Unfortunately, dogs, just like people, can develop dementia.
I first heard about this a number of years ago, from someone who decided to put her dog down, due to problems associated with age. Doggie dementia was one of them.
At the time, my own dog was only about nine. So I didn’t give it much thought.
Now, my dog is about 15 1/2. He has definitely slowed down, especially in the last year. He also seems a little bit confused. He no longer wags his tail when I come home. However, he still seems happy to see my husband.
I think our dog always preferred my husband. He recognizes him as leader of the pack. It is sad to watch your dog get old and confused. However, I’m trying to look on the bright side. Anyone following our story knows that we thought we were losing our dog, for good, about a year and a half ago. He seemed near death. Instead, though, he made an amazing recovery. So every day since then has been a gift.
Do Dogs Get Alzheimer’s Or Dementia?
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Anyway, it seems as if our dog has lost his edge, at least cognitively. His hearing is gone. That went a couple of years ago. So we’re not sure if he still responds to his name.
His eyesight also seems to be failing. He’ll still find a piece of carrot or cucumber, if I drop them on the floor while I’m cooking. (For some reason, our dog seems to like cucumbers as much as he does meat.) But if I throw him a treat, I often have to help him find it. He’s definitely not as sharp as he used to be.
But he’s still our dog. I have pretty strong feelings about putting pets down, when they’re not in obvious distress with no way out. This is something we could have considered a couple of years ago. Our dog’s health was failing and he was sick for a week, barely eating and drinking. I’m so glad we didn’t take this drastic and permanent step.
Can Dogs Develop Dementia?
I can tell you first hand that dogs can develop signs of dementia. Lately, our dog has been up more at night. Sometimes, he also seems to forget that he’s housebroken. (I try to put him outside as much as possible when he wakes up.)
He’s also sleeping a lot more than he used to. Once, when we put him outside, he seemed to forget which side of the sliding glass door he needed to enter the house again. We attributed this to a recent stay at my in-laws, when we were on vacation. They have a sliding glass door that opens in the opposite direction.
Anxiety in Dogs With Dementia
Thankfully, our dog is not showing increased signs of anxiety. This is another symptom of dementia in dogs. And it’s the one that may convince an owner to think about putting the dog down.
However, before I took such a final step, I’d certainly want to try a natural remedy designed to reduce stress in dogs. One option I’d consider is a wide-spectrum homeopathic formula designed to reduce anxiety in pets. One such formula is Anxietrex, made by Vetionix.
Anxietrex contains a number of individual homeopathic remedies often recommended for anxiety. These include arsenicum album. This is the remedy I first gave my dog, when we brought him home from the shelter. Throughout his life, we’ve given it periodically when needed. (Probably 6 or times over the course of a decade or so.)
Homeopathic Remedy for Anxiety in Dogs
I often recommend Vetionix to my readers. That’s because we’ve had really good success with using homeopathy on our dog. We’ve also been able to work with an excellent homeopath. But I realize homeopaths are hard to find. That’s why I like the idea of wide-spectrum remedies, sold by a company that provides telephone support to customers. Trying someone like Anxietrex, a homeopathic anxiety formula made for pets, in my humble opinion, is worth a shot, especially if you’re considering euthanizing a dog with dementia.
My own homeopath has always encouraged me to give one dose, and not give a second until the first has worn off. That’s because too frequent dosing can have the unintended effect of increasing the symptoms you’re trying to get rid of. So, if my dog needed a remedy for anxiety, I’d give him just one dose, regardless of what the instructions say. I’d let it work. I’d wait until it was clear a second dose was needed. Below, you can see a bottle of homeopathic Anxietrex.
Do Dogs Get Alzheimer’s Disease?
I found a good article about dog dementia in the New York Times, written by a veterinarian. It’s almost like he’s writing about my dog, except for the weight problem he described with the elderly 17-year-old dachshund he treated.
He explained that the canine brain, and the human brain, can both develop beta amyloid plaques, which eventually damage the nervous system, causing cognitive dysfunction. In this article, he noted a dog may forget which door to come in. We just saw this happen with our dog.
The veterinarian who wrote this article also noted that certain supplements given early in the course of the disease may help. I do plan to start giving my dog a supplement previously recommended by our own vet. I hope it helps. I also vow to do a little better with making sure he gets enough exercise, although I don’t know how much it will help now that the dementia has set in.
The bottom line is that we care about our dog. We hope to have him a little while longer. He isn’t in any great distress. He loves to eat. He still gets excited when my husband walks in the door. He still has some life left in him.