Resources for Owners

Tips from Other Owners of Dog with Dementia

Be sure and check out the comments below. There are some great suggestions from other readers who have dogs with canine cognitive dysfunction. And if you have a tip, please submit it as a comment.

Articles about Dogs with Dementia

Cricket 2012 in doorway

General Resources for Senior Dogs




Dog Food Logic: Making Smart Decisions for Your Dog in an Age of Too Many Choices–Linda Case This book covers nutrition for all ages of dogs and has some of the best information about feeding dogs you will find anywhere.




The Gift of a Gray Muzzle: Active Care for Senior Dogs–Kathy Sdao and Lori Stevens  This recorded seminar covers the many issues of having an aging dog: health issues, exercise, diet, keeping them eating, enrichment, and many more. The presenters are tops in their fields and a joy to watch.


Cricket closeup

Dogs with an AARF Card, Growing Old Gracefully: Old Dogs Should Learn New Tricks–Interview with Dr. Gary Landsberg.

My Dog is Aging–Now What? More Training, of Course–Lori Stevens

How to Care for an Older Dog–Whole Dog Journal

Teach Senior Dogs New Tricks to Stay Healthy--The Bark





See resources on end of life and euthanasia decisions on the “When to Say Goodbye” page.


60 thoughts on “Resources for Owners

  1. my dog is 16 yrs old, i have had taz since he was 6 weeks. for almost 3 yrs taz has started to cry on a night, the cries have increased to all day and all night, he screams, howls, barks. this is when i am out or in bed, i have spent the last 2 and a half years sleeping at least 3 nights of the week on the sofa, if im there he is ok 99 percent of the time, he is almost blind and deaf, I dont think hes in any pain, he still eats fine, drinks fine. any advise would be appreciated.

    • Tracey, I hope you can check with your vet. They can verify that he’s not in pain, and possibly prescribe something for the restlessness/crying. It sounds like you are doing whatever you can to cope, but that’s got to be hard on you. So sorry. I don’t have further advice than that.

    • I’ve read the comments and found them all very interesting, Informative , and some, very helpful! My little maulti-poo has sundowners also as well as arthritis . I’m not sure what all he does have actually , I just try to pay attention to his symptoms and try different things to help each symptom. The most serious problem he has , that has affected our life also , is his night behavior . He is 16 now but started having problems about two years ago . He started out not wanting to go to sleep . He would just start panting heavily and walking around and staring into the night just like he was looking at something in the dark . It was actually kinda weird and scary . We started him on some meds and melatonin to help calm him and to sleep . It helped some . I even tried giving him Benedryl . He will go to sleep now, but only for a few hours . Then will wander around , sometimes pant , get back in bed, then get up , just over and over all night . He wants me to get up . Ill foow him around the house . He’ll get to the living room and stop and just look at me.It seems like he is telling me that its time to get up . Sometimes I just sleep on the couch because I’m just so tired of going back and forth . Recently I started letting him our to use it and he does not want to come back in and actually gives me a little growl when I try to pick him up to take him in . So finally one night I just said well fine then , you just stay outside, I’m going to Sleep! The best nights sleep I had in a very long time and the next morni g he was laying right on the patio waiting to come in . This began a mew routine . He sleeps a few hours inside, then the rest of the night outside! In the past he would have never slept out like that ! He would have clawed the door down to get back in! Another crazy thing he does . My elderly father lives with us, 90 years old. He sleeps with oxygen .His tank makes a little humming noise , and right in front if it is a carpet rug that I have by my fathers bed . My husband gets up first and let’s the dog back in . So when I get up, the dog has gone back to sleep on that rug , right in front of that oxygen tank . I always tell my dad that my dog has taken up with him and loves to sleep by his bed . He likes that . But in reality , I think it’s the hum of the oxygen Tank It must be comforting to him . But I was just wondering about this habit of wanting to stay outside during the night . I’ve not read where anyone else has experienced this with their dog. ( I live in the country where it is safe for the dog to stay out .) I am really curious if anyone has experienced this behavior .

      • Hi Sheila,

        I have never heard of that specific behavior–wanting to stay outside–but one of the symptoms of dementia can be behavior changes of all sorts. I am glad you have worked out a safe system where both of you are getting some rest. That’s interesting about the oxygen tank, too. It is so touching to me to read all the things that the wonderful dog owners do to take care of their dogs when it gets this difficult. Hugs to you.

