This video and the photos of my dog with canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) have prompted thanks from hundreds of dog owners who thought something was little “off” with their dog but didn’t know about the disease.

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, you should take him or her to the vet right away. CCD is treatable, but there are also other diseases that can cause similar symptoms. You need to know what you and your dog are dealing with.

Video: What Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Can Look Like

This video shows different behaviors that are typical of canine cognitive dysfunction. They include the dog getting stuck behind things; forgetting what she is doing and (poignantly) repeatedly greeting her human after she forgets where she was; getting confused about the door; and circling.

Video Transcript: What Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Can Look Like

The following behaviors of 16 year old Cricket are probably a result of canine cognitive dysfunction (Doggie Dementia)

Number 1. Getting stuck. Cricket gets stuck behind some furniture and needs help to get out.

Number 2. Forgetting what she is doing. Cricket has always kept track of my location through all our years together. Now she keeps forgetting where I am, and re-finding me. Finding me
“Hi there!”
Forgetting where I am. Looking for me again. Looking for me in the kitchen, when she just left me in the hall.
“Yay, hi there baby!”
Finding and greeting me again.

Number 3. Getting confused about the door. Cricket has been going to my office with me for years. She always waits by the door when I go to another room. One of her first signs of dementia was that she shifted to the “hinge” side of the door and waited there instead. Nowadays she drifts away and seems to forget what she was doing.

Number 4. Circling. Here she is walking in circles.

Cricket is still quite capable and has plenty of pleasure in her life. Suppertime!

Thanks for watching!

Photos: Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Gallery

My little Cricket lived for a long time with dog dementia. Besides the classic standing in corners and staring at walls, she often just stopped in strange positions and zoned out. She especially couldn’t get in dog beds correctly and would stop and rest in very strange positions sometimes.

If your senior dog has started doing some of the things shown in these images, see your veterinarian right away. You can fill out this checklist to take to your vet.

Copyright 2013 Eileen Anderson


  1. Dog lover from Wisconsin says:

    Thank you for having such a helpful and interesting website. The video with Cricket was wonderful. I appreciate you sharing your experience and helping us learn. The information was REALLY useful.

    • Lisa ivansdotter says:

      I totally agree🌞

      • Collene says:

        My Misty is a16 year old Lhasa she has cognitive issues she sleeps in the bed with us at night along with her nine-year-old daughter she used to lay there at night when we went to bed and groom her she doesn’t do that anymore it’s like she doesn’t even know who she is.I have ramps set up at the couch for her and a ottoman and footstool at the end of the bed for going potty at night or a drink of water, now at night sometimes she won’t jump down off the bed she stands at the end of the bed and Barks for me to come and help her down. This morning it brought tears to my eyes what I got up and saw her standing there barking at something that wasn’t even there I love her so much and I’m crying right now as I’m writing this and she’s laying on the couch next to me in her favorite blanket. It is so hard to make the decision and I have a wonderful vet and he said I will know what the time is right. I had 5 lhasa’s to start with all from puppies lost first one 3 yrs ago to Cushing lost mistys son to cancer a few months ago and her mate zemo also has cognitive issues and he’s 14 not as bad as her though. I do everthing I can to help her including hand feeding her cause I think she forgets how to eat out of the bowl. We get pets and love them like our children and we know that most of the time our pets don’t outlive us but I doesn’t make this any easier. My heart goes out to all of you going through this it is so sad

        • Eileen Anderson says:

          Collene, I’m sorry you are going through this with your Misty. I can tell how much you love her.

          Hugs to you.

          • Collene says:

            Thank you for replying back and yes I love that little losses so much I’m sad to say that she passed away August 18th 2021 we got up Wednesday morning she was in the bed with us I could see he was having problems went to go to the bathroom came back and my husband was laying there stroking her crying and telling her how much he loved her and she passed away peacefully in our bed at home

        • Keeimatey says:

          Collene I’m so sorry to hear about Misty. You loved her so much 💗💗🥰

    • Brenda says:

      I found this very informative. My dog is about 13-14 yrs old, adopted from pound around 4 yrs old. Now it’s starting to stand and stare at Nothing and not move, getting into trash when possible like a puppy. Love my baby. Puts me more at ease right now. Thanks for the share.

    • Christy Holt says:

      Thank you for this resource. My dog Jack is 17 and demonstrating a lot of these behaviors. I want to help him and provide him the best support. He is my heart. Thank you again.

      • Bazza says:

        My little dog she is only 9 and I’ve noticed over the past couple of weeks she’s standing looking lost and stars whimpering. Everybody knows their own dog and for some unknown reason over these past couple of weeks I’ve seen a bit of a change in her behaviour

    • Ed says:

      This was a beautiful video. I’m sure you miss Cricket. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  2. Chris.P says:

    We have a 16 year old Yorkshire Terrier who also has CCD. Everything you point is so true! I love your website and thanks for sharing:)

    • Eileen says:

      Glad to help! Best wishes to you and your dog.

      • Roberta Cole says:

        I adopted a 7 yr. Old yorkie 2 years ago as a rescue, she came to me with a UTI and infected ears, got her spaded and back to good health, she was afraid of most everything, and could not bark, , still not able to cuddle her, but will allow petting, recently is listless and not quite right, stares at floors , walls, leans against couch , has vacant and confused look in eyes. This behavior comes about once or twice a week, could this be dementia.?

        • Eileen says:

          Roberta, I hope you can get your dog to the vet to ask that question. Only a vet can make a diagnosis, and all the symptoms of dementia can be of other serious medical conditions as well. I have heard of one or two other dogs getting it pretty young, but that’s all I can tell you. (9 sounds young-ish for a Yorkie.) I’m so sorry this is happening, and I hope you can get some help for it.

    • Patti says:

      Wow! My 17 yr old bichon jazzy has been going to the hinged side of door when I open it, does the circling and constantly stares in the mirrored closet at me instead of directly at me. Thank you for the insight of what I have been trying to figure out what she was thinking. Love your input!

  3. amy says:

    Hi – I just watched your video of Cricket and it hits home. We have 3 labs, the oldest of whom is only 5 1/2. He exhibits many of the same symptoms as your Cricket. He stands in corners or facing walls for up to 10 minutes. When I call him he no longer comes to me (he was always the 1st to) and when he finally looks up and sees me coming outside to get him, he gets this “OMG I know you, so happy to see you” happy look on his face. He occasionally pees in the house and just generally seems lost. We can engage him in play but he plays alone, not usually with the other 2 labs. It’s truly a sad thing to watch. He paces more, often aimlessly. His appetite is good (he’s a lab LOL). Sometimes if we can’t find him he’s standing underneath our little dining room table. His symptoms came on sort of gradually and he’s being monitored by the vet, especially since he has hypothyroidism. As a dementia nurse, I get it..his behavior is so familiar to me. It’s just so sad watching the other 2 play like they’re ignoring him because I think they are – they just don’t get him. But I get him. He’s my boy and the recognition in his face when he sees me warms my heart.

    • Eileen says:

      Amy, I’m so very sorry that I missed this comment among the spam months ago. I hope your guy is still doing OK. Dementia nurses are angels, in my book. My mom had Alzheimers. Since you work with humans with dementia, you know that there’s still a soul in there, and I’m glad your lab still knows and loves you. That is so young for it to start up. I’m so sorry.

    • kathie says:

      Thanks for your input. My 10 yr old yellow lab lays on floor barking even if I am right beside him. What can I do

      • Eileen says:

        Hi Kathie, that sounds really tough. I don’t know what to say besides talk to your vet. Hugs to you.

      • Diane Ruetz says:


        My lab, Tex, is 12 and has CDD (and has had epilepsy his whole life). He does the laying on the floor barking too. We have learned that in order to get him to stop we actually have to get him to move from where he is laying. It will usually distract him and he stops barking. It DOES mean that we have to physically get up and get him to move. My husband figured this out because he works out of the house and when Tex starts his barking my husband will have to go out and get him to move. That usually stops the problem.

      • Lori says:

        Our 15 year old yorkie is almost
        Completely blind. She spends
        Most of her day sleeping, but when she is awake, she paces and roams around the house walking into walls. She hits her head at least 50 times a day. I fear it is time to say goodbye, but how do we know for sure?

  4. URL says:

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  5. Dana Spivak says:

    I find myself crying because my Hunter does exactly all the same things as your cricket. He is going to be 13 this year but has shown signs for years. It started with sitting in a hallway staring at the wall like someone was talking to him. Now he is showing signs of bladder issues (ie holding his urine) and getting lost in a room. trying to walk through walls that have been there for years. I’m afraid for a vet to tell me it is time. He is in no pain whatsoever, but I question his quality. He sleeps all day and night.

    • Eileen says:

      Hi Dana,

      That is really hard, I know. I don’t know what to say except I know how hard it is to watch them drift away. I think you’ll know when it’s time.


      • Pam Lynch says:

        Eileen, thank you so much for your video & information. Going to the hinge side of the door is exactly what our dog is doing & getting between me & the cabinet & stands on my feet. Our vet wants to do more testing, but we think he has lost his quality of life. We don’t want him to suffer. We feel “it’s time”. He’s almost 14. Is it appropriate to tell the vet we don’t want further testing? All blood chemistries were normal. Thank you.

        • Eileen says:

          I’m sorry for my late response. Perhaps you have made your decision by now. You are the ones who know best. Your dog is so lucky to be loved and cared for by someone who is taking his needs and quality of life so seriously. Hugs.

  6. Barbara says:

    Hi there, I stumbled across your website whilst scanning for information on doggie dementia. Our Rottweiler/Border Collie cross who is nearly 11 has, over the past few weeks been getting lost on familiar walks and staring at the wall as well as pacing and circling. He is eating but not as ravenously as before and without any enthusiasm. I have started him on Aktivait to help his brain function but no improvement as yet (he’s only on day 4 though) His joints are causing him some discomfort and any walks are very slow. Only wags his tail when he sees another dog, no greetings for me though which is sad. I did the quality of life questionnaire on the link which is an excellent measurement of how things are at any time. Today we scored 9 ‘yesses’ so will monitor things periodically with that tool. I can only thank you for providing a place to share stories with people going through the same with their beloved pet and will keep in touch. I will also send a photo through for your gallery. Blessings Barbaraxx

    • Eileen says:

      Hi Barbara,
      So sorry your guy is showing some signs. Please do keep in touch. And definitely send a photo for the gallery; would love to seen him. Best wishes to you and your beloved boy.

  7. Betsey Freyberger says:

    I ran across this website looking for information on doggy dementia. We have a 14 yr old rescue that is showing many signs of doggy dementia. We have only had her for almost 3 yrs so we are guessing on her age. Her symptoms are worse around the late evening which is very similar to sundowners for humans. She is so sweet and will miss her when she is gone. I am the only one that can get her to do things and can love on her!

    • Eileen says:

      Betsey, I’m glad she has you as an anchor. I don’t know if you have considered it, but Anipryl does help some dogs. Someone just commented about their very good experience on the “Symptoms and Treatment” page. Good luck to you and your dear sweet girl.

  8. Jeni Williamson says:

    Thank you for your site. My Jack Russell of (only) 15 has been on a steady cognitive decline for the past year and some months. I have been treating him with Anipryl for 3 months and wish I had heard of it a year ago, when it may have done more good.
    Now I am at the point of the Quality of Life decisions, and its impossible with dementia. My guy can’t easily find his way out of the fridge and the wall, but when he hears the other dog excited for suppertime-he’s right there. But I know that all his noisy yawning means frustration. Among other ques that lead me to think his life is more frustrating for him, but it really is so hard to let them go.

    • Eileen says:

      It sure is hard, Jeni. I wish you well with a hard decision. Sounds like you have given your guy a great life. Best wishes.

    • Ann Shoner says:

      I have a 13 yr old Boston ..he sleeps beside me at night, snoring away still. I know I will lose him. It’s not something I can prepare for. I’m 76 & he has been my comfort for all these years. Now, I try to comfort him
      Putter exhibits all of Crickets signs…but an additional one concerns me. He wants to eat constantly. I feel him very good food. The amazing thing is 3 years ago he was put on daily benedryl for mast cell cancer, expected to survive only 1 year. I read benedryl can cause excessive hunger…it did cause blindness( it drys the eye membrane out badly (even with drops). But was excessive hunger a symptom of Crickets & if so, how to handle that. It’s tho I’ve lost Putters love for me to his love for food. Thanks for any suggestions.

      • Eileen Anderson says:

        Hi Ann,
        I haven’t heard of extra hunger being a symptom of dementia. I am not a vet—have you asked your vet about diabetes and Cushing’s? I believe they can both cause that symptom.

        Good luck, and I understand about the unthinkableness of losing them. I hope you have your Boston for a good long while yet.

  9. Hilary says:

    Hi there,

    I noticed my 14 year old cocker spaniel/eskie mix, Emma, is doing some things that she never did before. She sleeps during the day, isolated – she goes downstairs and does not like to sleep on her chair upstairs with us like she used to. She often wanders aimlessly at night – she has her sleep cycle mixed up. In the afternoons when she wakes up, she sometimes will pace the house non-stop. She also has a look of confusion when she sees me sometimes. She does, however have great mobility, knows exactly when supper is, and loves going for walks with our younger dog, Alice. She still loves being pet, but not for long. She will be 15 in June, and I feel so sad that she may be confused about her surroundings or who we are at times. The other thing she does once in a while is pee on her doggy pillow – something that greatly upsets her as she NEVER ever had accidents in the house before and potty trained so quickly as a pup. We are never mad at her, I think it just upsets he to know she made the mistake on her bed. Emma is such a love, I can’t imagine her not being around. It’s hard to see my beautiful girl get so old, knowing she won’t be around forever.

    Thank you for your website and the information.

    • Eileen says:

      Hi Hilary,

      So sorry I missed your comment before. I hope Emma is doing OK. This is a very tough disease to deal with. But I want you to know that even though my little dog had a pretty advanced case, I always felt like she was “in there.” Sounds like Emma is still strongly herself, even with the symptoms going on.

      Take care.


  10. Kim Petruolo says:

    Hello, we have Maggie, our 12 yr old chocolate lab. She has always been a “groaner” in her personality ever since she was a puppy. What we do have now though is the staring at nothing, sleeping all the time. Pacing back and forth from living room to bedroom. Not sure what she is doing. Then we get the non-stop whining and crying. It’s heartbreaking to set there and listen to her. We honestly don’t know what direction to go. When do we decide when is it not fair to her? She has both hips diagnosed 3 years ago with dysplasia and arthritis along with lower vertebrae arthritis. Is this too much? We have 3 other large breed dogs that play very well together. Maggie has really lost interest in this too.

    • Eileen says:

      Hi Kim, I’m sorry, that sounds so hard. Both for Maggie and for you and your family. Have you talked to your vet about medications for the dementia? Also something for joint pain? It is very very hard to euthanize a dog that is still pretty physically fit, but I personally do not think it is inhumane if the dog is not capable of enjoying life anymore. Good luck, whatever you decide. I’ll be thinking of you.

