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.
Homeopathic Remedy for Dog Anxiety
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.
7 thoughts on “Do Dogs Get Alzheimer’s Or Dementia?”
My first female black lab passed because of dementia. I was blessed to have her just about 16 wonderful years! The last two were really difficult. She would no longer go into her Vari Kennel, so I bought a very large metal Midwest kennel, but she hated it and ONLY wanted me! She was extremely clingy and when I went out she started hurting herself by banging her head on it until she cut up her gorgeous face!!! I would put human pampers on her just in case she wouldn’t wake me. Not only would she wake me and not go in her “panties”! As soon as I started taking them off she started to go but she knew! Finally that last day she fell into an empty book case, sat on the bottom shelf and when I went to help her she looked at me and I knew she had enough! I called the vet, who knew her since the night I rescued her and she said to bring her right down. She said good bye with kisses to her sister another black labby that was six years old and we left. Samantha used to LOVE the car, that night she didn’t, as she lay there I told her how much I loved her and I wished she didn’t have to leave and that I would miss her every day of my life! She didn’t understand anything but when we got there she knew. She kissed the vet and my adopted mom and then me, I held her in my arms as she fell asleep and then the vet did what she had to and then she was gone from this world!!! Dementia is AWFUL for both humans and animals. I believe she’s with me and knows how after almost four years I’m still grieving for that sweet girl!!!
Hi Monica, I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your dog. She sounds like a wonderful dog, for all of the time you have her. Our dog seems more and more confused. He’ll hopefully celebrate his 16th birthday in a couple of months. We’ve been so lucky to have him for this long. We take it one day at a time. Thanks so much for reading my blog.
Hi DogLady, Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes she was very special and like any thing I loved almost every day, the bad ones too because I learned so much from her! I’m sorry to hear about your boy! What’s his breed? If I may make a recommendation to help…it helped my Samantha to keep everything in the same place it helps with the confusion. Also, if you keep to a routine it also makes it a bit easier too. Eat at the same time and bowl in the same exact place. Potty at same time and place on a leash. And finally, when I spoke to her, I would use her name, my name, my Emma’s name and the name of anything I was talking to her about. Like: Samantha, Mommy loves you and loves when you chew you bone and I’d show her a bone. I hope any of this helps, it worked for me for a while. Funny she died at 15 years, 8 months and 11 days old! I used to say Samantha, 16 or better and she kissed me as if that was yes. The night before she passed, I told her it was ok if she had to leave. Then I asked the question…she stopped kissing me and she passed the next night!!!
Hi Monica, he is a Cocker Spaniel. I wish I could speak to him but he’s pretty deaf. He stopped barking a couple years ago, probably because he can’t hear himself anymore. He is old. We do keep everything in the same place. He’s now up a lot at night. I know we can’t keep him around forever. Every day is a gift. Actually, these last two years have been a gift because we thought we were losing him two years ago. He was so sick. But he bounced back. Thanks so much for reading.
DogLady, It’s rough to have them lose their hearing or vision. Cockers are beautiful dogs. You’re very lucky because normally, like Beagles, they have a lot of health issues some self inflicted. All I can say to you is ENJOY EVERY MINUTE YOU HAVE WITH HIM! You know the path you’re on and it’s not easy, or happy! HAVE LOTS OF PATIENCE WITH HIM. You will get frustrated and even angry with him. I did and I lost my temper with my Samantha and regret every second of that, and pray she has forgiven me. If you have to choose between spending time or doing ANYTHING FOR HIM OR WITH HIM CHOOSE HIM! As you know his time is undetermined and could end at any time! Finally, if you have any questions, need to talk or even need to vend or cry, please don’t hesitate to contact me!!!! Good luck and God Bless you and your boy!!!!
Monica, Your story has brought huge tears! So sorry for your great loss.
We also lost our Alex – black lab – after 16yrs. Such a sweet girl! I believe we will see and be with our pets again. In my eyes, everything God has created has a place in eternity with Him. We will all know one another and be together without the weight of the physical existence. Our loved ones and all else dear to us will be “there” too! ??
Barbara, how nice of you to respond to Monica. Losing a dog is tough. My own dog is now 16 and I know there will come a day. I don’t know what God has planned for the animals, but I trust in Him totally. He promises us that every tear will be wiped away in Heaven. I believe that.
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