When to Say Goodbye

Will there come a time when you need to help your dog with dementia leave this world?

Book: Remember Me: Loving and Caring for a Dog with Canine Cognitive DysfunctionI can help with that. My book has a whole chapter on the difficult question of whether and when to euthanize a dog with dementia. Because dogs with cognitive decline are sometimes still physically healthy otherwise, this question, which is always difficult, can be even harder.

I let my little Cricket go on May 31, 2013. Here is an article on how I made the decision. I tell the story in full in my book, and two other people generously shared their stories of how they made the decisions for their own dogs.


Other Resources on Euthanasia

Here are some resources on end-of-life care for your beloved friend and some articles that can help you assess your pet’s quality of life.

I highly recommend the following book. It was a real comfort to me as I assessed and reassessed little Cricket’s quality of life.


Facing Farewell: Making the Decision to Euthanize Your Pet, by Julie Reck, DVM



Facing Farewell is a comprehensive guide to making the hard decision, but in addition describes the euthanasia process in detail and helps you know ahead of time what to discuss with the veterinarian and what to expect.

Helpful Articles about Decision Making


Finally, here is a piece by a physician on grieving for a dog. I think he makes some very wise points.  Lessons from Zachary: What a Physician Learns from the Death of his Dog.

An old black and white rat terrier is lying on a bed with her head on a pillow. She is staring off into the distance

                               My last photo of Cricket


260 thoughts on “When to Say Goodbye

  1. Hi there,

    I think we are seeing the beginning of dementia in our dog, Hamish. Looking across the internet for information I found your page. Ultimately, I came to this part where you’ve said you had to say good bye to Cricket. I’ve been in tears all morning so this hit me hard. I just wanted to reach out and say, although it’s now been a while for you, you have my sincerest sympathies on the loss of Cricket.

    • Cari, thank you so much. Yes, it’s been more than a year, but I do miss her so much. She was part of my heart. I hope you and Hamish have many good times still together.

      • Find solace in the knowledge, the certainty, that you shall see Cricket in Heaven. Believe me, they do go there, it is us that I am not too sure about.

          • Dear Eileen, first of all my sincerest condolences on the loss of your beloved Cricket,; I know they are our children. Here is my story; I have a 12 year old Shihtzu named Owen- 3 years ago this July he had eye graph on Both eyes-he is partially blind. LAST February 2015- he started showing signs of dementia- Lately it has gotten worse. My vet prescribed me Melatonin at night because they tend to sleep more during the day and not at night.This has worked perfectly, he sleeps all night. Although the last two nights he does Not let me give to him-I give it to him in a syringe-1cc- chicken flavor. He gets VERY AGREESIVE and trys to bite me. In the last couple days I dont think he knows who I am-he doesnt like to walk so much anymore-he likes to just sit in from of my house and smell the air and look around. Just yesterday, I was calling him and he didnt even turn around-or respond to me. He is sleeping and all of a sudden gets up startled and runs around the house with his tail down all spooked and confused. 2 nights ago he must have done that 15 times. The last 2 nights he refused to take his Melatonin- he is VERY aggressive towards me. I am afraid to get close to him in his bed- cause he looks at me with this bad energy look like he is going to bite me. He eats very well and is very healthy-it is heartbreaking for me to see him like this. I dont have the heart to put him down-right now as we speak he is still sleeping. Miraculously he slept all night with NO Melatonin-when I get close to him to tell him lets go do pee pees and poo poos-(his language) he just looks at me as if who am i?? He does NOT soil inside house- and my home being the only home he has always know-he gets around it just fine. Remember he is half blind. I dont see him happy-I am soo sad, I dont know what to do. I am going to take the advice of the smiley faces and a calendar and see what happens. Thank you for this website-I have read all comments and it has helped me alot!!!

          • That sounds awfully hard. I’m so sorry you are going through this with him. I can tell how close you are from your message. Take care.

      • I am working through several issues with my almost 16-year-old dog. We adopted her when she was 12 weeks. She has been healthy her whole life, but has exhibited many signs of dementia, was just diagnosed with melanoma and just 2 days ago seemingly forgot to go to the bathroom outside, came inside and urinated on the floor. I’m considering euthanasia, but feel guilty about that. She is certainly not living the life I feel like she’d want and the cancer will only get worse over the next few months.

        • Carrie, I’m sorry you have this hard decision to make. I hope you don’t feel guilty, whatever you decide. Your dog is incredibly lucky to have someone who is taking such thoughtful care of her. Virtual hugs to you.

          • I have had to put down many of my dog babies & it never gets any easier. But, I do ask the Vet to put my baby to sleep first, before euthanasia. Don’t know if it helps them or not, but I do know it helps me to know they are sleeping safe in my arms before going to Rainbow Heaven. My deepest thoughts and prayers for you.

          • I think this is a very good idea and I recommend it too. I wasn’t able to do so with my little Cricket. Thank you for the kind comment.

    • I also am facing this,i really feel so sorry for your lose of Cricket! I really could use some help i’m having a very bad time of this,if anyone sees this and your on facebook please look us up under Karen or Kerry yelk and we will except your friend request! Much Love kerry

      • Dear Kerry, my heart is with you. My precious little boy (a Doxie) will be 12 this year, he has been our baby since he was 9 weeks old. In December of 2014 he lost his vision. He has adapted so well and and it’s amazing how he navigates the house and yard. Lately though he is showing several symptoms of dementia. I read an article about it and couldn’t stop crying when I realized it wasn’t just his vision loss. My husband and I will never let our babies suffer but I haven’t been able to accept this reality. As I hold him tight next to me right now I know the time will come soon. I hope that you too will rest in the knowledge that you gave your baby the best life possible and in in return were given unconditional love. Hugs to you.

        • Sitting here contemplating on my decision to let my little 12 yr old Chihuahua/terrier mix go. She’s been sick only since Jan. Found out in Feb that she has renal failure. She has been declining since. Dr said she could live for years with it. Well, not so fortunate.SO hard…

        • We had to put our beautiful benji to sleep as he had dementia . It broke our heart . He got it very quick and seems lost walking about the house room to room as if he was looking for us . I tried to get him to lie down but he didn’t hear me or see me . He walks forr hours at a time falling as he was so tired . Eventually he would lie down and start crying as if he found us it was heartbreaking . My partner and 1 took a week of work to be there with him as he walked about the house all night barking and crying . He was 15 we had to put him to sleep as it was so sad to see him like that . He started barking at the wall and looks so scared . I feel so guilty but know in my heart it was his time to go . I also have 2 other dogs my collie who is 8 has been really sad and looks scared since benji left us .

          • Theresa, I’m so sorry. I can tell this has affected you and your whole family, animals included. Please don’t feel guilty. Cognitive Dysfunction is a disabling disease just like heart disease or cancer. It’s no less real. I believe there comes a point for some dogs where they need to be released. It sounds like you made a good decision. But I also understand just hating to have to do it. Hugs to you.

          • I ended up here looking for an understanding of doggie dementia, and I wanted to tell you, Theresa, that you and your partner clearly gave your hearts to doing the very best for your sweet little guy. My heart goes out to you in having to make that decision, but I want you to know that 100% you made the right one. You chose the compassionate path to release him from the body that wasn’t working anymore and was frightening and confusing to him. Sending lots of love to both of you (and your other dogs), and hoping that my husband and I have the strength and wisdom to know when the time comes for our 16 year old cairn.

    • I just had to put my sweet bichon mix to sleep this year, he was 16 and suffered all these symptons for a few years. I new he had dimentia because I work with the elderly and his behaviour was so so similar 🙁 Buddy was pace and walk in circles, jump on the couch and off the couch and sometimes stand and stare and wine and tremble. He would stand at the wrong side of the door to go in or out and often did his business in the house even though he would never have done that in the past 🙁 our hearts ached watching him, and he startled so easily often he would bite when we would attempt to comfort him until he realized who we were. In the last 6 months he slept all day and would start to sundown at dusk, he would pace and cry all evening. We had buddy since he was 8 weeks old, it was a sad day when I made the decision that it was time, no more suffering 🙁

      • My Winston is 18 and has similiar symptoms to your Buddy. Winston is my only constant for 28 years. He has been through hell and high water with me and has stayed by my side. Winston urinates and defecates in the house 10 to 12 times a day. He paces and walks in circles and has been without sight for 2 years now. I do not think he is in pain but I am not ready to part with my longtime loyal friend.

        • my dog did the exact same thing =( he passed away this past friday. we couldn’t think about putting him down. I feel your frustration and pain

  2. how wonderfull of you to offer advice on this awfull illness.my lurcher harry has suffered for 2+ years but still had a good quality of life,sadly we are reaching the time where we are having to re think whether its fair to carry on .he is nearly 17 years old and sometimes falls over.we have done all the things you did to protect him alas we cant make his legs stronger.your cricket ,bless what a beauty you did a great job.my best wishes jillx

  3. I too have a 16 and a half old Tibetan terrier called Jasper who has dementia. He has all the classic signs, but the worst by far is his continual pacing around the house. As our house is open plan, he goes round and round to the annoyance of my younger cairn terrier x Lulu. She will sometimes jump on him and try to bite him as she hates him pacing. He wees all the time in the house, even when I have just let him out in the garden, and is getting very grumpy and aggressive towards me when he doesn’t want to do something he is told to do. My 20 year old son says just have him put down, but I can’t bring myself to do this. He was my late husbands dog and this all started when my husband died unexpectedly a few years ago. I think we are all at the end of our tether, so after reading your website, I am going to take him to the vets and see if Anipryl will help at all. Thanks for your information on your website, it’s good to know I am not the only one out there with this problem. Best wishes, Ann

    • Thank you for commenting, Ann. I wish you the very best luck with Jasper. I’m familiar with other dogs getting provoked with a dog with dementia. It seems like sometimes it is because the dog with dementia doesn’t respond with correct dog body language.

      What a hard time you have been through. I hope you can get a reprieve and give Jasper some more good time.

    • Ann, it’s about 18 months past your post, and I am hoping you will still see this. I hope you were able to send Jasper off with peace in your heart. I have 15 yr old Tibetan, Matisse, who is now deaf,
      vision compromised , on maintenance meds for chronic hepatitis, and showing signs of cognitive decline. He also has been showing signs of neurbbological decline and weakness in his hind legs. But every morning he wakes up playful like puppy, as the day goes on he sleeps most of the time always waking up to follow me wherever I go..”” He has been with me since he was 11 weeks old. I am so sad to see him decline and know The big decision is coming soon.

  4. I was glad to read your site. My little weiner dog is 14 and has dementia. He has been to the vet and everything else with him is good. He walks circles all day long when I am gone. He can’t rest until we go to bed and he burrows himself under the covers. My problem is he poo’s in the kitchen and walks thru it while I am gone. It doesn’t matter how long I am gone he will still do it. My son thinks it is time, but I can’t do it. He still lets me hold him, eats and drinks good. He still knows everyone also. I compare this so much to an elderly person. He is down to 14#’s and everyone’s comment of how skinny he is. I am sticking with him and see where it goes, but want to let you know how I enjoy reading of others who have the same sickness going on with their animals. Thank You!!

    • Cookie, my little Cricket did that for the last 6 months of her life or so (pooping and walking around in it). I installed a webcam so I could get home whenever possible after she had pooped. Also, I kept dog-safe moist towelettes handy and also a plastic basin so I could just stand her in it to wash all her feet at once (the good thing about small dogs!). The walking around in poop was inconvenient for _me_ but I didn’t think it signaled the end for her. Good luck for your little guy. Great that he still knows everybody!

  5. Our boy Tucker is now 14 and has had dementia for the past 18 months. He also has Cushings and we know his time is coming to an end. Tucker seems to have an “event” that sends him over – this includes pacing around, getting stuck in corners, not recognizing us and worst of all aggression. This can last for anything from a few days to ten days which is the most recent one. Our vet gave us some wonderful advise for us – for each day he is having a good day put a smiley face on the calendar and each really bad day, put an unhappy one on – when there are more sad days than happy days it is time for him.

    The part that is heart breaking for us is that he seems to come “out of” this dementia daze and bounds about like a puppy, eats heaps and is nearly normal again. Is this something that other people are finding with their dementia dogs? The good period can last for weeks, and although he is still an old dog that gets a bit confused he is healthy and happy.

    Any information from other owners would be greatly appreciated. We know we have to say good bye soon, but we want to have him around for as long as possible.

    • That’s such a good idea about the calendar. It is so easy for our perceptions or memories to get skewed in either direction: that things are actually better than they are, or the opposite.

      That must be so hard when he acts frisky and “with it.” I did not experience that with Cricket. I hope if someone else has, they will speak up.

      Good luck with Tucker. I’m glad you are able to still have some good days with him. Best wishes.

      • Yes..My dog is 15 and she does the same thing. She comes out of her daze and starts to act like she is playing. She is a mini Shellie and is very small.
        I’ve noticed this change in her the past 5 months or so. She has a lot of the signs you have posted ….She does snap out of it. But as time goes on . When she starts to get lost and scared , I don’t think it will be fare to her. Just trying to make her happy as possible.

      • Elleen,Our dog Casey has all the signs of dementia. He jerks when he is sleeping and jumps at any sudden sound .I know that it is time for him to go. (he is a 16 yr ole Malti-Poo) My husband is hanging on to the fact that once or twice a week ,or even sometimes once a day Casey will wag his tail and act excited,run around like he used to for 10 min. or so. My husband wants to let him die naturally.If we put him to sleep,it would be like killing him and my husband said ” I can not live with the thought of that”.

        • Lynda, it’s a terrible decision to have to make. I hope the resources on this page can help a little bit. I hope you don’t feel badly either way. Casey is lucky to have you and I know that anything you do, or don’t do, will be out of love.

          • I have a almost 13 year old Bassett hound named Herbie, he was diagnosed with cognitive dysfunction in November 2017, it’s so awful, he sleeps all day and paces all night, he’s gotten destructive, knocking down anything standing, I’ve tried sleeping with him on a mattress on the floor but he just continuously scratches at me all night and tries to walk back and forth over me, he’s 80 plds so it was very painful and I have been lucky to get 2-3 hours of sleep a night. I had to go back to bedroom and he ended up breaking my door down! The vet prescribed Acepromazine, and Trazodone for at night but it doesn’t stop him from pacing, his eyes glaze and he just keeps going. I hate giving him the medication, it just seems to make it worse. He has started urinating in the house but it wasn’t too bad until today. We went out to dinner and came home to our couch soaked. I am at a loss for what to do, he’s my baby he’s been with me his entire life. He eats, drinks and is happy to see me when he’s awake during the day. My family says it’s time to put him down and that I’m not being fair to him, but I see it as it wouldn’t be fair to put him down just because it has gotten very hard to take care of him. How do you know if they are suffering? Or at least enough that they would want to pass? My heart is breaking but I want to do whatever is best for him and I don’t know what to do

      • Yes, my 26 year old German shorthair is having a few hours of peace from dementia symptoms. He will eat and wee outside. Then sleep, upon waking he looks drunk and may walk under tables. May wee on the carpet, his legs are giving out most days too. I’ve decided it’s time because I can’t be here all the time. Love him so much but he hates not getting his walks. Hme quits eating most days. Thanks

          • Today we took him in and it was time. He was very much ready. So much pain endured. He is in heaven in a new body now.

          • So sorry for your loss. I think putting down my dog was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my whole entire life. And I’ve been through the loss of a brother, both parents, three destructive hurricanes, earthquakes, financial ruin. Putting my dog down almost killed me. My only consolation is in knowing it was time, and I didn’t let him suffer long term just because I didn’t want to let him go. It will be 3 years now, and I still cry. Now it’s almost time for his brother and sister. How will I ever go through it again?

          • Dear Lynn, I’m so sorry you are having to go through that again. You can do it because you love them so. It can be the ultimate act of love and mercy. But it’s just not fair that we should ever have to do it. Hugs.

      • Yes, our boy Jimmy(beagle) of 12 years, is doing the dementia daze along with the other symptoms you have stated and others have has well. The “daze” is scarey in away, as you see them in the daze and their eyes are dark and just stare, and our like they are out of their body, lasting for around 10 minutes at a time. Then all of a sudden they are like they are a puppy again, jumping around wagging tail, and ready for play time this will last for approximately 20 minutes, then he lays down and goes to sleep. We have noticed alot more symptoms of this disease since we had to put our girl Molly(beagle) 12 years old down, due to back and spine calcification, ie when the medication stopped working on her, and she was in severe pain. We held her as she crossed over rainbow bridge. My 21 year old daughter and I are trying to heal, so was our boy Jimmy, Now that Molly isn’t here, we see that they both had doggie dementia but just thought our dogs were getting old together. We realized Jimmy had the more of the dementia then she did. Don’t know how long we will have with Jimmy(beagle). We will make it our best, reading and learning what others are doing is wonderful information as we go through the grieving process of our best friends. As I write this Jimmy is now acting like he is 2 years old and saying come on Mom, we need to go outside and play.:) Poor guy we go out he will look at me like what are we doing here Mom. Thank you all for your words of kindness. Mother and Daugther..(two Moms) to Jimmy and Molly(even in heaven, she is our little girl).

    • I have a similar situation with our Lab, Otto. He is nearing 13 and has really taken a turn in the past couple weeks. He often gets lost in the house and cries when he gets stuck in corners. It breaks my heart. But, he eats fine, no accidents in the house, but sometimes I wonder if he knows us. He seems so confused. Physically he seems fine other than arthritis, which the vet said is normal at his age. I worry that he is worse off than I think he is. I just don’t know. But reading through this page, I saw your advise about the calendar. I think that seems like a good start in deciding our next step.

      • I have a 15 and a half Malteese Jake. I’ve had him since he was 12 weeks old. Jake was diagnosed with Canine Cognitive Disorder (dementia) last April after I had several nights of him wondering, walking in to walls and corners. He is on Anipriyl (?sp) and has acupuncture once a week. Within the last two weeks he has been having episodes of urinary frequency and peeing in other places other then his wee wee pads. I took him to the AMC on Thursday to rule out a UTI. He had some white cells in his urine and treated with antibiotics. But I have the same questions as everyone else how do you really know they are happy. He doesn’t hear, his vision in his left eye is markedly diminished and he startles when I come upon him.He does”t like to go out much anymore and totally hates the cold. He probably sleeps app 22 hours a day. And then there are time when he will run up and down the hallway. I am at a loss.

        • Carolyn I feel the exact same way as I took my 12 yr old English Bulldog to the vet this moring and she was diagnosed with Canine Cognitive Diisorder. I had no clue what was wrong with my bully, Daisy Mae as it began with barking at nothing, going out to look about and scratching to come back in within a minute or two. She would go out at least 10 times in an hour. She would then pee in the middle of the livingroom. She sleeps very deeply which she never did before. The vet gave me oodles of info to read and then he said to call him to decide what I want to do. Daisy Mae is my baby and making the decision on what to do is just overwhelming. I think I am going to try the calendar idea. Just sharing this with others is helpful knowing you are not alone.