      • Hi Sheila.
        My Border Collie has dementia as well. Like your dog, evenings are the worst. The pacing , the panting and also a wild eyed look, were very hard to deal with. My husband and I would be awake most of the night until my dog would literally drop from exhaustion. He wanted to go out at night but I wouldn’t let him because I don’t have a fenced yard and he would just run!! The vet came to our home a couple times and we tried to figure out what to try. I started with a gravol, helped one night, then tried Melatonin, only worked for a couple nights. The vet then suggested a nightly tranquilizer which I did try but it literally knocked him out that worried me and I stopped giving it to him. I called another vet where I had taken my dog before, as I was getting so I couldn’t deal with it anymore, and he suggested trying Gabapentin ..started him on 200 mg in the am and 100 mg pm, and within two days my dog settled down and started sleeping through the night!! That was over a year ago, Boomer is mow 14 years old , and still doing fairly welll, although I did increase his night pills to 200 mg.. He gets up sometimes just to move to another part of the house, but we are still managing. It may come to a point where I might have to give him a tranquilizer nightly, but I’m hoping not for a long time!! Not sure how helpful my story is but the gabapentin made a world of difference for my dog!!

  2. I running on fumes from lack of sleep. My otherwise healthy happy 18yo shih tzu Oreo appears to have canine cognitive disorder CCD. Nights are awful for him. He “Sundowns” at 8pm and is restless all night….barks for us. Last night I was unable to comfort him….I usually hold him and rock him. I desperate for ideas for night time!!! Valium and Xanax don’t work.

    • Christina, man, I’m so sorry. That is one of the hardest things to deal with. Is he pretty active during the day? Have you talked to your vet about Anipryl? It is prescribed for Canine Cognitive Dysfunction and has a calming effect for some dogs. I’m sorry to say that I don’t know any other suggestions. I hope some readers who have dealt with this will chime in.

      • Hi Christina, my cocker spaniel, is much like your Oreo,and me and my husband are exhausted most days, due to disturbed sleep.
        I too am desperation help.
        Love my dog to bits.

  3. Thank you Eileen for your practical & informative tips and advice on living with senior dogs. The videos are a great way to clearly demonstrate the signs of dementia in your dog. Your cricket was certainly a beautiful dog and your love & care for animals is evident to see. My 2 cavalier king charles spaniels Buddy & Truffles are both 15 this year and started heart med’s last year. I found Buddy through a local newspaper add for $50, my guess was the breeder thought that as he was born with 1 eye he wouldn’t fetch the same as a pedigree like my Truffles who was bought through a registered breeder. Buddy’s 1 eye has served him well all these years, he still loves to watch birds fly, he just cant chase them. Buddy recently suffered from a disc problem in his back & after a 2nd opinion, the right meds & with required rest is now back to short strolls and enjoying his favourite treat (bones). I have been slowly modifying my dogs room and yard (making it smaller) adding a small ramp to do away with the small steps as well as fencing off the garden tiers which had become dangerous for Truffles who has all the signs of doggy dementia. His hearing & sight have nearly all but diminished and his mobility is limited. He still loves his treats so i will introduce some of your advice & make it a little more interesting for him. The two dogs have always shared a special bond & give each other comfort. Like all concerned owners i am just looking to make their last years as comfortable as possible & give them the love & care they deserve.

    • Tina, thanks for writing! I am glad you are able to adapt your dogs’ space and lives so accommodate their needs as they grow older. I hope both your babies can continue with good quality of life for a good long while.

  4. My dog is 17 & he is waking me several times a night. he’s in good health but the vet says he has mild kidney impairment and the only thing he will give me is opiates. Almost as soon as he started taking them we got very close to the maximum threshold he could take and he still isn’t sedated. I can’t believe there is NOTHING else he can have to sedate him. There has to be something because I can’t face much more of this. I love him but he has eaten up my whole life since he got dementia and I can’t go on.

