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Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM

Odd Behavior - Older Dog

By February 23, 2011

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Old Dog © BobMacInnes on FlickrLike humans, dogs and cats can exhibit signs of senior dementia. Vocalizing (barking, growling, howling) for no reason or at all hours, appearing to get "lost" in familiar surroundings, and other personality changes may suggest dementia.

BARRYRUB asks: "My 14 year old mixed cairn terrier is exhibiting odd behavior. He'll stand and stare at nothing for 10-15 minutes at a time. He then wanders aimlessly from room to room before finally settling down for the night. He does appear to be sleeping all night. He also drinks incessantly; bowel and urine seem normal, although he does pee every 15 minutes or so before going to bed. He's done that for years. He eats well, doesn't play much any more.  Looked up dog dementia and he does have many, but not all of the symptoms. Any similar situations?" Original post

It is always important to have your pet evaluated by your veterinarian to rule out any medical causes first, as some diseases may cause similar signs or add to dementia behaviors. Learn more about the signs seen with:

Readers Respond: Living with a dog or cat that has senior dementia

*Note: Comments are closed on this 2005 post - please share your story here.

Related: Anipryl® - Help for Senior Pets?
Additional information about dementia behaviors in pets and learn about Anipryl®, a drug used for some cases of dementia.

Photo: Old Dog © BobMacInnes on Flickr

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December 2, 2006 at 8:24 pm
(1) Dana says:

My dog is 18 (border collie X golden retriever). He is a wonderful companion but he is suddenly following me from room to room, but other than that, he is still eating, active (believe it or not!) and eliminiting as usual. I have had him at the Vet’s office to make sure that there is nothing medically wrong, and she said he was amazing for his age, but i still have some weird feelings about his new behavior. I know that I have to accept that he will not be around for ever, but we will miss him dearly when he goes.

December 2, 2006 at 8:24 pm
(2) Dana says:

My dog is 18 (border collie X golden retriever). He is a wonderful companion but he is suddenly following me from room to room, but other than that, he is still eating, active (believe it or not!) and eliminiting as usual. I have had him at the Vet’s office to make sure that there is nothing medically wrong, and she said he was amazing for his age, but i still have some weird feelings about his new behavior. I know that I have to accept that he will not be around for ever, but we will miss him dearly when he goes.

May 7, 2007 at 10:03 pm
(3) Debbie says:

I have a 17 year old Shih Tzu that definitely has dementia. She has suffered many ailments in her life so far, such as seizures, cushing disease, and the latest, lymphoma cancer when the odds were against her. She still has a ravenous appetite (probably from the cushings) and likes to go for walks, which tells my that she still has some sort of quality of life.
Her latest behaviour gives us concern, and I’m wondering if anyone else is experiencing this.
She is wide awake every morning at 5:45am, and if we don’t let her outside immediately, she messes. I have tried giving her food at a different time, walking her before bedtime, and nothing is working. I can here her stiring in the middle of the night as well. Someone suggested giving some turkey to relax her, but it didn’t seem to work. Does anyone have any suggestions? I don’t want to put her on anymore prescribed meds, since she is already taking phenobarb and bromide for the seizures.

July 2, 2007 at 9:20 pm
(4) Doreen says:

My dog Misty is a Bishon frize she is 13 years old. Her behaivor is changing alot. She started hiding behind furniture usually near an electric outlets (weird) we thought. Wants to be alone lately. She still follows me around from room to room when she can. I just do not understand why she is facing the walls alot. Anyone else experience this behavior?? Help I worry Doreen

July 31, 2007 at 5:31 pm
(5) Matthew says:

Hi, I have a dog named Sheba. She’s about 9 years old and she’s really healthy. She’ll play intensely if we just start doing so. There’s no question about whether or not she’s healthy, but she has started doing something kind of strange lately. Sometimes when it’s quiet she’ll come into the room or stop at a certain place and just start staring at nothing. It looks like she’s thinking deeply about something, but I don’t think that’s the case. I know she’s not a puppy any more, but it looks like she’s totally not there until someone moves or something gets her attention. It’s probably nothing, but it seems strange to watch her stare at nothing and not even notice someone watching her.