  6. I have had the most wonderful experience of having the greatest Mobility Service dog I have ever in my life. His name is Hannibal, not after Lechter but the Carpathian general. He started showing signs of this when in a store, he just pooped and kept walking, my person was stunned because she had never seen him do this before, this kind of started after he had to be neutered because of prostrate issues. His habits have changed a lot since then and now he lives for going outside and just lying in the back yard which is totally enclosed. He has had a few accidents in the home but nothing serious. He still follows his commands very good but is now having issues with his hind legs, he can still gallop, sometimes even run, but he is slowing down more as time goes by. I want to let him retire, he will be 11 years old this month, the day after Christmas but he goes wild if I try to leave him at home and just use my motorized scooter. He hates when I leave without him and starts barking and howling. I want so desperately to just let him be a dog but so far, he will have nothing of it. BTW, he is a wolfdog that passed every test a Service dog could with way above average results, he has never shown any signs of aggression, never bit anyone & always was about the love. He is the strength and spirit of me that I always need to be there when my human spirit would fail from time to time. He loves me unconditionally as I do him. If more people in the world acted like him, the world would not be in the shape it is now. When his time does come, I swear he will NOT begin that journey alone, I will be there to hold him, comfort him, and I always, ALWAYS will let him know what a comfort and work partner he will always be.

  7. I have a 16 year old dog with dementia. Although she has dementia she still seems pretty happy . She does walk in circles but I noticed she only started doing that when she went blind . She does go in the house but if I put her out she will go for me . Now that it’s winter there’s so much snow I can’t . She sleeps at night and is up for the day . She does howl at night when I’m not downstairs with her and once I go downstairs she stops . I don’t mind taking caRe of her . She was there for me all her life now it’s time for me to be there for her . She’s a very sweet dog and still seems happy

    • Deirdra, your dog is lucky to have you! It sounds like she still has good quality of life. Here is hoping you have plenty more sweet times with her.

      • Hi. My Baxter is almost16. He has been going to the bathroom in the house he stands in the corners he paces the floor until i come home. I believe he has deminisa. He’s such a sweet dog. What do i do? He still eats and drinks he plays somtimes but mostly sleeps. Is he happy? He seems confused at times but then sometimes he seems fine. Im lost about what to do. Can someone please help. Thanks

        • Hi Annette,

          It can be hard to tell how happy a dog with dementia is. But first, you should get a vet’s diagnosis to make sure that’s what Baxter has. Talk to your vet about options to help him.

          Some people count up how many good and bad days their dog has. It’s important that your dog not be in pain or scared. If he eats, drinks, and plays those are good signs. Keep a close watch and make sure he isn’t hurting or scared. Try some of the rating scales I have links to on this page. Even if you don’t want to add up numbers, the scales suggest things to consider.

          Take care and I hope Baxter has many more happy times with you.

        • I have a similar problem with my 15yr old Yorkie ‘charlie’ he sleeps most of the time, shakes a lot especially at night, he’s having trouble with stairs, fallen from top to bottom a few times. Goes to hinge side of door & often goes & stands at neighbours door to be let in. Also he just doesn’t want to walk anymore & hasn’t made a sound in over 18mths, no barking no noise whatsoever. He sits with his head hanging down facing back of settee, he just looks so sad. He still eats & drinks, but he looks so sad, I’ve had him since he was 6wks & love him so very much.

          • STELLA Our vet told us as long as the dog is not suffering from any phyical things dont do anything drastic yet Our dogs sleeps all day too and keeps us up at night ( we give him tranqulier at night ) he cant do stairs we carry him ,But his heart is good, weight good loves his rubs and we give him more treats that we should He hates walks but we take him The sun bothers him becaue he is giong blind ) Spend time with your dog walk him even though he may not want to go . GOD LUCK and remember there are meds and food for dogs with.dementia

  8. I will try to brief in my story if I can, 17 years ago my parents and I received from my brother 2 Jack Russell Terriers I house trained them together and then gave my mom and dad their puppy back to them her name was Suzy and I had my beautiful Maya. In 2006 I had to quit work to take care of my parents my dad was diagnosed with the dementia and he was my moms care taker for years before that. I was blessed to have them with me, dad passed in 2012 from the terrible disease of dementia and mom passed in 2013 from a broken heart. Left was Suzy who had started showing signs of dementia and started having epileptic seizures which caused her dementia to grow in intensity quickly and she become epileptic aggressive and would bite me severely when she didn’t recognize me. Your pictures and descriptions of your dog Cricket described Suzy to a T, her aggressiveness is what lead me to have her put to sleep I was afraid form my grandchildren and other children if she got out and she attacked Maya and their half brother Pepper all the time, which she never did before they were playmates and litter mates her and Maya and loved each other until the end I hated to have to do this.

    I had to put Suzy to sleep in 2014 and now my Maya is showing signs of dementia this is so heartbreaking my dad, Suzy and now Maya all with dementia and my mom gone with a broken heart not sure if I can handle this. Praying my other dog does not get this terrible disease as well thanks for listening,. Sorry for the double posts not sure what is going on with my computer it scrolls to a different destination when I am typing and makes a mess of things. God Bless all of you

    • Dear Chandra,

      This sounds like such a difficult burden for you. I am so sorry. I don’t even know what to say. I can tell that all your loved ones have been very lucky to have you to love and care for them.

      I hope you have some good times with Maya still, and I, too, hope that your other dog will not get dementia. I guess with the dogs it is the price we pay, sometimes, for breeds that stay physically resilient for long lives.

      Take care,

      (I put your comments together since you said you were having problems with the computer.)

  9. I am sitting here crying so hard, I can barely see the keyboard. I believe that we are on the downside of life for our beloved 13 year old dog Grinch. He is a 65 lb Chow mix. He has had arthritis for a while. He has good days and bad days but he no longer walks in the yard very far. Getting up/down is hard. He pants all the time due to a collapsed lung (3 years ago) that has never fully repaired itself.
    In the past couple of months, he has taken to staring at corners, sleeping in a small spot behind a chair and barks at nothing, sometimes until he loses his voice. He has also fallen down the stairs a couple of times and had a few ‘accidents’ in the house. One happened right after coming in from outside.
    He still knows us and is happy to see us, which is what keeps us from making that final decision right now.
    Though I believe it is only a matter of time. We don’t want to be selfish and have him suffer just because WE don’t want to let go…..needless to say, I am devastated…

  10. Beeper was never diagnosed with dementia, although after her passing, I now realized that is what she had. Vets examined her physically. Found she had nodules on her liver and said she needed a biopsy to determine if it was cancerous. I took her in on a Sunday for what should have been a simple biopsy. She never recovered fully from the anesthesia. I believe she had a stroke that night, which the vet and I mistook for pain, she was given morphine injections (twice during that night) and was instructed to also give her tramadol. I took her to her regular vet Monday, he kept her over night, I got a call at work Tuesday morning that she was in a coma. She passed away before I could see her.
    If you have a pet with dementia, DO NOT let them be anesthetized. Their brain can not recover. I wish I would have known….

    • Oh Tamlyn, I’m so sorry about Beeper. What a sad, sad way to lose her. I imagine it does vary a bit from dog to dog and how advanced the dementia is. But I’m with you; I probably wouldn’t do any kind of invasive procedure on a dog with dementia. Thanks for sharing Beeper’s story.

      • Hi –

        I just wanted to make a comment on this. First of all, I am SO very sorry for the loss of your dog after being under anesthesia. Our 16-year-old cairn terrier just went through a surgery to get a pacemaker put in, as, after a battery of tests, it was determined that he was in “amazing health” other than his natural pacemaker in his heart misfiring. His neurological signs weren’t tested at the time, although I’ve suspected that he had slight dementia for the last year or so – nothing conclusive, just occasionally peeing in the house, more than anything. Otherwise, no one can believe this dog is 16 – he acts more like a dog half his age.

        That is, until after surgery. He now is showing a LOT more signs of dementia than he did before surgery; he doesn’t want to go on his daily walks (that was unheard of prior to this) and he seems more confused walking around the house. He’s also peeing in the house a lot more and it also seems like he’s gone a good deal more blind in the wake of the surgery.

        Worried that maybe the pacemaker hadn’t implanted correctly or that his kidneys were malfunctioning post-surgery, we took him back to the hospital. The kidneys are 100% and the pacemaker is good, so that left increased dementia from anesthesia. The surgeon hadn’t seen this before, but did have neurology do a consult. The neurologist said that yes, dogs with some neurological issues prior to surgery CAN get worse due to anesthesia.

        Now, in our case, we had no other option than surgery – his heart was stopping intermittently, causing him to collapse and then jump back up. Any of those collapses could have been life-ending, so I would not have made a different decision than I did – he needed the pacemaker or he wasn’t going to live much longer.

        However, I do wish I had known all of this prior to the surgery. That said, the recommendation at this point is to increase anti-oxidants, give him Sam-E as a supplement (10mg/pound), and, if needed, look to Anipryl or other meds to try to help.

        I am also giving him coconut oil after doing a great deal of research on it’s affect on dementia in people, and I believe I am seeing a good turn around with that. So, for anyone that sees this, that might be an option, too.

        I’ll update more as we see if the Sam-E and vitamins are helping….here’s to hoping so! Like all of you, he’s a piece of my heart and just want to keep giving him the best quality of life I can as long as I can.

    • Your story is so sad. My dog is almost 19 and has Demetria and very bad teeth. They want to put Milo under anesthesia to clean his teeth and see how bad his teeth are and if he has any that need to be extracted. I have been against it because I was worried about the anesthesia at his age Thanks for the heads up. Now I definitely do not want to put him through that only to lose him before his time. He has arthritis and his back legs are weak and he falls. His eyesight is bad and he has dementia. I am glad that I found this website that has helped me learn all about CCD and what to look for and What to do to help my little guy. I am so sorry you had to go through this. I can only imagine your pain.

      • My toy poodle is almost 16, has heart disease and is showing signs of dimentia. His teeth were SO bad, but I was scared to have them cleaned too. My vet put me at ease. She said there is an alternative to general anesthesia. Instead she would use a gas instead of an injection called Isoflorane where she gives him just enough to put him under and then monitors the amount as she is doing the procedure. She said it was much safer.
        Well my dog did just fine and his teeth are beautiful again and I’m so glad I did it.

      • helga… i had my dogs teeth cleaned about 7 months ago. He never fully recovered form it and after it had more of the signs of doggie dimentia. it is heartbreaking for me to see my beautiful tibetan terrier clyde, go down hill so fast after that. don´t do any proceedures where they have to sedate him. now i don´t know what to do… good luck!

        • Anesthesia becomes harder on most dogs as they age. Vets can do blood testing to see whether the dog’s general health is probably up for it. I’m also conservative about elective procedures for an oldster, but in some cases it ends up being necessary. It’s something to discuss with the vet.

    • yes! My dog was showing signs of the beginning of dementia … but nothing I was really concerned about… The vet said Clyde needed to have his teeth cleaned… After that day, and the anethsethia he never fully recovered and it’s been down hill ever since and very fast after that. Clyde was never diagnosed with dementia and I brought him to 2 different vets both running all kinds of blood tests that showed he was a healthy dog… not one made the connection of his walking in circles etc. I finally made the diagnosis myself after doing tons of reading and research. We are now in Costa Rica and I have to get Clyde home to Vermont in April. I know this will be very hard even though he can come on board the plane with me… But I won’t leave him here or just put him down for the convenience of it. He’s my baby and I’ll stay with him and love him till the very end! Lesson… never never never allow a vet to give anethsitisia to an older pet…

      • I need to say–it’s certainly a risk to give anesthesia to an older pet and what happened to Shona’s dog is tragic. But sometimes the dog’s life or quality of life is at stake. A vet can do bloodwork and give an informed opinion about whether anesthesia is safe. It’s always a risk, yes. But sometimes the risk may be worth it. Not for a non-essential procedure, but for a life-saving one.

  11. I have had Chancey for 4years this August-He was a rescue and elderly when I got him. He is blind in one eye/and has always had the dry-eye problem – He is deaf and has never showed much emotion. I believe he might have been a breeding/puppy mill dog He was dumped at the local dog pound.. He has obvious dementia and is losing strength in his back legs–falls down, and is now urinating quite frequently (in the house) He gets stuck in corners, etc. and does not know how to get out….He still has an appetite/drinks lots of water but doesn’t seem to know much of what is going on around him -He also has a chronic cough and I have never been able to “walk” him on a leash–…..I am having a hard time making a decision and I feel happiest for him when he is asleep–he seems so “not here”…but I can’t seem to make that final decision…I can no longer take him to be groomed because he gets so distressed. I have given him four years that he would not have had BUT still – How do I make that call???

    • Jean, that sounds like an extra-difficult situation. I don’t know how to tell you. I put my little Cricket to sleep when she was still physically sound, though frail, because she started having seizures. I just didn’t want that to happen when I was not there with her. Chancey is lucky to have someone who considers his wellbeing so seriously. Please don’t feel guilty if it seems like time to let him go. It sounds like you are a wonderful caregiver for him. Take care.

      • I am reading this , after I very sadly let my beloved mini poodle Lexee go. What is the right time, oh my heart breaks now, I miss my “best gir” , like all of you. She had a neurologist’s care for 8 months, it seemed that she was stable for most of that time, maybe we love our sweeties and are in denial??? They sadly do not get better, I am in the “guilt” phase now and hope in my Lexee’s honor to move into the “I love you” phase and some sort of acceptance. She was my sweetest girl, with me for 16 1/2 years, my family, I have a husband now( he never liked) dogs) I loved and laughed with Lexee, what a BLESSING?Lots of tears, artwork, poems and “Lexee’s Garden” Thank you for listening, in some special way I honor my Lexee every day?

        • How lucky Lexee was to be loved and cared for by you. Please don’t feel guilty. I especially love how you honor her with art and beauty. I’m so sorry for your loss. There are those here who understand. Hugs.

  12. I know your feelings very well. All that I can say is that there is no going back once they get dementia. It will deteriorate his health and his desperation with being blind and semi deaf affects him emotionally and they start to panic and breathe heavily, leading to heart attack. I put my Westie to sleep yesterday because his agony was was too much. I only regret having waited almost eight months to do it. Don’t let vets disuade you from this decision, as they cannot cure them, and just want your money. Find someone who is understanding. There are still some vets out there whoa actually care and are compassionate. Don’t make my mistake; you will not forgive yourself easily, Be strong and of good courage, and let him/her go with dignity. let only your close friend in on it, as it is a very personal pain that will reside in your heart forever. Things will get better with time, one day at a time, but rest assured that you have done the humane, morally correct and godly thing. You re in my prayers. The little fellow goes straight to Heaven, where Jesus is waiting for him, where he will be happy, healthy, and loved to the max. I know this for a fact: faith. They come into our ives with a mission, and his has been accomplished. You will realize this post facto, one day, all of a sudden. Trust me. 🙁

  13. Hi. My dog, Victor, is the best dog you can imagine. He was a therapy dog and even in his old age (almost 16), he is a sweetie pie. He has a strong heart in every sense of the word. He is fully deaf and has some vision loss. He still climbs stairs and cuddles with us. He IS incontinent, and we have to change his “Tinkle belt” four times a day.

    Victor has his day and night reversed, and I am getting very sleep deprived. Last night, I only got 3 hours. He wakes up and paces, barking, whining, scratching the doors and walls, and ringing the bell to go out. But, if I let him out, it does not pacify him.

    Our little girls love him so much, and he is still so happy. But I am wearing out. Please give me some things to consider. I have a really hard time putting down a dog who is still so happy and sweet.

    Karen from Kansas

    • Hi Karen,

      I hope you find this. Your comment go lost when I changed the site name, then changed it back again. I’m very sorry about that. Have you talked to your vet about a prescription for either the dementia, or perhaps a gentle sedative for nighttime? One reader has said that her dog did better after she put a light near his bed area–but it doesn’t sound like Victor’s situation is that straightforward.

      Sleep abnormalities I think are the hardest thing on the human. I hope you can get some rest.

  14. My 16 year old jack russel is blind and almost deaf . I think shes showing signs of dementia . Shes always been healthy and active but since losing her daughter 2 years ago she seems to be declining. She has started pooping and peeing indoors , shes never done this . I take her out almost hourly but still does this indoors. Ive started putting a nappy on her in the hope that this will help with that . She wanders aimlessly around and stands in a corner or at the wall for long periods . She sleeps a lot sometimes she walks and seems to forget where she is . Shes been aggressive with me when shes always been cuddly . I have to try and muzzle her to clean her eyes or trim her claws. I feel she has no real quality of life but at a loss as to whether her time has come . Dont know what to do for her. She looks a little like your Cricket . Beautiful

    • I’m sorry Michelle. That sounds hard. It’s really difficult to know what to do when they still have some physical health. I hope you can find a little comfort in these pages and hope you can make the decision that is right for you and your dog.

    • We just put our little westie, Victor, down yesterday. He had similar issues but was as sweet as the day we got him. My vet said, ” Many people wait too long. He’s only going to get worse. What will he miss out on other than increased suffering if you let him go now?”

      Well, it’s been excruciating. I cried 8 times today. But I really have peace that we did the right thing. I just needed someone to help me see that. Now looking back, I see that death was lazy and had already started to take him. It made it seem better than he was, but that gradual decline just made it hard to see how much he’d really lost already.

    • Michelle,

      I wrote into this forum some time ago when I had the difficult decision on what to do with our Tucker. He had Cushings and all the signs of Dementia. He too had always been cuddly and although he still was at times, he became very aggressive. This wasn’t him and I know it was because he was confused and scared. We delayed it for as long as we could and then we just knew that the time had come. This was the most difficult decision I have had to make in my adult life. He broke my heart and for weeks after it was incredibly sad but in an odd way it was a relief as I knew it was the right thing to do for him. It is almost nine months on now and we still miss Tucker incredibly. We have two new family members – George and Sally – but they will never replace our Tucker. I just wanted others to know that although it is a very difficult decision, you will know when the time is right. A vet we saw gave us a wonderful piece of advise and this helped us personally made the decision. She said for every day he had that was a good day to put a smiley face on the calendar, and for every bad day to put a sad face on. When there are more sad faces on the calendar than happy faces – the time is right. I hope this helps you and others. Linda Tuck

  15. My KC girl (13) has started all these signs..pacing, panting and wonderering at night- only at night. She goes to daycare already because of panic attacks during storms – we live in Florida, that stared 4 years ago Advice – what do i do! i Love her and want to make her better.

    • Hi Tina! So sorry these symptoms are cropping up. Can you talk to your vet? Also about the storm phobia. Medications can help. You can’t generally stop the progress of the illness (if she has dementia), but meds can often slow it down. Good luck.

  16. I just read Shes Gine. Do yiu titallt gwt it. It was the same fir us but 2 sedatives, because she fought it, I believe and like Cricket dhe had string irgans at 16, I rescued her at 1 2 . Finally, a shot in the heart, as he could not find the vein.I had 3, major anxiety attacks and passed out briefly from the 1st one. Like I said, it’s hard enough when it’s very clear cut it is totally the opposite when you’re dealing with the mind and the dementia how that tortures the dog aside from the physical decline. I lovingly embrace you in heart and spirit with prayers for you and cricket. God bless and watch over you.

  17. These pages have been very helpfull thank you. Our Poppy, a 15 year old terrier is displaying all the signs described, some severely, which if you have never seen a senile dog are very distressing. She has had a 4 year old jack russel companian for just over a year now, and he seems to help her;ie- she copies him at eating time, and in and out of the house ( although the incontinency is now getting worse), and they sometimes play, although he cant understand why she is so feeble at it!. She has been such a wonderful gentle pet, and we feel she deserves to be well cared for at this vunerable time in her life.

  18. As above my 15yr old dog as all the signs. Has done for around 6months now. But when do you no is the right time to do the decent thing. xx

    • That’s the hardest question, Sandra. The best thing for me was to try to assess my little dog’s quality of life without letting my feelings into it–impossible, I know! I did euthanize Cricket before she had completely collapsed into bad health. She still had her bond with me and I didn’t want her to lose it; I knew she would be completely lost. I didn’t want that. It was horribly, horribly hard though, even though she was frail and had started having seizures. Hugs to you with this difficult choice ahead.