    • liane, I’m so sorry. I am not a vet, but there are other sedatives. Opiates, as you know, are aimed at pain relief and usually provide physical and sometimes mental relaxation. There is a whole other class of tranquilizers that work on the brain only. Perhaps your vet has a reason for not trying the others that has to do with your dog’s individual situation. Or perhaps it’s time for second opinion? Good luck. I’m so sorry you and your dog are having such a rough time. He is lucky to have someone who cares for him so well.

  5. Our baby “Bear” is a 17yr old Jack Russell, he is almost blind and almost completely deaf. For about a year now we’ve had to clap our hands to get him to come to us as he no longer responded to a whistle, however now, even though he can pick up the clapping he is confused as to where it is coming from even if we are right in front of him, so touch is the next best way of getting his attention or guiding him to where he needs to go. He barks for everything he needs or wants, or to get our attention, particularly when his body clock tells him is time for his tucker. My husband and I feel that we manage his dementia quite well. We cared for my mother who had Alzheimer’s and let me tell you that the symptoms and behaviours are almost identical, this has helped us to understand Bear and what he is going through.
    Many symptoms or obstacles for the demented are. Lost, confused, disoriented, perception, restlessness, agitation, repetition which I know you will say that’s happening to my dog.

    I have placed some suggestions below that have worked for us with Bear and my mother too and I hope that some of them might help others in some small way.

    Use your intuition as a guide to help you guess what your dog is attempting to communicate,
    Ask yourself is there a need that is not being filled.
    When Bear wanders aimlessly we first check if he needs to go outside for toileting, after that if he continues, we take/guide him to his water bowl for a drink, after that if he continues, we guide/take him to his bed sit down with him with give him some petting and talk to him and that usually settles him down.

  6. “IN THE ZONE”
    Use distraction.
    We call it in the zone, where Bear seems to become fixated and will just sit and stare at us or into space he will do this for half an hour or more… Once we see his is in the zone for too long, we get him out of it by leading him to his bed or distract him by making him do something else have a little game, give him a cuddle, give him a little treat, whatever it might be to snap him out of it.

    As much as we would like to change the furniture occasionally or shut a door that might normally always be open, or move an ottoman to butt up to a couch or put a pot plant in a different corner…. whatever the changes might be, we don’t do this because it is confusing for the demented, it’s strange, it’s unfamiliar, their territory is not the same, it’s not recognisable. The same goes for their water bowls and where they eat and sleep. No out of the usual place obstructions, is best.

  8. “ROUTINE”
    Have an effective daily routine Waking time, going to bed time , eating main meal time of the day, it really helps to maintain the same daily routine for the demented dog as their body clock knows better than us when it’s the time of the day or night that they would or should be doing these things so it’s less confusing for them if these events happen at the same time every day, otherwise if it’s not it will cause the wondering, barking un necessarily and other strange behaviours, it’s less confusing for them..

    Keep it quiet, no loud crashing or banging noises, no large crowds, no yelling, and no loud music. This can be very frightening for the demented dog.

    Bear sleeps in the back quarters inside the house and about a year ago he started with barking in the middle of the night, we would get up take him outside for a wee, tuck him in and go back to bed and he would start barking again, this went one for a few weeks until we came to the conclusion that he was waking up getting out of bed and losing his way getting back to his bed, so we decided to put some “SOLAR LIGHTS” on the floor either side of his bed a bit like a guiding light and sure enough we have not had that problem ever since. The reason for the solar lights is because they are portable, cheap to use and you can place them wherever you want, in this case close to the bedding.

    • A big thank you to Judith Collins for these wonderful, practical suggestions! I am sure they will help many people and their dear dogs.

  10. Over fifteen years ago, my wife at the time brought home a little Jack Russell Terrier puppy we had gone and looked at together. He was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand. He was overwhelmed by his new environment. I remember the first few weeks we had him – he would hide under the end tables and it took him a while to grow confident enough to come out and play. But once he did, it was clear he had a huge personality and he would curl up in the bed between us and wanted to be as close to us as he possibly could.

    As time went on I became more and more attached to Marty. He loved to play fetch and for me to chase him around the house, and he would wait until I got right up on him and then he would scamper away and hide behind a doorway waiting for me to find him. We would play this game until we were both tired out and then he would lay in my lap while I read a book or watched TV. He was a spoiled little dog. He had so many toys and was always lavished with attention.