  11. Lorraine Sherliker says:

    My 13 year old Lab Poppy has dementia. Otherwise strong and healthy, she barks ALL night, digs holes in walls when i’m at work and is generally doing everything on ‘the list’. I haven’t had more than 5 hours unbroken sleep for over 18 months, I am dead on my feet and hardly functioning. My daughter is now being disturbed too. I used to be able to quite her for a time, but it is now incessant at night. She still wants to go for a walk and is eating well, and appears happy, loving and alert at a lot of times.We have tried Xanax that just freaked her out, she has been on Amitriiptiline for 5 weeks, that has really done nothing. Our wonderful Vet said we have to consider our quality of life too. How do I make the decision to put an otherwise healthy dog to sleep.

    • Eileen says:

      Lorraine, that’s the hardest question any of us faces with our dogs I think. My little Cricket was more physically well than any other dog I have ever had euthanized, though she was more frail than your Poppy. You sound like the most caring dog caretaker imaginable. Poppy is so lucky to have you looking after her. I can’t tell you what to do, but I wouldn’t fault you for letting her go, given what you describe. It’s not a sin that she still feels good sometimes. It will just mean that you have saved her some future suffering.

      That’s my point of view and others may disagree. I commend you for taking such loving care of Poppy.

    • Irma Mittermeier says:

      We to have a 17 year old Westie that gradually has developed this disease and does everything cricket is doing, he weighs 17.5 lbs from 19 a year ago and our vet. Said it was ok to put him on Benadryl 25 mg. and this calms his anxiety all night, said we could do this every 8-12 hrs. If need be during the day, but we don’t cause he is calm and collected during day, only at early evening the big anxiety begins even if constantly erasure him we are around, look up Benadryl for dogs and it tells you all about it, it has been a life saver for us but we know someday in the near future we have to let go, really is so sad, we have him since he was 6 wks. Old. Wish u lots of luck

  12. Lorraine Sherliker says:

    Thank you for your supportive words. My life revolves around this mad mutt. She’s a great love of my life. We oaid a small fortune to bring her with us from the UK to New Zealand 7 years ago. Everyone says to me ‘you’ll know when the time is right’ – thst may be the case if the dog is in pain and suffering, we feel empowered by our ability to ease their pain and help them pass with dignity. But with dementia, you just don’t know. At 2 a.m in the morning I feel she is lost to us, then come ‘actual’ time to get up she is smiley, and waggy and wanting her breakfast. So hard. But we can see a continued decline. I guess we just have to bide our time, keep watching her closely and if my poor tired body can keep up, just see how it goes. Thankfully we have a wonderfully supportive vet. Sometimes I actually wish it was cancer, then the decidion, though tough, would be thst much easier.

    • Eileen says:

      I hear you about that. I don’t think the dog always “tells you” either. You just have to go ahead and make the decision at some point. Bless you for your love and care for your Poppy.

  13. Meg says:

    Thank you for all this wonderful and useful information! My cocker Maggie is 15 and has begun to pant incessantly and wander around the house, almost cyclical, wanting to go into all the bedrooms (never had an interest in that before) and staring at doors and walls, all the while panting and being very anxious. She doesn’t sleep much…Her appetite is good, she drinks water, but is really not as wiggly and friendly as she used to be. I am speaking with my very caring vet about CCD this afternoon and possibly beginning some medication. It is nice to know there are others who are dealing with this and can offer support and advice. My Maggie is my best friend and I love her so much–it is very difficult watching her act this way.

    • Eileen says:

      Hi Meg,
      I’m so sorry Maggie is showing those symptoms. I do know how hard it is to watch a dog act that way. I’m glad you have a good vet and are speaking with them. I hope you can get her some help. Good luck with the meds, and thanks for writing.

  14. Jorgette says:

    Our Doxie, Sally, was 14 years old. My husband and I had to make the devasting decision two days ago. She was everything to us. We are seniors too. With no children at home anymore or other distractions, we considered her needs first at all times. In those years, she never spent a night without us. She had all the love one could give. And she returned that love, always. A year ago she started showing signs of dementia. As the year progressed it only got worse. She would get lost in the house, stared at walls, would walk into chairs, getting stuck not knowing know how to get out. She began peeing in the house, became hard of hearing, not knowing where to find her food bowls anymore, so I had to take her to them. I would get up with her in the middle of the night where she roamed for hours. I would pick her up, hold her, and tried to make her anxiety less. That did not seem to help.The worse was she followed my constantly, would cry when I left the house, even to the mailbox. Her anxiety of separation was advancing. My husband and I did not know what to do. We both had so much love for her.
    She did not have cancer or other diseases. We put her on medication, no change. She was progressing further as time went. We knew it would only worsen. Dementia is a terrible disease to watch progress.
    We finally came to the decision it was time for us to let her go and not be confused anymore.
    On June 23, 2015, we spoke to our friend, the veterinary who had treated her for 14 years. Without our Sally Girl. Although she could not make the decision for us, she agreed it would not improve. She told us, every now and then a special dog, a friend to everyone with only love to give. We have been so lucky to have her. We left, crying, both of us. We made the decision it was her time. We made an appointment for that night when the office was closed. Dr. Ricci, Stephanie, the tech that Sally loved, stayed with us through the process, for Sally. At the end I have never seen her so Beautiful.
    We are still devastated, having a difficult time without her. A very difficult time.
    The problem with Dementia is a difficult disease. Especially when no other health issues exist.
    My heart goes out to anyone with the similar situation with the difficult decision.
    I am so sorry for them. It’s a personal one only the owners of their loved ones can make. So sorry.
    I now know what the term, a Heavy Heart means. It took my breath away the days before and still does.
    It has only been two days and we are still devastated. Sally will always have our heartfelt love.

    I thank you for your help. I am so glad to have found your website.
    I hope this helps others with the same decision. Our love goes with them.

    • Eileen says:

      Jorgette, I am so sorry you had to make this decision. As you say, it is terribly hard. I just think on how lucky Sally was to have you not only for her whole life, but to generously make this decision when her life got so unpleasant. I think it is the very hardest when the dog doesn’t have any obvious physical problems. But the brain is part of our bodies, and her problems were physical too, just in a different way.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think it will help others. Take care.

  15. Lorraine Sherliker says:

    Oh Jorgette , I am crying as Inwrite this. I am so sorry for your loss. Going through the exact same thing with my beloved Lab Poppy. I know the decision is near, life is very hard with her at the moment. The medication worked for a ehile but seems to have stopped working. Dementia is a terrible thing. I hope you pain eases as time passes.

    • Jorgette Knox says:

      Lorraine, I am so sorry you face the same disorders with Poppy as we did with Sally. As Cricket’s owner said brain disorders are part of the body and shown it a different way. That comforted me. I am glad you shared your story about Poppy. I am sure your response helps others . I am so sorry you face the same as we did. So sorry.

  16. Maggie Maness says:

    Something told me tonight to research if dogs could have dementia and came across your site. I have a little terrier mixed breed, got her at 5 weeks old, she is now almost 18 years old. She has all the symptoms as Jorgette ‘s Sally except My Alli is blind and can;t hear which makes it double hard for her.I have been trying to make the awful decision for weeks now and after I read all the letters others wrote I see I’m not alone.With tears running down my face after I read Jorgettes letter I know now what I must do. It’s just so heart breaking to see Alli the way she is and to have to make this decision is so painful. Thank you for your site. P.S. I also have a cat who is 23 plus years old and has the same symptoms as Alli ,she is also blind so I guess cats can have dementia too…

    • Eileen says:

      Bless you, Maggie. How difficult it must be to say goodbye to a dog who has been part of your life for 18 years. I can tell how much you love her. And yes, cats can get dementia too. There is less research about it, but they are trying drug treatments for them just like for dogs. Thinking of you and Alli.

  17. Tascha says:

    My little girl was diagnosed with doggie dementia last friday. I took her to the vet as she got stuck behind the toilet and it’s the fist time she had done anything like this.
    She’ll be 11 in February, looking back she started to get a little distant with my nephew a few months ago, not to the point where she doesn’t go to him, in fact last weekend she still went upstairs to bed with him, but she stopped playing and licking his face. He mentioned it a couple of times but I just said she was getting older. It’s only been the past couple of days that she’s starting messing in the house and getting lost. I took her to the vet and she said she looked as though she was arthritic, which would explain the shorter walks and she looked as though she was having a phantom pregnancy as she was producing milk. She doesn’t appear to have seasons anymore but she does still go through the phantom pregnancies.
    The vet thought it could be hormonal and gave me some anti biotics in case she had an infection and some pain relief for her arthritis (although she’s never shown signs of pain)
    when I got her home, she started showing the signs like standing at the hinged side of the door and pacing. It came on so suddenly. When I called the vet back she said it sounded like dementia. I went back yesterday to pick up some medication for her and today is her second day on it. I’m praying that it works, I want my happy little girl back. I can’t bear to see her looking so lost and miserable.
    I feel so guilty for telling her off when I thought she was being naughty, not realising he was poorly 🙁

    • Eileen says:

      Hi Tascha,

      Yes, that does sound like very fast development of symptoms. I hope they can reverse quickly too.

      I think everybody does things now and then they regret with their dogs. I hope you can forgive yourself. You are taking wonderful care of her. I wish you and your dog best of luck and many happy times to come.

  18. Dena says:

    I have a bichon named Tucker who is 8 1/2. I have noticed odd behaviors on him for the past year or so. We have a doggie door and many times he will sit outside the doggie door before coming back in the house, and he’ll sit there facing the house for 10-15 minutes. It will also find him sitting in odd places in the house, doing nothing but just sitting there. He will still come when I call him, however there are times that even if I’m looking at him and calling him he’ll just stare back at me and tip his head, and then eventually will slowly come to me. The other thing that is different is he’s always slept on the bed with me, but now prefers to sleep under our bed. He is very easily startled, and will run and hide if our other dogs cough. He will still play tug-of-war sometimes with our other bichon, however he does not play with our cockapoo anymore.

    Could these be signs or early signs of dementia? We had a bearded collie who had dementia that was diagnosed, but his symptoms were completely different than Tuckers, so I’m not sure.

    • Eileen says:

      It does sound like it, Dena. But most of the symptoms of dementia can also be symptoms of other neurological problems too. I hope you can talk to your vet about Tucker. It does seem early at age 8 1/2.

  19. Chris says:

    Hi. So glad I’ve found this site. My collie max (13 years young) is starting to show the signs of dementia. The vets have been prescribing meds for arthritis for the past 3 months. Nothing seemed to work. He has had 2 seizures in that time which is what has prompted me to research further. He is otherwise a fit and healthy dog, but has just deteriorated over the past couple of months. I’m just waiting for his blood results tomorrow then hopefully I can get him started on propentofylline and that will help him. He seems to be at the early stages so no messing in the house or getting stuck behind furniture yet but he shows all of the other signs. I just hope I’ve found it in time and it’s at a stage where something can be done about it. It’s just me and max at home and he is my world. I don’t know how I’ll cope without him when the time comes but I know I’ve given him the best life I possibly could since picking him up as an 8 week old puppy. He’s still a puppy in my eyes. Love to all.

    • Eileen says:

      Hi Chris,

      So glad you’ve found us, too. I can tell how close you are to sweet Max. Good luck on the bloodwork and I hope you can get some pharmaceutical help. Sounds like you are doing all the right things.

  20. Deanna Smith says:

    I found your site while searching the web for ideas on how to he out 15 year old Golden. I was shocked and amazed at how similar your descriptions were. Ginger does all of this.

    However, she has also stopped eating and barely drinking. I learned to fill several water bowls (50/50 with pedialyte ) around the house versus the one spot a water bowl has always been.

    We just started her on Senilife and are in hopes we can bring her back, cognitively, for as long as possible.

    Thank you!!!!

    • Eileen says:

      Dear Deanna,

      I’m sorry for my delayed response. I do hope your Ginger has come back. Several water bowls is a great idea. I hope the Senilife makes a difference. Thanks for writing. Thinking of you and Ginger.

  21. Chelsea says:

    I’m so glad I came across your website.
    I adopted my dog 7 years ago. He was already old in age, but he is now 14 and I am now 24.
    He kept me up all night just wandering. He has other signs going on. I figured it was old age, but feel it has be dementia too. Out of curiosity seeing if dogs do get it too, I came across your website.
    My dog has all the signs especially the circling, not sleeping at night, the dog bowl problem and now with having trouble with his own bed. He seems to fall off of it. Or not know how to even stay on it or get in.
    Thank you for creating this page.
    I love my dog so much he’s my best friend. I even have copper tattooed near my heart with a cartoon version of him above it.

  22. Liz Mitchener says:

    Sad as the condition is, it is so good to realise that some of the behaviours I see are “normal”. Pacing, getting stuck in furniture staring at corners etc.
    My westie Kizzie is 16 on Monday, arthritis, deaf, heart murmur and westie lung but still stuffing her face. She is getting older more quickly now, the biggest problem is that she doesn’t go to sleep when she is tired or even sit down. After a while sniffing and exploring becomes stumbling and bumping into furniture until I block her into her bed so that she eventually goes to sleep for a couple of hours, then she is alert again.
    I am going to vets tomorrow to have her pain meds reviewed in case it is a discomfort problem, and blood pressure urinary infection checks, but I think she just forgets to rest ???
    Whoever decided a dog’s lifespan had a sick sense of humour but, whilst I know she wont go on forever or even a lot longer, as long as her ears are forward, her stomach is full, arthritis is managed and we can establish a sleep routine, I take comfort from the info you have provided and that this is probably more distressing for me than it is for her.
    If it helps anyone else, the sleep cycle management has at least stopped her being up all night, I try periods of activity during the day, even if it is just finding food ( doesn’t do toys anymore), trip in the car or short sniff out in a field for 5 -10 minutes, then an awake period until 10 or 11 pm so she stopped being up all night and now sleeps when I do.
    Any early rising for a pee is dealt with by roll of builder’s plastic carpet protector (you can also get the stick down temporary kind) put down in the hall, easier than to keep cleaning the carpets, it can be taken up if you have guests or during the day and usually the sound of her walking on it wakes me up so I can get her out in time anyway.
    I love her to bits , the thought of losing her is as unbearable as it is inevitable , she deserves the extra care for the pleasure she has given me all these years, I also owe her the right choice, at the right time
    Thanks for letting me know I am not going through this alone.

    • Eileen says:

      Hi Liz, I really do think that it’s harder on us, unless the dog is anxious or in pain. But the standing around kind of thing, although distressing for us to watch, I think is just the “new normal” for them. I love how you have worked some simple enrichment into her life; great job with the schedule. Also like your carpet protector idea. Thanks for sharing your tips, and I hope you and Kizzie can continue to enjoy each other.

    • Linda Haxton says:

      Hi Liz, My 14 year old girlie, Goldie has all the symptoms and it is very distressing for us human parents to see them that way. I am so glad I found this website too. Goldie is, I think beyond help now with meds but , like you, i think it’s important to try and establish a regular routine for her; enrich her “world” as much as we can by short walks (she still has and interest in sniffing every lampost, blade of grass etc) I’m lucky that Goldie sleeps through most of the night. On the occassions she wakes in the night, I move her downstairs to the kitchen and hall where her bed is (she sleeps with us normally) and I “Goldie-proof” the kitchen/hall so she can’t hurt herself or get stuck behind anything. We keep the floors covered with newspaper for any accidents. I usually find her sleeping on the floor and then just gently move her to her bed cos she can’t work out how to go in it herself 🙁
      I know i’m going have to make the decision soon. My family keep telling me I’m cruel keeping her going like I am but they don’t see her all every day like my husband and I do. It is indeed very difficult to judge when enough is enough when they have no other physical problems. I just hope I do the right thing for her

      • Liz Mitchener says:

        I have faith that you will know Linda and, if you need a reality check, the questionaire on the website was handy for me. There were some negative indicators I had not thought of, and some activities I was worried about that were put into perspective.
        Kizzie has had a slight bounce back on vivitonin but I just see that as a day at a time thing, knowing how important those good days are I will enjoy a few more as a bonus but no unrelealistic expectations.
        Goldie sounds well protected and loved, the fact that you are researching and thinking about it means you also have the rational side keeping her needs at the forefront. That is all your girl would ask for.

