crying at night when everyone else is sleeping. He feels alone, scared, and agitation on those long dark nights. So, this is the main reason for his changed sleeping pattern, and he sleeps at odd hours of the day.

3. Loss of Toilet Training

One of the basic symptoms you will notice is that your canine companion will have difficulties in carrying out their toiletry routine. This is because there are chances they will forget what learned in their toiletry training session. For instance, they will forget where is the bathroom, or the spot where they used to go do their stuff, etc… Especially during the night, it becomes more tricky for them to go for and do their personal stuff.

4. Memory Loss

One of the signs you will notice is that your canine companion just starts forgetting everything that they have learned in their training, all commands, dos, and don’t factor. It’s also possible they won’t be able to recognise the family members also, including beloved ones. Due to their memory loss, it becomes tough for them to deal with the phase, and they start getting frustrated, cranky, scared, etc… In other words, lots of emotions run into their mind, and it makes them more vulnerable.

5. Interaction Changes

It has been observed that dogs with dementia issue prefer to stay at their own place and disconnect themselves from social gatherings. You will notice, they will not let people pet themselves, and won’t play with other pets, or people in the surrounding. They will stop exploring the environment interaction, and not even will like to interact with other family members, including their beloved ones/ their priority members.

interaction changes
Credit: FreshSplash

In such a scenario, you cannot force them to interact. Instead of leaving them alone to deal with the dementia phase. All you can do is just sit beside him, as your presence will be more than enough for him.

6. Change in Activity

Another sign of your dog suffering from dementia issue is a change in his activity. In other words, his activity level suddenly drops. They will not show interest in going out for a daily walk, taking part in physical activities, or demanding any snuggling session. Plus, they will also lose interest in grooming themselves, will sink into depression mode, even feel restless, etc…

Well, to help out your canine companion, you can schedule small physical activities for him, and boost them to take part in by showering lots of love and care. For example, have a ball game and encourage them to grab the ball as soon as you throw it. In this way, try to divert his mind towards the fun session, and make his life easy while dealing with health issues.

7. Barking or Howling

In a few cases, it has also been noticed that dogs with dementia issues: bark, howl, cry, and even sometimes whine. Especially, it will be observed in senior dogs. According to professional vets, your pup might be indicating stress, anxiety, or anger issue due to confusion, fear, uncomfortable or short-term memory loss issues.

dog barking
Credit: srugina

When you notice such behaviour, try to calm him down, spend time with him, and give him confidence that he is in a safe place and no one can harm him. Your caring gesture might just help him in overcoming his stress, and anxiety due to dog Alzheimer’s issues.

8. Change in Appetite

Well, a change in appetite is one of the primary symptoms your canine companion will display when his body is not functioning well. In addition, in dementia cases also, these symptoms are encountered in many dogs. So, if your canine companion is suffering from dementia, and he ignores to eat his full meal, or just want to skip it, then don’t get panic. In such a scenario, handle the situation wisely, try feeding them slowly, and do not get angry with them.

change in appetite
Credit: FatCamera

Furthermore, it’s also possible to encounter a situation where they will eat more because they forgot they had already completed their meal. Just keep in mind one thing your pup is already dealing with severe health issues, so instead of getting angry help them to overcome it.

How to Treat Dog Dementia?

Now, you know very well what symptoms your canine companion’s body will indicate when they are suffering from an underlying health issue, “Dementia or CDS”. So, when you encounter any such symptoms or have slight doubt, your pup might be suffering from dementia issues. In such a case, it is suggested to take him to the vet clinic and get the test done thoroughly to get the final result.

After diagnosing your dog, the vet will prescribe you a few medications, that will not cure the dementia issue totally, as we know it cannot be cured completely. But, these medications will surely give relief to your canine companion and reduce the symptoms.

Apart from that medication, you can also help your canine companion to deal with this issue smoothly. Such as:

  • Try not to change the interior of the house so frequently, especially his room or favourite area. In this way, you can reduce his anxiety level, as the room will be familiar to him.
  • One thing you can do is adopt, leaving clues for your pup. For instance, if he gets lost in the house, there should be some symbol or object, which can guide them to head towards their room.
  • When your canine companion is not taking your command, getting confused, or not willing to finish their meal on time. In such cases, control your anger, and, try to understand your pup’s situation, and deal with a calm mind.
  • Keep their brain active by engaging them in several activities. Or play with him, give him a puzzle to solve, etc… In this way, his brain will get engaged and there are fewer chances of getting unconscious.
  • Increase the family interaction, and create a positive environment for him. Even if your pup has lost his memory, try to keep him happy.

So, these are the few things you can do from your side to make your pup’s life easy. In addition, vet-prescribed medication will do its work, won’t cure it properly but will definitely give relief to your canine companion.


At what age does dementia start in dogs?

Generally, it has been observed that senior dogs encounter dementia issues, when they turn around nine years old. On the other hand, in many cases, it has been seen that dogs at a young age are also diagnosed with dementia. Basically, you can’t predict the exact age, but yeah, do take care of your canine companion. Whenever notice any symptoms related to dementia, do consult the vet for better treatment, and speedy recovery to reduce some symptoms.

What breed of dog is prone to dementia?

There is no such specific breed target, that those who will suffer from dementia issue. It’s common in dogs, with age they do develop such severe underlying health issues. So, yeah, any could develop, mostly with age, or some also encounter at their early stage of life. In addition, this is noticed that smaller dog breeds have a higher chance of getting affected by this dementia issue, but they also live longer.

Are dogs scared when they have dementia?

Yes, it’s true, dogs with dementia issue do easily get scared because they’re already suffering from the underlying issue. One of the symptoms is memory loss, so they get lost in the house, and can’t remember the commands to follow. So, yeah, all these factors do scare them, and they also start developing stress/anxiety issues.

Do dogs with dementia drink more water?

Well, yes, it has been noticed that dogs with dementia issues do suffer from appetite loss, but their drinking water frequency increases rapidly. Especially, you will observe such changes in senior dogs.

Well, It’s a Wrap!

Confidently, we were able to serve you the appropriate answer to the question: Can Dogs Get Dementia? As we know, dogs can do diagnosed with dementia issue, and it’s important to know the signs. So, along with the answer, we also highlighted the symptoms, which will help you to identify them on time and take him to the vet clinic.

Let’s quickly recall the symptoms, and a few tips, which we discussed!

Dementia is one of the underlying health issues, which is common in dogs, especially when they are growing old. It’s better to look for the symptoms, such as: getting confused, sleeping pattern changes, loss of appetite, memory loss, and other related symptoms. If you encounter any such sign in your canine companion, it’s recommended to take him to the vet for medication, it will not cure properly but will provide relief to them.

Additionally, provide a quiet environment, don’t get angry with him, try him to live a normal life, leave clues for him if he gets lost in the house, take good care of him, etc… Finally, don’t forget to give them lots of love. Yes, you heard it right, doing such a thing, helps to ease the symptoms of canine dementia.

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Tilly Walker
Tilly Walker is an avid animal lover and dog owner for several years. She owns a mix breed Cockapoo named Rio. She, along with her group of friends who wanted to help others learn more about the proper ways to take care of their pets, founded this website.

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