Brown dog getting ready to take a pill from a food tube


Senior dog Summer gets a pill

There is no magic cure for age-related dog dementia, but a number of treatments appear to help slow the process somewhat, and to varying degrees. The following canine cognitive dysfunction treatments have been shown in scientific studies to help. (References are at the bottom of this page.)

Please check with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist if you suspect your dog has canine cognitive dysfunction. Even the over-the-counter supplements below can have side effects and interact with other prescription or over-the-counter drugs your dog takes. Some antioxidants have toxic levels.


Prescription Drugs

Package of Anipryl for dog with dementia

Anipryl (U.S. brand name for selegiline)  has been shown to slow the progression of canine cognitive dysfunction. It is a drug that is used to treat Parkinson’s in humans. It is available now for dogs in tablets and chewables. If your vet prescribes it, try to shop around. Its price really varies. The doses for dogs that you can buy on cards are quite expensive. But it can also be purchased in generic tablets quite cheaply.

Some prescription drugs commonly used in Europe for canine cognitive dysfunction are nicergoline, propentofylline, and adrafanil. Of these, adrafanil has shown the most promise in studies. (See references below.)


Specially Formulated Foods

There are many dog foods that claim to be anti-aging, but these two are the only ones so far in the U.S. that have been clinically tested and shown promising results. Links to the studies are at the bottom under References. These foods have been found to be especially effective if coupled with enrichment for the dog.

Hill’s Prescription Diet b/d Canine Healthy Aging & Alertness

Purina One SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity 7+ Formula



Enrichment has been shown to help a bit as well.  I have a page of specially selected enrichment toys that are doable by many dogs with dementia. Enrichment can also consist of positive reinforcement based trainingnose work, and anything that helps keep your dog using her mind.



bottle of Senilife

The products Senilife and Aktivait contain phosphatidylserine, which is part of a cell membrane that has been used to treat humans with Alzheimer’s disease. Senilife is sold in the US and Aktivait in the UK.

package of SAMe

SAMe has recently been tested for treatment of cognitive dysfunction in dogs with promising results. 

bottle of neutricks

Neutricks contains apoaequorin, a substance derived from jellyfish. Studies indicated that dogs taking it performed better at learning and attention tasks.

Other supplements have even less direct evidence, but include coconut oil and Omega-3 fatty acids. These are both included in the special diets linked above, but in both of the diets it is not known which of the ingredients, or which combination, had the beneficial effect. Please note that gingko biloba, a popular supplement previously thought to support brain health, has not been tested in dogs, and recent human studies have shown it not to be effective in lessening the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Other prescription drugs and supplements can sometimes help with individual symptoms of canine cognitive dysfunction, such as anxiety and sleeplessness. You can talk to your veterinarian about options for your dog.

Please pass the word about canine cognitive dysfunction. Many people only find out about the disease when their dog has a very advanced case. But most interventions are more effective if they are started earlier.


Anipryl: The Effect of L-Deprenyl on Behavior, Cognitive Function, and Biogenic Amines in the Dog

Anipryl: A Noncomparative Open-Label Study Evaluating the Effect of Selegiline Hydrochloride in a Clinical Setting

Adrafanil: Comparison of the effects of adrafinil, propentofylline, and nicergoline on behavior in aged dogs

Hill’s Prescription Diet b/d Canine Healthy Aging & Alertness: Dietary enrichment counteracts age-associated cognitive dysfunction in canines

Hill’s Prescription Diet b/d Canine Healthy Aging & Alertness: Brain aging in the canine: a diet enriched in antioxidants reduces cognitive dysfunction

Purina One SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity 7+ Formula: Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs

Enrichment: Long-term treatment with antioxidants and a program of behavioral enrichment reduces age-dependent impairment in discrimination and reversal learning in beagle dogs

SAMe: Effect of S-adenosylmethionine tablets on the reduction of age-related mental decline in dogs: a double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial

SAMe: NOVIFIT Tablets Improve Executive Function in Aged Cats and Dogs for Treatment of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

Phosphatidylserine: Canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome: Prevalence, clinical signs and treatment with a neuroprotective nutraceutical

Apoaequorin: A novel mechanism for cognitive enhancement in aged dogs with the use of a calcium-buffering protein

Gingko biloba (shown NOT to be effective in humans): Effects of Ginkgo biloba in dementia: systematic review and meta-analysis

141 Responses

  1. Hi,

    Your site is so helpful,

    Our springer Jimmy, has dementia and is currently on Clomicalm medication, it helps a little bit, but his dementia is progressing quickly. He has stopped recognising family members and is scared of most things now, but still loves to cuddle with my husband, we have recently had many chats about when and if we should have him put to sleep, but just can’t bear to do it at the moment. Although he can’t bear to go out for walks anymore, there are moments that he still gets excited mainly for his meals and going to bed, incontinence is starting to be a problem. Jimmy has always been a loving gentle chap that we rescued 12 years ago, so after reading through your site and watching your videos, I know that we will continue to love him and maybe explore some other medications for him.
    Thank you

    1. I’m so sorry things are getting difficult for Jimmy. And of course you and your husband. I hope he still has some good times with you left. Good luck. I can tell how much you love Jimmy.

  2. hello Eileen,

    My parents have a beautiful Pommeranian and we all love her very much. She has been with the family for 18 years. She was diagnosed with dementia three years ago and she has gotten worst. We have given her so much love and have made her surroundings very comfortable for her. She takes medication but not the kind you have mentioned on your website. I fear she is too advanced now specially after her latest episode two days ago. I don’t know if she is in her final stages, how can I know if she is? I see that this last episode really took a toll on her, she now has to be assisted to drink water and to eat. I don’t know if we are being selfish in keeping her alive but at the same time I don’t know if we have a right to decide on her life. If they could only speak !! I wonder if she will come back from this episode a bit more strong or if she will now be like this permanently 🙁 can you help me understand what stage she is in now?

    1. Hi Tannia, I’m sorry your parents’ dog is getting worse. To my knowledge there aren’t official stages for dog dementia (even in human Alzheimer’s they haven’t totally agreed on one staging system). Here is a link to a rating scale where you can add up the dog’s symptoms and get a score. But it only gives you a yes/no answer whether the dog has dementia and I think you know that already. Here is an article that differentiates between early and late stages, but again, I don’t think it will tell you anything you don’t already know.

      My little Cricket forgot how to drink water and I kept her with me for about 6 weeks after that; she would still eat and I made all of her meals into a kind of soup. But I felt like not being able to drink was a pretty severe situation and when that happened I stayed very alert for further deterioration. I don’t know if I kept her too long or not long enough; I did euthanize here when she started having seizures.

      Good luck with your wonderful pet; I know how hard it can be. It sounds like you and your parents have done a great job giving her a good life.

  3. My dog Karma is about thirteen and has most of the signs of dementia. She recognizes me but no one else on a regular basis. She barks incessantly at everyone which sets off the other dog and terrifies the cats. I’m trying an herbal remedy now but so far it’s no help. You mentioned that there are cheap generic forms of anipryl but I’m not finding them. What are some names, please?

    1. So sorry about Karma, Annie. The generic of Anipryl is selegiline. It is hard to find right now (and I don’t know why). Some of the Canadian pharmacies have it though, and it is much cheaper there than the brand name is right now. I’m pretty sure a helpful vet could help you get it that way. Good luck with your dear Karma.

  4. My 17 1/2 year old Shih Tzu, Gizmo, is showing most of the signs of dementia on your list. Although physically healthy on top of this he has recently gone completely blind and is almost totally deaf. We do still go for walks although short ones. Can you recommend some enrichment exercises that will take in consideration his blindness and deafness? I am talking with his vet today regarding medications.

    1. Hi Sharon! Nosework is great enrichment for blind and/or deaf dogs. I’m filming a movie right now of teaching a blind and hearing impaired dog how to search out food. I’ve never known a dog that didn’t enjoy that. Here is an older video of mine that shows Cricket getting started. Cardboard boxes to enclose the food are a great idea, but the ones in the movie would probably be too tall for Gizmo. Box lids work too. The most important thing is to not make it too hard. Make this a game he can win, over and over again. Check back later and I’ll have a better teaching video about this. But I bet you can have some fun with Gizmo right away.