  19. I had to put Buster, a wired haired terrier, to sleep last Wednesday. I took him to the vet and described his recent bizarre behavior, and she was completely surprised by his quick downward spiral. He went from being plain ornery, which he has always been, to confused and combative. I asked for her to put him on selegiline, but I honestly think it was too late to make a difference. He had all the signs; tripping over objects on the floor, going to the wrong side of the door to be let out and in, incessant barking at walls, pacing, pacing, pacing, pacing.

    My vet made this statement to me. When your dog appears to be having physical issues that make their lives miserable, it is easy to make the euthanasia choice for them. That is the truth. I had a Jack Russell with a heart condition, and I knew when it was time. But, with this condition we are confounded at our dog who is acting so oddly. They are healthy, but not acting right.

    It got to the point where he was choking on his food, throwing up, stumbling around. But the worst was that no one could handle him anymore. He was charging at us, snapping. I couldn’t pet him anymore for fear of being bit. In fact, he bit me the morning I took him for the last visit to the vet, all because I reached down to pet him. He plainly did not know who I was anymore, and I was the one in the family he had the deepest affinity with. Whether or not I made the right choice to put him to sleep is anyone’s guess. I don’t think he was miserable, as was the case with my other dog. I think his brain was such Swiss cheese that he didn’t have a clue that he was in outer space.

    He passed super peacefully. I’m happy for that at least. It’s been one week and I am still crying. It’s always hard to lose a pup.

  20. First, my condolences for Cricket and all the other 4 legged babies in heaven! I’m more confused then ever after reading everyone’s experiences. I have 2 senior Bichons, the female Kyla is 15 + and I’ve had her since she was 8 weeks old. She’s had a heart murmur all her life. She had a stroke in 2013 went to level 4; but has appeared to recover, minus the heart meds. One thing we discovered; we put her in her stroller at night with a towel over the top, she LOVES it, sleeps through the entire night! She has been recently showing strong signs of Dimensia pacing around the room for hours. This started right after we moved into our new home. 5 months ago. We installed an elevator because they both couldn’t handle the stairs. (3 level) She has survived falling down several flights of stairs, into the pool twice this week and previously, the elevator shaft, unscathed thanks to her Angels! Her anxiety has caused 3 trips to ICU due to bloody stools 3 times in 4 months; while we were house shopping. She still cuddles with me daily. Only shows aggression, when I try to clean her eyes. They are both showing signs by peeing in the house, right after we took them out. The boy Puff is 14 and appears very sharp other then loosing his hearing and a lil vision. On occasion he will seem oblivious that he is peeing….inside or outdoors, then walks right through it! Otherwise, I think we have more time with him. Both of their appetites are still there, though she throws up frequently. Bile in the morning, sometimes her meal, but will eat it 80%. She will stare into the air lost or perhaps seeing a spirit?? That she has been doing for over 2 years but more frequently recently. I’ve been blaming all of these incidents on the “new house chaos of contractors in our house all week” After a few friends mentioned Dimentia, I found your article.She’s been getting growths and will lick or scratch constantly, unless I’m home to stop her with distraction. Puff has licked himself or you, constantly for the 12 years we have had him, we chalked up to habit?? She is starting to loose balance and he is getting a lil arthritis but still jumps up on the couches? When we leave for errands or dinners, they have the downstairs level with a door open. We come home to her pacing and a peefest, though the door is opened? Is this rebellious or Dimensia? I do not want her pacing with anxiety; so I stay home a lot! Regarding the calendar and smiley face or sad, what really constitutes a bad day? Their tails still wag, they eat and drink plenty of water. In my head I want to wait for nature to take its course…these are my only children! In my heart, I wonder if causing her so much anxiety when we leave and her pacing for hours when home…is that cruel to her?? Sorry for lengthy story! Distraught 4 legged mommy

    • Lisa… you sound like an amazing mom to your 2 doggie children. I don’t think you cause extra anxiety when you leave and as you said when you’re home you pay lots of attention to them and give them love. That’s about all you can do. I also have my baby, a 14 yr old Tibetan and he has dementia with all of the same problems you have with your dogs. We don’t really know if the dogs are hurting or not… same with people with dementia.. we just don’t know what constitutes a bad day… I get the distinct feeling that they aren’t hurting they are just living life “differently” than before. I also believe that we will know when it is time to let them go.. to either go in their own time or to have a vet help.. either way we will know. (I’m also more inclined to let it happen naturally) Good luck to you, and I’m so glad your dogs have a mom like you!

    • Lisa… you sound like an amazing mom to your 2 doggie children. I don’t think you cause extra anxiety when you leave and as you said when you’re home you pay lots of attention to them and give them love. That’s about all you can do. I also have my baby, a 14 yr old Tibetan and he has dementia with all of the same problems you have with your dogs. We don’t really know if the dogs are hurting or not… same with people with dementia.. we just don’t know what constitutes a bad day… I get the distinct feeling that they aren’t hurting they are just living life “differently” than before. I also believe that we will know when it is time to let them go.. to either go in their own time or to have a vet help.. either way we will know. (I’m also more inclined to let it happen naturally) Good luck to you, and I’m so glad your dogs have a mom like you!

    • Hi I know how hard this is and so sorry to hear about this. Our dearly beloved Staffie, Nelly, 15, is suffering from an ailment that we can only deduct is something akin to Dementia. The vets have done blood and urine tests and an x ray under light anaesthetic and cancelled out all other contenders. We are getting other symptoms though. Does anyone recognize these? Apart from restlessness in the evenings and pacing at night, staring, being ‘tottery’, weight loss etc Nelly is also regurgitating watery liquid (not food) and having very brief seizures immediately afterwards. We have found that homeopathy has helped her with her sleeping. Does the swallowing reflex get affected by dementia? And why does dementia cause seizures? Can anything help with the regurgitation of water? It also seems to go up her nose causing sneezing and mouth breathing on occasions. Many thanks

  21. Thank you for this website. It has been extremely helpful to read and the video of dear, little Cricket was very helpful to watch too. It is very good of you to share what must have been painful experiences in order to help others.

    My gorgeous rescue black collie cross, Jess, was diagnosed with a lung tumour a few months ago at the age of 14/15 (I’m not exactly sure how old she is because she’s a rescue but I’ve had her since she was about 2). She was fine until I went away on holiday and my parents were looking after her. She then stopped eating and has hardly eaten anything since. It’s been four weeks now.

    She is constantly pacing and staring at things. I wake up in the night and find her in the hallway just standing there staring and she keeps wanting to go out into the garden and just stands there on the grass, staring at nothing. At first I thought it was caused by discomfort related to her tumour but I realise now that it’s dementia, possibly brought on by her illness. A few times in the last few weeks, I’ve thought I was going to have to have her put to sleep but she’s rallied each time.

    It’s been very tough watching her decline. She’s been my constant friend and companion for nearly 13 years now. She’s a beautiful dog, both inside and out. The vets that have been treating her have been brilliant and have told me that they will tell me if they think I’m being cruel in having her treated with steroid injections for the tumour. They say she has some life left in her still but her dementia has noticeably worsened over the last few days. People keep telling me I’ll know when it’s time and I don’t think it is yet but am preparing myself for it to be soon. I am worried now that it will be over Christmas when there will be an onslaught of relatives. When the end comes, it’ll be a private, personal time and I’ll want to be on my own, not around lots of annoying relatives!

    It has been very helpful and reassuring to read both the blog and the comments underneath. Thank you for setting up this resource.

    • Stephanie… My beautiful dog clyde has it too…. remember that your dog is probably in no pain at all from the dementia … he is just confused. Keep loving him and petting him and you may want to try to hand feed him his special and favorite foods… that’s what I have to do with clyde… he is like a little baby and I feed him and walk him and love him… Dogs are like little Buddhas in that they are constant and always there… and so just let him be where ever “there” is for him… Please excuse me if I say too much but wait till after christmas to do put him down… it will be much better for you to have him with you on this special holiday and will be a good memory for you. my best wishes to you Stephanie.!

      • Thank you for the reply. I just don’t know what to do. She hasn’t shown much interest in food for a few weeks now. She has a lung tumour and I didn’t know if it was that causing her to behave like this as it’s all come on very quickly. She’s has steroid injections each week for the last three weeks and has picked up each time but only for a few days. She’s not eaten anything today and vomited up yellow bile earlier. She was flaked out all day but is now wandering around looking confused. She was absolutely fine about 4 weeks ago. She was diagnosed with a lung tumour but the only symptom was a cough. She was still running around quite happily.

        It’s going to be so hard over Christmas as I’m expected to go to my parents’ two hours away and the vet there won’t do home visits. If she takes a turn for the worse there I won’t be able to get anyone out to see her. I don’t want her to die in the surgery as she hates it in there anyway.

        This is so hard! If she’d just eat something I’d feel better but she sniffs at food now (and I have tried everything) and turns away.

        • Hi Stephanie… It’s Shona here again. It’s so hard to say what is best… but remember also that our closest companions (our dogs) pick up all of our feelings and emotions, so if you can stay calm, go to your parents house like normal with Jess and try to be patient and calm… Jess will like that and of course she would want you to be happy.
          I tried many types of food for Clyde when he stopped eating… and some of them aren’t what dogs would normally eat… but I give it to him anyway, cause it’s the end of his life and it’s different now… so what worked for me was steamed squash and even put some honey on it and he loved it. Also a little steamed chicken breast with a pinch of sea salt. He also likes carrots. He also ate chicken liver when I cooked it… just steaming with some sea salt…He’ll eat a little kibble from time to time too but not much. But He only ate theses things if I hand fed him. I give him small amounts at a time and that seems to help him digest it and not throw up… as he also throws up stuff if it’s too much. I hold him on my lap and hug him now… he likes that (never did before) and talk with hime and love him and touch him a lot. I know you’re worried about not having a good vet near your parents house… but lets assume that on this special day of Christmas that your sweet Jess will be fine and you will get her home after the holiday to her own house. That is where she should be when her time comes… at home with you…. please believe that it will be this way and it will. Santa wants you and Jess to be ok… believe!
          Shona and her dog Clyde

          • Thank you the kind reply, Shona. It’s lovely to hear about your dog.
            I have tried every kind of food for Jess lately. She’s been on these pills which stimulate the appetitive but even so she didn’t want anything today. I cooked her some chicken earlier and she hasn’t touched it. She did eat from my hands a few days ago but hasn’t wanted anything today.

            I don’t want to lose her but neither do I want her to suffer. I’ll see how she is tomorrow. The not eating has been going on for a while now and she’s becoming very thin. A few people have told me it’s time but I’m waiting for her to tell me herself.

            Thank you again for your kind words.

    • Hi Stephanie. I am sorry that you are going through such a difficult time with Jesse. This website has also helped me so much. I too am going through the same thing. My jack Russell Milo who just had his 19th birthday has been going downhill. It is so difficult to let him go. My vet said I will know when it is time. He has been to the vet 3 times in the past 3 months. He also stares into space and paces for hours in the middle of the night. He gets stuck in corners and bumps into things. Milo had blood test which revealed the beginning of kidney disease. Milo was eating so I thought it was not time. Milo has been having accidents in the house but that did not bother me. I just cleaned it up. I remember when my grandmother had accidents and my father had to clean her and the mess. Everyone was telling me that I should put him down. I would get angry that they wanted me to kill my baby when he had life in him.
      Milo has been losing considerable weight. He is skin and bones. He was 20 pounds and yesterday I weighted him and he only weights 10 pounds. He is hardly eating and has been falling since his arthritis is worst because he has no body mass. On Friday I went to run errands and found him on the kitchen floor trying to get up. At 3:30 am I heard him yelping to find him again on the kitchen floor trying to get him up. I carried him to his bed and then I knew it is time. He is not going to get better. The steroid shot helped with his pain for awhile but now it is not. It breaks my heart to let him go. I was hoping he would go in his sleep but he is a tough little guy and is hanging in there. Last year he got sick and I begged him not to leave me but yesterday as I stroked him I told him it is ok for him to go. I told him it’s ok go to sleep. I love you and I always will. I have been crying all weekend. I know why you want to do this alone. People do not understand the bond and love we have with our babies. Milo would always bounce back so I was not ready but now I know that he will not get better. He is only going to get worst. My vet said I know when it is the right time and she was right. I know now that the time has come and though I will suffer I do not want him to suffer. Before I thought I was killing him if I did it but now I understand I am letting him go because I love him and do not want him to be in pain. I left a message to my vet to do this after Christmas but if he gets worst then before. My heart aches. You too will know when it is time. Spend every last minute loving Jesse.

      • Dear Helga
        I am so sorry to read about Milo. He sounds a tough little guy. I feel the same as you – that Jess just wasn’t ready and I don’t feel that she’s told me it’s time yet. I do feel pressured to make a decision because of Christmas though as the lovely vet who has been dealing with her shuts down from Thursday afternoon to the following Tuesday. An emergency vet may not be able to see her at home and I don’t want her dying in a surgery. She would hate that.

        At least Milo has told you it’s time now which, although it’s awful, does mean that you can make a decision without guilt because you know you are doing the right thing, however hard it is. There’s a fine line to be drawn between making sure they don’t go before their time and making sure they don’t suffer. I don’t want to be cruel but I don’t want to lose Jess before she is ready to go either.

        I just wish it wasn’t now because then I could stop worrying that her vet is going to be away.

        Please let me know how you get on with Milo. I will be thinking of you. This is such a sad time.

        • Hi Stephanie
          We think a like. I also feel that I did not want to put Milo down and he would get better. I would always think what if he could have been with me longer. Even though I know it is time it is still hard to let go.
          My vets office just called and said that his vet will not be in the office until after the new year. They said another vet will be there but I too do not want Milo to be stressed with a new vet. His vet is very caring and comforting. You are lucky to have a vet that will come to your home. I would feel better if his vet could come to the home. Milo is having a good day today. The weather is nice which makes a lot of difference in his pain. I forgot to tell you that Milo has gone blind.
          I will pray for both of our babies. I am hoping that I do not have to do this until after the new year. I can use this time to give him extra love. I still have pain medication for him and do not plan on leaving him alone. His major problem now is when he falls he cannot get back up.
          I too will be thinking of you and Jesse. I hope you enjoy your holidays and Jesse can enjoy them with you.

          • Hi Helga
            Thank you for the message. I was going to post an update on here tonight. I had to have Jess put to sleep earlier on today. She had deteriorated and the vet said he could carry on with the steroid injections and the appetite stimulants but I knew he’d just be back in a few days having to do the same thing all over again.

            As soon as I made my mind up, he said he thought I’d done the right thing. And I’m glad it was at home and not in a vet’s surgery which it would have been over Christmas because they don’t do home visits then. And it would have been a different vet because the one I normally take her to is shut over Christmas.

            I’m devastated. I know I’ve done the right thing but I am going to miss her so, so much. I’m 39 and have had her for a third of my life and over half of my adult life. I went straight out to see a friend and stayed with her for most of the rest of the day – she lost her dog last year and so we had a good cry together – and then I’ve had to come home to an empty house. It’s awful being here without her.

            I do hope you get the extra time you want with Milo. It sounds as if you are lavishing him with care and attention and love. I’m sorry to hear that the vet won’t visit your home to see him. It has made it a lot easier to bear with Jess and has saved her the stress of going to the surgery. She hated going and would get very distressed.

            It’s so strange – my life has revolved around Jess for the last 13 years and now she’s gone I won’t know what to do with myself.

        • Stephanie. Last year when Milo got sick and was not eating the vet said to give him cat food that the smell entices them to eat. I got him seafood and he ate some. The vet also said to try baby food but he only ate some. I was so desperate that he would not eat that I bought a baby bottle and diluted gator aid and bottle fed him.
          Milo is not eating much now either but when I make salmon he eats. Something about seafood. Try it.
          Good luck

          • Hi Helga
            I’m not sure if you saw my last message? I had Jess put to sleep this afternoon. Thank you for the thought though.

  22. Oh Stephanie I am so sorry. I can only imagine your pain. Of course it is difficult to lose your Jesse. It is going to be hard not having her there with you. I will pray for you to have strength in this difficult time. I am glad that you have a friend that understands what you are going through. That is the best friend you need at this time. I will be thinking about you.

    • Thank you Helga. It is awful – like a bad dream that I think I will wake up from. Seeing my friend earlier was helpful. Being back at home now without my girl is so hard. I was thinking of trying to go into work tomorrow so that I’m not at home by myself but don’t know if I’ll be able to manage it.

      Thank you for the thoughts and the prayers. I will be thinking of you and Milo too. Please let me know how you get on.

  23. Hi Stephanie
    How are you. I have been thinking about you all day.
    Milo is not doing well. He does not want to eat and he was laying on the kitchen floor and peed and was laying in it. I had to give him a bath. I think that on Monday I will have to call to euthanize him. I have to see if the vet can see him since his vet will not be in until after the new year and if Milo refuses to eat I cannot wait that long.
    I hope each day gets easier for you. I am sure you have wonderful memories of your precious Jesse.

  24. Hi Helga
    Thank you for asking. I’m tearful but am not too bad as long as I’m out of the house. It’s when I come home that it hits me that Jess isn’t here any longer. I’m so used to her being at my feet wherever I go and I wake up in the night thinking about where she might be if she’s not lying on the bedroom floor, where she usually would be. I went into work yesterday and they were all lovely, but anytime anyone was nice to me I would start crying.

    I feel exhausted with the stress of it all. I’ve spent the last four weeks at home with her, other than when I’ve been at work, but lately I’ve been working at home, watching Jess decline. And three times I thought I was going to have to have her put to sleep until the last time when it was final. It has been a very stressful, upsetting time and it’s all hitting me now. One thing I did do was get some photos of us taken last Saturday. I had a photographer come out to the house and take some pictures of me and Jess together. He e-mailed through the proofs today. There are some lovely ones but Jess does look tired and sad in them. I’m very glad I had that done but it is heartbreaking to see her looking so tired.

    I’m so sorry that Milo is getting worse. It is hard watching them decline like this but you know you have done everything possible for him now. The one thing that’s made it easier with losing Jess is that she was not herself anymore and wouldn’t eat and so I know I have done the right thing. Of course it still hurts like mad though. And I think you said Milo was 19? Jess was a rescue dog so I’m not exactly sure how old she was – 14 or 15 (and I had her for 13 years). I was hoping she would live until she was at least 16 or older. If it’s any consolation, you’ve been lucky enough to have had Milo for a lovely, long time – though I know that, in some ways, the longer we have them, the harder it is to lose them.

    I’ll be thinking of you over the next few days. Please give Milo a cuddle from me and let me know how you get on.

  25. Hi Stephanie
    How are you? Today we had to put Milo to sleep. My baby is gone. I miss him already. This apt is so empty without him. All I do is cry. He dies in my arms. He put his head on my chest and looked into my eyes. He went so quick. The vet said he was ready. He just did not want to leave me. I feel like my heart was ripped out. It does not feel real. I feel like I have to go pick him up. He was always with me. We took him everywhere. He followed us all day except at the end when he could not walk without falling. My daughter went with us. I was glad she was there. The vet and tech were so kind, caring and comforting. I told them to take Good care of my baby.

  26. Hi Helga
    I was wondering how you were getting on. Thank you for letting me know. I’m so sorry that you have lost Milo. I know how devastated you must be feeling right now. It is a week ago since I lost Jess.

    I know the first thing I felt at first was relief that Jess wasn’t suffering anymore but then the sadness and the exhaustion kicked in. Caring and worrying about a sick dog is very tiring and you must be shattered right now.