    Soon Marty was almost eight years old, and my wife and I had decided to divorce. We had never had any kids, so Marty had become like our child. I kept Marty with me after the divorce because my wife knew how much I had grown to love him. He kept me company through many lonely nights and weekends. As long as Marty was there with me, I never felt truly alone. He would climb up to the window and watch me leave for work each morning, and he would be there waiting for me each night when I came home. I’d see him looking out the window, and as soon as he saw it was me he would jump out of the window and run to the door where he would be waiting for me. He would be so excited that his whole little body would be wiggling.

    Marty has been with me through several job changes, relocations and losses. He has always been the one thing I could depend on and the one constant in my life. When things get crazy and stressful, he brings me back down and helps me manage my anxiety. I have taken the best care of him that I possibly can. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2011. I got him surgery and radiation, and travelled fifty miles each way every Monday and Friday for a month to being him to the University of Georgia Veterinary Hospital for his radiation treatments. Nothing was too much trouble or too much money, not for this little dog who has been there for me through so much.

    He came through the treatments like a trooper and the cancer has never returned. Now, though, we are facing a new challenge, and this time he won’t be able to beat it. Marty has been diagnosed with canine cognitive dysfunction. He will be 16 years old in August, and he is still my baby boy. But now I take care of him, in exchange for all the years that he took care of me. He sometimes seems confused, he will pace a lot in the evenings, he walks more slowly and he can’t handle stairs anymore. Sometimes he will get stuck behind furniture and get upset, and I will help him out. He still loves treats though and he still loves to be petted. He is still the sweetest boy, but I can tell he is winding down and that he is now truly in the twilight of his life. Every day that we have together is a blessing.

    I have Marty taking several supplements like Cholodin and Senilife, and I spoil him every day with treats and spend as much time with him as I can. I love him so much. I can’t help but think about how empty my life is going to seem without him around. He has been with me the entire time I’ve been on my own. I don’t know how I am going to live without him. I know I’m lucky to have had him for so long, and that he has had a full life, but it seems like the time has slipped by far too quickly. I feel guilt about the times that I took him for granted or didn’t pay as much attention to him as I feel I should have. I hope he knows how much I have loved him. I am not ready to say goodbye.

    • Gene,

      I feel privileged that you have shared your story here about Marty. I am a loss for words. I am so so sorry you must anticipate the loss of such a great friend. Thank you for telling his and your story.

    • gene i dont know you but i love you for all the love and support you have gave your little boy, i wish more people were like you and me, i too love my little boy that is 16 and he also has ccd i too give him cholodin and also found that a little t shirt sleeveless from petsmart seems to help him in the evenings he cries a little and then falls asleep , also give him pure coconut oil on his food and my vet told me to give him krillex treats he loves this and it has i am sure has also helped him this has omega 3 and its a treat for them please try and send me a update i hope your baby lives many more years for you and keep up the good work thank you for taking such good care of and loving such a sweet fur angel sherry s nashville tn

      • Thanks for your nice comments to Gene. I’m glad you have found some things that have helped your dog. None of them are guaranteed, or even likely to help with CCD except perhaps the coconut oil and that would not work quickly. Again, I’m glad you are doing well with your dog but I don’t want to raise false hopes for anyone else. The things that are most likely to help with this condition are listed on the Treatment page and none of them are dramatic cures. Also, garments can make a dog appear to be calm when they are actually intimidated and uncomfortable (it’s often called “shut down,”) so we all should take care with trying those things. I’m sure you know your dog; I’m just urging people to take care.

  11. I have a 17-year-old Jack Russell mix suffering with dementia as well. I recently changed jobs and now that I have more time at home with him, it is heart breaking to see the symptoms.
    He is definitely having sun-downers symptoms, wandering aimlessly to a door or wall repeatedly and just barking from sunset into the evening. He used to wake me up at night, especially during storm season but I think his hearing has deteriorated over the last year and a half, so he doesn’t notice thunder much anymore. But when he had a lot of difficulty with it, my other dog developed a fear of thunder.
    He, like so many other dogs described here, is otherwise healthy. Still house trained, eating, drinking as he should, just losing his sight and hearing and always confused.
    I just want to comfort him. I just pick him up and put him in his bed when he begins obsessively pacing or when he starts barking at the wall. I wish there was something more I could do for him. I can’t afford medication, I have used melatonin treats, Rescue Remedy, lavender, calming collar and we still use the Thunder Shirt from time to time. I haven’t noticed enough relief or improvement to bother with any of them much anymore though.
    I appreciate that this site is here to relate to others going through this.