      A Very Old Dog Learns K9 Nosework

  5. Hi…Stumbled upon your site looking for some ideas as to how to help my 11 year old Amstaff…His symptoms seemed to come on quite quickly, but he’s not displaying some of the more severe symptoms…Mainly pacing, withdrawn, staring. He also does this thing that’s gotten more frequent, where he can be laying down or crashed even, then he jumps up like something bit or shocked him. Totally startled…Scrambles to get away, ears back, tail tucked. (No fleas and anal glands good.). Anyways, trying to determine if to go anipryl route. I’ve talked to vet about it, and he is not against it. Aside from study deets on side effects, was curious if anyone had any experience to share w how anipryl is tolerated. Ugh, just breaks my heart. It’s like my bucket head is broken, and I can’t fix him no matter how hard I try to make him happy…Thx for any input. Kc

    1. Hi Kelly,

      Sorry about your guy. FWIW, my little dog Cricket also did the startle thing. She would be asleep, then jump straight up as if someone had stuck her with a pin. Cricket took Anipryl with no ill effects. Hopefully some others will chime in as well. Good luck with your guy.

      1. The anipryl helped w the startling?? Gosh, I was thinking that was prob arthritis pain. Hmmm, may have to rethink that then. And no GI side effects? What kind of dog and weight is cricket? Thx soooooo much!!

        1. Cricket was a rat terrier, 12 lbs. The startling did decrease over time; not sure if it was the Anipryl. Good luck!

          1. I just came upon this site. I just wanted to say that my dog has been doing the same thing…she’ll be sound asleep and will leap up and go tearing across the room as if she’d been shocked. Last night (in the middle of the night) she was beside me on the sofa. I was stroking her head, which was trembling a little, then she whipped her head around as if she saw something and started shaking all over, violently. I’m pretty sure she’s having hallucinations.

          2. Hi Peggy–that sounds tough to deal with! Have you talked to your vet? There may be other neurological explanations for what is happening with your dog. Good luck and so sorry your girl is having a tough time.

    2. My 11.5 year old shepherd/pit mix Jazzy is doing this too, and actually tore her CCL in her knee by jumping up too quick. My vet does not feel it’s dementia, said she’s too “young”. But I have never had a large dog live past 12- and my dog is 70 pounds. He prescribed lorazepam (in valium family) for her sundowning episodes, from 4 to 8pm she is panting, stressed and doesn’t want to go outside nor leave our sight. Do you think I should push harder for Anipryl? The lorazepam we just started yesterday and it’s not a miracle cure by any means….. Regina

      1. Hi Regina,

        Sorry for the delay in responding. I’m sorry, but none of us can really advise you on that. IT has to be up to your vet to make a diagnosis. But you can ask for another… Are you able to get a second opinion from another vet? I think that is the route I would go to make sure Jazzy is getting the most appropriate medication. Or would your vet possible agree to consult with a board certified vet behaviorist? Some will sometimes do a single consult (with the regular vet) for free. Good luck, and I hope you can get Jazzy relaxed again.

  6. Hi, I had a episode to day with my little staff, She is 9-10 she got lost at the end of our walk and when I eventually found her she was in a car with two people who had found her sadly when they opened the door she seemed not to recognize me and would not get out of the car it was very embarrassing as it looked like she did not want to come to me, She showed no emotion at all. When we got home she lay on here bed for maybe half hour was not interested in her dinner then all of a sudden back to normal, It has left us very worried. The only odd thing is it happened to my wife the same but it was at least a year ago with nothing in between My wife said at the time she was very em barest because there was no emotion as if she was not our dog ??

    1. Oh my, that would be hard on a person. Have you talked to your vet about the change that came over her? There are other conditions besides dementia which can cause odd behavior. I hope you can get to the bottom of it. In the meantime, sorry about the worry and embarrassment. That would be hard to explain if you are claiming a dog and she acts like she doesn’t know you.

  7. I share my life with a beagle mix named Puck; a rescue dog who is now 11 years old. I moved from the house he had always known to our new one, and it seems that a few months after that i began to notice changes. After reading all the notes and discussions on your site, it confirms what I already knew: dementia. I think the one that startled me the most was Cricket not being able to get into her bed, and/or lying in awkward positions. Puck has lost a lot of his hearing and eyesight, which complicates things obviously. He sleeps during the night, and during the day–pretty much the same. Now, I have a very difficult time waking him up, and it can take him almost a minute to get things in order in his head. He doesn’t play like he used to, and our walks are very short do to the weakness in his back end. I have been around dogs all my life, I have taken the last trip to the vet with several dogs (and cats), but I have never been around a dog with CCD, and trying to tell ‘when’ is so much harder. I am going to use the happy/sad face on the calendar, and know full well that i can’t hang on to him just for my sake. I am so incredibly happy to have found your site when i searched for doggy dementia. thank you for having a place for all of us to come.

    1. My little Cricket was also deaf but her eyesight was fair. Yes, it’s so hard to know when it’s “time” when they are physically fairly healthy. I think that’s a great idea to keep track on the calendar. For me, keeping it simple that way would make it more likely that I would actually be consistent and do it.

      Cricket had rear leg weakness too, but she was capable of climbing into a bed. Also she would do the same thing on mats, where she used to curl up in the middle of them, so I think it was cognitive.

      Good luck with Puck (great name, by the way), and keep us posted if you like. Take care.

      1. I wrote a few days ago about my dog Puck, 11 year old beagle mix with obvious signs of dementia. I did want to share a happy note for all to see: I bought him a small stuffed dinosaur and gave it to him, squeeked it, and put his nose to it. i through just a little bit in front of him-he walked over and brought it back to me. Lots of loving. Went to the kitchen, turned around to find him sitting behind me with the dino in his mouth. Every good moment is a blessing, i could see my little ol’ boy in there. and yes, i cried.

  8. What did you do for bathroom accidents? My dog is only 8 but she has most of the symptoms that you mentioned. I’m not only concerned for my dog, but because we rent an apartment with carpeting…I can’t believe this is happening to her so young.

    1. Terrie, I don’t think there are any really easy answers for that. Have you gone to the vet to make sure about a diagnosis? Can your dog stay in an enclosed area when you aren’t there to supervise? Can you take her out a lot? Can you put down pee pads? It’s like having a puppy again, but harder of course. Good luck.

      1. Hello Eileen! Thank you for all your work on this and the helpful information you have on it. I made a post to the original poster on what to do for accidents. Adult washable bed pads are a great alternative to puppy disposable pads. 4 packs are available for the same price as the disposable puppy pads and because they are washable, you are having to constantly buy new ones (helps the environment too since it’s less trash). They can be used on the floor, their bedding and furniture as well. If I find or think of anything else, I will be sure to let you know since I think this site is going to very helpful to others who are dealing with doggie dementia.

  9. Can dogs with dogmentia forget how to eat or lap, my beautiful girl Maggie is 14, today she just stands over her food and water she puts her nose write into her water but it’s like she’s forgotten how to lap she’s off her food as well, she is on antibiotics for an infection and metacam for her arthritis.

    1. Megan, yes they can. My little Cricket forgot how to drink water for her last six weeks. She could still eat, so I made her food into soup. Sometimes dogs can take food out of a tube. Here is a post I wrote on my other blog about using tubes. In that context it’s for training, but if your dog can eat out of a tube there’s no reason not to give her her meals that way. Here’s the post: “The Secret to Filling a Food Tube.”

      Good luck Megan. That makes it doubly hard since she’s on medicine.

  10. Hi Eileen, I’m so happy to have found your site. Over the years I’ve had a couple of very senior dogs with dementia, so am now quite aware of some of the signs. My little 11+ year old JRT mix rescue, who I’ve only had for 1 1/2 years, is recently showing a few signs and I’m hoping I can stave it off, he’s so much younger than the others were. I’m wondering if anyone has used the spice turmeric in their dogs’ diets and if they’ve seen good results. It is reported to be showing very good results with humans with dementia, but I don’t even know if it’s safe for dogs. I’d love to hear if anyone has knowledge of its use for canines.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Ronaye,

      Good question about the turmeric. There is one small study that I know of that tested turmeric in a mixture of supplements for senior dogs with moderately good results. But I would definitely check with your vet about that. Turmeric was only one of five ingredients, and also we don’t know if there is a toxic level of turmeric or whether it could interfere with anything else a dog might be taking. Good luck with your JRT and thanks for writing. Here’s the study:

  11. blackie about 11 years has dementia on aktivait and doing well but he has been scratching since starting medication (not fleas) anyone else found this?

  12. Thank you for the response and the link, Eileen, will read up on it. I will be taking Jasper in to a new vet soon and will discuss it with him.