  23. Norma Rivas says:

    Do our dear dogs get sundowners ?

  24. Sharon Lepore says:

    My Sherloch a 14 yr old Pomeranian has started to stare in corners and just act strange. Barking for no reason, won’t sit still like he used to but paces instead. I didn’t think to much of some of it until he stood at the door to go out and when I opened the door he wouldn’t go out it. I was talking to my college age daughter and she said right away he has doggie dementia. Watched your video and seems she is right. So I want to thank you on behalf of Sherloch for your help. Now I can take her to the vet and have a knowledgeable conversation to help Sherloch enjoy his golden years, instead of seeming lost and staring into walls. All the best to your baby as well

  25. Megan Williams says:

    I have a rescue shtz Tzu who is 3 years oldd,she had a liver shunt and is on medication,but she has every sign of dementia,up wanting to go out all night but just standing looking about her,staring at the wall,iss this not very young for dementia,we love her to bits,we will do anything for her she had such a bad start in life.

  26. Wendy Reid says:

    I have a 16 year old Lhasa Apso mix named Bugs……he’s got CCD and its pathetic to see my once hyper playful and bouncy pet losing his balance and falling asleep wherever he falls. He loves his bone, picks it up and doesn’t know what to do with it…..we usually find it in his water bowl. Your article and videos have been very helpful and it has given me strength to deal with Bugs. Urinating and defecating all over the house is one of the issues we deal with and we just can’t get angry because he’s unaware that he’s made a mistake.
    We love Bugs and will surely miss him when he passes.

    • Eileen says:

      I can tell you love him and it’s good you are so patient with him. (I know it can be hard with the messes!) I’m glad the articles and videos have helped. I hope Bugs still has some good times left with you.

    • Hugo says:

      I may have a remedy for your dog messes in the house …..what I do with my dog Domino is I anticipate when he has to go to bathroom to relieve himself ….I put him outside before he has a chance to do any messes in the house ….I do this on a regular hourly basis and I watch him outside to see if he does his duties and let him back in the house when he wants to Come in….. my theory is he would rather do his duties outdoors rather than in the house ,….so you must take control of when he has to go out and not leave it up to him……do this on a regular basis … works for my dog and I hope it works for your loving pet… consistent…….my Domino has dementia and I’m so happy to see the site… was just so helpful and caring to read the love we all have for our pets…..our dogs are a gift from God to us and we must take care of them as best we can …..thank you for the site and I hope recommendation will help someone…. are dogs love us more than we will ever know ….

  27. Sarah says:

    Reading through your blog has brought me some unexpected comfort. My dog’s mental capacity has regressed a lot over the past two years. Life is becoming more difficult for him and me, especially over the past few months. Today, he had a seizure. I’ve been considering euthanasia recently as his quality of life seems to have diminished quite a lot and I feel that this seizure is the unfortunate sign that I have been waiting for. I will be monitoring his seizure activity for now, but I am trying to prepare myself for the worst. These past couple months have been very tough as my grandma just passed away last month and now I am having to deal with the high probability of my best four legged friend passing away soon. He is 14 years old and I am 23 years old – we have been together since he was 11 weeks old and I was 9 years old… A lot has happened between then and now and of course, I’ve always known that this day would come. No one can prepare you for how difficult that day will be, though.

    • Eileen says:

      Oh my, Sarah, I can only try to imagine how hard this must be. I’m so sorry your dear friend may be failing. I’m glad you have found a little comfort here. Hugs.

    • Patrick Reilly says:

      Hi liz
      my bullmastif Frankie had to be put to sleep last week, it was a very hard decision he was only 5 but in there years it can be old.He started to act very strangely over the last 2 years after he started to suffer with dermatitis he was on alot of medication and had to to be washed every 5 days with a special shampoo. He started to go into himself changing his ways would not come out of kennel, paceing back and forth when you went to let him in would walk away, looking blankly into walls winning alot when I was out. If we were out for a walk would change halfway trought the walk and would pull for home excessive licking of lips and paws and cupboard doors and would not listen to his commands.
      Went from a great dog to a very strange dog, would break my heart to look at him finally started to urinate just lying or sitting on his mat got bloods done and examined from head to toe could not find anything. It was a very hard decision to have to put him to sleep but we agreed it was the kindest thing to do.

  28. Kim says:

    Hi There, came across your page, think im hoping for an opinion and support I guess.
    My 10 yr old Yorkshire terrier seems to be suffering from dementia. It got so bad so fast ive had to set her up in a play pen as she just urinates everywhere and my 9 month old son is crawling around. Shes slept with me for ten years but she destroyed my bed clothes so I couldnt do it anymore.
    She seems to have no enthusiasm for anything even walks , very little recognition for me shes disorientated, wobbly, shes circling incessantly. In the pen she presses her face up like she cant figure out how to get out.
    Its distressing me horribly to see her like that, im starting to wonder if I would be kinder to let her go but what if shes in there somewhere….
    How long do you hold onto hope, when can you truely say to yourself, its time now, weve done all we could ‘??? Itd be best for her. Im finding I cant make the call, the vet said its up to me, im in a state over it ?

    • Eileen says:

      You are asking the hardest question, Kim. Did you see the resources on the page called When to Say Goodbye? The book I have linked there and the Villalobos Quality of Life Scale are both good for helping you look at all sides of the issue. My own book has a whole chapter on this subject as well. I’m sorry for what you are going through. I hope you can get a little comfort from the other stories in the comments. Take care.

  29. Jean Gemmell says:

    I posted but it seems to have disappeared.

  30. jean gemmell says:

    Jean Gemmell on January 17, 2016 at 7:46 pm said:

    Toby, my little Jack Russell will be 21 years old this year I’m crying as I type this as he is so far ‘gone’ in his brain that there is nothing to be done to help him. He has nearly all the syptoms of this horrible condition BUT he’s still a very healthy little ‘furrybutt’ as my son Steven called him when we got him from the dog pound so many many years ago. I know it’s time to helps him pass but I just cannot do it. It’s SO difficult being with him now as there is no recognition, tail wagging ( we always said he worked by batteries as his tail wagged non-stop even when he was being reprimanded his tail was wagging on the floor) absolutely nothing. To be honest it’s really hard work every single day! He has really lived way beyond what he should have but how do I let go of a little dog who doesn’t want to let go of me…’s heartbreaking!
    Reply ↓

  31. Susan says:

    We have an 11yr old cairn terrier with increasing traits of dementia behaviour on a daily basis. He has always been an independent dog but his separation anxiety is now so strong he is jumping up to sit on our jpknee, follows our every pace and sits on our feet. He’s wetting in the house, scared to go outside and always hiding in small spaces including the washing machine which he’s miraculously figured out how to open. He still loves his walks and his appetite seems good but he’s getting thinner and thinner. He’s been to the vets but she’s said there’s not much they can do. We have two small children including a new born baby and looking after our dog is getting harder each day. We just don’t know what to do…

  32. Shelley Arellano says:

    This is such an informative site. My Mariposa(a huskey/shiba inu mix) just turned 13 in January and she is starting to have momentary lapses where she seems disoriented. When I ask her if she wants to go out and she is in my bedroom she sometimes goes to the corner of my room towards where my TV is and seems to just look around. Most times she comes right out but it’s these few times she doesn’t that has me concerned. Most times when comes back in from outside she does so as always but once in a while when she comes inside from potty time she will wander off to the far side of the family room and just stand there. I was wondering if it it was something like this. Her annual physical time is due right about now so I think it’s time to talk to the vet about this.

    • Eileen says:

      Hi Shelley,

      Good idea to talk to the vet. I hope Mariposa (what a beautiful name for a dog!) still has many good times ahead with you.

  33. Min says:

    thank you – your website was just what I needed to see
    thats a perfect match on all those behaviors for my little dog Maisy
    I am beginning to think she doesn’t recognise me much, but loves a pat from that nice stranger in the house ….until I go to the loo when she wedges her self in between the toilet and the wall – its kind of sweet and many of the behaviours are endearing but good to know what I am dealing with xx

    • Eileen says:

      Hi Min, I’m glad you found the site helpful. Be sure and talk to your vet about Maisy so you can get a certain diagnosis. There are some medications that help some dogs. Take care. Maisy sounds like a cutie!

  34. sharon says:

    hi Eileen, thank you so much for this website, we have a 12 year old patterdale and we have noticed in the past 6 months his behaviour changing. whinning for no reason when he is sat inbetween me and my husband, pacing, circling, staring into space, and trying to get into small spaces like he is trying to hide,jumpy when we try to comfort him and very very restless at night, tonight he is having a bad night and i have had to sleep downstairs with him because my husband is up for work. it is so heartbreaking to see brandy like this i have had him since he was 2. he always seems to look like he is sad and i am beginning to question myself is he happy ? are we doing enough for him ? am looking at his little face now and he just looks so lost and confused. i wish i could just click my fingers and it be happening to me instead. we are going to take him to the vets and see what his opinion is and what he would think is best for brandy, i am really hoping that we can find a treatment that will help him. reading some of the stories on here and what other people are going through is somewhat comforting to know that i am not going through this alone and am so greatful that i came across your site, it was very helpful and informative.

  35. Susi Unupi says:

    I just found your site tonight when I thought to research doggy dementia because of some concerns I have about my little man Hans. He’s a 10 1/2 year old doxie who has had me concerned recently because in the past 3-4 weeks he’s had me thinking that he was going blind and deaf all of a sudden; but I’ve noticed that he appears to be able to see and hear fine one minute then all of a sudden it’s like he can’t. It’s just been the past week that I’m seeing him behave strangely, wandering around the house aimlessly, sitting and staring at nothing, or he’ll sit in the middle of the living room or patio and start barking and barking for no reason. He rarely greets me when I come home anymore, nor will he come when I call him. He’s always been a bit of a “whiny wiener”, but lately it’s gotten worse. He startles easily, and is getting aggressive towards his brother and sister (not litter mates) doxies, snapping and growling at them without reason. He seems to be afraid of me, if I lean down to pet him, he winces or scuttles back away from me, which makes me feel awful.
    He’s an IVDD survivor, just a year ago he was learning how to walk again after having gone down in his hind legs in late January. He spent 3 months in strict crate rest to let his spine heal; not only that but just two weeks after he went down he began to suffer gastric distress and an X-Ray showed that he had a foreign object in his abdomen so he had to have emergency abdominal surgery to remove a piece of broken glass. Then just one week after having graduated from crate rest, he reinjured his back and had to go back in the crate. Although he wasn’t paralyzed from the reinjury, he appeared to have suffered more neurological damage because since then he’s weak in the hind end and has some trouble walking correctly.
    Poor guy went thru hell and back yet returned to his normal happy little self! It hurts me to think that he’s not feeling well again and he can’t tell me what’s wrong. I am taking him to the vet on Thursday so I can maybe get some kind of idea what is going on. After all I have read hear, and the behaviors he’s displaying, I’m afraid that it could be CCD.
    I can’t afford to have any expensive testing done as I am disabled and having two more seniors with medical issues; I’m hoping that the vet can make at least a possible diagnosis of whatever is going on just by what I’ve observed. I just want to know what I can possibly do to help him feel better. Please wish us luck.
    My little loveys are my life now that my human kids are grown, and I want to make sure that all of them live their golden years feeling loved and happy the very best I can.

  36. Jonathan Harvey says:

    Thank you so much for all your help and information, it has really helped me and will help my dog Mr Chips. He is 14 and displaying a lot of these symptoms. All best wishes to you x

  37. Larry Smith says:

    Dear Eileen,

    My 13.5 year old Shiba Inu Banzai has led a healthy and active life. We’ve had him since he was a puppy. He has recently had trouble walking and has accidents in the house. (this breed is very quick to housebreak) He also has some hearing loss, odd way of standing, unsteady gait, stares into mirrors. We’ve also notice he touches us more to get our attention. We’ve tested and x rayed. No arthritis, no injuries, exceptional urinalysis and blood work results. Healthy as a horse. Good appetite and still gets up for chase me and other games (albeit in slow motion and in the house, not outside so much). Our vet concludes dementia and prescribed low dose of Amitryptyline. Frankly Parkinsons is in my family and I’ve seen it manifest in my Mom and Uncle. Banzai shows some of the same symptoms. Beyond the scrip what other treatment options are there? We love him dearly and want him to be comfortable in the time that remains. Thanks


    • Eileen says:

      Hi Larry, I love Shibas! They are such cool dogs. Did you really mean Amitryptyline or Anipryl? Both are prescribed, but Anipryl is the one that is specifically for dementia and is also used in Parkinsons in humans. I’m not making any suggestions; just clarifying. On the Treatments page on this website, I include all of the treatments that have shown in studies that they may help. I have more information about them in my book, but it’s the same list. Also in the book I have hints for taking care of a dog with dementia. There are lots in the comments here as well. Good luck. It sounds like you are doing a great job with him and I hope he has plenty of good times left.

      • Larry Smith says:

        I’m going to stop the meds and get your book and take advantage of this site. . My wife is out of town and works in Pharma, not happy about this decision. I was just on the phone with relatives and they were pushing back as well. Big question …was this a hasty diagnosis? Side effects of these drugs can be nasty. Is this really just old age? Is there a better way? … Need need to answer these first. Thanks

        • Eileen says:

          Larry, please don’t change any meds without consulting the vet. There are valid reasons to prescribe either of those meds. I was just trying to clarify because of the similarity in the names.

  38. Sandra Simmons says:

    Hi my name is sandy. I have a shih tzu which is 16 going on seventeen years old. A lot of times he goes to the gate I have in the living room area and just stares for long periods of time without moving as if there is a very interesting show going on, until I tap him then he’s himself. He couldn’t walk due to arthritis, so I retrained him to go inside on wee wee pads. He learned that right away. His vet put him on novox and he’s able to walk. The only time he runs and jumps is when I come back in the house whether I’m gone 5 hours or 1 minute to get the mail. Whenever I leave he is always waiting in the same spot as close to the door as he can get until I come through it. I’ve had Noah since he was 8 weeks old we’re inseparable. He doesn’t play anymore but he loves his beds. I’m just concerned about his staring so. He also does this in the middle of the night. When I go to the bathroom I see him staring. So I leave him, eventually he’ll come to bed. Also he yawns at me when I pick him up. Feeding time he’s his happy jumpy self. I only take him out when the weather is nice now. Can anyone tell me what he is trying to tell me???