    • Dear Kara,

      I’m so sorry you and your guy are going through this. Just a heads up: some medications for anxiety can be gotten generically, and even selegiline can be sometimes, if your vet can help with that. They are much cheaper that way, in case that makes a difference. Anyway, hang in there. Some of us also know how hard it can be.

  12. Hi Kara
    We have a 17 yo Moodle who has very similar symptoms to your Jack Russell and after several different medications without much success now have her on a cheap human sedative at night. This has helped her through restless nights and gives us and some neighbours some peace as well. Your vet or friendly GP should be able to prescribe these and a recommended dose.
    Good luck

  13. None of the articles from people has mentioned how long the dementia lasts, ours has had it for a while and not sure when the end will be. She is a rate terrier and is eating very well, and drinking water. Will there be an appetite change when it is time?

    • Linda, it can last up to several years if the dog is otherwise healthy. There is sometimes an appetite change, or the dog just gets more and more frail.

  14. My baby Niza (pronounced Neesa) is a rescue who rescued me too, the most amazing loving being myself and family ever has known. She is now 15 and I from this very thurough article know she very much has Dimentia, came on quick and strong. 1.2 Wks ago her annual she was pretty great. Doc agreed. She does all that your sweet Cricket does now, bad. It’s Sat afternoon so I can’t get the medication until Mon when they get my message. It hurts me to see her so anxious. She is also blind from cateracs for years and almost totally deaf. My husband looks at me now like this might be what should be the reason to let her go. I never had children, she is it. I won’t let her suffer, but it’s been the two of us longer than anyone and through so very much, I am holding her like a baby listening to her awesome breaths… I can’t envision it. I will do what’s best for her.. but I wish there was a way to let her have a few more happy rolls on her rug and happy hellos 🙂 She is our joy and I love her so very much.

    • Hi Dianne,
      Hang on until Monday! I can tell how close you are to Niza. I know about the breathing thing. <3 Bless you and hang in there.

  15. Eileen thank you for starting this blog. Our Casey is a16 year blond cockapoo. . He is almost blind.I know now that he has dementia because of all the previous comments .Casey will no longer let us pick him up.Casey was such a lap dog.He always wanted to be up on the chair or couch next to my husband or I. He never played faverites.He would spend an hour with Ken and jump down and come to me,spend an hour and go back to Ken.My heart breaks every time I look at him now.His time for Heaven was a good 4 months ago but my husband will not let go.We have found a solutation for the time being.Casey gets half of a baby asprinie 81 miligram ,but cut in half,so that is 40.Along with that a half of a zanax 0.5mg (perscription) which makes it 0.2-1/2mg. Today for the first time we melted the two half pills in a little bit of water .then got it down him using a doggie liquid medicine dropper .I hated to force feed him the pills mashed in food.He only eats if he wants to and he did not like that procedure. Well,that did not work because he had no food in his tummy so he just went to sleep. Tomorrow it is back to the old way. It is a hassle but as soon as the pills take effect he stops jerking.He can walk, get himself up and down (on the carpet) not in the kitchen. Still sudden sounds,like just moving pots and pans around or tossing a spoon into the sink makes him fall and still when light hits his eyes he jerks his head.We had to stop taking him for walks last october .Just for reference. Casey weighs 14 lds.Our first zanax came from the vet.They gave us 5 pills for $7.00. Since we had our own zanax from our Dr.We give Casey some of ours.Much cheeper. Hope this helps someone out there.

    • Hi Lynda,

      I’m sorry about the changes Casey has gone through. I’m so glad you have a medication combo that’s helping. FWIW, many vets will order a prescription for you from a drug store at the generic price. (I want to caution all other readers that you must check with your vet about any medications or supplements, even over the counter ones, you want to give your dog.) Anyway, Lynda, I hope Casey still has some good days with you and your family.