  13. Wow, I am so glad I stumbled across this site! My 14 yr old jack Russell has been driving us crazy with peeing in the house, and this has come on rather suddenly. We could not figure out what was wrong. Aside from some arthritis, she seems healthy in every other way and enjoys her food and naps. No bladder infections going on. Her hearing isn’t as sharp and sometimes I have seen her bark and what seems like nothing. But she does not have anxiety (yet) and I don’t see her getting lost in the house. I think a visit to the vet is in order to get her started on a medication that will help her with this. I can only guess that it’s dementia. Maybe her trembling is due to dementia too instead of arthritis. She’s not as playful as she used to be and no longer will go on long walks (JRT’s are huge walkers!). It is sad to see her age.

  14. our boxer mac who just turned 12 has all the signs of dementia,but i was also reading an article that his symtems also sounded like cushings they have simaler symtems?and thanks for all the imformation i learned alot.we will just have to be a little more understanding about his going to the bathroom inside,after all its not his fault.

  15. We have a brother/sister pair of boxer/cocker spaniel mixes that turned 9 a few months ago. Both are still active (reasonably so) and for the most part during the day both are the alert, active and exhibit the same behaviors that we have seen in the past 9 years. However, over the last two weeks the male has started demonstrating some odd behaviors during the evening and overnight hours. After we have all finished our dinners, he start barking…at nothing. It will go on for as long as we are still up (or until he exhausts himself). This is indoor barking…confirmed nothing going on outside and the other dog is not reacting to anything. After we have all gone to bed, he will wake us up 2 – 3 times per night howling. In the past, he might do this once or twice per month and would also quiet quite quickly. Now even once we get up, turn on the light sit down next to him, talk to him, stroke him, etc…it can take minutes before he will quit howling. He then whines for a moment or two and goes back to sleep. These combined behaviours along with his age has me concerned. He recently had a check up and everything came back normal. Dementia? Thoughts? Ideas?

  16. Hi Eileen,

    Thank you so much for this site! It has helped confirm my thoughts on my boyfriend’s dog.

    I do have an urgent question for you: how do I tell what symptoms are from dementia and what symptoms are from blindness/possible hearing loss? Also, and very importantly, how do I provide proof that the symptoms are from dementia/blindness/hearing loss and not disobedience?

    My boyfriend’s dog is a 13 year old Rat Terrier named Zortok. He has had diabetes for about a year now. We have to give him a shot twice a day. It’s awful and stresses him out. We’ve gotten very good at giving the shot but of course no matter what it’s going to be somewhat stressful for him.

    Because of the diabetes, Zor has lost his sight. It seems as though he is loosing his hearing as well. Unfortunately, my boyfriend is not always patient with poor Zor. My boyfriend is having a hard time recognizing the difference between disobedience and dementia. It doesn’t help that Zor has always been a difficult dog, but I sincerely think that he has some dementia that has recently added to his supposed disobedience.

    Please help! I need to be able to give my boyfriend the tools/information/proof that his dog is not simply continuing his disobedience but is actually having symptoms of dementia. We live together and it breaks my heart when I see him lose patience with Zor.

    I know this is sort of a question on how to deal with a person as well as about the dog and I apologize for that. I just don’t know where else to go for this type of situation.


    1. Hi Morgan,

      The thing is, diagnosing dementia is a diagnosis of exclusion. Many other things have to be ruled out, and only a vet can do that. It can be truly difficulty to tell the difference between sensory loss and dementia, especially if you are not familiar with dementia. The one thing for sure is that it’s not likely to be “disobedience.” You are on the right track there! If you can’t get your boyfriend to take Zor to the vet, you could maybe at least go through this survey/checklist together.

      That’s the best idea I have. Perhaps some others will chime in. Best of luck. Good for you for advocating for Zor.

  17. Hi there, I’m sorry to hear about your boyfriends dog. I thought I would chime in with some additional info. I am a nurse (for humans) and wanted to say that with a diagnosis of diabetes there is usually other areas of the body that get affected as well (comorbidities). Diabetic retinopathy is one problem that affects the eyes in particular and is most likely adding to age related changes that are already occurring in an older dog. The hearing loss could be attributed to age but ear infections can occur with diabetes as well. It’s unfortunate because diabetes does affect so many other bodily systems. It can cause liver and kidney problems as well as many other things. If you can explain to your boyfriend that his dog is experiencing age related and medical issues as a result of getting older and being sick, he will hopefully understand that his dog really is not being disobedient but rather having many of the same things that elderly people experience as they get older. I think a young dog can definitely be defiant but when a dog is as old as your boyfriends, it’s more likely that he does not have the energy to be defiant and truly is a senior citizen. I’m attaching a link about diabetes in dogs that has some info on what other areas of the body get affected with the disease. Old age is often the time when we need to be the most patient with our dogs because they are no longer young and energetic. They suffer the same age related changes that we do. Good luck and I hope you can explain this so your boyfriend understands more and empathize with Zortok.

  18. I had her into the vet about a month ago because she was being extremely clingy (never has been like this before) and shaking like crazy. The vet said she checked out fine except she thought her back seemed a little sensitive so we gave her some Medicam and she was fine.

    The past few days have been rough though. She’s up half the night pacing or standing beside the bed. At night she’s started shaking a lot and panting a couple of times (the first time it lasted for hours). Her appetite has been terrible for months now. Overall she has become very clingy.

    We had to have our other dog put down last summer and our girl Osa has gone downhill ever since. She was incredibly healthy at the time but she’s 13 years old, I think…she was a stray that I brought home from Costa Rica, so I tracked down her former owner and tried to figure out her age).

    Anyway, I’m going to talk to the vet about all this tomorrow or the day after. The other problem is that Osa is terrified of anything but carpeted floors so taking her to the vet is very stressful for her. Although the strange thing is that lately she’s been so clingy that she’ll follow us into the kitchen and bathroom, something she wouldn’t do before this past week.

    I’m glad I came across this website…lots of good info here and it helps to share our stories and read what other people have experienced. I actually came across your site last summer when our other dog was exhibiting signs of dementia but it was cancer that got her in the end, unfortunately.

  19. My heart goes out to all of the people and their dogs who are suffering from this terrible disorder. Our 10-year-old german shepherd, Heidi, had many of the classic CCD symptoms (sleeping all day, up all night wandering around the house, getting stuck in small spaces, acting confused, panting, and most of all, very very frightened and agitated. It was awful to watch her go through this every night. Then I found out about a supplement called Cholodin on a german shepherd forum I belong to.

    Cholodin has been a godsend for Heidi. I started with one tablet with breakfast and one with dinner. Now it’s two in the AM and two in the PM with meals, which seems to be working for her. It took several weeks to see a difference but the improvement was huge. When I slacked off on giving it to her last June, she backslid terribly and it was really horrible. It took about three weeks to get her back to normal again. Now, she’s doing really well. She’s playful, alert, and has a very youthful way about her. I am very careful to make sure I give her her daily dosage and that I’m never out of Cholodin. I learned the hard way what happens when I don’t! She still sometimes gets scared at night but she settles down pretty quickly and goes back to sleep again.

    I know Cholodin doesn’t work for every dog, but there are a lot of dogs it does work for. You can get it (and read reviews about it) on Amazon and Entirely Pets. It’s definitely worth a try.

    1. Hi Karin,
      So glad you found something that helps. I don’t usually encourage publishing about compounds that have not been clinically proven, but Cholodin is a borderline case. Just so people know, there have been very mixed results in the human studies with choline (i.e., it has not strongly been shown to help) and there has not been a peer-reviewed veterinary study as far as I know.

      Choline is one of those compounds that has been a focus of research on human Alzheimer’s since the 1970s. But as of 2010 many scientists had come to believe that disruption to the cholinergic system (i.e. a need for choline) may actually be an **effect** of Alzheimer’s rather than a cause. But it’s one of those things that keeps coming back as possibly being involved.

      Anyway, I always encourage people to talk to their vets, and most vets will stick to the drugs and supplements that have a little bit of evidence from studies. Those things are listed on my Treatment page.

      Sorry for the lecture; I just know how powerful word of mouth can be and I hope people will check with their vets first. I am VERY glad you have found something that works and that your dog is doing so well! Keep us posted!

  20. Our 13 yr old miniature schnauzer has recently been diagnosed with Canine Dementia. We are trying a couple of meds, one for pain and another to help cognitive function. Our biggest problem is that he wakes up at 4 am for the day! We are crating him at night in our bedroom but he scratches to get out. I’ve been up with him between 4-5am for 3 weeks now and I am EXHAUSTED! Any ideas for helping him sleep???
    We’ve tried feeding him later, keeping him up ( not happening!), giving him benedryl, new orthopedic mattress, crating… HELP!