    Making the decision to say goodbye is so heartbreaking. We know we are doing the right thing but selfishly we want to keep them alive for as long as we are. You had Milo a long time and he was a big part of your life. I hope you have a lot of understanding and supportive people around you right now. Some of my friends and family have been brilliant but others haven’t been in touch at all and I’ve been hurt by that as people knew what Jess meant to me.

    I am at my parents’ house. I came here for Christmas and am not going back until Sunday. I had taken the week off in the hope that I could spend it with Jess but I’ve spent it grieving for her instead. It’s been useful to be able to shut myself away and take the time I need to gather myself together. I was exhausted with the worry of it all and you must be shattered too. I know how much you’ve cared for Milo in the last few weeks of his life and I hope you can take some time out to grieve properly for him.

    Please don’t let anyone tell you to move on, or get over it, or that you should be feeling better etc. I have been reading up about grieving for a pet and it’s clear that we don’t just get over it and move on when they are gone. Everyone grieves in different ways and we need some time to be able to deal with it. Someone sent a really good quote which I will find and post here for you. It was very helpful for me. I have given myself permission to take as much as I need and to do whatever I need to do to deal with this, even if that means shutting myself away for the week. I hope you are able to do the same.

    One thing I set myself to do was to write to the vet and thank him for the care that he showed Jess in her last few weeks. It was a hard letter to write but I did it and I also wrote about what a lovely dog she had been. They only saw her when she was sick in her last few weeks and they didn’t get to see what a clever, funny and feisty dog she was when she wasn’t scared at the vet’s surgery.

    I still look for Jess even though I know rationally that she is not here and I know it will be worse when I go home. I also hated leaving my house on Christmas Eve because – and this sounds mad – I was thinking, what if she tries to come home and I’m not here? I felt like I was abandoning her. Totally irrational but I couldn’t help it. I’m getting her ashes so that I can have her near me.

    It’s clear to me from your posts that you adored Milo and he had the best possible care from you. The fact that he had such a long, happy life is testament to the wonderful care that you gave him. Saying goodbye is so hard. I wish I could give a big hug right now.

  27. This was the quote. I hope it helps:

    “I know you’re sad, so I won’t tell you ‘have a good day’. Instead, I advise you to simply ‘have a day’. Stay alive, feed yourself well, wear comfortable clothes, and don’t give up on yourself just yet. It’ll be better soon. Until then, have a day.”

  28. OMG Stephanie I feel the same. I feel like I abandoned Milo. That he is all alone. He was a Mamas boy he had to have me in his sight at all times. I keep looking for him because I forget for a second. I feel so lost without him. Thank you so much for your words. I would love to see a picture of Jess. You can email it to me at newswingsextet@aol.com

  29. I had two dogs, Lucy and Sadie, both 15 years old. We lost our precious Staffie, Sadie Bird almost a month ago due to failed kidneys and terrible arthritis in back hips. Lucy and Sadie were like sisters and raised together since the age of three. Lucy, a mini Schnauzer, is almost totally blind and deaf and was showing moderate signs of dementia prior to loosing Sadie. Now she has spiraled into full blown dementia according to my research, but my husband is in denial. She barely knows me and bites when I try to pet her or pick her up. She wanders around the house, stopping to just stare into space for 5-10 minutes at a time. She has to be hand fed, but even doing this, she has a hard time remembering to the food in her mouth and it drops onto the floor. We have steps in our home and she has fallen down these quite frequently as well as falling off of the bed. I have solved the steps problem by blocking them off and carrying her up and down. She is actually doing better with peeing in the house. The vet has her on an incontinence medication and I am diligent about taking her out every 2-3 hours and standing with her. She is so confused, agitated, frustrated and aggressive, I hardly know this dog any more. I do not know what to do if my husband refuses to see there is a problem and just chalks it up to her getting old. I watched my mother die with Alzheimer’s and the last ten months, she could not walk talk or feed herself and was either crying or screaming with rage. When she was somewhat lucid and managed to get out a verbal communication, she always asked “What happened? I am miserable. Want to die.” It tore out my heart and know my dog Lucy is basically going through the same thing. I cannot watch her waste away like my mother. I know it is time, but I just cannot have her put to sleep without my husband’s support and approval. He always just throw it back on me and says. “Just go ahead and kill her, but you take her. I’m not doing it.”

    • Rosemary, I’m so very sorry you are going through this. It’s a terrible enough situation, without the complications of having it all be on you. My thoughts are with you. Hugs.

  30. Our dachshund/terrier is now approx 18-years-old. We adopted her when she was about 1 to 1 1/2 years-old. She has always been high maintenance, but there are many great memories as well! She has been diagnosed with dementia for approx a year or more. In the past 6 months we have seen a big decline. She gets stuck in corners, walks randomly through or over items, gets lost in our yard (and often stuck in hedges, etc.) so we have to go get her, she paces all day and night sometimes…the biggest challenge is that she has destroyed our carpet in our house. She is crated at night and some mornings we wake up and she has defecated in the crate and it is all over…she will defecate inside at times, but primarily it is repeated urine accidents–no matter how much we take her outside. Her personality has changed so much that she seems like a completely different dog. When I look back even a year or two ago she was still the same, just physically changing. When we took her to the vet recently, they did a complete blood work up and x-rays to rule out masses. She is in perfect physical health except for her spine which is also deteriorating. The vet has not discussed end plans at all. My husband is at his wit’s end, but our 10-year-old daughter has only known our dog to be in the family. I am at a loss as to what to do…

    • Sharon, I’m so sorry. The loss of housetraining is a common thing and it is so very hard to deal with. Have you checked the Quality of Life scales or the book I recommend on the When to Say Goodbye page? Sometimes it can just help to write things down. My heart goes out to your and your family.

        • I wanted to post here again. Sadly, we had to let our sweet girl go on April 5th. She had not eaten for a couple of days. When I came home that day she was standing in the kitchen with her head in a corner. I took her outside and had to give her water with a small animal baby bottle. I went to get a towel and came back to see she had collapsed on her side. I sat and let her and talked to her. I said “I hope we were good parents to you…I hope you forgive us for when we weren’t”. Then she wagged her tail. I could not believe it. She had not wagged her tail in a very long time. It was like a gift from her. My daughter said her goodbyes alone…then we all cried together. My husband and I took our dog (our daughter wanted to be with a friend) to the vet. She was on her soft dog bed as I held her and pet her. We remembered the day we brought her home, picking her up from a volunteer who had transported her to us. We were there as she left us, hands on her, tears falling….I kissed her goodbye before we left. We had her 16 years and 8 months to the day. She saw us through every major life event since my husband and I got together 22 years ago.

  31. Eileen, Thank you for your kind words. As I posted earlier, my little dog Lucy has dementia and my husband refuses to recognize there is a problem. Lucy had a stroke yesterday and instead of having her put to sleep, my husband chose to bring her home. It breaks my heart that she is so pitiful and she can barely walk without falling over nor can she eat on her own. She is still drinking OK. She has suffered neurological damage and her right leg and paw are in a uncontrolled constant pawing motion. I prayed all last night that God would please take her. My husband left this morning for work without giving her her three of her medications and this makes me so angry I could just kill him. If he insists keeping her alive, he can give her the medications. Now I am going to have to fight to get these 3 medications down her and it is extremely stressful for both of us.
    I pray that I have the strength to handle this without killing my selfish, stupid husband. He is either in denial, blind or uncaring about the quality of life of this sweet little dog.

  32. HELP! I am in dog hell. My 14-year-old has dementia, has become aggressive and impossible to deal with at night, soils in the house even though he’s just been out, eats and drinks sporadically, and is losing control of his back legs. He is destroying our rental home. He was just at the vet, was put under to have his teeth cleaned and an eye tumor removed and we were told he has perfect blood work, which is unusual for an old dog like him. He has been the best dog ever, and we’re having a really hard time making the decision to humanely end his life. NOW our 9-year-old is acting out, probably due to the old guy’s issues, and is eating poop and then getting sick all over the house as well. Our lives are consumed with cleaning carpets and watching their every move. We are at a loss as to what to do, for both of them. We have tried everything: medications, diet change, more exercise (they get PLENTY)…we had to buy gates and TONS of rugs (the whole downstairs is hardwood and very slippery AND so darn hard to clean if there are accidents). We are at the point of rehoming the younger dog and putting the older one down, we are so distraught and fed up. I know it sounds harsh, but until a year go, we had NONE of these issues. It’s all too much to deal with. Any advice would be helpful.

    PS: we just moved to a new town in 2014, know no one who can/will come help us or give us a break, can’t find a reputable kennel to leave them at for a break, and feel we’re out of options.

    • Rebecca, I am SO sorry. It sounds like you are doing all that is humanly possible to do right by your dogs. They are so lucky to have someone who loves them so. I do believe that your quality of life counts too. But what a heartbreak. One idea: if you can afford it, and if your vet will work with one, you could try a board certified veterinary behaviorist. He/she doesn’t have to be local; they can work through your vet. They are experts at all the kinds of medications and behavioral interventions that can help. Here’s a list of them. http://www.dacvb.org/about/member-directory/

      I am so very sorry. I don’t know if we can help you make any decisions, but there are people here who know a bit about what you are going through. Take care.

      • Thank you. It’s April and things are only getting worse. He paces so much that even though he eats, he is skin and bones. His brain won’t let him rest enough to keep weight on. He crams himself in corners and behind furniture and acts like he can’t get out. Now every time I try to get him to do anything, he runs away from me. If I try to leash him to move him outside or to another room, he bites. He soiled the house and stomped through it, destroying a whole room in less than 10 minutes. This happened RIGHT after we let him out. It’s time. We will celebrate his 15th birthday tomorrow night and have him euthanized next week. He’s just too dangerous and I couldn’t live with myself if he bit someone else.

        • So sorry, Rebecca. That’s got to be so difficult. Hang in there. Your dog is so lucky to have you loving and looking out for him, even to making the hardest decision of all.

  33. Hi Rebecca. I am so sorry for what you are going through. It is not easy. I just had to put my 19 year old jack Russell to sleep on December 29. I too was cleaning poop, and urine after taking him out and he would not do anything outside but then would do it in the house. I was exhausted and found myself stressed out but he was my boy and after the clean up I would look at him and all was ok. I know it could really rattle your nerves. What breed is your dog. At 14 he should not have been put under anesthesia. Milo needed his teeth cleaned at 14 and the vet told me because of his age she would not want to put him under. Your problem is worst because you have another dog and he is feeding off the stress of both of you. I just tried my best to make Milo more comfortable and enjoy the time I had left with him. You are upset and want to give up but believe me you will feel worst when he is gone. It was so hard for me to say goodbye to my boy. I am so heartbroken. I miss him so much and if I could still have him I would clean up his poop and pee and have him pacing at night. The only reason I had to put him down was because he stopped eating and was falling and could not get up. He had arthritis in his hip which affected his back legs. I wish I could help you. You just need a break. At the end I used wee wee pads which Milo would use. I think he just did not want to go out anymore because he was weak and in pain. I hope you come up with a solution which is best for all of you. I will be thinking of you.

  34. I just came across your page, and had to leave a comment. My Fluke had Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. He would get stuck in tight spaces, stay in corners with his head low staring into space. It finally came to a head two weeks ago, when on the 4th of January 2016, the vet told me (after he gave him a pain injection) that if he didn’t start eating , it may be time to let him go.
    On the return visit on the 8th January 2016, Fluke hadn’t eaten for 5 days, he was inconsolable at night, had black diorea. He was beginning to suffer, and I didn’t want his suffering to continue just for my selfish needs. Unfortunately there is no cure for this disease. And I had to let him be put to sleep. I keep wondering if I did the right thing, maybe I could have let him go on. My thoughts are with you and Cricket (wonderful name btw) I can understand. Hugs Becky x

  35. Hello, I thank you for your information and am glad I am not alone in this unusual predicament. I rescued my yorkie, Rory, about 7 years ago, after his own family had him for 9 years and then abandoned him at the local shelter. He has been a great dog, never barked or had accidents in the house, so I was thrilled to get him and confused as to why anyone would give him up. Well….now that he is getting to be very senior, he is also becoming very confused, very quickly. He paces throughout the night, not knowing where he is, he barks at things that aren’t there, he acts as if he has no idea who I am, and he now has so many accidents that he wears a doggy diaper. The hard part is that he is still so young acting, otherwise. He has no other health issues, except perhaps hearing loss, but trots around on his walks like he’s a pup. It saddens me to see him when he is in a state of dementia. And it seems to progress quickly, happening more and more each day. Sometimes he drags his little bed all around my home over and over again, for a half hour or more. He actually has symptoms of “sundowning” just as humans do. I am wondering how long he will last like this, and when is the right time to say good-bye. I do not look forward to that day. I want him to have a good quality of life, so all I can do now is watch him and be guided by the balance of happiness and confusion.

    • Hi Mary, I am sorry you are going through this like so many others who have commented here. It’s extra hard to find the right time to say goodbye when our dogs’ minds are deteriorating but they are otherwise physically healthy. It sounds like you have a good sense about how you want to look at the situation (and I agree with you). Good luck with Rory. How lucky he is to have had his “second life” with you.

  36. My heart goes out to all of you on this forum. I had my fourteen year old chihuahua put to sleep two years ago because of his worsening dementia. We had always had problems with him in regard to toileting but the last year he constantly used to go in the house even after being taken out to the garden hourly. He had very bad cataracts on both eyes, was very deaf, and had started falling down. He also barked constantly if I left the room and he had forgotten where the doors were. I got him as a puppy, the smallest thing I had ever seen. After he died we had to replace all the downstairs carpets, both sofas, all the chairs and basically everything he’d been able to reach. I have been severely depressed since losing him even though I know it was the right thing to do. I prayed constantly he would die in his sleep but he didn’t. I am also wracked with sorrow and guilt because after the vet gave him the injection I could still feel his heart racing and thudding. I am tormented by it. I would love to have another dog but I am old and it could outlive me, also I feel unfit to be a dog owner after what happened to Chichi.

    • Dear Caro,

      Any dog would be lucky to be your dog. I am so very sorry about your pain about Chichi. If it helps to know, I euthanized Cricket when she could still walk, eat, and growl at the vet. And she didn’t go easily. It was awful, but I know it was the right thing to do. They don’t always “tell us” when it is time. Sometimes they can’t. I can tell how much you loved and cared for Chichi. Take care. I hope you can feel better about this. How lucky he was to have you as his loving owner.

    • Caro, Below is the information regarding the injection used to put dogs to sleep. I hope this will be a little comfort to you knowing that Chichi was already unconscious when you felt his erratic heartbeat….
      “The solution, which is injected, is simply an anesthetic overdose. It is a lot stronger than the usual drugs that the vet uses, so it works very quickly. Your vet will place the syringe with needle attached alongside the dog’s leg and slide the needle into the vein. A small amount of blood is usually drawn back into the syringe this ensures that the needle is in the vein. Keep gently stroking your dog and reassuring it. As the vet injects the dog it takes only seconds to relax and anaesthetize the dog, usually before the syringe is empty. By now your dog is fully unconscious and it is only a matter of time for the body to stop. The vet will inform you when you pet has passed away and leave you alone to say goodbye”.
      Hope this gives you peace of heart and takes away any guilt you are feeling about the process. .

        • I know. I miss my sweet, Sadie Bird every day. I have her ashes in a little chest and have told my husband and son that when I die, they are to be in my casket. My other dog, Lucy Belle, is the one who is still living with the after affects of a stroke and doggy dementia. I love her to death, but I just don’t have the bond with her as I did with Sadie. I really feel that Sadie Bird was my soul mate, as strange as that may sound. I guess people who just think dogs are animals will never understand us who know differently. They will know how close you can become with your dog and the lasting bond that you have for your little four legged soul. I hope you feel better and it does get a little better day by day. Really, do think about getting an older dog who most likely would be passed up for adoption. What better way to honor the memory of Chichi than to help a dog who has little chance of being adopted and needs love.

          • Thank you for your wise words.I’ve decided to donate monthly to my local rescue centre. I don’t know if I could face losing another pet but at least I can feel I am doing some good in his memory.

  37. Dear Caro
    I’m so sorry to hear of your pain and sorrow over the loss of you sweet Chichi. No one really knows when the time is right, but as Chichi’s mom you had to make a very hard decision. It’s true that we never know if any of our decisions are right, but there are those who believe that there are no mistakes in life… that this is the way it was meant to be and you, as Chichi’s mom get to take advantage of this wonderful lesson … the lesson of love. No matter how you look at it… whether he died in his sleep or you put him “to sleep” you’re love for your pup is never ending…. to keep him in your heart is priceless and keeps the love flowing. Keep his memory alive and allow yourself to enjoy your life. Chichi came to you to show you how dogs love life… and to help you love your life… I hope you’ll begin to enjoy more because he would want that for you, as I’m sure he loved you very much too. I’m in a similar situation with my dog Clyde, a Tibetan Terrier, who is 14 now and has had dementia for maybe 10 months or so. He is a sweet boy and still remembers me but I can see his mind fading with the sun. And like your Chichi, he is peeing and pooping around the house and I know I’ll have to replace things … but that is nothing to me.. I will do that gladly because he’s worth it. Clyde is not yet in the final stage where I need to make a decision but I know that day will come! Like you I pray that he dies peacefully in his sleep some day and like you I am older and don’t know if I will ever have another dog in my life again. This especially saddens me as Clyde is the first dog I’ve ever had! I also find myself getting very depressed and anxious when I watch Clyde roam around and stare at things with that look in his eyes of “where am I?” I know that there is a grieving process that has to be completed here and I wish for you the best… Tell yourself that you will do something everyday that is enjoyable and fun to honor the memory and the life of your pup…. and if you say you’ll do this… I will also do this…. to honor Clyde now while he is still here and to honor his memory when the day comes that he is gone. Many blessings to you, Caro

  38. Hi, lately my dog Skoshi (yorki) has been sick. We started noticing symptoms of dizziness and memory loss about august 2015, and we think this may be the reason why. He seemed to be getting better but now we think it’s because he’s just getting used to his conditions. I’ve already lost an old dog to cancer and other disease but I’m not sure how I’ll cope with him. He’s been sick for awhile and I wonder if he’s in pain or if we should see if we can do anything else. I want what’s best for skoshi, even of it means letting go. Any advice?

    • Hi Carson, your vet should be able to tell if Skoshi is in pain. Dementia isn’t painful in itself, but sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between physical symptoms that are a result of the mental problems and symptoms that are from other ailments. There are medicines that can help with the pain, too, if you choose to look into that. Take care. I know it’s hard, especially if this is the first time you have come up against this condition.

  39. Eileen, I should also mention that dementia was not the only reason for having Monty put to sleep. The vet from whom I got the second opinion also did a urine test and believes Monty has the beginnings of kidney disease.

    By allowing Monty to undergo further treatment I feel as though I was prolonging the inevitable. I am going to miss my little buddy soooo very much…..

  40. Hi Carson
    My dog Clyde has CCD and he’s had it for about a year. Through time it has gotten worse and if this is what Skoshi has then he will slowly go down hill. In answer to your question, I don’t believe that these dogs are in physical pain, and even the confusion that goes along with it, is merely confusion. Personally for me it feels more painful to me when I watch Clyde walk around in circles or stare at things…it causes me sadness and grief…. but no I don’t think he’s in pain and Skoshi probably isn’t either. Hang in there… it can get tough but our sweet dogs are worth it. You will know when his time has come … they may stop eating and drinking and not be able to get up anymore… put a list together of times he’s doing well and times he’s not…so you can watch the progress. By the way, I have been using vitamins minerals and coconut oil and these things seem to work. Talk to your vet also as there’s a medication called Anapryl that is being used now for dogs that can extend their good times.