    • Eileen says:

      Dear Sandy, Noah may not be trying to tell you anything. If he has dementia (and I’m not diagnosing him, just mentioning the possibility), he may just zone out sometimes. My little Cricket did that and I finally realized that probably for her, it wasn’t uncomfortable or scary. She was just drifting off sometimes. I think it bothered me more than it did her. Can you take Noah to the vet and describe these things? You could fill out the symptoms list and take it with you. Good luck. Sounds like Noah still has good times.

  39. Brad Wolff says:

    Thanks very much for sharing this knowledge – your pictures spoke volumes! They were perfect to let me relax about CCD as a possible diagnosis.

    • Eileen says:

      I’m so glad the site helped. I hope you can get an “official” diagnosis for you dog, since there are some other conditions that have overlapping symptoms. Thanks for the comment.

  40. Vikki says:

    Thank you so much for this information! A few of my by beloved pomeranians (11 year old, and 12 year old) were showing some odd behaviors (howling, staring at the wall, hiding at night on the floor instead of where he used to sleep on my bed ( actually my pillow 🙂 his whole life, delayed reaction when I talk to him even tho he seems to be looking right at me) So sad, and it scares me. Now I understand what is going on with them. The vet has checked them out and they are physically healthy. I have a 15 and 17 year old pom as well, and they are both as alert as puppies. Unusual to me the younger guys are showing these signs. Your content here is so helpful, thank you again for this information!

    • Eileen says:

      I’m glad it was helpful. Your dogs are adorable! Please spread the word about dementia in dogs since there are some helpful interventions. I hope things go well for you and your seniors.

  41. Kate says:

    My ten year old pug, Jiggs, clearly has dementia, though not as yet diagnosed. His back legs do not work very well due to a stroke three years ago, and he sometimes does not make it out the dog door in time to relieve himself, but he still seems happy and very determined to get to us despite the three other dogs in the house. He gets my attention, then I’m supposed to follow him and help with whatever he couldn’t do or get on his own, though now, we often stop because he’s forgotten what he wanted. I keep a very close eye on him and he seems happy, he still even plays with the mastiff puppy, who is very gentle with him. Mr.Jiggs crawled into my heart at 8 weeks old and the love I have for him is so great it hurts my chest.
    My question is – should I crate him when I leave the house? It gets over 90 degrees in the summer and he goes in and out and I’ve had to bring him inside many times. I’m worried he’ll forget to come in and suffer heat stroke or worse. I guess I’ve answered my own question.
    I didn’t know dementia was something dogs could get. Thank you for your site, I’ve signed up for the newsletter and will buy the book after I get my car fixed. Not many people understand the great love we can have for our furry babies. Thank you,

    • Eileen says:

      Hi Kate,

      I’m sorry about your worry about Jiggs. It sounds like his bond with you is still very strong though. IT sounds like a good idea to prevent Jiggs from staying out when it is too hot. If he is used to a crate, that would be perfect. If not, perhaps you can gate him into a kitchen or bathroom. Take care!

  42. Andrew norris says:

    I wonder if you can help me I have a terrier cross and he has just recently started to lay down and stare at his hind legs when we distract him from this for a while he will go straight back to it some times he will just ignore us when we call him. Any info you can give would be very helpful.
    Thanks Andrew

    • Eileen says:

      Andrew, I’m sorry, but I don’t think we can help much here. I hope you can see your vet about that. There are lots of mental and physical conditions that can cause behavior changes in dogs and I think someone needs to see your dog in person to help. Try to take a video, because your dog will probably not do it while at the vet’s. Take care,

  43. Amy says:

    My baby girl will be 20 years old in December, she remembers me but has all the symptoms of doggie dimentia. She still eats and drinks and goes to the bathroom. She’s been showing signs for about 2 years, just lately it’s gotten worse. She’s almost blind and can hear a little. I pick her up everyday and talk i.n her ear and kiss her and hold her close. I have to let her go, it is time. It hurts so bad to lose my precious sweet baby. Love your dogs, the 19 years I’ve had her will never be enough❤️

    • Eileen says:

      I know where you are coming from, Amy. Bless you and your little girl. No number of years is ever enough.

  44. Laura says:

    My Knuckles is a 12-year-old pug. I’m so worried about him. For a while now he has been sleeping almost all the time. Now he will sometimes stand in the middle of the floor for a long time with his head down. And he will sometimes walk around confused, walking behind the sofa where he never has before. He will stare upwards at what I don’t know. He is sometimes unresponsive, even for treats! Other things, too.

    • Eileen says:

      Hi Laura,

      I hope you can see your vet about this. There are several conditions in older dogs that can cause some or all of these symptoms. Good luck. It’s hard to see our older dogs do these odd things.

  45. Gwen Sherwood says:

    oh my… I am facing this tough decision with 2 babies. A 15 year old rescue miniature poodle and a 14 year old standard poodle. The standard is blind and suffers from Addison’s. He barks incessantly. Get’s lost in corners, does not know if it is day or night and literally keeps us awake. It is as though we have a 2 year old we are constantly watching. He has fallen in the pool and gets stuck in corners and barks. So we cannot leave him alone. Lately we have been giving him 3mgs of Meletonin to sleep. Basically, so we can all get some sleep.
    The miniature cant hear and is losing his eye sight, he has only four teeth and I have to cut up his food. He also has gum disease and wanders around lost constantly. He will find me and then start looking for me again. I just don’t know how much longer my husband and I can do this. I have a heart condition and also a special needs adult child who requires a lot of supervision.

  46. Judy says:

    I have looked at your site several times! I am so worried about 16 year old cocker (17 in 5 months) Not only is he suffering from CCD, he has large hard knots along his spine (feels disfigured) and in his pelvic and hip area. I want to give him “rest”, but my husband says he is waiting until he appears to be in pain or becomes immobile. I just don’t know what to do – I just hate to see him wasting mentally and physically.

    • Eileen says:

      Hi Judy,

      I’m so sorry you are going through this with your cocker. How about a vet visit? A vet could give you both an idea of whether your dog is in pain or discomfort. Would your husband respond to that? I’m so sorry for the pain you must have in your heart about this.

  47. Debi Minton says:

    I have an 8 year old english springer ! Lately every so often I come home from work I work graves and if I leave the room I will come back out he is sitting and starring at a wall ! Not pressing his head just starring! Why does he do that? Is he lacking attention maybe cause I’ve been working alot of hours lately! Is he feeling attention neglect? He’s not realllythat old .

    • Eileen says:


      It sounds like a vet visit is in order. The thing is, there are so many possibilities for these mental oddities that can happen to dogs, not just dementia. But that is a symptom I would discuss with a vet. Good luck.

  48. Suz N. says:

    About a year ago Tank my 15 year old pug suffered what looked like a stroke. He just suddenly fell over, looked very confused, and just couldn’t get himself back up. We took him to the vet immediately but she said she could not tell if he had a stroke. We came home with no answers. He has since lost 8 of this 24 pounds and is just skin and bones although he still eats as much as he always did. He is now blind and deaf. He no longer plays with our 8 year old pug nor seeks attention from us. He sleeps all day except for the occasional wake up where he walks in a tight circle until his back legs give out, them he continues to drag himself in the cirle until he falls. He may do this 3 or 4 times in a row then goes back to sleep. He sometimes will get up and go on what we call a walkabout. He will walk from our family room through the kitchen then the dining room and back to the family room. We hear him walking into walls and such and have found him stuck near a planter on the floor that he just stares blankly at. He barks a lot at night and most times will mess his crate. If I try to touch him, he jumps. It breaks my heart to see him like this. My mind tells me its his time, he has no quality of life left, but my heart wants my baby with me longer. I’m so torn. I have just lost my 2 granddogs, Mia & Petey, in the last 2 months, one due to heart issues, one to CCD. My son’s house is so empty without them. I’m lost, I don’t know what to do.

    • Eileen says:

      Suz, I’m so sorry. Please know that there are lot of people here who know what you are going through. I hope you can make a decision you can be at peace with. Hugs.

  49. Yildiz says:

    Our little furbaby Duke who is a Maltese is turning 20 next month and is both deaf and blind, has a heart condition but is generally still such a happy chap, this last weekend he had a really bad weekend, stopped eating and drinking very little, spoke to our vet who advised me when I would know it is time, my husband said to give him one more day as it had been really cold and maybe he was just feeling it as he also suffers with a curved spine. I prepared myself and cried all weekend but I do not want him to suffer, low and behold we come home on Monday and he is his old self and eating and drinking and barking and bouncing…he also stares long periods at walls and wanders around but know i think I understand the cause of this. Last night however he was groaning and sniffing at doors and wandering the bedrooms, is he in pain, my heart is once again torn in what to do , how can i make a descision like this when he has such good days.. He means the world to us and I cannot imagine not coming home to him ☹️

    • Eileen says:

      Many of us have gone through that up and down. Sorry for the delay in publishing your comment. I hope Duke is still with you and having good days.

  50. Sissy Myers says:

    My dog is 16 & has shown every sign you mentioned, plus the jumping when touched at times. On top of that i’m getting over having a stroke, she started about a month before i had it. I was afraid for her while in the hospital (2wks) but my neighbor let her out, and could tell she was getting bad. But the way i look at , while i’m getting stroke….i get to spend time with her. Thank you so much for the videos!

    • Eileen says:

      Hi Sissy,
      I hope your recovery goes well and you enjoy your time with your senior girl. Glad the videos were helpful. Take care.

  51. Gay Spivey says:

    These videos and photos hit so close to home. My border collie does circles all day and get stuck around furniture when could get out but he can’t process the situation. Its,so hard to watch. He seems unstable too. I was glad to find this page because it comforts what I was thinking. To see another dog do what mine is doing was helpful. Thank you so much.

    • Eileen says:

      I’m glad the videos were helpful, Gay. There are a lot of people here who have gone through what you are with your dog. Hugs.

  52. Kristy Mcgough says:

    Thank you for your video its exactly what my 19 year old Scooter is doing, he has had a bad week, stuck more often but u still feel he has a quality of life, still looks forward to his treats, when dogs are your family it’s hard to watch them go through what my grandfather went through. But as long as he’s not suffering or in pain I plan on just (baby) dog proofing my house, thank you for sharing crickets story I’ve read several if the comments people have left over the years and it’s more then the video that’s helping people it’s having someone understand that’s helping people, thank you, love to all those dog lovers, Kristy & Scooter?

    • Eileen says:

      Congratulations and keeping Scooter so well cared for 19 years! Wow! I can tell how very much you love him. I’m glad you have enjoyed the comments here–lots of people who love their dogs so much.

      In case you are interested in more, I have a lot of tips in my book for making the house safe for a dog with dementia.

  53. Cranberry & Your Pet’s Urinary Health—Miracle Berry or Just a Fad? – Lovin My Pup says:

    […] Canine cognitive dysfunction (“Doggie Dementia”) […]

  54. Anna Parker says:

    We have an eight year old English Springer Spaniel the sporting dog. She is starting to stare at everything. This has come on so sudden. Within the last few days and now she is peeing in the house something she has never done. I’m so worried about her. She’s acting so out of touch. She’s anxious but does sleep but only at night. She is my best friend she’s the sweetest little girl. Can dementia come on at this age? She’s going to the vet as soon as we can get an appointment.

  55. Elizabeth says:

    We were adopted by our rescue lurcher / greyhound Jed (not sure of the breed) in September 2014 after he had been in a rescue centre of 7 years. He has always had behavioural issues (which is why he had not found a home for so long) then but now has been diagnosed with CCD. He will be 10 in March 2017. I work from home so can be with him all day to comfort him but the nights are difficult. He has ‘accidents’ (which I don’t mind cleaning up) even though we leave a light and radio on to make things as normal as possible. I want to do the best for Jed. The Vet has put him on drugs to help and they seem to be effective at the moment. Is there anything else I can do?

  56. Jennifer says:

    We took in a stray daschund. He goes to this one corner in my kids room and stares, sometimes for hours. He also licks the wall. I am not sure how old he is but he is definitely not a puppy! What is the deal is he bored, does he miss his freedom? please help!!

  57. Lauren says:

    I adopted Daisy (rat terrier) when she was 12 and had a few signs of CCD. She’s now 13 and displaying many more signs of CCD. I mentioned it to my vet but because Daisy is nearly impossible to get drugs into (I don’t know what happened to her in the past, but you can’t touch her mouth [sends her into a panic], and she chews everything very carefully so there’s no hiding pills unless they’re tiny) we decided not to try to medicate her. I hadn’t realized circling was a symptom until I saw your video. She doesn’t circle like Cricket circled, but whenever we go out to potty at night, she’ll start sniffing, take a few steps, sniff, take more steps, then start walking quickly in a circle around me as though she’s forgotten why we’re out there and it makes her really nervous. Eventually she’ll do her business, but she makes a bunch of circles around me before she does. Thank you for this website! The videos and pictures have been very helpful.

  58. Monica says:

    Aww so heartbreaking watching this. ? my little girl is 13 this year & not sure if it’s dementia but she has started walking into the glass door. She’s done it three times now in the last 2 weeks. She’s restless at night & seems to get internal gas a lot. I’m worried so will be taking her for a checkup asap.

  59. Frankie says:

    I have a 16 year old shitzu that is blind n she puts her self up against walls n just stays ther n also in corners n also stuck in between furniture what do u think we should do out her down in which I’m not for cause I don’t think she is suffering correct me if I’m wrong please

  60. Sherry says:

    My senior chihuahua keeps falling in her water bowl so now she won’t risk it. What can I do to help?

    • Eileen says:

      Be sure and talk to your vet. But you can mix water into her food for every meal. That’s what I did when my little Cricket forgot how to drink water. If your vet says it’s safe, you can elevate her water bowl.

      Good luck with her and take care.

  61. Jonathon Lively says:

    So you have recognised the signs, what do you do after its hard to see my loved pet like that.

    • Eileen says:

      Talk to your vet about treatment. Set up your house to keep things safe for her. My book has a lot of recommendations, and there are hints in the comments here as well. I know it’s hard. Good luck.

  62. Irma Mittermeier says:

    Thank you so much for your wonderful videos of Cricket, it has helped me tremendously, perhaps it can be related to people that are going through this that there are some Vets. That say to try Benadryl especially at night when their anxiety starts, it has really worked on our beloved 17 year old Westie (Frisky) and to be sure I looked it up under Benadryl for dogs and it was said this is safe and much less side affects and the site tells you exactly how much to administer every 8-12 hrs. Depending on the lbs. of a dog. Frisky would pace and pace, cry and moan for hours at night, started given him 25 mg. at night only for his 17.5 lbs., he gets in his bed after 20-30 min. Totally calmed, and relaxed, sleeps all night, up at 7-8 am for outside outing, his morning snacks and water. He is ok during day but not as active as I would like but he is calm but with all of Crikets symptoms. Again thanks so much for your kindness and videos, Irma Mittermeier.

    • Eileen says:

      Thanks for your kind words. I hope things go well with Frisky. Just a reminder to all reading: be sure you check with your vet before giving your dog any supplement or over-the-counter drug.

  63. Steven Jeffrey says:

    Hi there my dog Jake is 16 years old jack russel/terrier he sleeps during the day then walks round the table in my living room nearly constantly he looks bewildered at times and sometimes wets on the floor at nght from around 6pm until 10pm he needs to wee its like a habit every day please could you tell me what this could be and if it can be treated.