    1. My 14 year old English setter was doing the same thing. We switched his food to Purina Bright Minds and supplement it with fresh fruit and veggies. We also started giving him Senilife, a supplement I buy from Amazon. This has helped him 100%! We have not had the all-night barking, wandering, confused etc. thing happen since the beginning of January.

      1. I just started our dog on Purina Bright Mind. Is it still what you are feeding and seeing results? Thank you, Sue

  21. Hi our dog is a crossbreed 18 years old, in the last couple of months, when she wants to be let out into the garden she barked, and then she is forgetting and going back 5 minutes later, and then again, and also he memory about her feed time in the afternoon is going I think this is an on set of maybe Dymentia.

    1. It could be. Those can be typical symptoms, but could be from other ailments too. Can you see your vet about it?

  22. Hi my dog has these symptoms but it all started with a seizure is this normal ?
    She is 10 years old

  23. My 17-1/2 year old Cockapoo is still eating good, only my home cooked meals with ground chicken and pasta mixed. she sleeps a lot more now but has no pain with her walking or movements, the only thing that concerns me is that when I let her outside it takes a while for her to adjust to the temperature change from indoors to outside. she tends to shake her head backwards like the wind has hit her face then falls on her backside, she walks along the side walk shakes her head backwards and falls on her bum and continues this for a while. Sometimes she is ok but most the time this happens until she gets adjusted to the outside. My groomer has mentioned she may have dementia as she is good for a few minutes while getting groom then she starts thrashing and trying to bite, like she doesn’t know what is going on with her. Can you give me any insight with the falling on the backside when outside. My Summer means the world to me and if there is anything I can do to help would be much apprecialted

    1. I have a dog named Summer too! I hope you can talk to your vet about this. Rear end weakness could go with dementia, but that and the falling over could also be a symptoms of other health problems, some of them serious. I hope you can get to the bottom of this. Good luck.

  24. The supplement Senilife has helped my 14 year old dementia-prone setter immensely! I get it from Amazon or eBay. 17 1/2 years–that is amazing!

  25. My 18 month old long hair chihuahua as a lot of the symptoms for doggie dementia can they have dementia at that age if so what can we do to help him live a happy live

    1. Caren, I have never heard of such a thing at that age. There are a lot of other conditions that have some of the same symptoms. I hope by the time you get this you have been able to take your chihuahua to the vet. Let us know if you find anything out.

  26. What do you know of the drug Vivotonin? My vet has mentioned this as a help for my dog 14years old Lhasa Apso …showing a lot of the symptons you mention above.

    1. Vivitonin contains propentofylline, a substance that is thought to increase blood flow by making the red blood cells more pliable and inhibiting clotting. To my knowledge, there have been no clinical trials of it, but it is a veterinary approved medication in Australia and some European countries for canine cognitive dysfunction.

      1. I have just gone outside my comfort zone and ordered 2 packages of Vivitonin from Pacific Health
        It actually got here in two weeks and as I am in Canada, I had to get it shipped to a US postal box and went across the border to pick it up. My pharmacist said it looks like it’s the real thing as it has all the correct marks on it for the Australian market. Our dog’s neurologist has been sent the info from the pharmacist for a final approval and I am awaiting his verdict. I am just making sure it is what it says it is before I give it to our dog. And as we are giving her Anipryl and Senilife, we need to be sure all are compatible. She has had an MRI that shows her brain is shrinking. SAD!! And heartbreaking!

        1. Let us know how it goes, Louise. I’m glad you are getting the meds checked out thoroughly. And I’m sorry about the MRI. That would be awfully hard to see. Take care.

        2. Hi Louise, my dog has been on Vivitonin for years and it has made a huge improvement, he is 18 years old now. We have just moved to Canada with him 6 months ago and was disappointed to see Vivitonin is unavailable here. I also saw that website inhousepharmacy but wasn’t sure about it and if it was a genuine product. Can i ask how you did with it as I would also order some from them!
          Many thanks, regards Cath

  27. I’m not sure how the Hill’s prescription Diet food is good for a dog under any condition. The first ingredient in this formula is Corn, which is something that should never be allowed in dog food. Our Mini Schnauzers now have diabetes after consuming commercial dog foods with corn for many years. It isn’t good for human diabetics, and is taboo, so it couldn’t be good for dogs either.
    The second ingredient is meat by product which is a highly controversial ingredient.
    The best foods for dogs are freshly cooked lean meats, and vegetables. Owners can do a little research and find a lot of resources for healthy dog food diets. Don’t depend on the commercial dog food industry to do this for you.

    1. I agree with you in general. I personally dislike the special diets. I wish someone would make controlled ingredient diets where **all** the ingredients were high quality. Yet I am not going to argue with the science. Apparently the supplementary items in these diets overcame the quality of many of the other ingredients. Frankly I would have a hard time feeding many of the special diets to my dog, but I don’t rule it out, and have used the special sensitive stomach ones from time to time. They worked when nothing else would. Vet nutritionists do recommend the diets in part because every ingredient and nutrient is measured, something that is not true with some of the other high quality commercial diets. But vet nutritionists, for instance, at Tufts University, will also coach people on how to home cook for their dogs using fresh ingredients. I wish more people would take this route, and get the best of both worlds. Also, I recommend Linda Case’s book Dog Food Logic. She has great credentials, wide knowledge, and is not affiliated in any way with any pet food company. Thanks for the comment.

  28. My little Yorkshire Terrier has been diagnosed with dementia. She had many of the symptoms on your list prior to diagnosis (hearing, eyesight, tremors, sleeping a lot), most of which I attributed to old age, she’s 14. I came across your list and your page last week after Rosie awoke me in the night and appeared to be confused and wouldn’t settle. This was the first I had heard of dementia in dogs and knew right away that she had it. The vet confirmed it the next day and she is on meds. The thing is, prior to the wee confusion episode I would have said that most days, she was Rosie, since the episode (last week) I haven’t had Rosie back. That being said, I am a positive person and as much as I am heart broken to think she probably doesn’t know me or herself (she doesn’t answer to her name) she wakes up every day, and follows me around like a wee shadow, she constantly wants to play, she eats and drinks, and she’s just as lively as she always was.
    All of that being said, what do we have ahead of us? I know this is different for every dog. Are there things I could be doing to keep her from deteriorating? Any help advice is much appreciated.

    1. Melanie, my book has the most complete answer to that, but here are three important things you can do in addition to the meds: 1) keep her life stimulating to a degree that she can handle, 2) plan how to make your house safe for a dog who might get lost or stuck behind things and lose her housetraining, and 3) keep good records of what she can and can’t do, week by week. It is really helpful in determining a dog’s quality of life. That being said, it sounds like you still have lots of good times with her left. Good luck!

  29. thanks for all the info. i told my doctor many times about my dogs dementia. She never made any offers to do anything for it. So i assumed there was nothing to be done. Now I know you can try things and i would have. My little love is real close to the end. I have another foster dog who appears to be showing signs of confusion. Think I’ll try a more proactive doctor.

    1. So sorry about your doctor. In any case, your dogs are lucky for you for going to bat for them. And thanks for fostering. That’s such a blessing to do that.

  30. Hello my 16 y/o cocker spaniel has ccd and has been on selegenine for over a year now. It helped him a little but now the last 3-4 weeks he gets up at 2am and does the startle thing for 2 hours. My vet is helping with ideas with melatonin and wellactin but i fear nothing is helping now. Im suffering but dont know if he is suffering?

    1. Jodi, that’s the hardest thing of all. Have you tried doing the Quality of Life assessment thing? There’s a link on this page. Even if you don’t want to assess numbers for things, it gives you an idea of what to consider. I’m so sorry you are going through this with your dear boy. There are folks here who know what you are going through and our hearts go out to you.

  31. I have tried to post, but they don’t go through? My dog was recently prescribed Acepromazine (low dose once a day) for dementia, howling at night for hours, etc. It my dog’s case it is helping, I try to givr it at bedtime.

    1. Hi! I don’t think your other posts have gotten here. I am not a vet but I want to mention that Acepromazine is prescribed as a sedative that will physically quiet a dog. To the others looking for answers: just be aware that most vets do not use it if there is a chance of underlying anxiety. Not only does it not address that, it can make it worse. So every dog will be different as to the appropriateness of the drug. (I guess that’s true of any drug!) I’m glad it’s working well for your dog.

  32. I meant to say that I try to wait till bedtime after the bathroom break to give it, as it is very sedating. At least he seems more comfortable. I’ll take it day by day. He is 15+ years old.