  41. I am so thankful for this site. Capone is a Welsh Corgi, 10 years. He was diagnosed with diabetes 3 years ago, which devastated me. I knew that his life and mine had to make many adjustments. His shot schedule and healthy meals became a priority. With that I know his life with me was extended. The past 3 months he is trembling more, eyesight is not good and shows signs of dementia. I am aware that the diabetes is a factor. He doesn’t seem to be in pain, eats like crazy. Very lethargic, difficult to find his way around but he uses his sense of smell to find his way. This week reality hit and the grief is unbearable. Knowing he may not be with me much longer and watching him so frustrated and confused. I am concerned about meds for him because of the diabetes. I not so sure the vets I have taken him to are well versed in diabetes. One over prescribed insulin I nearly lost him. Any ideas on safe meds.

    • Oh Sheryl, that sounds like a hard situation. Kudos to you for caring for your dog with diabetes so well. My friend has a diabetic dog and I know how tricky it can be. Is there any chance your vet would help you consult with a specialist? Either a board certified vet behaviorist (they are most familiar with the medicines for dementia) or perhaps a specialist in internal medicine? Some of these specialists will consult with a regular vet by phone for free.

      The main prescription medicines for dementia are listed on this site, but I can’t make a recommendation for Capone of course.

      I’m so sorry about your grief. There are folks here who are familiar with what you are going through. It’s awfully hard. My best wishes for you and Capone.

      • Eileen, spent more time on you and Cricket’s site this evening. Realize that your time spent with Cricket and information you gathered to share with us is truly an act of compassion and love. Thank you so very much. Happy moments: my family includes Capone, Ally, 3 yr old Borgie and a 5 month. Lab/Chia..Toby. Toby’s family lost their home, he was on his way to a shelter known for parvo and short life if not adopted. He is a handful, but has a safe home. God knows Ally and Toby have a special place in my heart, but Capone will always be my little buddy. He and I now spend alone time and do a lot of reminiscing. I do most of the talking and crying.

  42. I’m going through this terrible dilemma at the moment as well. Our Lab, Sassy, is somewhere around 13, and she has been showing worsening signs of CCD for the past year. She’s been a part of our family for almost 9 years now, and I don’t know what I’ll do without her. She started out peeing inside, and gradually started pooping in the house too, even after being let out to go. Now, she’s getting lost in different rooms. She’s only interested in food and water, and has started biting people’s hands if she thinks they have food. She’s eating things that aren’t food, like a piece of hot wood charcoal that fell out of the smoker. She’d never done anything like that before. She never even blinked, even though it burned her mouth. That broke my heart seeing her doing something that should have been painful, and it didn’t affect her at all. It just makes me worry what else she could do to hurt herself when I’m not home. She drinks water constantly, though the vet has found no medical reason for it. I’ve actually had to ration water, because she will drink an entire gallon at one go if it’s available. She stares at our refrigerator for hours every day (literally, hours), and is no longer interested in affection, and now she’s starting falling and staggering. I’m so torn up inside, wondering if it’s time. My vet isn’t much help in that department, either. I’m just so afraid she’s going to somehow get loose (she’s still quite strong) and bite someone, thinking they have food. I know it’s probably time, but it’s so hard to let her go.

  43. I found this site on a Google site while looking up denentia in dogs. My 15 year old cocker spaniel Misty has had signs for a while but the past week is much worse. My sweet girl doesn’t bark any more but yelps at night, will go round in circles and has been stuck under a kitchen chair a few times, she doesn’t remember how to back up. While trapped under the chair she has urinated because she felt so anxious. I feed Misty boiled chicken breast with carrots and green beans and she eats great. She drinks water constantly and does have accidents in the house a lot. I feel our time together is near the end and my heart is breaking, she is the sweetest girl and I can’t imagine life without her. Reading the other comments I realize I’m not alone in this very difficult decision of when to let go.

    • Yes, you are among some kindred spirits here. Many of us are struggling or have struggled with the same things. So sorry that things are getting difficult for you and Misty.

  44. Hi everyone. I posted on here about Fluke month or more ago. He had dementia and was put to sleep in January 2016 , so only 7 weeks ago. No one has replied or commented or anything. Feel let down as I thought I could find support here. I was wrong 🙁

    • I’m so sorry, Rebecca. I try to answer every post but I missed yours. Having a dog with dementia can be so lonesome and letting them go is the hardest thing of all. I did go back and finally found your post from before. FWIW, I think it was very unselfish of you to let Fluke have his peace. I’m sorry you are still hurting. There are some nice folks here and I bet you will get some support. I’m really glad you reached out again, and again, I am so sorry.

    • Hi Rebecca, First of all my heart goes out to you for your loss. You have my support. In the last 2 months my daughter had to make a decision to put her two labs to sleep. Thank God not at the same time. Kristi made the decsion which in our hearts we knew it was time to say goodbye. Although our decisions were right Kristi still questioned herself days after. I kept reinforcing her and myself that it was the right decision, we could tell by the way Kanobi and Yoda looked at us. At this time my Corgi, Capone is suffering with blindness and dementia. He has good days and sad days. He will let me know when it’s time. I will need your support.

  45. I am new to this group, joined just days ago. I’m so sorry for your loss, the pain must be unbearable. Yes, I am going through the delema of questioning myself when is the right time, am I just being selfish for not letting her go… I admire your courage. Please know my heart is with you.

  46. Hi Rebecca… I’m new as of a month ago. I didn’t find your original posting, but I want to say how sorry I am for your great loss. I can only put myself in your position right now and know it must have been such a tough decision. My dog, Clyde, has had dementia for a while now… He is holding steady and the medication and nutritional supplements and constant walking with him I think is making a difference… but still little by little he is loosing more and more ground. Someday I will have to make that very hard decision like you did and I hope you’ll be able to help me through it. You must have been a great “mommy” and I’m sure you loved your Fluke very much!

  47. We just had dental surgery on 15 year Pudzzy He was already showing signs of dementia .The vet was worried about it getting worse We didn’t have a coice it was surgery or PTs because he was in pain… We where so happy when he came out of anesthesia fine But today is day one and we now think his dementia is worse ..
    He now walks around him circles. He cry’s and is still keep us up all night All the signs on dementia .. We are hoping its still the anesthesia that hasn’t wore off yet ..But now we are wondering ..Did we to get him out of pain to see him like this …We are going to try medication maybe the Melatonia ( we have not had a good nights sleep in months) But we feel bad thinking we did the right thing with his teeth only to hurt him more

    • Sandra, we can only do what we think best for our dogs, given the information we have. If it was either have the dental surgery or be put to sleep, I don’t know many people who would pass up the chance of keeping their dog alive and happy. Hang in there. Talk to your vet and be patient. I hope Pudzzy comes back to himself.

      • Hi Sandra,
        I’m sorry to hear the your sweet Pudzzy isn’t doing well after his dental surgery! It’s always so hard to make a decision like that but really you made the decision you thought best at the time…and please stand by your decision . My dog, Clyde, also had dental surgery around the time he began to show signs of “doggie dementia” or CCD. I didn’t realize he had CCD at the time and my vet didn’t either. So we did the surgery and just like your Pudzzy he came home and wasn’t himself for over 2 weeks and he was having diarrhea and acting very strange. In the end he also got worse from the dental surgery and the anesthesia. But he needed the surgery badly too. So I have to say that I feel that I did the best I could at the time, and that I would never intentionally hurt my baby boy Clyde. He has full on CCD now and like you I don’t sleep much but we have to do the best we can until we know that it is time to say good-bye. Good luck with your sweet dog, Sandra!

    We have to remember If it wasn’t people like the ones on this forum who love their dogs like we all do here WHERE would that dog be if you hadnt adopted them & loved them in their senior years.. JUST make their last time on earth happy ..Thanks everyone ..Pudzzy is doing better today.. But we got no sleep yesterday .Vet has given us a small dose of tranquilizer to try tonight ..Lol I think we need them not the dog .. He drank lots of water today&ate a bit of special vet dog food He stopped staring at the wall, We took him for 2 walks even though its raining . He Just has trouble finding the door to get in from the garage .
    His brother died 2 years ago of heart frailer ..We did have to humanely Euthanasia him .We knew when the time was right.. We kept him going for 2 more years after his heart frailer Diagnosis

    Don’t ever give up on an elderly Dog… We know our life has changed.. We don’t visit or go away because we know he may have an accident in someones home
    No one wants the problem of baby sitting an old dog ( they aLl say What if he dies when your away)
    . We have to crush med in his food ,Carry him up and down stairs watch out for his bad biting and growling moods. among other things.
    We are home bound & if we go out one of us always stays with him.. We are not young ourselfs But like our vet says it takes special people to do what we do ..Not many folks do.

    Its a sorry world when you see older pets thrown away and put in dog pounds because it costs them too much to take care of or too much work .We even took a 2 mortgage on our house when we had 2 old dogs to take care of .
    We would do it again too ( but don’t think we will get another dog ..) we have always adopted older unwanted, unloved dogs and they have had a good life with us ..

  49. Dear Sandra, Our Casey is 14 lbs. We give him 1 half of a zanax .0.5 mg ( 2 and a half mg ) and 1 half of a baby aspirine 81 mg ( 40 mg ) desolved in a little bit of water. We give it to him from a midecine dropper thing ( looks like a tiny turkey baster). We can”t give it to him in food like we used to because he won’t Take it.This takes a half an hr. to kick in,but it stops the walking around in circles and the jerks that knock him of his feet . He will eat when he is ready.He only eats a little of something he likes when he is finally hungry,.Sometimes for a day or two,but he still drinks water..He will sleep for 3 to 4 hrs. When he wakes up he is normal until the jerks start up. We We repeat the morning schedule then. It is usually around 3:00 PM. Casey is 16 years old.He is blind ,deaf and can’t hold his bladder. He can’t smell anything but chicken..He should have been put down but my husband can not think of it. He wants Casey to die in his sleep. In the meantime this is the way we cope .Hopes this helps you Sandra.

    • LYNDA Ty for your reply Pudzzy will not let us give him any thing by mouth …Last year he got sores all over his mouth and nose . The vets did test by taking biopsy. It cleared up with predisone ..But now he wont let us go near his mouth .He has snapped at us and growled.. I was worried he would bit someone.. Now he takes meds in his food or on a treat .

      It wasn’t until the vet said to me that the anesthetic to pull his teeth may make his CCD worse that I even knew he had it . .I was surprised I didn’t know I just thought it was old age.. I’m so glad to find this site & have been reading everything in it.. I also was hoping my Pudzzy would go in his sleep ..I also thought his brother would because of his bad heart but we had to take him to vet when he was really bad.. No CCD in his brother just his heart & was a happy little guy until the end ..I really miss him because he was himself & a crazy little dog all the way to end ..Even the day before.he would push his little cat ball under the door of the bathroom so we could roll it back He used to lay on his back and snort at us if we weren’t paying attention to him .. I sure miss him & will so his brother pudzzy..We never had a dog with CCD before ..All all my dogs have lived to be old age .Will keep pudzzy going as long as we can now we know his problem… Pudzzy is also going blind & does wet in the house .Good luck with your Fur baby Casey..

  50. Through tears I was reading all your emails today. I have 9 year old mix boy from a 10 week puppy. He has the classic signs of CCDS, pacing, confusion, barking, panting and now peeing in the kitchen. Its heart breaking seeing him wandering around all night. He does sleep a lot during the day,but he isn’t like that every day, his appetite is fine and he’s alert and affectionate.The confusion can come over him maybe once a month or twice a week. Sometimes it last for few hours or whole night. Yesterday he stared to pace at 5pm until we all gone to bed at 11.30 pm. He was exhausted , he had those “episodes ” for few years. All points at CCDS but I can’t understand because he is still relatively young.
    Can this happen to younger dogs ? I welcome your comments.

    • Oh Marzena, that sounds rough. I haven’t seen any literature about it, but I have heard of a couple other cases that seemed to be early onset of CCD. Also I know that some vet behaviorists start treating dogs as young as 8 to try to prevent dementia later. I hope you can talk to a vet about it. Vets have to exclude other possible conditions in order to make a definite diagnosis of CCD. If it is CCD, you could ask about medications that might help. Good luck. That is totally unfair at age 9….

  51. I am so glad I found this site. Now I think I understand why my 15-year-old Yorkie has been peeing and pooping in the house for the last year. I originally thought it was because we moved to a new house and somehow he got confused.

    Last night he got very sick and pooped and peed all over himself in bed and was unable to walk this morning, so we rushed him to the vet. We found out that he has a large tumor in his abdomen, but that it doesn’t account for these symptoms. The vet is wondering if he has had a seizure, but now that I read this site, I think he may have the condition discussed on this site.

    I am so scared for my poor little dog, he spent the evening tonight walking in circles, getting stuck in corners, and then just lying in his bed. He hardly seems to know us and he hasn’t eaten all day. I don’t know how he got so sick so fast. Has anyone here had their dog go downhill so fast? Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hi JB, I’m so sorry that is happening! A couple of people here have reported that things happened very fast with their dogs. Why don’t you print off the symptom list and take it to your vet? The vet will know how to rule in and out some other conditions. In the meantime, maybe you can arrange a room so your little guy can keep his footing and not get stuck in things like chair legs or other furniture hazards. Take care.

  52. our dog has the same problem but he 16. He sleeps all day keeps us up at night & peed on our couch yesterday. We just have to learn to live with him . He has good days and bad days too ..Sometimes we think OH hes fine, then get our hopes knocked down when he acts strange . We never leave him alone & know that his time is numbered so have love him love him no matter what way. Our doggy just had dental surgery & its made him worse .. We give him a tranquilizer at night & some food and Vits for dementia,, We now whats your going through. Good luck

  53. Hi JB
    I really don’t know about these symptoms coming on so fast, but I suppose this can happen. Hope you can talk to your vet about it. Anyway, I just wanted to say how lucky your little guy is to have you as his mom and I know you’ll continue to give him lots of love. All of us on this site are in your same shoes, if you know what I mean, and even though that may not make your life any easier, I hope you know that we’re all rooting for you and your little Yorkie. good luck!

  54. Hi JB
    Sorry to hear about your Yorkie. My 19 year old jack Russell went downhill pretty fast as well. I printed out the questionnaire on this website and took it to the vet and his vet agreed that he had dementia/Alzheimer’s. The vet told me not to move anything in the house because he knew where everything was and moving things or getting something new would only confuse and stress him. Milo was having lots of accidents but I did not care. It broke my heart when I had to make the decision to put him down. Milo had stopped eating and lost so much weight and was falling and could not get up. When I would help him up he had peed on himself and was drenched in pee so I would have to bath him. I loved my boy so much and part of me went with him when he died. It was the hardest thing that I had ever benn through. I know what you are going through and I feel your pain. You love them and they are like your child and you have to say goodbye because they are in pain and you do not want them to suffer even if it means that you will suffer a tremendous loss. I’d say Milo’s last 2 weeks he went downhill fast. It is hard but be strong. I will be thinking of you.

  55. Thank you Rosa & Kelly.. Pudzzy seems to be doing better since he had his teeth done ….At first we thought the anesthetic would make it worse & It did for about a week . We where devastated however hes will l let us us touch his face & pet him which we couldn’t do before .

    . He still has accidents .2 days ago in our bed ..We put a plastic sheet on our mattress .. He knows hes done something but doesn’t know what .Because he comes and rubs up against us I feel you pain I just hope we know when the time comes, He eating so much better with his bad teeth out & still likes hes walks he also sleeps all day but at night when we go to bed he jumps off the bed then wants back up ..we spend hours doing this …he has always slept on our bed so we can say sleep on the floor . When hes not jumping off the bed we have to pick him up to put him back on the bed .. He also wants out 4 or more times at night

    We also carry him down stairs because he cant make it down He also drinks lots of water so we worry about his kidneys and stopped his tranquilizer at night .GOOD luck everyone with fur babys.. all we can do is love them and not get mad when they make mistakes

  56. I’ve come across your site today as I am so worried and unsure about what to do for my 15 year old Jack Russell bitch, Gucci. She is diabetic, although fairly stable, she is deaf and I think almost blind. The dementia symptoms have got worse and worse over the last couple of years and she paces, stands in corners and manically licks the kitchen floor and carpets. She shakes and suddenly crouches and shudders in the garden in the last couple of weeks. She loves her food and becomes bouncy and puppy like in the few minutes before being fed. She won’t go for walks any more and used to love playing with toys, but hasn’t gone near them for about six months. Does she have any pleasure from life anymore other than when she is about to be fed…? I love her with all my heart, but it is like my little friend has already left me, I just don’t know what to do.

  57. Hi Jane
    I’m so sorry to hear about Gucci. I think when a dog stops eating and drinking it is a sign but … it sounds like she still gets joy out of food. Can you also pet her and lightly massage her? Even sing to her if she still hears.. My dog loves that. Look into her eyes and give her love and hug her. She will feel it!
    I wish you the best of luck with Gucci and also please remember to take care of yourself too!

  58. Hello Jane. I know how hard it is to go through what you are faced with but you are not alone. Sometimes we have no idea what to do for the best and truth is whatever we do, we will have doubts and regrets over it. Try to take it one day at a time and trust your own instincts. You are a good owner and a decent person, doing the best you can. Will be thinking of you and Gucci, sending you and all the others on this forum, every good thought. Best wishes, Caro.

  59. Yes I know how you feel.I’m going thru same things,sometimes I think he is lost,it is really hard but I know time is not on his side.I’m am so heart broken and he isn’t even gone yet………any advise would be great………thanks Kerry p.s And some same guys don’t get upset.Wrong we do very much so get attached and very sad!

  60. I know exactly what your going through! For the past month, the dr told me you must think of his quality of life. The pain, the confusion, those bits of clarity that is gone in five minutes. I listened, but I didn’t want to listen. So I got out a notebook. Every day I journaled his day. For six days, then I read it. He was in terrible misery, I was being selfish. So yesterday I called him and we let him go and it really was beautiful. All the pain, confusion an peace on his face.. Was truly love and his gift to me, and my gift to him. He was an outstanding German shorthair. I’ll never forget him. Feeling lost today. So I hope this helps you.

  61. Came across this site a few months ago and was sure I posted on it but never found my comment. However I’ve been reading all the comments to my email since. Its heartening that we all love our dogs so much giving the amount of animal abuse we now see in the world.
    My girl was only diagnosed in January (after a number of vet trips with exhaustion – me as she was barking all night, she also wasn’t eating and I was sure she had pancreatitis again) The vet put her on Vivitonin which I saw a huge improvement for the first few weeks but not anymore. She panics if I’m more than 5 steps away from her, cant be left alone at all anymore. Doesn’t eat her breakfast and is reluctant to take treats. she does eat dinner with gravy or boiled chicken once Im in the room.
    She now sleeps on my bed every night (well spends half of it walking on me & shaking but better than end of last year) Breakss my heart to see her like this & like everyone else Im questioning myself on her quality of life. The rest of the family think Im over reacting but shes my girl and I dont want her forgetting who the people around her are when shes going. I’ve already requested the vet to do a house call when the time comes – for her not to be stressed in her final moments & for her adopted sister to be there too
    She’s had a tough life – I rescued her from a sanctuary and we had about 8 super years then she got a huge tumour and needed chemo & surgery with a graft. We’ve spent huge chunks of time in vet hospital which stresses her out. Shes had a spinal stroke and bounced back from it.
    The tumour is also growing again so I’m fighting both issues alongside my head & heart
    I feel for you all going through this its an awful thing to see our loved family pets to go through. All I know & tell myself is I know her better than anyone else and I’ll know when its time. I guess I’ve had time with the cancer and all to try and get my head past the “I cant let her go” and I know I’ll be devastated but will make that call for her despite it.