    Thank You

  64. Claudia says:

    This may have been addressed here but I am going to ask again. Do you think it is possible that a “thunder jacket” or something like it might be helpful for my little schnoodle that has dementia? She is also nearly blind. I have heard that it can bring a sense of security to animals. Thoughts?

    • Eileen says:

      There have been some studies and it hasn’t been proven to work. It does seem to help for some dogs, but if you try it you need to know your dog’s body language. You need to be able to tell the difference between a dog who is relaxed and one who has shut down because the garment is uncomfortable. Good luck with your schnoodle.

  65. Tammy Baylor says:

    My year-and-a-half all of the sudden she just looks up in the air on both sides constantly like something is after her she’s never done it before until the other day what could it possibly be she is a fila

    • Eileen says:

      There are so many things that could be that we probably shouldn’t speculate over the internet. I hope you can take her to your vet. Good luck and I hope you get an answer.

  66. Melissa Gordon says:

    My dog is only 3 yrs old. She is playful and happy but sometimes when your not playing with her she will drop her head and look at the wall but not all the time.

  67. Maria Ward says:

    O my!!! One picture is worth a thousand words! My little chihuahua has been doing this for months. He doesn’t react to someone at the door. He wanders through my legs when I am walking. At least now I understand why his behavior is like it is! Thank you for a great explanation.

  68. Robyn Talbott says:

    My Frenchie whom I rescued at age 4 (vet approximated for the rescue agency-was from a puppy mill around here in Northern Ohio. She is almost 9 now) has been seemingly “a little off” for a few weeks. She has always loved her many beds and has always scratched at them, or as I call it “fluffing” her bed. Now she does not seem to like ot lay on them much, and prefers to lie in the mat below my feet in the kitchen. She used to love for me to sit with her on her bed after dinner in the kitchen on the floor, but now as I sit there, she will not come over ot join me ever. I feel as though she doesn’t want me to even caress her much of the time and I f feel so lost. She appears to look lost wand vacant in her eyes when she looks at me. She also stares off into space at times as well. I am crying as I type this, but I guess we’ll be off to the vet on Monday to find out what I can [possibly do. Thanks for all you have herein.

    • Eileen says:

      So glad you have a vet appointment and I hope it is something transitory and treatable. I am not a vet but there are a lot of conditions that can send a dog a little “off.” I hope all goes well.

  69. Patti C says:

    Our Sasha is the sweetest girl, a petite German Short haired pointer that is 17, has her 18th Birthday in Sept. has always been in great health up until the last 6 months. Have tried acupuncture, shots, lazor treatments (we wanted to give every possible treatment to our girl) She just stays up all Niigata walks aimlessly , I have to stay up with her She gets

    caught under furniture, I am constantly following her worried she is going to hurt herself. No more tail wagging or recognizing myself or my husband, no hugs or cuddling She will get herself jammed against a closet and cry out. I will immediately run and comfort her I guess she is scared. We can’t leave her alone I can’t bring myself to put her down. She still has an appitite She has been a wonderful girl and the sweetest dog I have ever known We rescued her from a family that was relocating over seas. Tears are flowing as I write this. What to do about this Heartbroken Patti
    No medication seems to help she is on 4 different pills. Am I being selfish keeping her in this world

    • Eileen says:

      I’m so sorry, Patti. Have you looked at the Quality of Life index? I have it linked on the “When to Say Goodbye” page. I know that sounds kind of cold and clinical, but it can be helpful to see a vet’s idea of how to look at a pet’s quality of life. My heart goes out to you. A lot of us here are familiar with what you are going through. Take care.

  70. kendra h. says:

    Your website is so very helpful to us right now. We have a 14 year old Brittany rescue mix who is showing signs of dementia. We have taken her to the vet twice in the past few months for intestinal issues and an ear infection and both times were so traumatic (muzzled and very aggressive to tech and vet) that we have decided not to put her through it again. She was always a sweet girl who loved everyone. She now sleeps about 22 hours per day, is anxious and startles easily, digs a lot on her bed, not very interested in food, occasionally stumbles, and moans quite a bit while sleeping. The best part of her day is waking up to a walk where she seems her old self for a brief period of time. As a former hospice social worker, I firmly believe in one’s quality of life, however it seems to be such a difficult decision to make for our girl, Sushi. Thank you again for your insightful comments.

    • Eileen says:

      Hi Kendra,

      Thanks for your kind words. I’m so sorry things are hard for Sushi and you are having to look at that hard decision. Since you are a social worker I want to make sure that you saw this document, which is a quality of life assessment for animals. Perhaps it can help. Quality of Life Scale.

      Please know that I am familiar with the kind of pain you have, and so are a lot of other people who have commented here. Take care.

  71. Georgene larossa says:

    My Jenny Lyn is 11 1/2 lab. Last February her brother passed and health and mental health has drastically gone down hill. First health wise, no interest in food or water, then sleepy all the time. That got better after few months now she is acting weird. She sleeps a lot but wakes up staring at nothing and barks very loud, she was never a barker. She can’t see well so can’t tell if water is in bowl. The last few weeks she lies under the dining table, she never did that before. It is sad to see her like this.

    • Eileen says:

      I’m so sorry about Jenny Lyn, Georgene. Have you talked to your vet about her changes? There are medications that possibly could help. I know how sad it is to see a beloved dog failing. Hugs to you.

  72. Barbara says:

    My little mini doxie, Zoey, is only 4 yrs old, and within the last year has had 3 episodes having some of the symptoms shown in the video, and spoken about in comments posted. All of a sudden she’ Go to this one spot in the apartment, sit down and not move. She stares off into space. When I approached her to try and find out what was wrong she just looked at me as if she was scared and started backing away from me. She wouldn’t come to me, didn’t want her treat(which is never an issue!) I took her outside to see if she would walk with me, but immediately she ran back into the house, back to the same spot, laid down, and stared off again. This lasted for several hours, then all of a sudden she was up and moving acting as if nothing happened. I have caught her sitting in the hallway just staring. Like I said it has only been within the last year, and it’s months between each episode. We are going to take her to the vet, but they want us to capture the next episode on video for them first. In your research, and communication with others, have you ever heard of younger dogs getting dementia? Thanks for hosting such a great site! Very informative and you show such kindness and support to those who post.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Hi Barbara,
      Sorry for the delay–I have been sick. I have not run across any research about younger dogs getting dementia, but a few people have mentioned it here and in personal messages to me. I certainly don’t think it’s impossible. But there are other conditions that can also cause some of these symptoms. I’m glad you are taking Zoey to the vet. Let us know what you find out if you’d like. I hope things go well for you.

  73. Sheila Moorcroft says:

    Hi Barbara
    It’s half past midnight and my 12 year old dog, Harry, jumped off my bed where he sleeps, some hours ago and has just been standing and staring out into the hallway. I’ve tried to just go to sleep and let him do what he wants to do but I can’t. He has done this in the past but not for some years now. So I’ve been looking on my IPad and came across your site.
    It is really bad weather outside – thick snow and freezing – so I haven’t taken him out for 2 days. Do you think this could affect him? He is a Parson Russell who lives his walks.
    He has always been a very anxious dog and I have tried so many things and spoken to behavioural experts but nobody has ever suggested dementia. Do vets do a blood test for it?
    Bit desperate and want to sleep!

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Hi Sheila,

      I’m so sorry for my delay in answering. There is as of yet no blood test for dementia that I know of. Vets do what is known as a “diagnosis of exclusion.” In other words, they consider all the symptoms and rule out other things that could cause those symptoms. For instance, some of the symptoms of dementia are the same as for vestibular disease, liver problems, brain tumors, and even tickborne illnesses. So perhaps you could make a list of any symptoms that are out of the ordinary and take them to your vet? Here’s a link to my own list of symptoms here on the site.

      Good luck. I know how distressing it is when there is something off with your dear dog and you can’t fix it or even figure out what it is.

      Take care,


  74. Delanie R. says:

    I am so happy to have found your site. We have a 15 year old Shiba Inu, named Sadie. She was diagnosed with CCD one year ago and we are currently struggling with the reality that it may be time to say goodbye. The information, videos and photos you provided are, strangely enough, a comfort to me right now. I have been feeling guilty for even considering ending her life as she still “functions.” But, reading your article about euthanizing Cricket, really helped me understand that, while Sadie may seem to be functioning, her quality of life is poor. Thank you for sharing your journey with your little fur baby.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Dear Delanie,
      I’m so glad the site was helpful. I understand how just a bit of support from others going through this can help. Hugs to you.


  75. Lisa says:

    Brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing this! My 13 year old “Schnug” ( schnauzer/pug) is going through this and I didn’t know what was going on until I saw this video. He is doing exactly the same things that Miss Cricket is doing. I am relieved that it is just age related! He’s old, I’m old, and I guess we just have to look out for one another.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Dear Lisa,
      Yes, we aging folks of all species need to look out for one another! Do check with your vet about your Schnug, since there are a few other conditions that can cause these behaviors. Like you, though, I do hope it’s age-related. It can get to be a challenge to deal with, but it’s better than the other options. Take care.


  76. Paul says:

    We have a 17-year-old Jack Russel and your website has opened our eyes to what is going on with Bernard.
    He’s been exhibiting symptoms for some months now and we didn’t realize what was the problem!!
    We had never come across this condition before and when my daughter first suggested it I just dismissed it with a chuckle not thinking it through. However, as it played on my mind a did a search and came across your website!
    Wow! and thank you.

    We now need to pay more attention to Bernard and try to work out what his quality of life is and perhaps make that decision that we know we don’t want to make.

    Thank You..

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      You are welcome, Paul. I hope you talk to your vet, too. There are some interventions that can help, depending on the stage. Take care.

  77. Rose from Utah says:

    Well,where to start to “just” contribute to this website in hopes to help others.
    BARBIE , Shiba (4/10/2001): My worries with her started in January 2017. I dropped her off and her late brother for a routine scheduled dental cleaning. To my horror, I get a phone call a couple of hours later telling me both dogs have abnormal labs and they can’t clean their teeth. Not making enough RBC for her (other issues for Kenny). The vet tells me that she has cancer and to make her comfortable or to consider putting her to sleep. I’m a very protective pet parent and I ask a lot of questions. To complicate things almost like a switch a little after her 16th birthday she no longer is interested in playing with us or into toys or running around the house like she’s still a puppy. She starts exhibiting all the classic signs of canine dementia: withdrawn, anxious, not sleeping through the night, pacing, getting stuck in corners, behind furniture, chewing on door hinges, starring into space, accidents, etc. The vet gives her Selegiline, she has me try different specialty brain food and we switch her to that. We start adding salmon oil to her food and drops of vitamins with iiron. We take her once a month until I want to do more and the vet tells me to put her down.
    I asked her many times if she could have something else other than cancer (besides the obvious dog dementia). She tells me no but I insist to refer me to a specialist. I do my own research in my area and I take Barbie to a vet oncologist. They do a bone marrow aspirate and she does not have cancer, so I’m referred to an internal medicine vet. It’s been almost a year since Dr. Thompson has been seeing Barbie every week to check her labs and check up on her. Over the course of these visits Barbie takes Melotonin (so she can relax and sleep at night and I can too), Cyclosporine (it suppresses her immune system since it’s unknown why her RBC count is low), Xanax (1/2 a tablet in the morning and at night) this helps reduce her pacing/anxiety), weekly B12 injection, and her new medication weekly injection Aranesp (man-made protein that helps produce RBC).
    On top of that I sleep in the family room where she also sleeps to make sure she doesn’t get into trouble at night. We have Barbie-proofed our house with gates everywhere, all the kitchen chairs are in the formal dining room (where is blocked off by two retractable gates. Her food & water bowl is about a foot or so away from the wall (to allow her to circle it, otherwise she steps on it). We have over 30 pillows that are lined up on the wall and in front of the entertainment center and fireplace. The end tables are also in the formal dining room (she was getting stuck under chairs and table legs. All doors on the main floor are always closed for her protection.
    I mention all this because I think it’s important to mention what it entails to keep a dog with dementia safe and what works for me may help someone else. She still eats and drinks on her own and still loves to find treats and loves peanut butter since that’s how we get her to eat/swallow her medications. I love websites like this one that give pet parents options and a way to share stories/tips— every little bit helps. I’m 100% committed to giving Barbie the life she was meant to have. And the way I see her condition, is no different than if I was talking about my mother or husband— I WOULD CERTAINLY NOT PUT THEM DOWN BECAUSE OF DEMENTIA ALONE. Oh yeah, I forgot, she sports diapers that have to be changed a few times a day (she looks cute but with diapers, also comes daily hiney washings). I think I’ve tried every diaper made in the U.S., I LOVE the brand VET’S BEST.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Dear Rose,
      Thank you so much for sharing how you care for your dog. You did a great job being persistent about her medical condition.

      We all have different experiences and your decisions are coming out of yours and mine are coming from mine. I would possibly euthanize a dog because of dementia alone, because I’ve seen how far it can go. I would never do it for my own convenience or because of preconceptions about it. One of the messages I try to get across in my book is that the dogs are often NOT suffering even though their behavior may be odd to us, and that there are many things we can do to enrich their lives. But you could say that I did euthanize my dog Cricket “for dementia.” She started having seizures. She was already very very frail. I was completely good with continuing to care for her, but I felt like her quality of life had turned way down and it was only a matter of time–days probably–before she would be miserable. I didn’t want to wait for that.

      Again, thanks for your comment, and I really think we are on the same page about this. Everybody who comes here loves their dog, that’s for sure, and sometimes the decisions are harder than others.

    • Renee says:

      My dog has dimentia he keeps going to the back door then back in living room he does that quite a lot do they do a lot of standing

  78. Pam Young says:

    I just had the diagnosis for my 14yrvold Hungarian Puli Freddie. He is in the early stages. He gets ‘lost’ in the garden, stands by open doors waiting to come in, he has ‘eaten’ the concrete edges of the fire place. He wasn’t sleeping so I have him on Naturvet Quiet Moments. He eats and drinks and he still knows me but this week I noticed if I leave the room even if someone is still with him he starts to bark. He sleeps most of the day and it’s difficult to wake him up. He paces rather than circles and when he lays gown he claws the floor constantly till he falls asleep. He still knows to go out and when to come for his treats. He has cataracts but the vet has advised not to have them done so he has eye drops several times a day. I wonder about his quality of life. I want him to see his birthday maybe even Christmas but I ask myself every day is he happy or do I just tell myself he is as I can’t bear to say goodbye.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Dear Pam,
      You are in a similar position to so many of us. I’m sorry you are in this hard time. Did you take a look at the links in the “When To Say Goodbye” page about assessing quality of life. I think the different items they have you consider are good to think about. I’m sure you will make the right decision for Freddie; it’s clear you love him so much.

  79. Tammy Murphy says:

    My 7 lbs Yorkie was bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider. It was touch and go for 2 days, but he is recovering now. His wound and labs are great but his behavior is bizarre. He paces, stands in corners or right next to something with his head down. He has done some head pressing, but mostly just standing in the corner with his head down. He sounds like he has dog dementia but he’s only 4 years old. Any ideas? PTSD? Anxiety?

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Tammy, I wish I could help, but that’s a medical question, it sounds like. If it helps to know, I haven’t heard of dementia that early. But there are other conditions that can cause those symptoms. I hope you can keep after your vet for more help, or consider another vet. Sorry this is happening! How spooky to ge this from a spider bite. Brown recluses have serious bits.