September 1, 2007 at 11:01 am
(6) Paula says:

I have a 13 year old Portuguese Water Dog who has always been healthy except for some minor allergies. In the past month or so, his back legs have started giving out on him regularly, he stares into space, paces and circles for long periods of time at night (30 minutes or more), walks into walls, doesn’t greet me at the door, and doesn’t seem to remember how to get in the house when I open the screen door. We tried treating for hypothyroidism as his T4 was a little low. On Monday, we’ll see a neurologist for an opinion on Cognitive Dysfuntion. His decline has been drastic and extremely sad.

September 23, 2007 at 12:45 pm
(7) Donna says:

my 17 year old peak a poo has lost her sight due to cataracts. up until now she has been perfectly hearlthy. suddenly she is pacing in circles. the vet has told me it’s dog dimentia. has anyone heard of this, or have any suggestions for treating it. i’m not ready to lose her and will do what i can. thanks.

September 25, 2007 at 1:01 pm
(8) Lori Moran says:

Response to Donna—my Shih Tzu, Jack, is almost completely blind and is now suffering from dementia. He paces in the evening until he is totally fatiqued. He too will loop through rooms in the house, over and over again. We tried Anipryl and if I were you, I’d give it a whirl. If you check the Pfizer Animal Health site you can get a coupon for a 30 day trial. For Jack, his pacing became much worse but from what I read, that’s not the case for most pets and most see a big improvement. Otherwise, I’ve seen studies recommending antioxidants and vitamin B supplement called CholodinR. I’m going to start this today.

Best of luck to you–I understand your feelings. I love my dogs and would do anything for them.

September 28, 2007 at 10:33 am
(9) Kate says:

10 Yr old Blk Lab. Started walking around at night, won’t sleep in our room anymore wants to be alone at night. He also has been banging the screen door to get out, doesn’t have to void, just wants to be out. During the day, his regular vibrant self. Vet checked him out, he’s great. Advised me to give him some Melatonin (I use Natrol 3 or 5m) she said ok to give him 3-5 dose to see if relaxes him at night. Just starting that now. I wish dogs lived as long as we do..

November 20, 2007 at 10:39 pm
(10) Stefanie says:

I have a nearly 11 year old Queensland Heeler/Australian Shepherd mix and every once in a while she acts a little odd and I wonder if it’s dementia. Usually at night – she’ll want to go outside (there’s a dog door but I close it at night) and when I let her out – she sometimes just has one goal in mind – to dig and then sometimes she’ll lay down in the mini hole she has dug for herself. This is not the “normal” thing at night – when the dogs (I have a 9 year old Golden Retriever Mix as well) have to go out – I let them out and wait for them and then they know to come back in. I’m hoping that it’s just a mild form of dementia. When I call to her when she’s in her “digging or laying down in her hole trance” she really doesn’t seem to hear me at all – like she’s off in her own little world. I’m familiar with her “selective” hearing and this behavior is completely different – she’s really zoned out. During the day she is her old self. She does have hip dysplasia (she’s been on Metacam for about 4 years), spondylosis, and allergies to many different things – but those things aren’t holding her back at all. I’m hoping she sticks around for another several years.

January 24, 2008 at 12:01 pm
(11) Tierney says:

I have a black lab German shepherd mix. She is turning 8 soon. Very healthy and active. She has always had a fear of thunder or loud noises, but lately she will wake in the middle of the night and she sits leaning against the wall just staring at me. I thought I was just nuts or maybe she needed to go out but she did it to my boyfriend the other night. She also just stops in the center of out living room and stares at nothing. She even attached out other dog the other day. I am very concerned, I thought 8 was too young for her to be loosing her mind.

January 24, 2008 at 7:44 pm
(12) vetmedicine says:

To Tierney -

I would strongly recommend having your dog checked out. She would be one the young side for Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (dementia). Your vet will want to rule out medical problems such as an inner ear infection, seizure disorder, or possible a mass somewhere causing the odd behavior before diagnosing dementia. Caution is advised — unprovoked attacks on other pets or people may occur (as you have seen) and could potentially be a very dangerous situation.

