Images of Dementia in Dogs

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

>>EILEEN NARRATING:
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
>>EILEEN IN THE VIDEO:
“Hi there!”
>>EILEEN NARRATING:
Forgetting where I am. Looking for me again. Looking for me in the kitchen, when she just left me in the hall.
>>EILEEN IN THE VIDEO:
“Yay, hi there baby!”
>>EILEEN NARRATING:
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

233 Comments

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

      Eileen

  5. 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.

      Eileen

      • 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,
          Eileen

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.
      Eileen

  9. 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.

      Hugs,
      Eileen

  10. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.