  80. Cheri says:

    Hi Eileen,

    Cooper my foster fur baby is 14yrs old, deaf and blind. Two weeks ago he was diagnosed with dementia. Cooper needs my assistance when doing most things, so am wondering, what will be my sign, that it’s just too much. He has severe arthritis in his back, so he is on pain meds for that, and I give him trazadone to help with sleep. He is off and on with eating, but thankfully has not lost any weight. His quality of life is better now that he is on medication, at least I think it is, he may say something different if he could. 😉 Do you have any suggestions?

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Dear Cheri,
      I would be keeping close tabs on the pain. But also, dementia is a real illness, like diabetes or heart trouble, and can degrade quality of life. For me, Cricket didn’t give me a sign she was ready or anything like that (I don’t think dogs always or even often do that), but she was getting more and more frail. She had a seizure, and even though she was still eating OK and could walk and knew me, I made the decision then, before she took that final downturn. Not everyone agrees with that but I feel like I did the right thing. (It still felt awful, but there is no helping that.) There are lots of stories in the comments here, and in my book I include the stories of two other people and how they decided when it was time to let their dogs go. Also, if you haven’t looked at the Quality of Life Scale (linked on the “When to Say Goodbye” page, do take a look. It can help sometimes. Take care. I know how hard it is.

  81. Debbie Geideman says:

    Our dog Brittany a Bull Mastiff had a bump removed from the top of her head on Monday 8/27. Surgery went well, the bump was benign, she was very wobbly when we brought her home. The vet gave us an antibiotic and a pain pill. Brittany seemed to be getting better then on Wednesday of that week we noticed a change in her.,, she was pacing, wandering at night, standing in the corner… we took her back to the vet , she was examined, blood work taken. The blood work came back fine…. so we were told to keep giving her the pain Meds… today she is still circling, pacing, hind legs giving out, not eating, we hand feed her… she takes very little… has trouble going up and down steps, sometimes responds to her name… etc

    I looked at your checklist… and Brittany has about 95% of those symptoms listed. I believe she had this before the surgery and we just didn’t notice it and I believe the anesthesia made it worse….Is that possible…. she is not the same dog…. she doesn’t greet us, doesn’t play with her toys, doesn’t want her treats…etc

    I’m heartbroken to see her like this.. I will be taking her to the vet today so they can see the change in her. I don’t want to put her down but I don’t want her to live like this either. Suggestions?

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Dear Debbie,

      You are already doing the best thing by taking her to the vet. What did they say? I have heard of this from one or two other people—onset of symptoms after surgery—but I haven’t seen any research about it. If she were my dog I would certainly want to wait a period after she is off the meds to see how she is doing. I hope things turn better for Brittany and for you.

  82. My 12 yr. Maltese was diagnosed last year with dementia. Recently, I noticed that when she eats her dry food, she has been very messy. She eats but pushes the bowl around…I have it in corner. She has always been a “delicate eater. Someone told me it could be her eye sight. Any ideas?

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Difficulties eating are pretty typical with dogs with dementia, although you are right that there could be another reason. Have you tried any kind of bowl holder or elevator? Just be careful of the wire ones that she could get a foot stuck in. Good that you have it in a corner. Good luck!

  83. Mary Deeter says:

    Thank you for this information. We were beginning to wonder about our 14 year old pomeranian JoJo and it appears that he has been showing signs of CCD for some time now. We didn’t know that was what we were seeing because his behavior has always been a little quirky, but now that we have a better understanding we can support him better.

  84. Joel Green says:

    My 11 y/o beagle mix is acting different.. She acts sometimes like she doesn’t know me. Not that she is aggressive, just not real happy to see me. She quickly walks away instead of jumping up in my chair when I am watching tv.. something she’s been doing for years. At first I thought she was having trouble jumping up, but she gets I my husband’s much larger chair when we’re not at home. I’ve found her there several x’s when we get home…

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Hi Joel,
      Have you talked to your vet about this? I can’t diagnose your dog over the Internet (or even in person; I’m not a vet). But I will say that my little dog’s first symptom was drawing away from someone she had loved and been comfortable with for a long time. Any behavior change is worth going to the vet for. Good luck.

  85. carol says:

    Is it common for dogs with dementia to cry out in pain horrible pain and if so what stage is it

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Hi Carol,
      I have not heard that listed as a symptom. I hope you can talk to your vet as soon as possible. It could **be** pain, or it could be something else going wrong. I’m so sorry this is happening to your dog.

  86. Christy Fu says:

    Dear Eileen,
    I just recently found you and your book and I wish I had done more research sooner…My 16yr old Maltese x has been showing signs of dementia for the past 1.5yrs and is getting worse. Everything you described about Cricket is my JJ to a T, except mine is also almost completely deaf and blind. He paces, turns in circles, gets stuck in EVERYTHING, can’t sleep at night, and uses the bathroom where ever he feels like it then steps in it. One thing he doesn’t forget is where the food is.. lol He doesn’t seem to recognize me anymore, it’s like he just tolerates me as I’m the one who supplies food and treats. He has about 95% of the symptoms on the checklist…I’m considering saying goodbye – but just wanted an impartial opinion, what would you do? P.S. Thanks for loving the seniors, they have a special place in my heart <3

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Dear Christy,
      I’m so flattered that you have asked me. I really try to help about this. But I think only you and your vet can make that decision. Even with the information you have given me, I’m on the other side of the internet somewhere and can’t know everything a person would need to know. There’s an article on this site that describes how I made my own decision. And there is the Quality of Life Scale which I think can be helpful. This is an awful decision when any of us have to make it, and my heart goes out to you. Good luck with your boy. And yes, the seniors are the best. Hugs.

  87. I adopted a 10/11 year old poodle/jack russell mix about two and a half years ago. In the past 6 months he has lost a lot of weight, even though he has a very healthy appetite and eats his food, treats, and lot’s of table scraps. I’ve now starting making steaks, burgers and chicken for him to eat every day, which he does. He started all of the habits mentioned, wandering around, getting stuck in corners and under/behind furniture, some accidents in the house, going to the wrong side of the door etc. However, he goes for at least two walks a day with my other dog and they walk about 3 miles a day total, he does fine on his walks. I went to the vet and they ran blood tests, originally they thought/hoped it was a thyroid problem, but after further blood work decided that it was not the thyroid, but instead was most likely cancer. He doesn’t appear to be in any pain, but it is hard to watch him confused, wandering and especially getting stuck. I closed off some rooms, blocked off the stairs (he fell down them), but he still manages to find things to get stuck behind. He seems to have the classic signs of doggie dementia, but the vet seems to think all this behavior is due to the cancer. I am taking it one day at a time, and figured once he doesn’t want to eat, walk, or is in pain, I will know it is time. Have you heard of dogs having these symptoms from cancer?

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Dear Sandra,
      You are doing a great job taking care of him, wherever those symptoms are coming from. I have not heard of these symptoms from cancer per se, but they can be associated with brain tumors, some of which are cancerous.

      I’m glad he gets such great exercise, and I hope you have some good times with him. Take care.

  88. Mark Fleckenstein says:

    Eileen, having read all your posts, what are you doing just trying to sell your book…it makes me very angry you do not recommend , treatment, medication… far as I can tell. Your words are worthless.
    My dog has all the symptoms + of Dog Dementia and is not eating or drinking…your responses are of no help to me, at all….I highly doubt you will post this comment on your page….your so called “kindness” infuriates me. Lucy, my dog walks 12 to 14 hours at least around the house in circles a day. She does not rest !

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Hi Mark,

      You haven’t read many comments, then. Nor have you looked very hard at the site. The most common thing I write is for people to check with their vet. I also say it in my book (since you bring that up) more than 20 times. The book has a chapter on diagnosis and a whole chapter on treatment including the research that is behind it. As does this site. The whole point of the site AND The book is to teach people that CCD is a disease and that they need to go to the vet. Obviously, I can’t recommend specific medications. I’m not a vet, and even vets don’t do that over the internet.

      Sadly, most people find the site when their dogs are in late stages. Perhaps you have mostly been seeing my responses to people who have **already been seeing their vet**. Usually their dogs are in the end stages.

      Here is my page on treatment of dementia in dogs. It ranks on the first page of Google for several keywords. Please note that it includes scholarly references in addition to a list of the treatments that have been shown to mitigate the condition. It is, to my knowledge, one of only a very few webpages that stick to evidence-based methods. I will not send people on wild goose chases for unproven quackery. (There are plenty of sites for that.) The treatment page is among my most viewed pages.

      Since you know there are medications, I assume that they are not working for your dog. You might want to check with a vet behaviorist. These specialists are the “psychiatrists” of the veterinary world and can often help when a non-specialist vet can’t. Sometimes they can do a consult directly with your vet (which is handy if there are none in your area). It’s a pretty rare specialty.

  89. Joyce Jenkins says:

    I have a twelve year old chihuahua, Snowball, that I have suspected has dementia. It was subtle when it started, but is becoming increasingly more evident. I find him becoming more anxious then he was (he has always been a nervous dog.) I am finding him awake in the middle of night, standing on the bed staring at nothing. Appears lost and bewildered. He also is vocalizing. He yelps and screams (not as though he’s in pain, but that he’s terrified of something, that isn’t there!) He also isn’t socializing normally with the other dogs in the house. He appears confused… looks for me, when he just found me minutes ago, but doesn’t remember where I am. These behaviors become enhanced at night. My question is, do dogs with CCD “sundown.” I know people do, but was wondering if you have heard of this in dogs? He becomes increasingly “squirrelly” at night. He also sleeps more during the day and is wakeful at night. My plan is to have him medically evaluated, to be sure nothing else is going on. I have been doing some research and reading, and I am very suspicious it’s CCD. Thank you for the site and the information, it is very helpful. I will keep informed about Snowball’s condition and diagnosis.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Hi Joyce,
      A lot of people talk about dogs sundowning but as far as I know, it hasn’t been documented in dogs. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Sundowning in people is controversial, with some dissent about the causes. But I think when we have a lot of physical and mental challenges, we struggle more as the day wears on. Also, dogs are naturally crepuscular; they are most active at dusk and down. That could possibly contribute to abnormal activity at the end of the day. I’m glad you are going to your vet. Let me know how it goes with Snowball.

  90. Pat says:

    My little 14 year old yorkie has a lot of symptoms that all these other dogs have except when he is around me he watches my feet non stop never looks up, she also use to jump over the door way when coming in the house but now he acts confused as what to do she wakes up whining at nite, gets up and down all nite, sleeps all day, has accidents in the house which she never did, she does the circling, but now if I let her go out side without a leash she just keeps walking won’t stop on my commands just like I’m not talking to her she goes all over the place that scares me so now we use a leash at all times. She still eats pretty good but only at nite,

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Hi Pat,
      I’m sorry you are going through this with your yorkie. Sounds like a very good idea to have her on leash. Have you taken her to the vet about this? Good luck.

  91. Andrea says:

    I am so grateful I found your page today. I have a 14 1/2 year old chihuahua, my Jack Sparrow, who I almost lost almost 5 years ago due to inflammatory brain disease. He has been on meds since and it has been an up and down since. He is on prednisone, cyclosporine and potassium bromide and keppra for seizures. He also has a heart murmur and elevated blood pressure. Recently his was diagnosed with ccd and put on selegiline. He rests and sleeps for most of the day and luckily at night, but between around 2:30pm and 7pm he wears himself out circling the house. As he he gets more tired he gets stuck more often and keeps slipping. It breaks my heart watching him on a camera while I am at work and I am always so worried his brain inflammation can flare up again. Seeing the pictures and video of cricket made me realize that Jack shows the same symptoms and that they are due to the dementia. I feel I can let go of one evil and focus on the other. I will talk to his vet hoping to reduce his prednisone and let him go through this step of his life with as much of support and knowledge i can give him. His neurologist told me not to Google symptoms, today I am glad I did.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Dear Andrea,
      I had never heard of inflammatory brain disease in dogs so I learned something today. That’s some complex treatment and it sounds like you’ve done a great job keeping him comfortable. Let us know what the vet says. From what I just read, I think it would be pretty hard to sort out what symptoms are coming from what condition. Good luck with sweet Jack Sparrow.

    • Drina Nicholson says:

      2 yes ago my Red nose put or started walking like he was drunk running in to walls and such… My husband’s step mom was watching while my husband was over the road and I was away at school, she finally took him to the vet and they put him on Prednisone and he was all better… But when the prescription ran out he was doing it again, this time she didn’t take him to the vet again and I didn’t hear about any of it untill he was unable to move and non responsive with his eyes open but still breathing… When I got there he couldn’t even look at me like he always would, I picked him up and ran to my car as my husband’s step mom says “you should take him to vet in the morning if he makes it through the night” who says that, I gave her a few choice words as I jumped in my car and speed off after racing to my vet, then the animal hospital and then the urgent care animal hospital… He stayed over night 2 nights and when I went back the next day he was able to see me and focus but that wasn’t the end… I took him home he began having seizures (which I didn’t know that’s what they were) He was again non responsive and and not moving but still breathing I raced him back to the Hospital 45min away and they said he was having seizures this happened 2 more times and the last time he was out for an hour, we were not ready to say goodbye he wouldn’t wake up… My husband suddenly whistled like he would at the desert when we could see him, and he snapped out of it and just looked up at him like I’m right here… They told us it was Inflammation of the Brain disease his antibodies were attacking his spinal cord causing his brain to swell to the point of death… First sign is the “drunk walking” his brain was actually only allowing him to turn right, he just didn’t have enough room to turn completely before running into a wall… I had to hand feed and give him water constantly his mouth would dry and his tongue would start to get dry sores, When he was finally well enough I had to wrap a towel around his waist to hold his back legs up while walking around the yard so he can poop and straighten his back legs again… he was also on Prednisone for the swelling and cyclosporine for the seizures and he had to have 3 shots every 3 mo… After no seizures for 6mo we took him off the cyclosporine and shots they were $160 a month and 300 for the shots every 3 mo… I couldn’t afford it. The Prednisone made him depressed and after taking his pill he would just lay there for hours… It was $90 a month… I slowly tapered him off all meds keeping the Prednisone on hand just in case… (I DON’T NOT recommend doing this without first talking with your vet) he is med free and his happy self again for 6mo now… Still have the Prednisone just in case!!! It cost us $6,000 in hospital Bill’s alone to find out what was wrong, had they gave us the total in advance we might have put him down, but I don’t regret 1 cent spent… I would do it for my kids and he is my son so I did it for him!!! Love my Dago Boy

  92. Maria says:

    My 16yo chihuahua mix has had CCD for about a year. He takes Anipryl daily along with nutritional supplements. For about the last month he has become VERY aggressive with us. He snarls and snaps whenever we get near hm. Just in the last two days he has bit me three times and my husband four times. I am worried that he will bite someone else. I’m wondering whether it is now time to put him down even though he’s still doing ok by all other standards.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Hi Maria,
      Every dog seems to take a different journey, and this one must be so distressing for you. Can you talk to your vet or a vet behaviorist about any other meds? It’s a long shot I guess, and they would have to fit with the Anipryl, but it would be worth asking. It’s really really hard emotionally to euthanize a dog because of behavior, but it can be a valid choice. I’m just so sorry you are faced with it. If it is all possible to consult with a veterinary behaviorist (it’s a medical specialty among vets)? They specialize in cases like yours. Sometimes they will consult with your own vet for free, or you can pay for a consult with a referral. Hugs and good luck.