  16. My dearly beloved dog has gone now and I can understand what you are going through. Just a hint, our dog would never take tablets, but he loved dog choc’s, so anytime he had to have tablets, I melted some dog choc’s and coated the tablets in chocolate then set aside to harden again, this worked a treat every time, it might help???

    • Good idea! And to all those reading, remember, it has to be “dog chocolate” (is this carob maybe?), not the chocolate humans eat, which is poisonous to dogs.

  17. I really want to thank this page and the people who comment on it I never knew what was wrong with my Puddzy until my vet said after his teeth surgery you do know your dog has Dementia has the surgery may make it a little worse . Im glad I found this page before my dog is full into Dementia ..I also see we are not alone in our problems I see others who are sleep deprived & why my dog peed on my bed and may poop on the floor Now I know what to do THANK YOU AGAIN EVERYONE II have put this info on a few pet facebook pages I belong too

  18. Thank you so much for sharing. This has explained a lot about my older dachshund’s behavior. I assumed a lot of his behavior was from poor eyesight and bad hearing associated with older age but I am starting to see a lot of similarities to your dog and her dementia. I have had my dog since I was 5 (now 22), In a few months I graduate and am moving (he will continue living with my parents) He’s always been such an adventurous and fun loving dog but now pretty much sleeps 22 hours a day. I realize this has a lot to do with his old age but I was wondering if you or anyone had any ideas of activities that won’t stress him out of confuse an old dog. I really want to make the most of the little time left with him and make him as happy and comfortable as possible!

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      So lovely that you and your dog got to grow up together. Most dogs love using their noses for things, and it’s a low stress way to enrich their lives. Did you see this blog post? Teaching an old dog how to play with a food toy

      The most important thing is to make it super easy at the beginning, easier than you think you need to. Another thing you can do is lay out some healthy but smelly treats (does your Doxie like boiled chicken?) in a little trail around the house. Again, start easy with the treats close together, but if you change things very gradually you can make it a little more challenging after a while.

      Good luck. It’s not too late to try this kind of thing, and it’s wonderful that you want to make his life the best it can be.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing. My dog, JD, is a 15-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier who began exhibiting symptoms of CCD a few months ago. He is not sleeping at night, getting trapped behind doors, staring off into space. I am currently giving him Zylkene, melatonin and Omega 3, per his vet. These meds worked well for a few weeks, but not so much now. He also likes to repeatedly scratch the furniture to get attention from me, even when I am interacting with him. I am trying my best, but my patience wears thin, especially when combined with a lack of sleep. I appreciate the opportunity to share and hear how others are dealing. He is extremely healthy and it is so heartbreaking to see him decline in such manner. Just trying to love him as much as possible!

    • Hi Crystal,

      Sounds like you are doing a great job with your AmStaff and I’m glad you are in touch with your vet. I hope JD has many more good days.

  20. I still find myself reading up on this even though my sweet 17 year old Bailey passed a year ago. He represented so many life changing chapters..from moving to Calif, to fLa and now downtown Chicago..he loved them all. HE would ride on the end of my paddleboard with the same excitement as movie night. I met my husband walking him …I learned of my fathers sudden passing while walking many things. It started with the staring…eyes did not have cataract (as if yours does get fixed as painful)…but more of blurred ..I noticed he started to pace..than get stuck at corner wall…yet was same in day…he lived with this sundown for over two years…even when we traveled I made sure not to be in car or plane (he went in cabin) during that time. I would just hold him and he would want down…looking back now wonder if I kept him too long..but he allowed me to ween myself as know he was not enjoying things as time went on. We were going back to Calif for few weeks and I decided drive him vs fly bc he was starting to get anxious in his beloved travel bag. Oh those were some sleepless nights in hotels…worse he would slip if on wood floors…so I lined the floors with yoga mats (huge help)…I am sorry for all those going through as so hard to see our buddies go through but just provide safe feeling. When I would leave for few hours I would find him stuck behind certain places barking…I bought a playpen and left him in which was a help …I even went so far as have web cam make sure he okay…Oh my bailey…he was the most fun….we had vet come to the house…they say having a dog will give you the best days of your life and one of the WORST DAYS of your life…so true….thinking of all

    • Dear Traci, thank you for sharing about your sweet Bailey. What wonderful times you had together. I did the yoga mat thing at home (along with carpet runners and bath mats. The playpen is a great idea and may help someone else here. Bless you.