    • Dear Shauna,

      I looked through and couldn’t find a comment from you either; I’m sorry if it got lost in the wires somewhere.

      I can tell what a wonderful bond you have with your girl. You will certainly find others here who are familiar with the heartbreak you describe. I’m sorry for that pain. I made the decision with my head, and I think I did “OK,” but my heart is still mad about it.

      Your dog is SO lucky that you found her and love her so.

      • Thanks Eileen its most likely still in cyber space somewhere so I said i’d re do it. I managed to get signed up for comments so I was seeing everyone else and the pain and indecision we all go through.
        I was lucky to have found her shes been my best friend for the last 13 years and its the last thing I’ll do for her & walk it with her as far as I can. Her paw prints will forever be in my heart as are all of the other posters beloved dogs imprinted.
        All we can do at the time is what seems to be the best for them and our hearts will always doubt us but if you’ve looked in those eyes and seen the answer staring back at you what more can you do.
        Funnily I found your site before the vet diagnosed her as I’ started wondering if it was possible so was less than shocked when my vet said it was CCD – so I thank you for all the information which left me better prepared to ask the vet appropriate questions and routes to take for my girl
        Thanks again

        • One of the blessings of this site for me is hearing from all these people who are so devoted to their dogs. Thanks for sharing, Shauna. Hang in there.

  62. Hi Shauna,
    I completely understand what you are going through. I too came across this site when Jessie my lab (13 years old) was dealing with dementia. My heart goes out to you. Most of the sites that discuss doggie dementia do not mention the panic and fear the dog goes through. My Jess was the exact same way. She would be terrified for hours on end… shaking horribly… Her poor little nails clicking on the hard wood floors and her teeth chattering as if she was freezing cold.
    Anytime I was home, she would stick to me like glue, and look for ways to get underneath me or closer to me. Constantly moving around me, but no position would bring her comfort. When I wasn’t home, she would overturn tables and chairs looking for hiding places. Even when she found one, she would look for another because it wouldn’t bring her comfort. Crating her just exacerbated her anxiety. Medications never helped for long… Xanax actually made her worse. Trazadone actually seemed to help for the longest, but then it wore off as well… We upped the dosage by giving her a morning and night dosage, which did help for another week, but then all the symptoms came rushing back… Each time the anxiety would come back, it seemed to be worse than it was before the medication.
    You are not overreacting at all. I can see why some people may think that though. It is hard for someone who has never had to deal with dementia with a person or an animal to understand the constant stress on the person or animal and the caregiver. As Jessie’s dementia got worse, she spent more time in the terrified state. At the end, the terrified state became her new state. I used to wonder how on Earth she wasn’t giving herself a heart-attack with the heightened anxiety levels she was experiencing at her age.
    After reading your story, I felt compelled to reply. Jess also had cancer when she was two, and then had her knee rebuilt when she was seven. She had a lot of hard times in between the good times. But our good times were pretty awesome… The vet ran all sorts of tests because I was sure that there was something else wrong, but she was actually in good physical health when dementia began to overtake her.
    Even though we try our best to prepare for letting them go, it is so painful to do it. I never had to take my pet in before Jess, and although I spent about six months watching her get worse and watching the toll it was taking on her and me and my other pets, the guilt and the pain was/is pretty tough. I feel guilty for letting her go (how could I let my best friend go?), and I feel guilty for not letting her go sooner and letting her last couple months be so hard on her. I don’t think there is a right or wrong in this situation. And, I think you are right… You will know better than anyone else when its time. Just know that there are many of us out there that completely understand…

    • Jody, you said, “I feel guilty for letting her go (how could I let my best friend go?), and I feel guilty for not letting her go sooner and letting her last couple months be so hard on her.” That sums it up so well. It’s such a terrible decision to have to make. I hope some people get some help from the Villalobos Scale and the other helping tools I have on the website. They did help me.

  63. Hi jody
    Thanks for your reply. Wow your girl was lucky to have you in her life.
    It’s hard to see them suffer like this with ccd and even worse when they’ve already been through so much. The vet and I have already decided that there’s no need to keep returning for visits unless she gets a lot worse and stops eating for more than a day or two… To be honest if this happens I’ll be calling her to the house for the final time.
    My girl was always high anxiety anyway and never did well in vet kennels or crating and she’s always wanted to be near me but now she had to be touching me or be able to see me. Even then she’ll jump up with fear that I’m not there. I think my other adopted dog helps too and she’s so good she moves for the older girl to be beside me and gives up her bed for her.
    The support of one another on here is so lovely and is a great source of venting or asking advice. I’ve recently been talking to an acquantince who’s studying veterinary and we’ve discovered she’s done some learning in lectures with my girl used as a case study given all her complicated history. At least all that hardship might help another fur baby get better treatment down the line.
    Is it long since your girl ?
    Thanks again

  64. Hello,

    I’m not sure if this site is still active or if I can get any kind of support but I’m having a tough time with my dog and her CCD. My dogs name is Beast (weird name, I know) when she was younger she would tear up the house like a “beast” and she accompanied the name. She is an 11 year old board collie who has had a healthy and happy life until about 6 months ago. She has been anxious beyond belief and nothing will sooth her. She constantly tries to crawl and climb into tiny spaces that she can not get back out of without assistance. She hates being without human contact (we have two other dogs yet they can not comfort her). She has hip displacia and it scares me to death I will come home from work and find her hurt because she has tried to climb behind something. We have tried the pills and they just are not working. I am having a hard time with making the discussion to let her go because there is nothing physically wrong with her (besides the displacia) which hasn’t been a problem until she started the climbing phase. It breaks my heart to see her so anxious and scared and she is not acting like the dog she once was. I want to validate my feeling and know that I’m doing the right thing for her. She has been my best friend for most of my teenage years. I knew this would happen eventually but I never imagined that dogs could get Alzheimer’s and it would be this hard. I appreciate anyone’s input or opinions. Even if you have gone through the same thing and can relate to my emotions. It will be a freeing feeling to know I’m not alone and I am doing the right thing. Thank you


    • Tina, have you heard of veterinary behaviorists? They are the “psychiatrists” in the veterinary profession. They have a bunch of additional training in neurological and behavior problems. Your situation makes me think of them because they generally have very broad experience with the drugs and other interventions out there. They are familiar not only with CCD but other brain conditions that can bring on behavior changes.

      Because your dog’s situation came up so soon and because she is otherwise healthy, I would really consider consulting with one. You need to do it through your vet. Some will do a free consult through a vet, but there is usually a charge if they take on your dog’s case over time. They don’t have to be local; they can work by phone and with videos. Anyway, below is a list of board certified vet behaviorists, in case you are in the U.S. (Some dog trainers call themselves “behaviorists” but unless they are on this list, they are not a vet behaviorist.) Good luck. That sounds very very tough.

      American College of Veterinary Behaviorists Member Directory

  65. Wow, I felt so alone, my pomeranian is at least 16, we rescued him at two years old. I hear they say 2 for most rescues. He had been pacing, panting and whining. When I feed him he stops whining, but sill paces. He goes out in the night and barks some. He also is having a lot of accidents. My husband and granddaughter say he is driving them nuts, can’t say I’m not disturbed myself. He is still quite energetic, don’t know what to do. Any ideas?

    • Donna, I’m sorry this is happening. Have you been to the vet about it? If you haven’t, be sure and write down every problem behavior before you go so you don’t forget anything. Other people here and also my book has suggestions for the problems that come with CCD, if that’s what your dog has.

  66. Hi Shauna,

    Unfortunately, it does seem only so much that can be done with dementia, so there is that point that is reached where taking them to the vet becomes futile. I suspect it is kind of like hospice for terminal patients. We just do our best to make them comfortable and to enjoy what little time we have left with them. My vet told me after 5 visits in two months to just call. I kept thinking maybe there was something else that could be done, so I kept taking her in. But your situation is a little different because there is another health issue besides dementia.

    I let Jessie go on January 27th. I miss her every day still. It does get a tiny bit easier with each passing day, but there are so many days when I wake up and reach out for her… Just to realize she isn’t there anymore. I do have a Rottweiler mix (also 13) and a cat (19), so I suspect this year might be pretty tough for me and them. I either adopted or inherited all my animals through breakups when I was in my twenties. I have just entered my forties, so I have been lucky enough to enjoy them for a good span of time. (And hopefully, they feel the same way…)

    Thank you for your kind words. Jessie and I were indeed lucky to find each other… We did have a good run. She helped me through hard times, as I would like to think I helped her through the same. We were very close friends. She “got” me, and I “got” her.

    I am interested in hearing what your acquaintance has learned. I always thought there could/should be more study in this area. Once Jessie was diagnosed with dementia, it was like there was no other hope. All we could do is try to treat her symptoms. Hers symptoms were primarily confusion and severe anxiety. I always hoped that someday there would be a treatment to try to slow down the progression of CCD instead of just focus on treating the symptoms. So, this does give me hope… Thank you…

    What is your girl’s name? If you don’t mind me asking… I don’t recall reading her name.

    • Hi Jody, how are you doing this year with your remaining pets? I am so sorry for the loss of Jessie. I wish I would have known about dementia before it was apparent my dog was in the throws of it. But, he also had a host of other conditions that complicated things. I miss him. I hope you are doing ok.

  67. Tina,

    You are not alone. Please don’t ever think you are. I completely understand about it her being scared and her not being the dog she used to be… My Jessie (13 year old lab) became the same way.

    I was just like you… I never heard about a dog getting Alzheimer’s, until Jessie was diagnosed with CCD. Her body was in good health; her mental state deteriorated quite quickly. She became quite fearful, destructive, and unpredictable. I don’t think she was meaning to be destructive. I think she was always trying to hide… Under something. She was about 75-80 lbs. So, she could quite easily turn over end tables, chairs, desks, you name it. I never knew how to expect the house to be when I got home the last few months. She was once hiding in the tub wrapped in the shower curtain…

    She would pant, shake, teeth-chatter, and would just become overtaken by absolute fear for hours on end… Sometimes the whole day. To get her to sleep, I had to give her more drugs than I, myself, could handle. And, even then, she wouldn’t sleep for long.

    There are several medications that can be tried, along with supplements. You mention that you have tried pills. I don’t know what pills you have tried yet. Certain prescriptions may give her (and you) some peaceful days. Some people say they were able to get a year or more of time with their dog with them. Jessie and I were not as lucky as they were. I only had six months with Jessie after her initial diagnosis.

    I said this previously, and I want you to know… I truly believe there is no right or wrong when you are dealing with a terminal illness or dementia. Guilt will still be there no matter what choice you make. I chose to let Jessie go, and I still feel guilty. Guilty because I let her go, and then I also feel guilty because I let her last couple of months get so bad because I didn’t want to lose her. I always swore I would never let my dog’s quality of life get that bad. It’s truly is no win situation.

    Just try to do what is best, and know that you did just that. We are all in this crazy world together… All we can do is to try to make the best out of the time we have with each other. Please be strong.

  68. I had 5 teeth pulled & Dementia worse. But he needed them out BUT I HAVE A question Does anyones dog have mouth problems . He rubs his mouth and acts like hes in pain .Will not let vet touch his mouth. He never has unless she sedated him ( we cant go near his mouth too) Im at a loose what to do Is this part Dementia or does he still have mouth problems. ANYONE’S DOG HAVE PROBLEMS WITH MOUTH

    • Sandy, since no one has answered you, I just wanted to say that I haven’t heard of mouth problems being a symptom of dementia. I hope your vet can take another look if your dog still acts like he is in pain. Take care. I know that’s hard on you.

  69. I posted about 2-3 months ago about Lucy, my 16 year old Schnauzer with dementia. She has gotten so much worse and paces constantly. She has had a stroke, is deaf and almost totally blind. She gets lost in the back yard and in the house. She gets stuck in corners and cannot get out. Tonight I gave her one of my Xanax, as has been prescribed for her previously but she is still pacing. She has not eaten in about 2 days, but is still drinking. My husband thinks her stomach is upset from some left-over spaghetti she loves and ate a couple of days ago. I wake up every morning to pee or poop in the house. I have RA and fibromyalgia and slipped on some pee and fell on my knee in my bathroom yesterday. Of course it is swollen up like a balloon. My health has been compromised by all of the stress this has caused. With two chronic pain diseases, this is almost more than I can bare. I spend my day following her around the house and take her out about every 2-3 hours. Sometimes, if Im in a lot of pain that day, I get very upset with her and am sure she senses this which I beat myself up for every time I loose my temper with her. I never strike her, but am not as gentle with her as I should be. Then I beat myself up about it and feel stressed out and guilty every time it happens, My husband refuses to see anything is really wrong with her except old age. When I try to talk to him about how bad she is, he pretty much ignores me. Even the vet said it was getting time to think about putting her down. So I spend every day following her around, taking her outside and spend hours cleaning up dog poo or pee. I just had my house redone with a little money that was left to me when my mother passed away. The carpets I purchased are basically ruined. It’s gotten so,I can hardly leave the house because there is always such a mess to clean up when I get home. I always put her in a bathroom or make her a pen with those baby gates. She steps in it and tracks it all over the area. When I come home she is still standing looking lost and will not lay down. I am so resentful of my husband and this poor dog, I don’t know what to do. Someone please help me and any advise would be helpful.

    • Dear Rosemary, it looks like no one has answered your plea so far and I’m so sorry. Can you tell your vet everything you described here about your dog? He might help you communicate with your husband. I’m so sorry about your health problems as well and that they have been worsened by the situation with your dog. Take care. Folks here understand the pain. I hope by the time this reaches you that you have come to a peaceful place with the situation with your dog. Please don’t feel guilty. It is a heavy burden but you clearly love your dog. Take care.

  70. Hi Barbara,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your sweet Jimmy boy . I wanted to tell you that my boy, Clyde, a 14 year old Tibetan Terrier is acting so much like your Jimmy. He walks around in circles and stares at the walls. Then I might feed him and all of a sudden he starts running and jumping around the house like a puppy. I’m terrified that he’s going to hurt himself but there’s absolutely nothing I can do to stop him. Then like you said I might take him outside (always on leash) and he runs around for a while and then stops and looks at me like “why are we out here?” Fortunately for me, most of the time he does want to pee and poop outside so sometimes he decides to do that… After all that he comes in and sleeps like a baby! The hyper activity is dangerous and scary to me. I was wondering if many dogs have this hyper activity? He runs around like he’s out of his mind! Anyway, Barbara … you’re not alone and even though it doesn’t take your pain away from what is going on, it’s nice to know there are other dog parents going through it too and we are all helping and supporting each other. I’m so sorry for the loss of your little girl dog and for what you are going through now. You sound like such a good mom to your Jimmy and I’m sure he had a wonderful life because of you. Stay strong and keep giving Jimmy all the love you can… I believe that they really do feel our love and that it makes a huge difference to the quality of their life and to the dignity they will have at their end. Shona

    • Sona,
      Thank you so much for your reply, it helps. As I type my daugther has taken him out side for a walk, he is been in the stare off mode this afternoon, and panting and wondering all inside the apartment, he wanted his dinner early today, has cried and cried in his room today. Then he comes out and lays down beside us for a few pets…then he is up and wondering, panting. So Jimmy and my daugther have gone for a walk to see if this helps his dementia. We took him to the Vet last week who gave him pain medicine for his arthritis and it was working well, even today. The life of a senior, we are hoping he lays down and calms down when they come back from a long walk.

      Thanks everyone for listening to the life and times of a senior dog with dementia.

  71. Hi i have a dog name benjie, he is suffering dementia too, it is really hard to make a decision when you love them so dearly.

  72. I am comforted by the feedback on this page as my 16 1/2 year old toy fox terrier, Pepper, is also doing the same panting, pacing, barking at the walls, sleeping most of the day, etc. He is no longer the smart, playful and loving dog I have known for all his life. I don’t recognize him anymore and he does not seem to recognize my husband or me. We have said we’ll take him to our VET to be PTS when he stops eating but he still has a voracious appetite. He was diagnosed with diabetes a year ago so we’ve kept him alive with two shots of insulin a day. If I search my heart, I think I am keeping him alive for MY selfish reasons. I am afraid of the loss and that somehow he would be mad at me. We have another dog at home and will definitely adopt another dog when Pepper passes. Sometimes I wish he would just pass on in his sleep.

    • Hi Eileen,

      I’m sorry that I didn’t see this comment before. We have chatted elsewhere, so I’m going to publish it in case you want to follow up later about Pepper. Hugs.

  73. I’ve enjoyed reading all the posts here. Nice to know that I’m not alone with something as cruel as this dementia issue. My beagle Buddy was the sweetest dog I’ve ever met. I adopted him in 2008. He was a bit older and had clearly been abused, but he quickly became my best friend. In early 2015, he began exhibiting symptoms of dementia. The confusion, the pacing, the lack of desire for affection or play, eventually forgetting his house training and getting to the point where he would step all over/lay in his own urine and feces without even knowing it. He still had his lucid moments(usually when food was around, lol), but he was clearly no longer himself. Along with his arthritis and heart issues, I felt his quality of life seriously declining, and made the decision to put him to rest last October. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, in a life full of hard times. I’ll never forget him, and his name is now tattooed on my shoulder. Thanks for making me feel a little less alone, and my condolences on the loss of your pup.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story about Buddy. I can tell how close you were. It was brave of you to help him go to rest–some of the rest of us here know about that. Take care.

  74. Eileen! Was Cricket a rat terrier? I am having the same problems with my 13 yr. old rat terrier that just had his 13th birthday on July the 4th! He is my little man and my sole companion and I have had him his whole life. I have watched your videos of Cricket and read your post with tears flowing down my face. I dread the day that I have to make the decision to put him down. frown emoticon:( Sandy

    • Hi Sandra, yes she sure was. I tell the story of how I got her and our life together in my book. Rat terriers are my favorite, favorite breed. I got her at age 6-8 and I had many more years with her than I ever expected, but of course they were not enough. I hope you can talk to your vet; if your dear little man has dementia, there are some possible interventions. Good luck and hugs to a fellow rat terrier friend!

  75. I am writing because we just had to euthanize our wonderful little Jack named Josie. She was a few months over 18 and , like others, we had to guess when the time would be right. I hope our comments help others to deal with CDD and the question of when to help them along.

    Josie was in CDD for at least the last year and a half. Towards the end we were having to watch her almost 24/7 as she was exhibiting the extensive pacing and getting trapped under or behind things.

    Initially, Jose would wake up (yes, she slept on our bed) with severe panting and twirling. We knew that she was losing her sight and her hearing, but even until the end she could see things close and directly ahead. We conjectured that her panting and twirling may be due to anxiety of not knowing where she was or where we were. We began leaving a small wattage light on at night and that seemed to cure her panting and the twirling right up to the end.

    She loved her food and we often helped her eat if she couldn’t clean her bowl completely because she couldn’t see where the food was. Her younger brother Jack was always willing to help her clean up her bowl :>) She ate enthusiastically right to the last day.

    We were fortunate that she slept well 90% of the nights as she was often exhausted from her eternal pacing during the day. We would often have to grab her hold and pet her and put her in her bed where she often would fall asleep and give us a break. At night, we would be sure to let her drink well so she would often sleep thru until 6-7 AM from 10 PM. Sometimes, she would wake at 1-3 AM, smack her lips and that meant she wanted a drink. While she never hardly ever had an accident in the bed, we did have to sleep on the edge in case she awoke and might fall off the end of the bed.