  33. My Jack Russell was 16 the 30th of May. She shows so many signs of dementia–she even pees and poops in the middle of night and lays in it and walks around leaving it “everywhere”. I’m having a terrible time knowing I should have her put down. I’m breaking down just typing this. Just had to let off some steam. Thanks for not deleting this.

    1. U shouldn’t diapers for your pet. I currently do it for my 16 year old Lhasa. Buy pampers and cut small hole for tail and you’ll never have to worry again. I buy size 2. And remember, size of hole just big enough for tail.

  34. Hi we have a 9 year old male corgi named copper. In the last 4 months he has became restless at night. Pacing, panting , wanting us up with him. Seems aniexious. Took him to the vet and had him checked out and blood work done. Everything came back normal. The vet gave us anxiety pills. Which seem to drug him durning the day and not interested in eating. But still up at night. So I bought him a thunder shirt which didn’t help. He seems fine durning the day. Sleeps a lot because of being so aniexious all night. In the last few months he seems to scratch At weird things at night too. Like fireplaces, fans and walk in circles and in corners. He is up all night. Getting no sleep. Was wondering if you can help.

    1. I’m sorry Julie for what you are going through with Copper. All I can suggest is that you return to your vet or get a second opinion. There are a lot of different medications for anxiety, so your vet might be able to make a different suggestion. Have you used the dementia symptoms checklist I have here? If Copper has a lot of those symptoms, you might want to fill it out and take it to your vet. (My dog’s first symptom of dementia was anxiety, but we didn’t figure that out for a year.) I’m not saying your dog has dementia–all these symptoms can be for other conditions as well. I hope you can get to the bottom of it. Sounds like life for Copper and your whole family is hard right now.

  35. It’s very hard, my dog is up at night every 2 hours crying (despite prescribed medication). Every night I say if he is like this in the morning I’m taking him to the vet. Then during the day he’s better, but he does the circling, panting, walking into walls. He needs my help to do bathroom duties. Doesn’t walk well, falls over. Sleeps during the day in naps.
    He still loves to eat, in fact food calms him down….

    Vet said it’s dementia, his heart sounds good and he is not in physical pain.
    I evaluate him daily, especially an hour or two before the vet clinic closes, I would prefer not to have go to the emergency place.
    Thanks for listening.

    1. It’s over. While he was having an attack (circling, howling) my other small dog got upset with him and bit him in the face.
      I had just been in the front yard doing some weeding for no more that 20 minutes when it happened.
      I cleaned him up, both had blood on their faces and they had their dinner.
      To make a long story short, his jaw was broken, I am sure he was in pain and due to his physical condition, age (16) and the dementia further treatment would not be recommended.
      He was a red peke and had been with me the longest of any other dog I have owned.

      I just hope that they go to a better place and that somehow we will see them again.
      I hope the other pets that have passed are there to greet them.
      I’m not religious, but it’s times like these that I hope I’m wrong.

      Best of luck to everyone and their pets that are going through this. Remember, you must take care of yourself too.

  36. Hi Eileen,

    I brought my dog Jake in and she believes that he has dementia but she proscribed Prozac not the medication listed above. Would that be just for anxiety? I also noticed vitamins would they interact with the Prozac?

    1. I’m not a vet, but usually Prozac is prescribed in dogs for anxiety. Could you ask your vet about it? Also, the vitamin interaction question is something you must ask your vet about. Sorry I can’t help more. Good luck with Jake.

  37. Do you know if anyone has had any luck helping their dog’s symptoms by using Canna Pet? Our dog (95 lb mixed bernese/collie) has rapidly gone down hill in the last month. His anxiety is out of control and the meds from our vet just knock him out cold. Someone recommended Canna Pet (hemp based natural med) for anxiety and I’m wondering if anyone whose dog has dementia has tried it? it’s not cheap and I don’t want to order it if it’s not going to help.

    1. Hi Tracy,

      Although there are hemp and cannabis based products being marketed for dogs, there is as yet solid research to back it up. The research review article posted on the site you listed doesn’t include any studies with dogs. I found one dog-related study elsewhere, but it doesn’t have to do with therapeutic effects. I would stick to the things that have been shown to help. I have a list on the site to get you started, but talk to your vet to be sure.

      1. Thank you. Of the products you recommend, which one is best to help with the “sundowners” symptoms? Our dog starts panting, pacing, pawing, etc around 5 pm and doesn’t stop until well after midnight (if at all). He’s clearly terrified as he is also shaking. The only way to get him to sleep is to give him a sedative. It seems a horrible way to live.

        1. Our 12 year old Rough Collie has CCD. Our Vet recommended Hemp (Rx for Pets brand). Although it has not eliminated all of his symptoms it has done wonders to help with his anxiety and night time restlessness. We also use Neutricks, which seems to help. I just ordered Senilife and hoping that will also give him some relief.

          Thank you so much for your website and help. My heart goes out to all pet parents who have children with this issue.

    2. The hemp dog biscuit did not work for my dog — none of them and they are expensive. I do have a friend that used the hound one and she likes it. I think the hemp-based ones don’t have the THC needed (a little is needed I think) to really make a difference. I am not an expert on it, but I hear news studies are pointing to the need for a small amount of THC or non hemp-based only CBD. I am using senilife and prozac for anxiety, panting, pacing, pawing and sundowners. It is helping for sure. I’m still looking for the perfect combo of supplements and meds to manage my dogs anxiety and early CCD. Good luck!

  38. My dog ( jack Russell ) has dementia and is on Vivitonin 50 mg but seems to be getting worse wot shall I do he is 15 on the 30 th September 2016 do I let him go

    1. Hi Chanon,

      I’m sorry your dog is getting worse. Nobody can tell you for sure about your own situation, but you can read lots of stories here from people who made the decision. IT’s terribly difficult when the dog has a mental illness. You might want to try the Villalobos scale to judge where he is. You don’t have to follow the numbers, but it gives you an idea of the things to consider. I have it linked on this page: When to Say Goodbye.

      Good luck. Lots of us here know how hard it is.

  39. Another note to thank you for this resource. I know of you from various +R fb groups. When I see your name on something, I’m always reassured that it is well researched, thoughtfully digested, and presented clearly. My 13 and half year old friend has been diagnosed with and is being treated/monitored for a number of health concerns (cancer, renal failure, chronic pancreatitis). And yet he has largely remained active and joyous. I started to noticed a decrease in his ability to learn, some small difficulties with non-essential daily functions (needs help remembering how to use the doggie door), and increasing anxiety. The anxiety is my major concern as in the last two days it seems to have progressed rather suddenly into almost constant panting and hyperactivity. He is a Australian shepherd and the shepherding behavior is now becoming more prominent than it has been throughout his life.
    However, I don’t see these symptoms on your list, so maybe it’s something different. If he is in pain, he is not showing it. I’m making an appointment with his vet to see what can be done to restore the quality of life he had up until a couple of days ago.

    1. Hi Elaine,

      Thank you for your kind words. The very first symptoms my little Cricket exhibited were anxiety and suspicion of someone she had known and loved for a long time. So I haven’t heard about the herding behavior before, but anxiety and changes in activity level certainly can be symptoms.

      Glad you are going to the vet. I hope this is something straightforward and can be addressed.

  40. Vinny is my second dog who has dementia. My first dog lived to 18 /12, a shepherd chow mix whose symptoms began about 16 y/o. Vinny is now almost 12, but he’s had idiopathic seizures growing up, food allergies and Diabetes for which he receives insulin shots twice a day and is now blind. Recently, he started exhibiting the familiar Demential symptoms; confusion and disorientation. I tried CBD, but failed to find the correct dose. Then, I moved on to Melitonin which seems to work, somewhat AND started mixing a tsp of Coconut Oil in his food. THAT has made a world of difference. I’ll be investigating using other homeoapthics and natural rememedies!

  41. My 18 year old Pomeranian passed in late June of this year. He had dementia. Like many, I was unsure when enough was enough and when to assist him is passing. He to me when it was time. He cuddled and kissed me as if he was saying good by. Having access to this site would have been helpful. Please keep all the information coming. Thanks.

  42. Ginkgo biloba is one of the natural ingredient to truly help dogs with dementia, my jack rustle is 13 and ask a holistic vets theyknow what’s good naturally

    1. Unfortunately the studies aren’t showing that. The latest studies show that it doesn’t even help in humans, even though it is marketed as an anti-aging drug. But I’m not arguing with your holistic vet. I hope it’s working for your dog. I just want to caution others that this is one of the products that has less research behind it.