  21. Eileen,
    I happened to stumble across your work while looking up websites for older dogs. I had taken my 11 year old border collie mix, Spike, to the vet multiple times in the last year. Last summer he was in the best shape of his life and suddenly over this year he was hardly going on walks, wanted to stay inside, and slept all day (of course then he was pacing at night!). The vet keeps testing for medical causes since he is on the young side, but after reading your work and using the checklist I have been able to better communicate his behaviors to her. Pacing, walking in circles, stepping into his food bowl, staring into space, getting stuck behind furniture and corners, etc–oh my gosh! Honestly I am just so thankful for an answer. I feel lucky that he seems calm and happy enough right now and doesn’t seem to be stressed out. I am not looking forward to his further decline but having an answer to his odd behavior and a place to find community is greatly helping. Thanks.

    • Kim,

      I’m SO glad the site helped and that you let me know. That’s why it’s here. I hope things go well with Spike. Keep us updated.

  22. Hi I used to have a 16 yo Shih Szu, Yoyo, who had dementia and problems walking around. I sent her for acupuncture but it was costly even though it was just a once a week thing. So I decided to boil some hot water and poured it into a pail of cold water until the temperature was right. Then I let my Yoyo soak in it for about 10-15minutes. She enjoyed it as it kind of calmed her down. It improves her blood circulation. Giving her a full massage also helped me to bond with her. It’s not easy taking care of her but we tried our best.

  23. My dog Moxie is 17 and is in the late stages of dementia. He is incontinent, 75% blind, almost all deaf, and runs into everything in our yard from walking in circles all day. We have him in a crate at night, but we are struggling trying to find a safe place for him to spend the day times. Is there a fence or playpen you can suggest so he can walk on the shady grass? He seems to bang too much in the wire walls of the crate. We think he only has weeks left and are trying to make things safe and comfortable for him without having to do an elaborate and permanent build in the yard. Thanks!

    • Candie, have you checked out “exercise pens” at the pet supply stores? (They are badly named because they are not big enough for a dog to exercise in. But the bigger ones are big enough for the dog do walk around in.) They are wire, so you need to be sure your dog wouldn’t get his feet caught. There are some pictures at the bottom of this blog post. (I used them to fence the dogs out of my garden beds, rather than the other way around.) Good luck and Moxie is lucky to have such a thoughtful caretaker.

  24. I have a Japanese Shiba Inu that’s 14 and now screams for most of the night. He’s partially deaf and has cataracts so virtually blind as well which increases his anxiety. We’ve tried the medication prescribed by the vet for dementia but it’s had little to no effect and is expensive.

    In every other respect he’s healthy (eats well, no toilet problems, strong heart etc) but lack of sleep is making me hate him (which makes me feel awful as I know it’s not his fault).

    I also work from home / work part time so while my husband and daughter get relief being out at work and school respectively, I’m stuck in the house when he whines and screams during the day too.

    I’m at the end of my tether with him (3 nights of virtually non-stop noise as he’s sooo loud). I really don’t want to go down the euthanasia route if possible but he can’t be rehomed so see no other alternative if we can’t find a solution. It would break my heart though (and the rest of the family). I just honestly don’t know what else to do.

    • I’m so sorry this is happening! Have you talked to your vet about possible medications? There are some that might help overall, or maybe your vet could prescribe a situational one at night to help your Shiba sleep. It sounds extra hard since you get it night and day. So sorry!

  25. This page is very helpful, thank you for your hard work and everyone’s posts!
    My 8 year old pug, Deimos, was diagnosed yesterday . I’ve spoken to his vet about his symptoms for several visits. Finally confirmed that he is dealing with dementia. So far it’s been accidents info the house and getting “lost” at night. He would end up under the bed, behind closet doors, even facing the wrong way while I sat next to him on the floor.
    He and his sister were crated when they were younger, but aren’t anymore. I tried it last night but by 2AM her was anxious. I talked to him softly until he calmed down. By 5:30AM he soiled his crate and I had to get up. Not sure crating is gonna be the best idea but I’ll keep trying. His sister does try tend to him, it’s all quite sad. He was started on anxiety meds. I’ll monitor for a week like the vet suggest and see how he does. Poor lil man.
    Thank you for the education and support.
    <3 Judy

    • Dear Judy,

      I’m sorry this is happening to Deimos. It sounds like he is in the hands of a good vet and I’m glad for that. I hope things improve for him. Thank you for your kind words about the site. Hugs.