  93. Darlene Godwin says:

    Our dog Gizmo will be 16 years old. He has severe arthritis and bad joints. He will be walking and his back legs give out on him. He is blind in one eye and almost blind in his other eye. About six months ago we started noticing he seemed lost at times. He got stuck in places like under the table or behind chairs and would start going around in circles. His sleeping is getting less and less. He will just whine. His joints are so bad we have to take him up and down the stairs to take him outside. He has a lot of accidents. We just put one of our dogs down last June because of a bad heart. We know the time will come when we have to say good bye but it is so hard. Also he has a breathing problem. I guess what I am asking is it time to let him go?

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Dear Darlene,
      I’m sorry Gizmo is starting to have so many problems. Have you looked at the Quality of Life Scale? It’s linked on the “When to Say Goodbye?” page. It organizes the different issues in a helpful way. I think.

      It’s a terrible decision to have to make for our best friends. I hope for good days for Gizmo, and a clear decision for you when it’s time.

      There are people discussing their decisions on my blog post, “The Dreaded Choice.” You might want to check out the discussion there. Take care.


  94. Linda Briden Spies says:

    My 18 year old chihuahua mix has SUDDENLY become VERY anxious after being in bed at night for about 3 hours. He has slept in bed with us for his entire life, but now wakes, jumps down, cries to be picked back up, and as soon as I have him back in bed, he jumps right back down and paces around the room. His blood work results were 100% perfect, as was a urinalysis. Vet prescribed trazadone morning and evening, but that doesn’t get him more than a few hours. Xanax gets him about 6-7 hours of sleep. Just started Selegilene yesterday and understand this can take a while to have an effect. Everything else is perfectly normal-loves his walks, no accidents indoors, eats normally,not aggressive, and will be fine most of the day. It’s the nights that get to him.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Hi Linda,
      I’m sorry about those hard nights; that sounds hard on everybody. I’m glad your vet has prescribed Selegiline and I hope it helps. Crossing fingers that the meds can help your chi mix not have agitation at night.


      • David Ballach says:

        My dog Paco is a 16yr old Chihuahua. He is normal most of the time, but 2 to 3 times a week he starts whimpering at night and won’t sleep. The whimpering can go on for hours and hours, which him whimpering every couple seconds. The vet gave him Trazadone which works most of the time in night enough doses. Unfortunately his whimpering turns into a scary yell bark, which breaks my heart. He has all the other symptoms, like getting stuck or lost, forgetting things and peeing in the hose after 16yrs of not doing it. Is there anything that can help him other than the Trazadone?

    • Teresa Moon says:

      My 17 year old chihuahua does the same thing. Please let me know if that medication helps?? Thanks

  95. Misty says:


    A couple of weeks ago my dog, Scruffy, a 15 year old poodle terrier mix got out of bed and had a seizure. He shook for a couple of minutes and then was disoriented a for a couple more. We took him to the vet right away, and they ran blood work, xrays, ultrasound… They found error if a normal except his oxygen was really low, 80%, so they put him in a chamber for 45 minutes. The vet kept him almost all day under observation and everything was fine. He has slightly elevated liver enzymes And something else that could possibly point to cushing’s, but said there would have to be a lot of tests can confirm.
    It’s been about three weeks now and he has been good, except for the last two nights where he hasn’t gotten up to eat like he normally does when it’s time. Two days ago he was asleep in on my lap, he wasn’t up and waiting for his food like normal… I finally put him down to see if he would go eat but it took a little over an hour for him to finally go check. And last night it was worse, he was lying in his bed and didn’t have any interest in the food when it was put down and was shaking. So I put him in my lap to try and calm him, but he was just tense, nervous and wouldn’t lay down completely. He wouldn’t have even eat a treat, he just looked uncomfortable.Then I put him down again by his food and water to try to get him to eat or at least drink something, but he just stood there staring.
    The first night, Tuesday, I was thinking maybe it was just the time change still, but after it happened last night I’m not so sure. Especially after reading some of the symptoms on here and the Dr. . Mentioning that he could have CCD… But could it just be at night? I know that in people sometimes it happens at different times of the day, but could he have the same symptoms? Because this morning he got up like a normal and is acting OK.

    Sony for the long post, but I’m hoping for any help… I will make an appointment for him soon also. Thank you so much

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Hi Misty,
      First, apologies for this very late reply. I have been unable to publish or respond to comments for several weeks. I know the time for your needing advice might be over. So much can happen during a few weeks with an ailing senior

      I hope you have been able to ask your vet about the possibility of CCD. Your dog’s case is too complicated for us lay people here on this site to speculate about. I am so sorry it’s happening, though.

      So, no good advice here except to talk to your vet, but best wishes and comfort to you for what you and your dog were going through.


  96. Megan O'Malley says:

    Hi Eileen –

    Thanks so much for developing these resources and writing your book! I’m providing fospice (foster/hospice) for a senior dog suffering from canine cognitive dysfunction as well as IVDD. He’s on trazadone for anxiety and tramadol for his IVDD. Your checklist has been really eye opening because I realize he is in the severe stages of CCD. He exhibits many of the signs including pacing, getting stuck in corners of the house and in furniture and disrupted sleep. His eating has recently started to become an issue and he has started to knock over the food bowl looking for more food. Although the IVDD also has an impact on his urination and bowel movements, at this point he has almost no control of either and I think it’s primarily the CCD. I have him in diapers all the time and I think it’s managed pretty well, although there is something to clean up everyday! I’ve found that he calms down when I hold him and although he is also nippy at times (like many other people I’ve been bitten several times) he clearly enjoys being held close. And really the only way I can get him to sleep more or less through the night is having him in my bed. Although I know the term is not entirely accurate, I often feel his behavior is “manic” and that he is clearly not in control of whatever motivates him to pace etc…
    At this point although his life is clearly severely impacted by the CCD and the IVDD but he does have many moments of peace. He greets me at the door with my other dogs and he seems to genuinely enjoy being snuggled. At other times, it’s clear that he is not comfortable. It’s tough to gauge his quality of life and since I’m not his “owner” the end of life decisions are not entirely mine. Although it’s been stressful to take him on, I know that he’s in as a good a home as any for his final days.
    I know there’s no easy answer, but I guess I’m looking for some guidance about the end of life conversation with the rescue I’m working with. In the last couple of weeks he’s seemed more distressed and it’s been much harder for me to help him calm down so I think his quality of life is degrading. Any thoughts would be most welcome!!

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Dear Megan,
      Thank you for your kind words and my apologies for the lateness of my reply. Bless you for taking in this senior fellow. He was so lucky to fall into your hands! I don’t know if he is still with you at this point. If you need to talk to the rescue about him, a good resource is the Quality of Life Scale.

      It’s always a hard conversation, and I hope you and the rescue can see eye-to-eye about him, whatever the decision may be. I’d love to have an update if you care to.

      Thank you for doing fospice! The best gift of all.

  97. Hilda says:

    Thank you for sharing! My Beagle , Sassy will be 16 years in a few months. She has dementia, I was told by my vet. She has congested heart failure, also. She has had seizures every few months. Last one was Oct 2018. She is on kappa and other meds. I have been so confused about if and when her time to cross the rainbow bridge will be. I also feel so Wrong about being there in her last moments ! I even told my husband to take her and I would just say goodbye, while she gets to ride with him, one more time. I rather see her with a happy face , then have to see her put down. I often tell her , I love her and thanks for the happy years she has given me. I cry in my mind and even shed a tear with just the thought of losing her!
    Thank you, for your uplifting care and thoughts.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Hi Hilda,
      Yes, it’s so hard. I know what you mean about thanking her. I thank my dogs for all they give to me. I’m so sorry you are having to face this. Take care. There are people here who understand.

  98. Sandra Meraz says:

    My 15-yo JRT, Becca, started getting up at night and then came the accidents, then the barking etc. But she also has untreated Cushing’s Disease and being on FB groups for both, I notice a lot of cross-over symptoms. It’s so important that people don’t jump to conclusions and you’re so right telling people to seek an official diagnosis I always say CCD is a diagnosis of exclusion. Poor Becca, she still finds joy in eating and loves to sit by my side (once she started supplements-she’d been isolating before). But that is the sum of joy in her life. I used the new QOL scale, but found it lacked the weight/importance of “happiness” in a dog’s life. Dementia often forces owners to look at euthanasia despite their dogs being in perfectly good health and that scale doesn’t justify it. As more dogs get diagnosed, as is now happening, I think QOL scales will be amended to include this element and weighing it appropriately.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Sandra, I so agree about happiness and pleasure. Those are just about the bottom line for me, assuming that physical needs are well enough taken care of.

      Just today someone posted on my Facebook page about her dog going off a certain medication, and a large percentage of his dementia symptoms going away. You are so right that we have to be careful not to try to diagnose. Anyone would have thought that the dog had CCD, but he apparently does not, or if he does, it’s in the early stages.

      Best to you and Becca.

  99. Bill Lacy says:

    I’m glad I found this video. As I was watching it I was seeing Scarlet in place of your Cricket. Scarlet is a 16 year old Chihuahua Mix with the same condition. She has all the same conditions. I notice when I go to the bathroom, she will do 3-5 (drive-bys) to see where I am. And When I take a nap on the couch, she needs to re find me over and over again. She usually takes a nap in her dog bed sleeping toward the wall. And lately has been getting trapped behind a side table. Scarlet walks around at night, really going nowhere.

    Scarlet suffers from arthritis in her rear legs and has a life long heart murmur. Other than that she is healthy. I am jazzing up her dinners by adding some baby food to her dry dog food and she really loves that. And she suddenly likes dental chew bones again after 8 years of not liking them. I’m committed to giving her a good life. Thank you

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Sounds like you are giving Scarlet a fantastic life! I assume you are in contact with her vet, but be sure to mention the symptoms. Even if they match Cricket’s perfectly, she still could have a different condition. And there are meds that can help some behaviors if she does have dementia, if you are interested in trying. In the meantime, kudos to you for observing Scarlet so carefully and also finding out what she really enjoys!


  100. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much for your website. My 12 year old dog has just started with dementia over the past eight months. It was very occasional, only once every three or four weeks, but it picked up a few months ago and now we have 4-5 days in a row with sometimes several days off but then several days again of her being confused and terrified. It can be her just standing there staring at walls for long periods of time, running frightened from room to room, or violently shaking from head to toe as if terrified or in extreme pain. It used to be only at night, and now it can be anytime of the day. Her worst episode being yesterday about 20 hours in from the day before. She went into such a panic attack with violent shaking and fast panting that I thought she was having a heart attack. I raced her to the hospital. Less than a quarter-mile from the vet hospital, she just snapped back as if nothing ever happened. The vet ruled out medical issues, and her heart was fine. It appears to be just one more symptom of age related dementia. Your site is very helpful. It’s so important to be able to compare notes with others and to see actual videos and photographs of another dog behaving just like mine. I’m ordering your book tonight. She is starting on medication for the dementia and another medication to help her sleep at night when things get bad. It’s going to be trial and error but I’m going to do whatever she needs. Fortunately, in between the episodes, she is a joyful and happy little dog.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Dear Elizabeth,
      Your dog is so lucky to have you! That snapping in and out of dementia/panic must be so hard to help her with (and to deal with yourself). I’m glad the site is helpful. Wishing you many more happy days with her.


  101. Victoria Casias Watson says:

    I have a 15 years Toy Poodle that has started to Pee and Poo in her kennel and when she is outside she walks in circles. This has been going on for over a year. Also, she has cataracts and is deaf for about 4 years. Any suggestions????

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Have you talked to your vet? There are meds for dementia, if that is what her diagnosis turns out to be. And if she is anxious, sometimes meds can help. I discourage people from suggesting meds and supplements here, unless they are vets themselves. I hope your vet can offer some help.

      Take care,

  102. Anne Marie Jeffrey says:

    My shiba Inu just turned 17 years old. She is now blind and deaf, but has a healthy appetite and still loves to play, but I see the changes, the sleeping all the time, doesn’t like going outdoors any longer, probably due to being blind and deaf now. I visit our vet, whom Ive known for 25 years, and has seen me through a lot of pain, sorrow and love. He knows what this one particular dog means to me. I sleep with my hand on her all night making sure she is breathing. Her breathing is strong and steady, although her gait is not. I was gifted with an uncanny ability to connect with animals. The biggest advice I can give is “Trust Your Instinct”. It is all in the eyes, you’ll see it.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Dear Anne,
      What a beautiful tribute to your bond with your shiba. I used to check for Cricket’s breathing too. Hugs to you.

  103. Joyce says:

    Hello, my beagle mix is almost 16 y/o, problems started about 4-6 months ago with a growth/cyst on her hind leg, vet gave several rounds of antibiotics, I did dressing g changes at home due to the area bleeding, blood test showed no cancer, currently just keep the area clean and dry no dressings, she does not bother it. She has a very low heart rate, cant get her teeth cleaned under anesthesia due to her low heart rate, she might have trouble waking up. She also has some kind of internal mass but due to her age nit much can be done, we dont know it this is causing her problems, she has lost weight, you can see her ribs, will only eat organic chicken nuggets, Vet said give her what she wants at this point. She has soupy stool that stains the carpet, when she goes about twice a day. She won’t eat the pumpkin to help with loose stool, lastly she has symptoms of dementia, some days are better then others, I am struggling with putting her to sleep but she has list the gleam in her eyes.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Dear Joyce,
      I’m so sorry your beagle mix has/had that combination of problems: dementia on top of that seems so unfair. I apologize for my late response; I don’t know if your dog is still with you. I hope you are at peace with whatever decisions you make.

  104. carol tarr says:

    My ex-racing greyhound -only 10 yrs- has had to be on selegiline for over 2 yrs due to bizarre behavior-but all tests normal. Who knows what racing dog s went through? Anyway, his QOL is just about zero. When he isn;’t asleep, he is pacing and panting. Meals have been a nightmare of
    coaxing-many times he will look at his dish and run away. He is on the top dose of selegeline now, supplemented with anti-anxiety meds and Benadryl. He is never relaxed or happy anymore and it is heart-breaking to see him like this as the bad days are outnumbering the good ones.
    Every tiny noise causes him to jump and move. He spends most of the time sleeping in the closet. If I can get him to eat he is physically healthy-but now there is never a glimpse of his former self. I’m now struggling with the final decision-I know that I would not want to live with the fear and anxiety. I guess the next thing will have to be “the talk” with my vet. I so agree that the QOL index does not always apply in our dogs with CCD-most people are so surprised to learn that dogs can have this, too. If you have ever gone through the progression of Alzheimer’s with a friend or loved one then maybe you can realize what type of emotional pain they go through. I hope that I find the strength to help my beloved, Foxy.
    Just writing this has helped. Thank you.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Dear Carol,
      I’m glad writing it out helped. My mother had Alzheimer’s so I experienced this in both ways. It’s so much harder to tell with our dogs, but I do believe they can still have QOL when they are moderately confused. Then when the worse symptoms come in, the decision gets hard. Bless you and good luck.


