Diagnosis of Dementia: When the Dog Becomes Forgetful

Not only people can suffer from dementia but dogs too. If the four-legged friends fall ill with dementia, they become forgetful and show behavioral problems. We explain to you how to recognize dementia in dogs and how to deal with a demented dog correctly.

Causes of Dementia in Dogs

The causes of dementia in dogs are diverse. The disease is most common in older dogs. Why senile dementia occurs in some dogs is not yet fully understood. However, other causes can also play a role, for example, brain damage and tumors, epilepsy, or side effects from anesthesia that lead to dementia.

Symptoms of Dementia in the Dog

Similar to humans, dementia in dogs does not usually appear suddenly but creeps up. In the early stages, there are often only a few symptoms that are often not recognized as dementia but rather viewed as a normal aging process. However, over time, symptoms increase, and the disease manifests itself in a variety of ways.


The most common symptom is disorientation. The dog, suffering from dementia, seems to run around aimlessly and looks lost. He appears confused and can no longer remember familiar things, such as the location of his food bowl or the way out. It also happens that the disoriented dog no longer recognizes familiar people such as masters and mistresses.

Sleep disturbances and changes in the dog’s rhythm

Changes in the dog’s sleep-wake rhythm are one of the symptoms that are often misinterpreted, especially in the early stages. If the dog suffers from dementia, it is often tired and sleeps more than before. In particular, if the animal also suffers from disorientation, sleep disorders occur in the evening and at night, because the dog seems particularly confused and insecure in the dark and walks around helplessly. It also happens that the dog dozes a lot, but cannot fall asleep.

Changes in the behavior of dogs with dementia

Dementia in dogs leads to various changes in behavior. When dealing with people or other dogs, the demented dog reacts cautiously, shows less interest in playing, and eludes the usual petting. Dogs suffering from dementia also lose their enthusiasm. The dog greets its owner with less joy, is afraid, or withdraws. Some dogs with dementia also experience impurity.

Properly Treat Dementia in Dogs

Since the causes of dementia in dogs have not yet been clarified, dementia cannot currently be prevented. In addition, just like in humans, dementia is considered incurable. For this reason, one cannot cure the dog, only try to relieve the symptoms and give them support.

Medicines for demented dogs

The course of dementia in dogs can be slowed down with medication. The drugs work best if the symptoms are recognized early and treatment is started as soon as possible. The drugs used to treat dementia in dogs contain agents that stimulate the dog’s blood circulation and brain function. Sedatives can also be given to reduce anxiety and anxiety in disoriented dogs.

Behavioral therapy for dealing with dementia in dogs

Normal everyday life is strongly influenced by a demented dog. Dogs with dementia don’t like to be alone and need a lot of attention. Unfamiliar environments are also a major challenge for demented dogs. Nevertheless, dogs with dementia should be encouraged not to withdraw completely. Going out for a walk promotes brain function by supplying oxygen. Small games also stimulate the brain and distract the dog. It is important that the dog owner is patient and not overwhelm the animal.

Life Expectancy of Dogs with Dementia

Dogs with dementia often become a need for care in the end-stage. You are no longer house-trained, disoriented, and suffer from the disease. If the dog is at this stage, the average remaining life expectancy is around one year. Depending on the condition, the demented dog can also live longer. If he suffers a lot from the symptoms, he can also be relieved by the veterinarian. As a dog owner, you usually know intuitively when the right time has come. The veterinarian can also advise on the decision.

Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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