  26. My 16 year old Collie cross German Shepherd- Elie has had dog dementia for about a year and a half now. This website and your book have been a real comfort, as I never knew about dog dementia before I learned that’s what was affecting my dog. It is a really tough thing to see your much loved pet go through. In a matter of months my dog began to show real signs of not being herself and acting strangely. And I found myself feeling really regretful that I hadn’t noticed before and tried to stop it or hadn’t made the most of the time before. It was rather upsetting to see her lose a lot of interest in things which she loved such as going for walks and running after the ball. And she wouldn’t recognise her name. Despite this and despite the fact that she wouldn’t wag her tail or barkat all, she was still somewhat happy. But in the past few months she has stopped sleeping at night, gets very anxious in the daytime and can’t be left alone, can’t seem to go to bathroom without assistance and has began to lose a lot of her ability to walk. She has also become rather aggressive at times and has started biting. I know the time is coming where it will need to be time to save goodbye, and I already feel selfish for not being able to already. But I can’t seem to face the idea of losing my best friend and I know how much of a mess I will be. I feel guilty because it should be about what’s best for her. And I keep waiting on something to make the decision clear. It will be losing a member of the family and Elie has been a crucial part of our lives since she was 6months old. I am so unbelieavably lucky and happy that we got to spend nearly 16 years with her but it is still killing me to think of letting her go.

    • Natalie, I’m so very sorry. I can tell how much you love Elie. Nobody knows the extent of another’s pain, but I suspect there are some people here who have been through a similarly tragic, painful situation. My heart goes out to you. I’m glad the book was a comfort; it would be so much better if we could just get rid of this dreadful disease, though. Hugs.

    • Natalie I am so sorry you are going through this. We are experiencing the same with our little boy Marceo. Praying for comfort for you and your fur baby.

  27. My husband and I have been dealing with CCD in our 16+ year old Shih Tzu Marceo for about 2-3 years now. So thankful to our groomer who told us he was showing signs of dementia 3 years ago, I found this site and have had him on several of the recommended supplements which have helped and seemed to delay the inevitable outcome. His pattern for the past year or so has been what I call several good days followed by several “not so good” days. And the past few weeks he’s been really good considering all the symptoms he has (pretty much all the ones he could have according to the charts). The last few days have been “not so good” and I wonder how many more times he can actually “bounce back”. I know the outcome and I know the decision that lies ahed. I’ve been there before and don’t look forward to experiencing that pain again. But more than that I worry about my husband, who has taken it upon himself to make sure Marceo lives “forever”. In the meantime, our other two fur babies are perplexed by the attention and accidents that their “brother” gets away with. Our lives have been forever altered by this disease, and frankly I am beginning to consider the decision, but know I will be the “bad guy” and worry that my guilt will be awful. Physically, Marceo is perfect. Our vet even told us at his last visit a few months ago that if he could get him a brain transplant he would live forever. This is the ultimate, cruel irony. Loving a a dog so much and sparing no expense to make sure he always had the best care, nutrition, and love. Only to be robbed of him to CCD.

    • Dear Lori,
      It is so, so hard when they are otherwise physically healthy. I’m so sorry you are going through this. I hope you and your husband can get on the same page about it, whatever and whenever your decision might be. Hugs. Marceo is so lucky to have your love and care.

  28. Hi
    My 17 yr old shih tzu also has dementia. And she has gone deaf and partially blind from cateracts.
    My question to those on here. Are your dogs also deaf and blind? I read that this contributes significantly to dementia from being disoriented. I am considering cateract surgery for my dog and am wondering if this might help.
    She is otherwise very healthy. If this would change her life. I will do anything for her.
    Thanks Melinda

    • Hi Melinda,
      My little Cricket was deaf, but from what I understand, the dementia is from changes in the brain that have to do with aging. I think being blind can probably make the condition harder for the dog, but they are still two different things. That’s my understanding, anyway. Good luck with your Shih Tzu.

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