  43. My boy Jake who is 16 has just been diagnosed with dementia. I had suspected for a while but this week his behaviour has got much worse, he spends most of the evening pacing and turning in circles, cannot settle in the night and keeps banging into the bed and wardrobes although he sleeps on and off most of the day. It is only now that those things I noticed months ago such as “zoning out”, staring into space and at walls for long periods were a sign of dementia and not just a sign of old age. He used to go into a room and pause, come out again, then go back in and I just thought, oh he’s just like me, having a “senior moment”. I just wish I’d known it could be dementia, maybe I could have done something sooner to delay it. Now he doesn’t respond to me when I talk or call to him, he doesn’t even seem to recognize me or be aware of either me or my husband and it’s heartbreaking. He drinks constantly as he seems to forget he’s just had some water but still has a good appetite. All I want to know is if he’s still the happy boy he’s always been, or is he suffering and just can’t tell me? He does have problems with his rear-end now, sometimes his legs give way but he still comes for walks and seems happy to do that. The vet said he won’t get any better just worse and the medication he gave me doesn’t seem to be making any difference. I just don’t know what to do, any advice please?

    1. I’m so sorry this is happening with Jake. It’s so hard to tell when they are in the later stages. If he still has enjoyment (walks, food) and isn’t in pain or anxious, that would count positively for me. My experience was that as my little dog faded away, it was I who was more bothered than she was. She didn’t remember what she had lost. But every case is different. No answers here, just solidarity and hugs.

  44. Just want to share my short Sassy B story. Sassy B is an almost 13 year old miniature doxy. She’s always been a very active little girl and loved to play soccer and fetch. She’s totally blind now due to an unsuccessful cataract surgery. After her vision was gone I realized something else was going wrong. Never in 13 years had she ever had an accident in the house ~ and why was she standing in the middle of the room? After doing some research I was surprised to learn that she might be showing signs of dementia. This was in November 2016. I asked my vet and she said we could certainly try the medication that it did work for some. We started Sassy B on Selegiline 5mg. It took about two weeks to notice any change. It helped a lot and she’s doing well. She still stands sometimes looking confused and gets stuck in the corner once in awhile. She still loves playing with her squeaky toy, bumps into the walls several times a day and with hourly reminders goes potty outside. She appears to still enjoy life and I trust she’ll let us know when it’s her time. Try the medication ~ you have nothing to lose! Good luck!

  45. Hello Eileen, I read your book. Very helpful and what a darling pooch your beloved little Cricket was. May he RIP. One question. Do you have any recommendations for which treatments — supplements and prescription work together and which ones don’t? For example, you advised not to use anypril and Prozac together (which my vet did NOT tell me.) Thanks you. My dog was a mess for the 2 months I used them together. I now have him — my Belgian Malinois Simba — 12 years old — Senilfe and it is working I think. I also give him on a low level of Prozac, omega 3, truprofen (for arthritis) and glucosamine and melatonin. I just bought the Hills food (per your book) and my dog seems to be acting more nervous again. I wonder if I am giving too much Omega 3 betweent he supplement and the HIlls? I called the manufacturers of the food and they told me to ask my vet. They said they don’t advise that dogs take any other supplements when they are on their product. My vet has been great with my dog his whole life, but when it comes to the addressing the CCD, I think I’m on my own. Please advise.

    1. Hi Marie Louise,
      Would your vet be willing to work with a vet behaviorist? They deal with dementia since it’s a neurological/behavioral problem and are very familiar with all the drugs, supplements, and interactions. Some VBs will do a single phone consult with a vet for free, or you can pay for a longer assessment. Some do distance consults (I consulted one for one of my other dogs and that worked out great). I can’t recommend about specific drugs or supplements at all.

      If you are in the US, you can use this list. I HIGHLY recommend consulting a VB. This is their specialty.

      I’m glad the book was helpful and thanks for the love for Cricket! I miss her.


  46. Hi,
    My baby boy Benny, a fifteen year old mini foxi is displaying most of the symptoms of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD). When he’s awake he feels the need to keep walking around no matter what and thats usually bad news when it comes to walls and corners. Its heartbreaking to watch because he would get himself all worked up and start making cries for help, when all he needs to do is back it up a bit or turn his head sideways and HE’LL BE FREE!?I pick him up and hold in my arms, only to get destressed and need to get down and pace again?.
    I feel like im being selfish if i seek help from a vet to help him keep it under control, but then again I love him dearly and has been in my life for almost 12 years, and i dont want to let him go yet. The whole family chipped in, in helping him move around today. It wont be as easy with everyone at work and school.i just dont know anymore.

    1. Dear Lani,
      A good vet can give you options and probably an informed opinion about whether it would be harmful to take any measures. I feel your heartache. Benny is SO lucky to have such a circle of love and help. Hugs to you.

  47. Hi,

    My family pet Stan who is 14 1/2 (Jack Russell) has been diagnosed with dementia. It is really difficult as he has had both eyes removed (for health reasons) and his brother had to be put to sleep around two months ago which seems to have made things worse. He was diagnosed last weekend and has started on the tablets. He is excessively licking, pacing around and getting lost (although being blind won’t help), he just doesn’t seem to settle. Unfortunately it is just my mum at home with him and she is starting to struggle because he is just not sleeping. He is waking up at around 2/3am and starts crying until she gets up. She then lets him out to the toilet and he doesn’t go back to sleep he just paces around. As she is having no sleep she is starting to struggle.

    He has a clean bill of health apart from this as his bloods came back all clear. He does take Kidney tablets and is on renal food as his brother Ollie had kidney failure.

    Can anyone recommend anything for getting him to sleep longer at night? He is a happy little soul, always wagging his tail and he loves it when I bring over my 1 year old Jug. It is just the sleeping that has become the issue.


    1. I am so sorry this is happening. Could you ask your vet for something for the nighttime pacing? The vet could prescribe something to complement the dementia medicine (which takes a while to kick in). I’m so glad Stan still has such happiness in his life.

  48. My girl eevon was 16 years old in April she’s a Norwegian Elkhound mix (she’s always been vocal, a bit bossy and very very mischievously smart.) I got her for my 16 birthday when she was 8 weeks old and she was my very first dog (we had a field spaniel as a family and my sister had a Dalmatian at the time also.) Eevon was MY dog and we were best friends (when she wasn’t up in my dad’s lap.) One Christmas family had come to see us, we had gone out on the porch, there were two dozen freshly baked cookies on the table (no one thought she would get to them) but she pushed a chair out from under the table ate a dozen cookies and than tried to put the chair back but it was turned slightly so it didn’t fully go under. She stole i don’t know many loaves of bread off the counter and than ignored you when you found the wrapper. Her and my dad were so close, not that he would want you to know it, when i was 18 he passed away from a rare cancer. She took it just as hard as we did, she laid in his wheelchair, his coats and we both had to be there for each other. When she was 14 I’d taken her in for her senior exam they asked if she was staring into space, getting lost in the house or seemed anxious. At the time she was perfect besides her arthritis but a few weeks later she started having mild symptoms. It seemed to come and go with most of the time being fine so I didn’t give it much thought we walked in the evenings with her leg harness and she was sleeping through the night. Back in February of this year she started keeping me up at night I was getting maybe 8 hours in 2 days so we went to the vet and they prescribed melatonin. That seems to help, she’s also on gabapentin and rimadyl for her arthritis. We still do short walks a few times a week in the evening and she loves it. I do help her get up off the floor, i do some light stretching with her hind legs with cool packs and heat packs, she used to herd me everywhere now it seems like I’m herding her and she follows me like a fluffy shadow, I’m still up with her between 11 and 2 in the morning at times but other times she’s asleep at 9. She forgets what way doors open, she hates being left alone, I filled my iPod with relaxing music that is on 24/7 now for her and she has different calming treats when she needs them. I’m home all day everyday with her the rare times I go out, I’d say 2-4 days out of the month and never over night, I try to be home by 11/12 at the latest but usually earlier. Now it seems when I go out I get frustrated texts from my mom about her constant barking because I’m not there. My family always tells me I’m so patient with her, that the barking drives them crazy, she won’t let them help her up and she will snip at them. If it were possible to take her with me I would, now I feel bad for wanting to leave the house even for a few hours and when I’m home she’s very happy. I’m going to try a calming pheromone plug in or collar. I’m going to sleep in a shirt for a few nights and try leaving it with her. I’m hoping we can make it another year but even that is painful to think about. A year isn’t long enough, she always seemed like she would defy age but for now she doesn’t seem unhappy and I don’t mind helping her get around. I share my eggs with her when I make eggs, I cook special cookies for her and her siblings (14 year old rein black lab chow pit mix, 6 year old castle chihuahua and 1 year old Sam Axe red point Siamese) and I recently made frozen peanut butter yogurt banana treats for everyone for reins birthday. It’s so nice to find others that are going through this and I’m so sorry for anyone who has lost their babies.