  105. Paula Howard says:

    I am experiencing this now with my 16 year old rat terrier mix, and have a question i cannot seem to find anywhere, Do they loose the use of their back legs with dementia? I am starting to notice a little dragging of one hind leg on my bud.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Mine did, and I read about it a fair amount. I don’t know if it’s an “official” symptom or not, but it could go alone with neurological deterioration. I had to steady my Cricket while she pooped for at least the last couple years of her life, else she would topple over. Good luck with your terrier mix.

  106. Lyn M says:

    Thank you so much for posting these videos. They were helpful. Cricket was a cutie pie.

    • Bob says:

      My dog is a rescue breeder age 5. She never shows emotion. The only place she wants to be is on the pillow on the left side of my bed. I will call for her, she will come running, turn around and run right back to the pillow. She doesnt like toys, wont eat or drink if any looks at her. She wont sleep untill she know I am asleep. I can open my eyes slightly and she will be looking right at me. She has never barked. She is a small stocky dog with legs of a kangaroo. I put a 4 ft high fence up and she jumped it with ease. If I fall asleep with my hand on her she will reposition herself. She use to shake a lot when I first got her, but now she doent. I believe she thinks anytime someone comes to pick her up that they are taking her to breed. I have tons of patience and I guess they are the hardest dog to train, not due to lack of intelligence but more like she does what she wants. If i put her leash on and start walking, she will pull back as hard as she can. If I say “come on” she happily walks 1 ft to the left of me. When we walk the is obcessed with walking eaxactly the sam distance exact next to me, nothing can distract her. If she feels any tension on the leash, she will stop and start pulling back.

    • Gwen Herrington says:

      We so appreciate what you have shared here. Lila, our 17 year old heeler/lab mix has exactly this going on. We wish we had found you earlier. We are struggling with the knowledge and that we must let her go in peace. We have been hospicing her for months but it is clear now that she is not going to improve. Heartfelt thanks for your kindness in sharing. Aloha. Gwen and Micah

  107. Mary Beckett says:

    My chihuahuA 10 year old n im.starting to notice him starting to stare at nothing n he’s more over protect of me n mood swings

  108. Cat says:

    Thank you for this site, I really needed to read this today. I put my 16 year old cat down yesterday and have been torturing myself, wondering if I made the right decision. He displayed all the classic signs of dementia but was in great physical health. His condition was taking a toll on the entire family and I could see he was starting to have more bad days than good ones. Reading this was extremely helpful in reassuring me that I made the right decision for my sweet boy and jopefully I can now begin healing from the loss of my sweet boy.

  109. My 16 year old Jack Russell Terrier is doing exactly what you show. How do they treat this?

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Cindy, there currently is no cure. This page shows the most common treatments.

      But keep in mind: you can’t diagnose your dog yourself. Just the other day I talked to someone whose dog was exhibiting these symptoms, and it turned out the dog had a brain tumor. So please see your vet as soon as you can!

      Good luck, and I’m sorry this is happening to your dog.


  110. cindy says:

    Cindy, from the time you made this video how much longer did you wait to say goodbye to cricket. My dog has all the same symptoms only worse (been close to a year since symptoms Started) 16year old yorkie

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      I published the video in November 2012, and I helped Cricket pass on at the end of May 2013.

      Best wishes to you and your Yorkie.


      • Catherine says:

        Eileen, my 17 year old chihuahua is now completely blind and hard of hearing. I attributed many of these behaviors to his blindness but now wonder about dementia. He too is happy most of the time. Is there any way in your opinion to tell if it’s dementia?

        • Eileen Anderson says:

          Hi Catherine,
          Only a vet can tell. It is particularly challenging when the dog also has sensory difficulties. I’m glad your chi is happy a lot of the time. I hope you can check with your vet about him.
          Take care,

  111. how quickly does this set in?
    I took my senior rescue in to vet because he was having trouble with his back leg, now his whole right side seems to not have strength. He walks in circles, stand with his head against walls, or in a corner.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      What did the vet say? There are other conditions that can cause these symptoms, too. I hope you can get a diagnosis for your senior. Hugs, Eileen

  112. Nicola says:

    Hi Eileen, I have a Cricket also. She is a 17.5 year old Hairless Chinese Crested. My wee Cricket is displaying all of these signs and more. I am grateful to have found this website page. Thank you very much for sharing. Kind regards, Nicki / New Zealand

  113. Will says:

    Hi Eileen, we have an 8 year old Labrador called Bruno and he’s started behaving very oddly for the last few weeks. We had a baby 2 months ago but this is our third so not sure that’s the problem. He will sit motionless around the house for long periods of time. There are a couple of rooms he’s never been allowed into our house, like the kids playroom and he’s always been amazing at not going in, but at night we’ve started finding him in the corner curled up. He’s now started running in there in the day time now, in a very scared way and cowering. He’s eating normally and when we walk him he’s absolutely fine and fit. Our vet checked him over and he’s absolutely fine health wise.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Hi Will,
      Just a thought–is Bruno afraid of any sounds? Sometimes the cowering can be a response to sounds that we humans don’t hear or notice. I would keep taking him to the vet, even try a different vet if you need to. I’m sorry you are having this problem.

  114. Claudia says:

    Thank you so much for this site – my senior chi-mix is showing signs of dementia (nightly pacing and barking), but also increased aggression, which is the worst part (he has bitten me a few times and now there is frequent tension between him and my other dog (who used to be endlessly patient)). We have run all sorts of tests and the vet said dementia is likely , but I also want to make sure it’s not a brain tumor, so that’s the next step. It’s so hard because if we can’t get the aggression under control, I don’t know what to do…he used to be such a snuggle bug, but now I have to be so careful all the time and it’s turning into a vicious cycle of anxiety for both of us. This page makes me feel not quite so alone in coming up with yet new ways to deal with this (or being up all night …). Thank you and please wish us luck – I am still hopeful! <3

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      I do wish you luck, and peace. There are a lot of people here who understand what you are going through.


    • Donna says:

      Hi, I’ve just found this page. We have a 15yr old dog who is under a specialist vet for this condition since start of the year. For us the hardest symptom we have had to deal with is the aggression. My dog is a pug, he has been the most happy, gentle people person dog his whole life, so loving & always up for a cuddle. I appreciate Claudias message because I stated to feel we were the only ones struggling with the aggression side of this disease. Early signs was out of character grumpiness, growling etc We have also seen eye/ear vet, nephrologist vet, as well as behaviourist. He then got aggressive towards our other dog, they have been housemates for 13yrs since she was a baby, they have slept together always. It ramped up quickly from barking at her, Rounding her up, to snapping at her, finally overnight he started attacking her so I sadly have had to seperate them for first time in 13yrs. Thankfully she is with my mum as we manage this. We got about a month where his routine seemed to settle, he is on anxiety medication which seemed to help him stay calm but not dopey. Had occasional toilet accidents & more sleeping, wasn’t playing much at all, sometimes wandering, restlessness & a few other things. Occasional aggression towards up but was only odd moments. Walking & activity was less but we were keeping things going, even if just a visit to park to wander or sitting in the sunshine. However, in the last week it was like another switch flipped, I’d go to pick him up, he’d get aggressive, go to wipe his face or do other routine things & he’d get aggressive, overnight he has stopped coming for love, pats/cuddles, & this is a dog who would’ve sat on ur lap all day long. If we approach him now for a pat he gets aggressive. We have another appointment for vet but I’m at a total loss for what’s next. It’s quite heartbreaking. Thank you, I was feeling so sad & quite alone in this

  115. Susan says:

    I have a chihuahua that was a rescue from an unethical breeder. She is now 10. A few months ago she started barking at nothing (although she has vision and hearing problems, too). I took a video of her and showed it to our veterinarian. He immediately said it was dementia. She gets stuck, always goes to the hinge side of the door, can’t find the food bowl, circles and wanders.
    Thank you so much for the videos and confirming the diagnosis.

  116. Sharon says:

    My dear 9 year old 70 lb Lab Mix, Bosco, suddenly had a seizure 5 days ago at 3am. And another the next afternoon! First, Vet took blood test which didn’t show anything off and gave him Zonisamide 100mg ( for seizure) but then rapid decline. His behavior ( difficulty walking, staggering, vision loss, shaky, walking in corners, difficulty eating on his own (but good appetite)suggested a brain tumor and given Prednisone 20mg which was very effective in lessening symptoms! Mornings rough but after meds he was able to function much better. Still he has many declining signs. Walking into furniture , in circles, hitting walls, disoriented, confused, getting trapped in table legs, walking into water bowls. He often trembles. In retrospect my sweet boy was chewing on blankets a lot! He’d come up to me and claw at me. He’d be agitated and I just didn’t realize it may have been signs he wasn’t feeling well months before! He’s such a sweet boy, went everywhere with me, loves hardware stores, Pet stores, and rides to park. I can’t believe how quickly the illness comes and suddenly you realize he’s not going to be around next year. Enjoy every moment and know, that they don’t live long but if all they touch are happier for it, is that not the purpose of life!? I will keep him safe and love him as long as I can!

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Bless you, Sharon. I’m sorry that I am so very late publishing your comment. I hope Bosco is still with you. I can tell how much you love him.


  117. Susan Larson says:

    Thank you for this website, it’s helping me realize what I’ve been in denial for almost a year. My Meisha is a 12 yr old Staffy mix who has been through a ton of problems. I adopted her 8 yrs ago heartworm positive and got through that (she was overly hyper and difficult to keep her calm). Then the sloughing off of the toe nails, onychodystrophy, got through that, then a 3 lb splenic tumor which was benign when most are malignant. Somewhere in between she tore her ACL treated successfully with acupuncture. Then an oral sarcoma treated with stereotactic radiotherapy, cancer gone!! She was on so many anti-tumor holistic herbs, my kitchen looks like a pharmacy. But then she developed an oral-nasal fistula so every time she ate or drank she would sneeze it out. Then we went through 2 surgeries trying to close up the rather large fistula, without success and ended up with a feeding tube. Then a seizure so she is on Keppra. Her mental status through all of this was excellent. After 16 months of feeding through a tube, her mental status is declining so they put her on Trazadone. Meisha has long past the average life span for the type of cancer she had and has been a trooper and I keep praying she will get through this too but then I think I’m in denial. I had the “talk” with her vet. She has a “team” of doctors and they all love her but I feel like there’s something missing in her care. I know there is no cure, but there’s got to be something to stall the progression. I miss her wagging tail the most. Someone mentioned there was a possible treatment link but I don’t see it here. Thanks again for all the info you provided!

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Dear Susan,
      My goodness, you have helped Meisha through so much! That’s an amazing story, and I’m so glad you adopted her. I also adopted a dog with heartworms, years ago, and that alone was a really hard treatment to handle.

      I’m glad you mentioned the treatment page: for some reason I lost it off the menu. I put it back, and also here is a link.

      Best of luck to you and dear Meisha. I’m glad she gets such wonderful care not only from you but her vet team.


  118. Nancy Lynn Allison says:

    I am glad I found this site. My sweet boy chihuahua was doing all of thsse behaviors, but I just thought it was oId age. I had him for 10years but was told he was older. Recently, he had an ear infection. I took him to animal emergency hospital because he was barking non-stop and sounded like he was in pain. They gave him steroids, pain meds, oxygen adn antibiotics. I took him home and when the meds wore off he started barking (he never barked or rarely) in pain again. I took him back to animal er and the vet told me that the barking was coming from a neurological problem. I sadly had to put him down as I knew that it was hopeless. He had alot of other problems, liver functions were elevated, heart murmur, cognitive probs, collapsed trachea, bad teeth. I feel so guilty that I took him in for an earache and brought him home in a body bag. I am glad I read this site, although I didn’t realize there is meds for cognitive issues. Another thing he was doing was unable to get up the stairs his daddy made him to get in our bed. Then when he got in bed would walk off the side of it.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Nancy, I’m so sorry for your loss. That’s a really hard way to lose a companion, but I don’t fault you at all. You did well for him with the information you had. Hugs.

  119. Jenny says:

    Our little Maltese Spike has been fading for several years. His seizures started this year. He is 16. He is bling and deaf and has every issue mentioned above. Plus the seizures, tremors and muscle twitches and the last month-he is waking up once, twice, 20x a night and yelping like he is in agony. It’s awful. Sometimes 30 minutes apart. And nothing settles him. We’ve tried medication. But he eats and drinks and can walk. God when do you pull the plug?

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      It’s the hardest decision, Jenny. Have you checked out the quality of life tables? I know it feels cold assigning numbers to your dog’s health, and you don’t even have to do that part, but it gives you things to consider. My heart goes out to you.

  120. Chris Clarke says:

    My dog A Shih-tru. In the last couple of weeks has been pacing Jumping up on high seats that she can’t get down from. At the moment she has an urgency to get up on the dining table. I actually put her there to show her there is nothing for her. She is up and down with me. Where at one time she would sit for a long time quite calm. Now there is no calmness to her she will hear a small sudden noise and she literally panics. What can this be? Ty in advance

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Chris, I think this is a question for a veterinarian. I’m sorry not to be more help but it could be so many things. A vet can ask you some questions and start to work on a diagnosis. Best of luck!


  121. Rebecca Campbell says:

    Hi, what were you feeding her in the pan? Thank you 🙂

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      I don’t remember the kibble brand. But it was moistened kibble and some pieces of white meat chicken.

  122. Keeimatey says:

    Thank you for this valuable resource. Our dog is only about 6 (chihuahua mutt mix with?) and recently started holding her face down in blankets, licking everything, hiding under the bed or in the closet, basically all kinds of weird and new behaviors. Checked for ticks and mites and dry skin and allergies. Gave a bath with vet recommended medicated hot spot shampoo. Vet appointment next week. I looked here because it is reminding me of a family member’s dementia behaviors. Same idea — you want to know what is going on in their head.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Sorry for my late response. I hope you were able to get this straightened out with your vet!
      Take care,

  123. Karen Ballington says:

    I found this site by accident and am so glad I did. My 16 year old fur baby is showing a lot of the signs especially back leg weakness and confusion. She struggles with the stairs and has fallen down a few times now also falls off the sofa and bed. Gets very confused trying to get out of the door and walks into the wall a lot now. She has also started peeing in the house on a regular basis. Has anyone found that medication helps?

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Hi Karen,
      I’m sorry your dog has this condition. In the U.S., the medicine usually used is called selegiline (brand name Anipryl). I think in the UK the medicine most often used is Nicergoline. I don’t know its brand name. It’s said to enhance blood flow to the brain and is thought to enhance the transmission of neurons.

      I’m in the U.S. and my little dog took selegiline and it helped slow the progress.

      Good luck with your baby.

  124. Erica says:

    This is so helpful, I wish I had found it earlier. My 15 yo Boston Terrier started having behavioral changes last fall. I talked to my vet about it, and they had me try Bright Minds food, which helped. But they didn’t say anything about any of these meds. My dog is now in the advanced stages of dementia, based on your scale (sleeping in funny positions, wandering around the house all day, along the perimeter of the walls), incontinent. I’ve gotten some senior supplements for her, and I will try a thunder shirt. I can’t afford a full ultrasound and lots of tests, so I’m going to see if my vet can just prescribe the selegiline. Thanks so much for this site!

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