January 28, 2008 at 10:55 pm
(13) Shah says:

My dog has a lot of the symptoms that Paula’s comment listed. She said that she took her dog to a neurologist? What was the diagnosis? I really want to help my German Shepherd mix who is 10 years old. If we let him, he walks and pages around the perimeter of the house until he collapses. He isn’t eating and we have to hand feed him anything. We have gone to the vet and they thought he just had a UTI. We used the medicine and he didn’t improve. We think that visiting a new vet might help, but is there anything else besides the Anipryl that could help him?

March 18, 2008 at 8:42 pm
(14) Donna says:

My dog is a 13 yr old schnauzer. He wants to drink water all the time. If I don’t give him water, he barks to go outside then licks any puddles. He occasionally (about 1/wk.) pees in the house – usually right in front of me. A lot of times, he just stands still. Vet said he does not have anything physical wrong.

March 20, 2008 at 12:50 pm
(15) vetmedicine says:

Hello Donna-

Has your vet done any bloodwork on your dog? Schnauzers are prone to Diabetes Mellitus, something that can be checked with bloodwork and a urinalysis (checking for excess glucose). Other diseases that may cause excess thirst and urination include Cushing’s Disease and kidney or liver problems. A urinary infection should also be ruled out.
Diabetes Mellitus:
Cushing’s Disease:

I would recommend a re-check with your vet or perhaps seek another opinion at a different vet to see what is causing these signs in your dog and to start a treatment plan.

July 13, 2008 at 10:59 pm
(16) cherrie wines says:

My 10 year old shih tzu suddenly started pacing and turning in circles. Whats wrong?

August 8, 2008 at 8:17 am
(17) Bo says:

my 17.5 year old jack russell has been showing signs, now that i have read these. she will stare at the bedroom door from the hall while i have gone the other direction into the office. she also in the evenings, while we are watching tv and the younger dogs are with us – she will stay on the main level on her bed and then come down every 10 min or so and want to be let out and then immediately come back in. lots of water drinking – just started today..

January 8, 2009 at 1:58 am
(18) Jake says:

I have a 14 year old mut. We got him from the pound and never figured out what all he has in him. Lately he has been searching the house like he is hungry and looking for food. We have had to start shutting all the doors in the house, otherwise he will get into the trash or eat anything eatable that he can find in the room. In a span of four days he ate a whole box of cookies, a bag of chocolate kisses, a bag of chocolate stars and other random pieces of candy that he has been able to get to. He will roam the house until he gets a chance to sneak into a room and grab something. If you call for him he will ignore you and continue to look for food. The strange thing is we feed him dog food everyday. The same amount we have always fed him and he hardly touches it. It seems like he might be losing some weight as well. This has been going on for about five months now. He also needs to go out side a lot more often sometimes he will want to go out five or ten minuets after he just got back inside. This could be cause by the amount of bad food he keeps getting into.

January 11, 2009 at 6:31 am
(19) Helen says:

Hi, my parents have a nine year old cocker spaniel who has changed her behaviour within the last year. She has always been friendly however she became fearful whenever my sister (who’s is 36yrs old) used to pop in to see my parents. Now the dog is like it whenever anyone pops in to see my parents.
She will sit by my mum mainly and will keep jumping up at her or pawing her. She seems quite scared, which nobody can understand. Everyone has always been very friendly to her. She has also been panting for quite a while too. She seems very stressed by people being in the house. Please help with any advice. Thanks.

January 19, 2009 at 9:09 pm
(20) Marie says:

My dog, Oliver, a Lakeland Terrier weighing about 18 lbs. is almost 18 years old. He has been sleeping a lot lately and when he wakes up he needs to go to the bathroom immediately, or he pees right on his bed. Once that is over, he is good to go for a little while. He wants to eat and drink water and then he will just stand there doing nothing and not even walking around. When I start feeling uneasy about this, I simply wrap him up in a towel like a baby and lay him down on his clean bed on his side and he generally goes right back to sleep. Right now, because there is snow on the ground outside, he can’t go wandering around so if he makes it through to the spring he will be able to roam around the back yard again. His appetite is great and I had his heart checked and his kidney functions are great, so, we’ll just keep putting him back to bed so he doesn’t keep standing there in the middle of the room staring into space.