    1. Thank you for telling the story of you and your wonderful dog. It does get really hard on the family when they bark a lot, especially at night. Have you thought of asking your vet for something gentle to help her relax? I hope for another good year for you and Eevon.

      1. About a week or two ago she started letting my mom help her up and actually falling asleep without me home. She’s asleep by 10 usually unless a storm is coming, sometimes she wakes me around 2/3/4 to go outside but mostly sleeps all night. I’m not sure what changed, I guess she had to decide to let others help her but I’m the only one she will let do her exercises. The melatonin seems to help her gently fall asleep and stay asleep but not so deeply that she will potty on herself. She’s actually back to begging for treats and our food which she hasn’t done in a long while. I’m hoping her progress continues, I’m really hoping that 17 won’t be as hard as I thought it would be and maybe together we can keep her mind fresh and clear.

  49. I just found this site—-I have had so much trouble with my 10 year old maltese—she just started doing everything you all have said about your dogs.
    she has not slept in two days, barks at me for long times, claws at things and walks the house all day. the vet gave her some meds but it wired her so bad.
    today he gave me trasadone(spelling) to give her half before bed. I have never had a dog with this, and I have had many. she just keeps walking. eats well and pees outside. I live in Phoenix and can not walk her in the afternoon due to the high temps. I have a buggy for her and try and walk her at dusk.
    it is just sad to see this,
    thank you for this site.

    1. I’m sorry you are having a rough time with your Maltese. Keep in touch with your vet and ask for some other options. There are drugs that help, but each individual dog is different. Hugs.

  50. Your recommendation of the crappiest foods makes me wonder about how credible the rest of your information is. Those foods should not even be called “prescription” diets. Good supplementation is enough. People with dogs with dementia don’t need to be dealing with dogs with skin problems as well. The ingredients are pure crap, GMO’s & synthetic vitamins from China.

    1. I’m sorry you’re disappointed in the site. But you misunderstand. I do not recommend any foods. I am not a vet or a certified nutritionist, so I would never recommend a food, medicine, or procedure. What you see on this page is what the science has shown so far. People can draw their own conclusions.

      Perhaps in the future, a diet similar to what you or I prefer will be tested. Perhaps there will be specially formulated diets that have the substances that correlate with helping prevent or slow dementia along with the types of other ingredients we would prefer. This is what has been shown to this point.

  51. My Jack Russell Chihuahua baby is 13 and I believe from doing some online research and reading the comments on this page that she does indeed have CCD. I have been noticing signs for a little while now – she is blind in one eye and seems to be losing her hearing; she wanders around in the yard completely lost and when i call her she seems confused as to where the noise is coming from; she now goes to the bathroom in the house even if she was just outside; she walks into walls and has fallen down the steps twice. I put up a child gate at the steps so she cant fall down and I watch her closely when I am home. She is my baby and I am struggling with the thought that I am going to lose her far sooner than I am prepared for. She doesnt want to eat her dry food anymore so I bought wet food for her to eat and I feed her my leftovers just so I know she is eating. She sleeps all day and most of the night. Thankfully she still seems to know who I am and wants to sit with me as often as she can. I will become heartbroken if she gets to the stage of not knowing me. I am crying writing this as I just want to tell someone how important she is to me and how much I love her. I think I am going to try to order the senelife mentioned here quite often and she if that helps at all. Thanks for listening.


    1. Dear Lisa,
      I can tell how much you love your dear little one.There are a lot of people here who understand something of what you are going through. I’m just so sorry you are having to go through it. Good job on the stairs–stairs were one of the first things I had to gate off, too. I’m so glad your dog still knows you and seeks you out. I hope you have some very good times left with her.

  52. My 9 yo boxer has become aggressive to our other dogs over the past 3 months. Health wise she is fine, per all lab work done. My vet has suggested dementia, so I am trying the senelife now. Will it help with this? She has been around the other dogs for years, but it appears that something snapped.
    Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated

    1. Hi Jennie,
      I’m sorry you are having a hard time with your boxer. Senilife appears to slow the brain deterioration in dogs with dementia. The two studies on it showed that it positively affected several different types of behavior. No one can really predict the exact behavioral changes it may prompt in any particular dog. But if the aggression is due to dementia, the drug might help. I’m glad you went to your vet. Did the vet rule out most other possible causes of aggression?

  53. Our 8 year old, 1 eyed cocker spaniel has just been diagnosed with dementia. Reading the symptoms it looks like he has been showing various symptoms for some time. We got him 3 years ago, just after he had his eye removed, but unfortunately there was no history for him. He had been abandoned with the sore eye and suffered really badly from separation anxiety. He has a gret temperament but is loosing interest in meeting other dogs, food etc. Its so sad. Vet has given us vivitonin to try. Fingers crossed it works.

    1. Good luck, Vicky. I hope things go well for your cocker. What a lucky boy he is to have ended up with you!

  54. I am so glad I came across this site. My 17.5 year old cocker spaniel was diagnosed with sundowners (which I think is the same thing) about a year ago. Basically roaming at night with an inability to settle. My vet did an aggressive treatment with medicine and his systems disappeared within 2 weeks and for almost a year.

    Unfortunately a horrible experience at an emergency vet a week ago changed all this. He roams the apartment constantly morning and night, panting and bobbing his head up and down. It is horrible to see. Due to an injury caused by that vet he’s on pain meds and Xanax to try to keep him calm. But this is definitely not the way I want him living. I don’t know if after his injury heals he goes back to his old self or not.

    Right now in terms of supplements he only takes glucosamine (actually by injection) and an omega salmon oil. I’m not sure what my vets plans are drug wise. Will ask him about the drug above. But would like to know peoples thoughts on the supplements above. What worked. Do I start then all at once phase them in? Do I wait for my vet to do a new drug prescription?

    1. Oh Amy, I’m so sorry for your cocker’s setback. I sure hope he can bounce back.

      In my opinion, these questions are probably best for your vet. Even supplements can have advserse interactions. I really hope your dog can recover. It sounds like he was doing so well. Take care.

  55. I have a 15 year old Shitzu who is blind and deaf he still enjoys his food which is home cooked my gobs never ate commercial pet food the two previous to him lived to 17 and eighteen years of age. But he is showing signs of dementia. When we came back from walk today he usually goes straight to sleep. But today spent wandering from room to room or just sitting staring he also went into another room and was stuck in corner I kept lifting him onto settee where he sleeps but next minute he was down again on floor I have a cat he used to love and sleep next to but he now growls when he comes near him I have a younger Shitzu of 3 and he doesn’t seem to mind him yet I have had dogs all my life and never experienced this before he is also waking up very early but luckily goes out of cat flap he has. Never done anything indoors yet I am going to order your book

    1. June, I’m sorry you are going through this. Be sure and talk to your vet; long-term or situational meds can really help. I hope the book helps. Take care, and give your boy a special treat for me.

  56. Hi Eileen, I am most of the way through your book and want to thank you for sharing your experiences and continuing to follow up with questions left on this page – It is very helpful resource.

    My 13 year old Chihuahua, Diego, has recently developed many of the symptoms of CCD. We went to the vet and have a prescription for Anipryl, but the brand name drug is not available in the 5 mg dosage. I have called all pharmacys in my area, looked online and even called the manufacturer, Zoetis. We have a generic of selegiline and I was wondering if there are any studies of the effectiveness of the generic version, (I can not find any). Any feedback that you have heard of on the use of the generic versus the brand name drug?

    1. Hi Kelly,
      So sorry for the delay in answering. OK, please understand that I an not a medical person or a veterinarian or anything like that. I am very careful not to give medical advice. But I can tell you that the drug that was used in the actual studies testing its effects on CCD was selegiline. This article, for example, talks about the studies using selegiline. Anipryl is never mentioned. So check with your vet, but that’s a pretty good indicator in my opinion.

      Good luck with Diego, and thank you for your kind words about the book and the site.
      Eileen Anderson

  57. Thanks for all the Information. We have a 15 year old yorkie-poo who has gone deaf this year and is definitely struggling with dementia. He gets very anxious in the evening scratching doors and continually asking to go out. Then he does fall asleep with us but then wakes up barking randomly throughout the night. We started him on new food (honest kitchen) as well as denosyl and neiutricks supplements which definitely seemed to help about 6 months ago but it seems that his symptoms are back the last few weeks. I see that you mention senilife and I was wondering if it’s ok to give him that on top of the other supplements he is on. And also if there’s anything else that anyone would recommend. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Darlene. It sounds like you are taking great care of your little guy. You’ll need to ask your vet about possible interactions. Some supplements can interact with each other or with prescription meds. I’m glad the site was helpful. Take care!