    For some reason, she lost quite a bit of body mass in her haunches. She could still walk, but exhibited rear leg weakness if she tried to stand still. We could not detect any pain or cancer to be causing the loss of body mass. It appeared to be similar to what we observed in old people.

    She still knew us and accepted our hugs and pets. But she was losing more and more of herself and we did not want to let her decline to where she could not eat, or could not walk, or did not know us at all. So after almost a year and a half of not traveling or going away (Josie did not travel well any more), we decided the time had come.

    We are blessed with a pet service called, Gentle Goodbyes, in boise, ID. It is an appointment service where the Vet and an Assistant come to your house to do the euthanasia procedure. They are kind and gentle. We knew the time they were coming so gave Josie her meal and held her for a couple of hours until the time. When we her holding her, they shaved her leg to insert the IV. They put her fur in a small sachet for us and lit a candle. As they did her leg, Josie was relaxed and we imagined that her face looked at us and said, “I know that it is time to go and Thank You for this last love. Gentle Goodbyes takes your pet to the crematorium. We have had to do this final act in the Vet’s office and it is always more traumatic to us and our pet.

    Finally, we tried Sentilife and Coconut oil as food additives and they seem to help her in the last months.

    We surely miss her and a large hole has been left in our lives. We hope our experience helps some others.

    • Carlton, your story brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing it. Such a blessing that you have a good option for in-home euthanasia in Boise. I encourage people to look for that option in their own areas. There are more and more businesses doing that. Thank you again for sharing about little Josie. We should all be so lucky as she was to have such love and care from you and your family.

    • I am so sorry for your loss I wish I would have known about this site and to try the coconut oil etc on my dog Sunny. Three vets didn’t mention it at all. How very sad for many owners who just don’t know what’s going on until it’s too late. I could have tried some of these things at least to see if there would be any change. Instead, I opted to euthanize my Sunny – without knowing which of his conditions were ailing him the most. 🙁

  76. Dear Eileen,

    I am also one of the unlucky people who had to euthanize my dog recently – actually, exactly 10 days ago. I still haven’t come to terms with it, although she wasn’t my first dog and although I have two other dogs to comfort me in these difficult times.

    Sherry was a sweet little Yorkshire Terrier, almost 17 years old. Having read the last post written by Carlton Yee, it was as if I had written it myself … My Sherry was exactly the same!

    I started noticing dementia about a year ago and at first, I had absolutely no knowledge about it. Thank you for your wonderful book “Remember me?” that I found by coincidence and immediately read it cover to cover. It was really helpful in so many ways – including making the hardest decision of all … to say goodbye.

    Fortunately, Sherry never lost her appetite, so her last meal was very special. She had trouble drinking water though, so I had to help her most of the time. The endless pacing could go on and on … she got stuck in the corners and under the furniture, kept falling asleep in the middle of the room in she couldn’t make it to the nearest bed etc.

    After her last breakfast, I let her lie in the sun for about ten minutes – she really enjoyed that every day and I wanted to make the last morning as comfortable and nice as I could. And then, off we went to the vet …

    I know it was the right thing to do, but it was definitely the hardest decision of my life. Knowing that she could perhaps keep me company for another month or two – but it wouldn’t be fair to her. I miss her with all my heart and think about her constantly. My other two dogs know exactly what happened and for the first couple of days I could see that they, too, were mourning – making it even harder for me because I had to keep them busy all the time.

    Sherry is buried in the corner of my mother’s garden under a cherry tree; which is kind of comforting to me. I couldn’t leave her at the vet and there is no possibility of cremation where I live. For me, this was the only acceptable option.

    She has taught me so many things … her tiny little pawprints will remain in my heart forever.

    Thank you, Eileen, and everybody else – I had no idea there were so many of us experiencing the complicated yet beautiful life with dogs diagnosed with CCD.

    • Dear Deana,

      Our situations with our dear dogs sound so similar. You know from the book that Cricket couldn’t drink either for her last weeks, but she kept her appetite until the end. I’m so glad you could give Sherry a lovely last day and I’m sure every day of her life.

      Thank you for your kind words about my book and I am SO glad that it helped. That’s why I wrote it. Hugs to you. Sherry was so very lucky to be loved and cared for by you. I can tell how lucky you were to have her as well.

  77. My little Missy girl is a beautiful toy poodle she is 16 years old and is so bad with CDD, she is also blind and deaf. Just started finding out what was wrong with her I thought she was doing the pacing because of her blindness. But I am starting to realize she is suffering and it’s time to let her go. This little angel is so special! She was the last gift my husband gave me. We got her in November and I fell madly in love with her and so did my husband and two children. Tragedy struck our lives when my wonderful husband was killed in an avalanche while snowmobiling in the mountains. My children and I were devastated that was almost 16 years ago and that little baby was there to comfort all of us and I thank god for her. Today my daughter said goodbye to her and she said mom her fur holds so many of our tears and I agreed. This is the hardest decision to make to let her go! Thank you all for sharing your stories as that has helped me to understand it’s the right thing to do. At first I felt like I was giving up on her but I know she doesn’t want to live like this. She still eats and she is such a good girl hasn’t messed in the house that much she has always used a litter box and she manages to find her way to it. But I see the fear in her and the sadness. There is know joy for her anymore, so this week it will happen. I just can’t plan the day, that is to hard. Writing this has helped a lot!

    • Dear Paulette,

      MI’m sorry–my delay in responding may mean that you have already let your little girl go. I just can’t imagine how hard it must be given the other tragedy in your life. I’m glad you found a little solace in the site. There are others here who have had to make very, very hard decisions regarding their beloved companions. Hugs to you and your children.

  78. I have a almost 13 year old shitzu Darby. Up until about 8 weeks ago she was a perfectly normal dog. Out of the blue she started jumping up and running around acting scared. We took her to our vet and he prescribed an anti anxiety med that she takes every am. She was so bad in the beginning panting, pacing, trying to jump on our coffee tables scratching and barking when we left the house never had this happened. She has been better during the day but still gets the scared attacks where she will jump up and run around the house scared. She still will not sleep at night . We give her Valium if she is really upset. It does calm her. Today we took her to a neurologist she did a thorough nerological exam and said she didn’t seem like she had an signs of brain tumor. But could only be 100% sure if they put her under did an Mri and spinal tap I wasn’t willing to put her through that after a good nerological exam. This doc mentioned doggie dementia or that maybe she should see a vet behaviorist. We are at our wits end 8 weeks later and still nobody can give us a real diagnosis it’s all maybe this maybe that, the not sleeping at night is awful it’s going on 8 weeks. She stayed with my mom for a few days in June and was perfectly fine, I just don’t get it. We don’t know what else to do. Any advice would be so helpful. All her lab work was perfect and to look at her she looks like a healthy dog. I have been doing so much research on the web and it seems that a lot of people go through this with older dogs. Thanks for listening we just don’t know how else to help our poor Darby.

    • Dear Tammy,

      Not knowing is the hardest thing of all, especially if it is coupled with not getting enough sleep. If your vet is mentioning a vet behaviorist, though, that’s great! That is something you can do. If there is not one local to you (be sure and look for Board Certified Vet Behaviorists; there are some trainers who use the term behaviorist and that’s not what you need), some do teleconference consults. I have worked with Dr. E’Lise Christensen using video and phone consults and she is fabulous, and the price is reasonable (lower than most). Here is a link to her practice. You can contact them yourself to start the process but she will need to work through your local vet. I strongly suggest you try this. Good luck with Darby. http://www.behaviorvets.com/about-us.html

  79. Eileen,
    I am afraid I am coming near the end with my beautiful Maya. She is, we think, a 16 y/o husky beagle mix. We were originally given a three year range and went with the youngest due to her energy and we doubt she is any older then 16 now. She has been diagnosed with dementia for over a year already. It was really mild at first. Just getting lost on walks at times, or forgetting that we were outside with her and barking at the back door to be let in. This summer she has progressed to not recognizing some neighbors and barking non stop. She cries all night until she actually cries herself to sleep. The last few nights I actually slept on the floor with her for a few hours to keep her calm until she was fully asleep, this is with her rescue remedy. I’ve known for some time that the end would be near but now the fear is setting in. Here’s why… I originally got Maya as a foster dog on my daughter’s second birthday. I had always promised her a dog when she turned two. The difference is my daughter died when she was 17 months old. Maya and her never met. Maya became my lifeline. I don’t have any other children and I can’t so Maya really became my world. She had the spirit of my daughter inside of her in so many ways that I can’t even explain! Now knowing that her life will soon be coming to an end, I feel like I’m losing my daughter all over again. How do I even begin to say goodbye? I just find myself praying that I won’t have to and that I will wake up one day and she will be playing with my daughter Willow. I don’t want to make that decision!

    • Karen,

      I’m so sorry you are having to look at this decision. I can tell that it is even harder than usual. I’m so sorry about your daughter as well. I hope for an easy passing for Maya and that your heart can rest.

  80. My 16 year old Zoe Bella, toy poodle, has been exhibiting signs of dementia for several years now. She has worsened so much over the last few days. I know it’s time and I know she is miserable. It’s just so hard to know when. Question, do most people cremate their dogs and take home their ashes or not. She has been the best and smartest dog I’ve ever had and have had dogs my entire married life of 34 years and all growing up, we raised poodles and Dobermans. I’m just devastated. My dad is not well and the thought of losing both this year is killing me.

    She sleeps most of the day. Last night she fell over twice. She gets separatation anxiety a lot and when we leave and come back, find her scared and in strange parts of the house, no longer at the front door. She is blind and deaf. She has been a finicky eater for the past two years. She has always been a kisser, to the point of mania but we haven’t gotten any kisses the past few days. I am just so sad. I know you all understand and appreciate that I found this site. Thank you so much for sharing your stories.

    • My little Cricket was the only dog I ever cremated and got her ashes. I know it is comforting for a lot of people but it wasn’t very much for me. I made a pretty urn for them but there are other things–her toys, her pictures–that make me feel closer to her.

      Dogs have their ups and downs but sometimes they do go down and don’t recover, or not as much. It’s such a hard thing to do, but I hope you can make a peaceful decision in your heart. It is very clear how much you love her. I’m very sorry for the loss of your father.


  81. My Cody…17 year old Border Collie. Rescue dog who has always had ‘quirks’ which made him such a beloved dog. Over the last year, he became restless at night with heavy panting. He now pants constantly (aside from when he is sleeping), restless (unable to get comfortable – lies in a spot for 2 seconds, then get up, repeats), barks at walls, can’t hear, losing eyesight, can no longer hold his leg up while peeing, goes to the wrong side of the door to be let out, can’t judge the distance of objects/steps (trips or jumps way too high). He still enjoys walks (although excessive panting the entire time), eats and poops. Uncertain of his quality of life and I don’t want/know if he is in pain.

  82. We have a mixed breed dog, Jodi, almost 17 years old. We just read about doggie dementia a few weeks ago, and know that that’s exactly what she has. She stays outside almost all the time, just comes in the house here and there. She has almost all of the classic symptoms of doggie dementia. It’s so helpful that we found this out when we did. She seems to have had it for about 6 months. We couldn’t figure out what was going on, but this really explains it. We are usually gone all day one day a week. Last week when we got home that night, she wasn’t in her house. We thought she was probably wandering like they do at night. It’s now Tuesday evening, and we still haven’t seen her at all We live in the country–we only have 3 neighbors nearby. We have been looking all over for her since Friday morning. The neighbors have been out looking all over the fields and woods nearby since Friday, on tractors and ATVs. I keep thinking if she wandered off, could she wander back? I hate to give up hope on her, I just wish I knew. It’s very sad not knowing if she is with a family, or has she passed? She’s a friendly dog. Everyone has passed the word in the area, and we don’t know what else to do.

    • Oh no. I’m so sorry, and sorry for the lateness of this response. Did you ever find her? That is a special kind of heartbreak. Hugs to you and your family.

  83. I have a greyhound who’s approaching 13 years of age. ..just recently I have noticed that she doesn’t seem to be herself she appears healthy in a physical sense but I am sure her minds not there anymore

  84. Our dog of 11 years is on his last days. Thank for your videos and info about Cricket. It has helped us emensly understanding what is going on. My mother in law passed of Alzheimer’s and sad that our canine family members get it as well. God bless u ad thank u.

  85. My 14 1/2 year old, 30 pound jackabee now wears size 4-5 toddler pull ups with sheet holder straps attached to a harness because she no longer lets us know when she needs to go. She just starts going to the bathroom in the house whenever she feels like it instead of alerting us that she wants to go out. After a week of constant steam cleaning, I felt like the diapers were my only alternative. She has P.T.S.D. from being abused as a puppy prior to ending up at the pound where I adopted her as a puppy. She won’t let anyone brush her, clip her nails or bath her without yelping in her very high pitched yelp that she uses when she is startled or touched. She is mostly blind and mostly deaf. I distract her with a treat and stand with her between my legs to change her pull up diaper. She is confused and paces chronically every night and she also paces back and forth when we vacuum. She mostly sleeps during the day. I love her and I realize she just has canine dementia so I try to accept it as a part of old age and I try to give her a good life. I still take her for walks, although she forgets where she lives and what she is outside for. Herbal supplements for dogs for relaxing them helps during the evenings when the dementia is typically worse.

  86. hello.. my 17 year old pincher got sick yesterday, she was very weak and we took her to the vet, the vet said she had a very high fever and was dehydrated, he gave her medicines and she got better, after we got home she started walking non stop for 3 hours, like if she didnt recognize the house, she got stuck in every corner and furniture, and hasnt layed down since… im very worried, she doesnt want to sleep, is this Canine Cognitive Dysfunction? im from venezuela and we dont have a good animal health care here, what can i do? .. when i try to put her to rest she starts panting from tyreness,, but still doesnt want to stay laid down…

  87. Hello, I have a almost 13 yr old Husky who is showing lots of signs of dementia and he is just miserable but then I see him play at times. How do you know when is the time to say good-bye? He is very nasty with barking when my younger pup comes around like he hates him and I feel bad even thinking about putting him down….is there a right time to say good-bye and when do you know?

    • I too have a 13 year old husky (cross) and she is at the end of life I fear. I feel the same way, at ties she plays with her toys ad wags her tail and then she paces, drools, and tries to get into every cabinet i have. She has tried to bite me and my husband. I put her on Prozac and Xanax….vet recommended and its not helping. I am like you in wondering if its time?

  88. Eileen, thank you for continuing this web site to support and comfort owners of dogs with dementia. It is comforting to realize how others have and are dealing with the same hard decisions.

    Buddy, my Shiba Inu who I have had since he was 8 weeks old was the world to me. I have loved and cared for Buddy for 15 1/2 years, and he was my best friend and loving companion. Buddy was diagnosed with dementia in January 2015. My vet prescribed Anipryl 15 mg Tablets, and I gave Buddy this prescription for just over a year. Other than for dementia, Buddy was always very healthy, and he had very good blood test results.

    Over the years, the dementia started to get worse. I was lucky enough to be able to change my hours at work, and eventually stop working to care for Buddy. He was restless at nighttime, and after going to bed, Buddy would need to go outside several times a night. Then he would pace for a while until he was ready to go back to sleep.

    In May 2016, I enrolled Buddy in a canine swimming fitness program to strengthen his back legs. He was starting to be unable to walk as far, and his back legs were becoming weaker. Towards the end of 2016, I had to carry Buddy up and down the stairs, since he was no longer able to navigate the stairs on his own.

    Although Buddy has had dementia for over two years, recently his pacing and circles have gotten much tighter and more intense to the point of making him dizzy. After pacing for a while, I would pick Buddy up and put him in his bed, and he would go right to sleep. During the day, Buddy would have anxiety whenever I would leave him alone. I limited the time I was away from Buddy because when I returned, Buddy would be screaming, sometimes at a bathroom door. During the night, Buddy would walk around the bedroom, sometimes fall and be unable to get back up on his own, and he would stumble and hit his head on the walls at times. Other times, I would find Buddy in a corner of the room, and I had pillows to prevent him from going behind furniture.

    It became apparent Buddy was living more and more in a state of confusion, and his quality of life was not like it use to be. Sometimes at night while in bed, when I tried to pat him, he would get upset until he realized it was me. Buddy needed to be close to me, actually laying next to and touching me to go back to sleep.

    Buddy started to become unstable and would fall into his food and water. I would lift his food and water for him to eat and drink. He was always very good to do his business outside.

    Although your vet can only see a very limited snap shot of your dog’s behavior and illness during their appointment, I shared via a video with my vet how Buddy was pacing more during the day and at night, since I did not want Buddy to be taken a day early, and I did not want to be selfish and keep Buddy an extra day if he was starting to suffer at all.

    My vet saw Buddy in February and thought he was doing fine, and in March he said he saw a decline, and it would be in Buddy’s best interest to consider saying goodbye. I held Buddy for several evenings, patting him and telling him how much I love him. On March 16, 2017 Buddy passed very peacefully in my arms. I never cried so hard and for so long. It was the hardest decision ever to have to make. My heart is broken to have to say goodbye, and Buddy is now at peace. Buddy has been a wonderful companion, and I have been blessed to have him.

    My only guilt is you never know when is the “right time” to say goodbye. I pray I made the right decision in the best interest for Buddy, and that the decision wasn’t premature. I would love to have been able to keep Buddy forever, and I will in my heart, until I see him again.

    I love my baby and miss Buddy so much!

    • Dear Tom,

      Buddy was one of the luckiest dogs there ever was to have you as a caregiver. What a wonderful life you gave him, and the ways you accommodated the changes he went through are admirable. Thanks for sharing your story. We always doubt ourselves about such a serious decision, but if it helps to know, it sounds from here like you decided just right. I’m sorry for the pain of missing him. Take care.

    • I’m so sorry about Buddy, I just lost my boy two weeks ago not knowing exactly which one of his conditions was ailing him. This is such a hard condition. But, it does sound like you took great care of him, and when you contacted your vet to get more of an objective perspective I think that was right. Three vets I talked to said I should really consider Sunny’s quality of life. Problem is, before that time, I felt abandoned by them in helping his conditions. Never a mention of a behaviorist, it was almost like well, he’s old and he has likely neuropathy or neuromuscular disease – he will just decline. Sorry. 🙁

  89. My heart is breaking as I write this, I am dealing with this times two, I have a 15 year old Scottie (male) and a 15 year old Schnauzer (female) I’ve had them since they were 8 weeks old. The Scottie started slowing down about 2 years ago, but the Schnauzer was as active as she had always been until about 6 months ago. They both started showing all the symptoms of dementia ( circling, appearing lost, not responding, pacing at night, not making it onto their beds all the way, changes in eating, acting frightened of people they know sometimes, the Scottie has been peeing on the floor even if he has just come in from outside, and he never had an accident in the house until this all started) It started 4 1/2 months ago and has gotten progressively worse. My daughters Schnauzer was 6 months older than my dogs and he had a severe stroke last year and she had to make the decision to put him down (very difficult for me and her, but the poor baby couldn’t stand or hold his head up, there was absolutely no choice and it still hurts) I don’t know if I could make that choice for my two unless they were in pain or in the same condition my daughters dog was in. I don’t want to feel like I am prolonging their life just to satisfy my desire to keep them with me, nor do I have a desire to end their life because of the dementia. How does a person know how to make the right choice for their much loved pets? Are there guidelines that help you know you are doing what is best for them?