  58. Hi Eileen.
    I’m so glad to find the information I need. Thank you.
    My 15 years old Miniature Pinscher was diagnosed with diabetes and cushing.
    And he shows some signs of dementia.
    May I share your article in Korean community for sick animals?
    Of course I’ll disclose the source of the article.
    We don’t have any information about dog cognitive dementia.
    I beg you.

    1. Hyeonggyeong Oh, yes, absolutely you may. Thank you for asking. I hope things go well for your min pin and thank you for sharing this information.

  59. Can anyone tell me if the effects would be the same on my dog as on a human as far as recognition? Will my dog eventually not recognize or know who I am?

    1. It’s one of the known symptoms, Joan, I’m sorry to say. It falls under “changes in social relationships.” But not all dogs get all symptoms. My dog knew me to the end, though she was frail and very confused otherwise.

  60. I adopted a senior toy poodle that was very ill. He was on antibiotics the first year I had him. After that he developed Sun downing, where he would keep getting up at night, all night, very confused. The holistic vet recommended Neutricks which did great for awhile. I had to add melatonin to it each night. Check vet for dosages. He still barks and snaps at other dogs for no reason but he is ok. He is a little ball of love.

    1. Bless you for adopting a special needs senior. Sounds like a wonderful little guy. Glad he is doing so well! Take care.

  61. Thanks Eileen appreciate it. Unfortunately I am back at this page for help. The past several nights he is growling and snapping most of the night. He hardly does this during the day. I have 2 other dogs and we all sleep together so not getting much sleep. He may need stronger meds. Going to make another appt with the holistic vet. Hopefully she can pull something magic out of her bag of tricks.

    1. Oh Fran, I’m sorry about this difficult behavior. I hope your vet can help. And I hope you all can get some sleep.

  62. Hello All! I would greatly appreciate some input from those who are taking this journey with their beloved senior dog. I am really at a loss of what to do. My miniature dachshund, Noah, is 18 years old and has Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. He has been symptomatic for about 8 months.

    I adopted him from rescue at age 10. He had barely survived being horribly neglected and starved. When he came into our lives he was blind in 1 eye and had no teeth left. We bonded instantly and he has been my shadow ever since. I have spoiled him in every possible way in an effort to love away all the horrible experiences he had before being rescued.

    He is now almost completely blind but physically doing well and has no major chronic health issues other then the CCD. The biggest challenge has been his night time anxiety and agitation (barking, whining, pacing, searching) for which he is inconsolable and often doesn’t seem to recognize me.
    He had been worked up by his long time Vet and nothing else was found to be wrong. We started on anipryl without any results. Then alprazolam (doggie Xanex) and within 1 month progressed to max dose for his size of 8 lbs. It became ineffective in about 2 weeks. So, we moved on to Trazadone 50mg tablets. After 2 months he is at max dose again and now it only works for 4 hrs at night. We tried thunder shirts, snug wraps, calming pheromone collar, and herbal supplements (Zesty Paws Calming Treats Dogs – Anxiety Composure Relief Suntheanine – Organic Kelp & Valerian Root + L Tryptophan) all without success.

    He has always slept in our bed along with 2 other mini-doxies. Needless to say, once he gets agitated everyone wakes up. We don’t mind letting him out once or twice a night if he would go back to sleep. But my husband and I can’t function on 4 hrs of sleep. Our Vet states there are no other meds to try other then stopping the Trazadone and slowly titrating Prozac over the course of 4 weeks. I hate the way this sounds but I can’t be without sleep for 4 weeks and I don’t want to put him through such anxiety/agitation when it might not even work. (I have a health condition which flares if I am sleep deprived for long periods of time).

    The big question is, is it time to euthanize Noah? Is there anything else reliable we could try? Is it fair to Noah to keep going when his quality of life is mostly sleeping/sedation and agitation/confusion? Am I being selfish? Thank you for any advice or feedback.

    1. Hi Joanna,
      I responded to your other comment with some suggestions but am publishing this one too in case others want to chime in. Good luck!

  63. I don’t have any suggestions other than to say I know what’ you’re going through. Our Basset, Bosley, is 14 and I believe has CCD. He is so anxious all the time, continually pacing and wanting to go outside and then just stands there staring into space. The vet started him in Prozac about 2 weeks ago but honestly it seems like he’s getting worse. Everything I’ve read says to give it at least a month, I’m very hopeful it works because otherwise I think we will have to make a decision about whether what to do…. right now his qualify of life is not good. So hard to have to think about these things. Hang in there!

  64. My 17 year old Boston Terrier, Froggy, has all the conditions and symptoms described herein along with renal failure, 15% kidney function, insipidous diabetes, blindness from cataracts…He is on selegiline, desmopresin, prescription dog food, Epakatin, Hemp Seed Calm chewies, subcutaneous fluid treatment…about $500 per month…he will go when GOD personally dispatches an angel to come get him. Living and dying is GOD’S BUSINESS. Froggy may be at funeral before I am at his. My position.

    1. Thank you for stating your position politely. You are not alone in your views, and I think it’s only fair that you should get to express them. Best wishes to you and Froggy.


  65. Joanna,
    We went through the same situation with our 15 year old dog about six years ago. We tried many of the medications that you mentioned, with success for anywhere to two to four weeks, and then on to the next. I was the one up with him all night, and was bruised from trying to control his behavior. After about a month of sleepless nights, the vet recommended we make the hard choice. Physically there was nothing wrong with him, and during the morning he was the sweetest most cuddly dog ever. But, in the late afternoon, the anxiety started. We are now beginning this process with our 13 year old hound. I have already advised the vet that when the sleepless nights start, we do not want to continue treatment. I am hoping and praying for you and your friend.

  66. dog is 16.5…. used to be the smartest, most energetic, engaging little thing. Now he sleeps a lot. Used to eat two meals a day- now he
    usually eats one meal between 6 and 8 pm. Paces- used to take 2 3-5mi walks per day(!) and fetch balls, but now he is really creaky and his walks
    are around the block. Still likes food- though he throws it out of his bowl a few times before eating some of it. Still likes other dogs and people but with COVID many people preclude any dog greetings. A lot of his personality is gone but he still fights with me – still wants to eat deer poop (noooooo). I was young when I got this dog and now I am old too. Funny how that happens. He is incontinent, esp. over night so I put dog diapers on hm. They can soak up whatever he puts out and I can sleep at night. He did do that startle barking at night once or twice several months ago but then it went away- he does get “lost” in corners. If I leave him, he does find his way out eventually, but sometimes I pull him out. I miss the dog he was a lot.

  67. My dog was diagnosed with brain atrophy and dementia after MRI test.
    One day she went into circles to the right very compulsive , and she also suffers from dierrhea when it all began .
    Therefore she got prednisone treatment that really helped with the circles but I had to stop it for the MRI test and all the circling was returning …
    After the check I gave her a lower amount of prednisone according to the neurologist instruction which did not help at all and the slegelin medicine together With omepradex.
    She did not want dry food and continue to suffer from dierrhea which I thought was the result of the predinsone -so I fed her with cans of I/D . After a month all the situattion got worse as she was too weak. I blame myself for not cheking for the direhha reason , but the vet said it is probably age-related and may occur as a result of a weaker immune system due to her brain degeneration. She could not walk by herself-still circling from time to time. She drank a lot of water and had a lot of pee. I thought it can’t be better and after giving the seleglin one month without much result I decided to put her to sleep. At this point she had lost about 1.5 kilo! Just by one month(she is a little dog with normal -six kilo -go to 4.5 kilo). I was shocked …I thought she will be fine with the cans ….I felt so ashamed becuase I thought I did not fed her well. The vet said it won’t get better with time as she could not walk without my support and was very weak. She can’t use here rear legs properly. So at this day I put her to sleep. Is it common that dogs with dementia suffer from diarrhea ? I still feel very bad that it all ended this way. I tried to give her all she needs and she did not suffers from other illness except for a little abnormal in the liver tests . She was all fine before it all began. I don’t understand this…
    Can anyone has an explanation? has anyone had a similar experience with their dog?

    1. Keren, I’m sorry for your loss. What a wonderful caregiver you were for your little dog.
      If it helps to know, Cricket had soft stools and diarrhea pretty frequently. There are so many different things that can go on with this condition. I think a lot of it is still a mystery.

      Take care,


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