  90. My dog Button is 17 years old and almost totally blind and almost totally deaf and has full on CCD. I keep having the vet check her and he says that her eyes say she is not ready to go and she has a strong heart. But she has no quality of life and she is getting to where she doesn’t remember how to eat. She does eat, and gets her food but it takes her forever to eat. She cannot walk a straight line and just walks in circles; not even just circling but almost twirling and falling over. I get dizzy watching her. I get to points where I can’t take it anymore. I cannot get her to calm down sometimes. I’m constantly changing and washing blankets and beds that I just washed and put her pen together with pads and blankets. I give her Anapril and it really helped for a while but it’s not doing much any more.

    Thanks for giving me a place to vent. I think I am going to have the vet help her pass on to her next life even though he says she’s not ready. She is 17 and has had a great life and needs to be happy again. Thank you.

    • Liz, you know your dog best. If it helps to know, I intervened in my dog’s life earlier (it sounds like) and helped her pass on. I don’t regret it. It is very difficult with a dog who is still physically robust, but it sounds like you have assessed Button’s quality of life well. Hugs.

  91. My beautiful 17 yr. old (in two weeks) has very little sight. She has arthritis which has left her back legs very weak. I made a harness to help her go outside. It has been three weeks since we have had a decents night sleep. She has been on Anapril, however, it only keeps her for about two hours. Her quality of life includes sleeping and staring into space most of the day. Eating, drinking water and going out to poo and pee. At night after giving meds she will sleep for about two hours and begin grunting with a bark. I try to hold her to calm her down, however, I can feel that she is very uncomfortable. This could go on for some hours. Until she is so exhausted, she will sleep again after drinking water snd eating.We knew she needed help physically and have done everything in our power to keep her going. Including meds for arthritis. We never experienced Sundowners until it began three weeks ago. On Friday we took her to our Vet looking for anyway to continue to help her. Our Vet said we could try another course of action that would include Melatonin and Selegiline, but it would take two to three weeks to kick in. However, she was not very encouraging. When I asked her what she thought Miesa’s quality of life is from 1-10 she said a 3.We filled the script and started her on it last night. As my husband and I talked about all of this, we realized that yes during the day she gets by, however we can’t remember the last time we saw her wag her tail. Or see happiness on her face when we return after having been out. All of this along with her anxiety and lack of sleep at night,we have made the hardest decision of our lives. We had to look at the fact that she is just about seventeen. IF the Selegiline and Melatonin does some good after two weeks how much time can we buy her, as well as what other age related ailments would she might suffer. We have a Vet coming to the house at 4pm today to help our Miesa cross The Rainbow Bridge. My heart is breaking and I am questioning myself every minute. However, I keep telling myself better a week early than a day too late. I pray this is the right thing to do.

  92. My dog was diagnosed with dimentia nearly 2 weeks ago he’s probably had 2 really good days out of that time and a few really bad nights with aggressive barking and staining at corners , he also wouldn’t come in from the garden on a few occasions and doesn’t want to come near me more often than not he growls sits and stares or just growls I don’t k ow what to do I’m at the end of my tether.

  93. This is not really a reply but a question. I have a 12 year old mini schnauzer.( human years) he is practically blind and also losing his hearing. He seems to have arthritis also. He constantly whines. He still eats and drinks but sometimes forgets where the food is. He has started acting very strange like wondering around like he’s lost. This morning we found him lying in the cats litter box. Later he looked pissed off and tried to dump the cats food over and his water over. I’ve never seen him act like this before. I know he is very old and uncomfortable. Do you have an opinion on what o should Do?

    • Check with your vet. So many things can go wrong with our older pets and some of them are treatable. I’m sorry you are going through this. But your vet may be able to help. Hugs.

  94. Our little Shih Tzu, Maggie, is in end stage dementia.
    She no longer wants her treats and gets very confused at night. This morning, she went out with her “younger brothers” and kept going up and down the ramp not able to figure out or perhaps she forgot she had to potty. I had the boys show her what to do and then they had to show her how to come back in. She always ( like Cricket) follows me around, now because she just didn’t remember, I have to pick her up and put her on her favorite spot on my chair.
    Thank you so very much for sharing Cricket’s story. It truly was a big help. God bless you and we can all look forward to seeing our “kids” someday, because ALL Dogs Go To Heaven!!

    • Dear Mary,

      I’m glad Cricket’s story helped. I can tell how much you love Maggie. I’m glad she still knows you and is attached to you. Hugs.

  95. I am so thankful I found this site! I am just learning that this disease exists. Murphy is around 13 or 14 (he was a stray) that has been slowly declining. He is at the point now where he is barking almost all day and night. He still eats well and has a bit of a pep in his step. At what point do you say enough is enough? I know no one can answer that question, really. But I don’t know that I want to take him to be put down when he is physically fine. I also don’t want him to mentally suffer. He has always been very happy go lucky and the last several months he has become anxious, and on one occasion, very aggressive. It breaks my heart.

    • Jamie, I’m so sorry. This is so hard to go through. You are right that no one can answer that question for your personal situation with Murphy. But if it helps to know, I did euthanize my little Cricket when she was still physically capable. No pain that I knew of, good appetite, could still get around. She was frail but not decrepit. But dementia is an illness as well, a terminal one. I tell the story in my book of how I made the decision, and also have stories from two other people who helped their dogs pass on before they were physically incapacitated. Hugs to you.

  96. we have 2 staffordshire bull terriers, Chucky our boy is 15 and Kezzie our girl is 13.
    Chucky over id say the last 3 years has been declining. we have taken him to the vets on a few occasions one for a lump to be removed from his foot and others for really bad gas.7
    i was looking up doggy dementia and on the last visit to the vet said, hes got cataracts in both eyes, hes hearing has gone, either that or he just doesnt want to listen. He cant go on walks because he flops down after because hes back legs are not as strong, and alot lately he slips onto his rear. He paces up and down, stops in your way, you tell him to move but he doesnt, walks in circles, wants to go out every 5 minutes but never actually does anything. and the obvious, stares into space.

    The vet saw no issue said hes healthy, good heart healthy teeth.

    does this sound like doggy dementia to you or am i going mad!

    • Hello, I am sure you have already managed your poor dog’s health and well-being by this point. I just wanted to share that although some of what you describe does sound like dementia – there could be other things going on too like Cushings disease which makes them pant and drink excessive water (and pee), he could also have laryngeal paralysis which makes them not be able to walk far and could have a breathing crisis. That is usually the first sign of a general neuropathy where their muscles will get weaker in the hind legs and maybe even eventually in the front. It’s a mad cycle as if they can’t walk as far due to whatever reason, then their muscle is going to waste. It sounds like a behaviorist or canine rehabber is the way to go and I will keep in mind if I ever adopt another dog. My dogs passed on 2/26/18.

  97. Hi Eileen 🙂 Here’s the review I just left on Amazon….. (if you look at it, you can see my sweet Sassy) “This is a truly wonderful book. One night last February it hit me that my 14-year-old rat terrier mix….my GIRL…..couldn’t seem to remember how to hold her chew toy. It hit me like a thunderclap. I googled and found Eileen. After the initial shock and grief….how could my dog be coming down with the same condition my mom had???……I regrouped and we had 4 more wonderful, meaningful months. I hand fed her twice a day by putting peanut butter and dog food on the roof of her mouth because she seemed to have forgotten how to eat consistently, but she still drank and still walked like a CHAMP. She let me know when it was time by stopping her water intake, and she died at home, without even requiring euthanasia, about 2 weeks ago. I am eternally grateful to Eileen for her website and this book. Eternally. She gave us 4 months by elucidating what we were dealing with. I cannot thank her enough for this beautifully written book.”

    • Oh, Sassy was gorgeous! I love the picture and so glad you included it in the review. Thank you SO much for copying your review here. It’s silly, I know, but I just kind of dread looking at the Amazon reviews so I don’t do it often. I’m glad I was brave and looked at yours and saw sweet Sassy. Comments like yours make me so glad I wrote the book. Hugs!

      • Thank YOU, Eileen! You are a treasure. I’ll be reading your other site carefully as I’m starting my new adventure with my new little rescue guy 🙂 Many, many blessings to you.

  98. Eileen,

    Your dedication and devotion to dogs and owners struggling to cope with family pet members suffering from CCD is remarkable. Thank you so much for all the helpful information.

    My 17 year old Pug, Mr Pibb is well into the later stages of CCD. He is on medication and a vet recommended diet for his condition. In the past month, he endlessly barks. It appears to be stress/anxiety related but I cannot confirm this. Initially, it seemed to be a way for him to communicate a need (food, water, attention etc) now it is relentless.

    I was hoping you might have a recommendation how to manage the barking. Thank you again for all your incredible insight and dedication to furry family members.


    • Dear Patrick,
      I wish I had a suggestion for this but I don’t, really. I know it can be super distressing to the whole family. I guess if I were in your shoes I would ask the vet if there were possibly a safe, gentle sedative that would help. (Depending on what other medications Mr Pibb might take.)

      It’s not surprising that it first it “meant” something but that has dropped away. That seems to be part of the decline, I’m sorry to say. Good luck to you and Mr. Pibb. I’m so sorry I don’t have an answer for you. Barking and sleep disturbances seem to be the hardest symptoms for the humans to deal with.


  99. While I realize this thread/comment line has been going on for years, I wanted to add my own small contribution. First: Thank you for this site and all of the information. Second: Thank you for continuing to monitor this thread and offering your support and wisdom to the people who keep coming here, year after year. You are truly giving Cricket a wonderful legacy here. Third: I wanted to share my own case as a heads up/warning. My border-collie/saluki mix, originally a hard-case, abused rescue, is not 13, 14, 16, etc. as many of the other dogs in this thread. She is, tragically 10 years old. And she is in advanced dementia. It is all wrong for her breed/s and almost unheard of, but she is well into CCD. (I don’t know why they give it another name, she acts just like my father did and they called it Alzheimer’s: everything from Sundowner’s, to spatial and visual disorientation to loss of inhibition and you name it.) I believe her condition is related to a lifetime of a brain and body bathed in cortisol as a result of her abuse and subsequent anxieties, but whatever the case, she was unmistakably suffering from this sad condition by the time she was 9 years old.

    We have seen specialists and run every test one can imagine, and there’s just no way around it. It is now terribly advanced and we are literally taking it week by week. But I wanted people to know that this can happen to dogs much younger than you would ever dream of. 3 months ago, she began to have difficulty periodically remembering how to eat and drink. She sometimes chokes while drinking and often will carry food around in her mouth for long periods — last week she carried a piece of chicken jerky (I make our own) around in her mouth for over 35 minutes, even standing over the water bowl, “Want to drink. Something in mouth. Want to drink. Something in mouth.” for 10 minutes. Strangely, she has had very few “accidents” in the house — perhaps because I work from home and let her out a lot. She still loves walks and poking about in the garden, sniffing in spite of serious spinal arthritis and a lot of difficulty keeping her feet under her. We have “trails” of yoga mats through the house for traction on the hardwood floors and she wears Toe Grips which have been very useful, but she is just what you would think of as a 16 or 18 year old in her breed/s.

    Medication has not helped, except in the way of arthritis meds — we use Rimadyl and high CBD cannabis and it keeps her moving. She is still interactive, although she sometimes “fails” in that she comes up for attention and then veers away inappropriately. We just coax her back for her snuggle and she’s happy. But I have promised both her and myself that we are really in the week-to-week stage now and that if we have a week where the bad days outnumber the good, we are going to say goodbye. I refuse to let her get to the point where she is suffering before I will let her go. I had to watch my father go well beyond the stage of kindness and I will not do that with her.

    • JD, thank you for your kind words and the kindness of sharing your dog’s sad story. People do ask about “early onset” dementia in dogs and to my knowledge it is not documented in the literature. But as you say, dementia in dogs is similar to Alzheimer’s in humans–even some of the brain changes are the same. I’m glad you have told the story of your dog’s diagnosis, sad though it is. It may help some others.

      Sounds like our philosophies are similar about “when to let them go.” People typically feel so guilty for euthanizing a dog who has a neurological/mental disorder and may be otherwise fairly healthy. Sorry to speak to bluntly. But I’m with you–better a week too soon than a day too late.

      That said, I hope you have many more good days and weeks with your dear dog. Thank you so much for sharing.

  100. Hello,

    First, let me extend my heartfelt condolences to all who have or are suffering with making decision to stop the pet’s suffering. For I was faced with this four days ago.
    I knew he had changed after a dental surgery in 2016. No longer wanted to go for walks – which he loved – seemed a bit confused. Then another dental a year later just seemed to push him further into confusion.
    I tried everything. His diet was always good – his treats were small bits or organic apple/carrot. Filtered water free of fluoride and chlorine. He was always a big pup…and had a massive reaction to vaccinations and almost died. Then, came the flood of allergies!
    Within the past few months, I noticed him pacing and getting “stuck” in corners of the rooms then begin to cry or howl. My house had many barriers to help him. And then came diapers – – he would try to let me know…by whining. But I thought that was just him being him. I began my research immediately and bought every helpful supplement I could find.
    Kept his walks going, and mixed up his schedule just a bit to keep him from boredom. To no avail. I worked endlessly. Part of me felt there was hope. Maybe a glimmer. He had been my faithful companion for almost 14 years (Feb 16th) and I was not about to give up.
    Then — it became worse.
    The lights are on, but no one is home — became the description for my beloved baby boy. It tore my heart out.
    I began reading everything and anything I could on surgery and the older pet and the outcome of dementia. It isn’t good and it isn’t something the medicals will share. I had no idea.
    If I had the chance to do it over, and I wish I could, I would find the top vet that monitors everything for my pet. Forget the COST! One who is aware of possible worsening of dementia and cognitive disorders. I owed him that much. But I didn’t know
    Now I sit – missing him and feeling so much pain inside. I can’t stop apologizing to him and feeling I let him down. I always research medical procedures, medications, etc for myself or my family – yet for this – I failed him.
    I am sorry SammE. I miss you so much.

    • And I meant to add that I called his new vet (who did NOT do the dental) and made the decision to have the relaxing shot given while holding him in my arms…and then the other.
      While repeating “I love you Samme, I love you so much” Sent him on his way with love to last for eternity.

      It is so difficult. Awful. But it was painful just watching him trying to get thru his day totally confused and stressed. 🙁

    • Barb,

      I am so sorry for your loss and the pain you have gone through. I think you have done a superb job taking care of SammE and he was so lucky to be your dear boy. Remember–dementia is an illness and it’s not an uncommon one. We can’t control everything that happens. You took all the right actions to help mitigate the symptoms.

      Hugs to you. I am so, so sorry for the loss of your dear companion.

    • HI Barb, how are you doing? I am sorry to hear of the loss of your baby Sam. I too just lost my boy Sunny end of Feb. I too am racked with guilt over why I didn’t do more for him in the last 9 months of his life? he had great vet care up until then. I dropped the ball – I didn’t take him to an Ortho, I didn’t get canine rehab done on him, I didn’t know about dementia and they didn’t ask me questions about it considering my dog was 14/15. I felt like I let him down over the last 9 months when I had so much else going on. I just figured he’d still be there – he always was – his neuropathy wasn’t that bad – some weak back legs – he can still manage short walks. But, then the weakness moved to his front legs, and he carried his head low. He was getting chronic UTI’s, wearing male wraps and having fecal and urinary incontinence. But, I was dealing with that fine. It was when he started getting stuck in places, he couldn’t turn around. He would have a stool and get stuck because his back legs would go straight on him and he couldn’t bend them to get up. His sleep patterns now changed and he now required his full body harness. When I would walk him outside – and lay him in the grass – he would just lay there – he didn’t lift his head to sniff the air – he didn’t look around. On our final car ride (he used to LOVE the car rides) I put him in the cargo area with the seats removed – and he just laid there – not even trying to get up to look out the window. THAT BROKE MY HEART. IT KILLED ME. My dog went everywhere with me. I couldn’t get out the door first – he was always first and in the way. He would prance around the car and get so excited; but on this last car ride – windows fully down and wind all throughout, he didn’t even lift his head. I am crying writing this right now. My boy who was always there – was no longer there. I feel like I failed him in these last 9 months – I would have started him on any drug to help keep him aware. I just didn’t know about any of it. Sunny, please forgive me.

  101. Thank you so much for writing this article. We said goodbye to our dear dog of 15 years yesterday and this article really brought me peace. At the end our Abby just walking in circles and getting trapped in every wall and corner. She was having accidents and hadn’t wagged her tail in weeks. She truely had no idea who we were. She had lost 10 pounds in the last few months. We knew we couldn’t watch her waste away any longer but euthanizing her made me feel like I was killing her. Your article helped to to realize that we were doing her a kindness in helping her along. I know your loss of your precious dog Cricket was a few years ago but sending you condolences for your loss. 😢

    • Meredith, thank you for your condolences and your generosity in writing now when you just said good-bye. I’m so sorry for your loss. I am so glad for any help my article gave you. Abby was so lucky to have you. Hugs.

  102. Hello, I’m so sorry to read about all of your sweet fur babies. Our black lab mix will be 10 years old next month, but is already showing significant signs of CCD. He paces constantly, where he used to sleep 14 hours a day. He stands in doorways and stares off into space for long periods of time. He sometimes seems confused about where he is… etc. We have taken him to the vet multiple times and first thought he had anxiety (which he does, but now know it’s associated with the CCD.) He is also losing muscle mass and within just a couple of weeks had already lost the ability to jump on the bed and is now finding it difficult to get in and out of the car. We had blood work done, which was normal, then we had x-rays done to see if maybe there was a tumor or blockage, but everything looked fine.
    We know what we will eventually have to do and we know this is only going to progress, but he’s so much younger than all the other dogs mentioned here, he still has some good days, and he’s still so sweet and knows who we are. I would, of course, rather let him go too soon than too late, but how soon is too soon? Thank you so much for any advice you can give.

    • Jessi

      I’m sorry to hear you are going through this difficult time with your beloved lab. Ten is quite young and that’s awful. I wonder though since retrievers also have an inclination towards having neuropathy issues related to laryngeal paralysis have you gone to an Orthopedic vet to see about the hind leg weakness and try to determine if it is muscle related or nerve related? I would also consider consulting with a canine rehabber – they can let you know if they can help him maintain his strength or help to build it back up. Now is the time to do that before it gets worse. I just put down my 14/15 yo chow/retriever mix end of Feb. I’m still a wreck because no one could tell me which of his conditions were causing the decline. He wasn’t diagnosed with CCD but I was never even asked about his cognitive state (so perhaps I’m not working with the best vets). I was working with a Neuro doc and I should have consulted with an Ortho too – and rehabber – but I never followed through. So, these are the other things you might want to consider – in addition to trying some of the natural remedies for brain health suggested or the prescriptions. Some folks have mentioned a behaviorist – and you can even do consults with some online. If you are inclined, I would try the Ortho, to try to find out if the origins of the weakness are muscle or nerve related (or both), a behaviorist for the cognitive decline (they might have medication recommendations) and even a canine rehabber. I would personally do all of this first, at this young age, before taking any drastic steps.

      Keep us posted.

  103. I wanted to say thank you so much for your website. I have visited countless times to read about those with similar stories. My 13 year old shih tzu has been suffering with ccd for awhile and we have tried every single thing available with little to no results. Pharmaceutical…natural.. we have tried them all. Tomorrow is the day and I can’t describe how devistating it is when physically he is fine but mentally….he is not ok. Barking, crying, whining, confusion, can’t sit still..etc. We have always said when good days outnumber the bad…it’s time. I know this is the right thing, but nothing will ever make this easy and my heart is broken. Thank you all for sharing your stories, as reading that we aren’t alone makes things just a little bit better.

    • Rian, I’m so sorry for your loss. I can tell how much you loved your dog and took such great care of him. Condolences to you and your family.

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