January 24, 2009 at 7:10 pm
(21) Edit says:

Hi, i have an 18.5 year old Pomeranian and Papllion mix called Heidi, she weighs 2.2 kilo’s, is about 30 cm’s tall and is tiny adorable and totally black. She’s had a few problems over the years because when i found her (around age 4) she had previously fractured her hip and whoever her owners were they didnt take care of it too well. So she has always had a funny walk…and as she gets older its a bit more intense but in my opinion and according to my vet, she is not in any pain. My question is about something else – around 1.5 months ago, she began to change her behavior – its a bit weird…ONLY FROM AROUND 7PM. she begins to bark consistently and i mean non-stop until I either pick her up, take her with me to the sofa or something of the sort. Also she needs to go out from that hour every hour or so. It is weird because from the moment she wakes up she’s her usual funny, playful self…she sleeps and eats just a bit more than before but thats about it…and come 7pm. its like the “Witching Hour”….she barks and barks and barks….looking straight at me wherever I am, then I take her out…we come back and 10 minutes later she begins barking again. I ADORE HER but its driving me NUTS!! She is fine healthwise apart from her hip/leg and a little manageable problem in her liver, my vet has no answer and I after having about 20 dogs throughout my life and i’m a primate keeper in the zoo here in Israel have NEVER seen this type of behavior. I thought of dementia but this doenst go on all day ONLY at night…I thought maybe she’s going blind…but there is enough light in the house and its like daylight and she looks straight at me and finds my eyes…HELP!!! How can I help Heidi and myself to get through whatever she’s going through???

January 28, 2009 at 5:39 pm
(22) Mandy Morrison says:

My dog has started acting really wierd. She has a chair to sleep on in my room upstairs and the same chair to sleep on in the hall and she has her own bed in the sitting room. Just around the time when i was 7-9 months pregnant she started acting funny. She would as usual come to bed with us and lie on her chair but she started this strange behaviour she would wait until myself and partner where in bed then leave the room and sleep downstairs in her other chair in the hall. She never done this before. However the new baby is now 9 months old and she is still doinh this she will come to bed wait until the light is out and were in bed then leave the room. So lastnight we kept the light on for a while and sat up on the edge of the bed, she never moved so we both got into bed with the light still on. The minute we were in bed she got up and left the room and slept downstairs. Can anyone tell us what or why she is doing this.During the day she is fine.

February 8, 2009 at 1:04 am
(23) Renee says:

To Mandy Morrison,
This is EXACTLY what happened to me with our yellow lab. Actually same time fram as well. I was 7 months pregnant (last Jan) and now our daughter is 9 months old and our 10 yr old lab will come in our room and walk out, usually sleeping downstairs. This makes me feel so sad. I thought about dementia, but he shows no other signs & it happened very suddenly…one night he was sleeping with us & you couldn’t get him off the bed if you wanted to…next night, not with us.
I would love to hear insight into this.

March 3, 2009 at 6:00 pm
(24) Mandy Morrison says:

TO Rennee,
I would love to find out why our dogs behave in this way. I love my dog so much and she is very much part of our family. I have asked friends and family but no-one seems to have any explanation to her odd behaviour. However i will keep trying to find an explanation. If you find out anything i would love to know. I will keep checking this page so if you do have any insight to our dogs strange behaviour you can leave a message.
P.S My dog is only seven.
Good luck!

March 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm
(25) Tammy in NM says:

Mandy and Renee: I’ve had dogs all my life; one of them (Belle) used to sleep at my feet – on the bed. All of a sudden, she started sleeping right at my side, between me and hubby; shortly after this behavior started, I found out I was pregnant! She did this again with my second pregnancy!!! She knew I was pregnant before I did!! My suspicion is that your dogs still feel very much a part of your family, but can’t “protect” all of you from your room (assuming the babies sleep in their own rooms), so they have chosen to take up “post” in order to be protective of their entire family. when I bring Belle and my kids to work with me, she stations herself where she can keep an eye on me and my girls…I’m willing to bet money, your four-legged babies are protecting all of you – including their “two-legged” babies!!! I wouldn’t stress too much – just make sure to give them lots of love and praise!!

March 6, 2009 at 8:13 pm
(26) Eric GA says:

I found a beagle at my house today. It is hanging out with my fixed female lab. It has hip problems and appears to be very old. I don’t know if anyone dropped him off or not. I fed him but he noses the bowl like he wants to tip it over. It freaks out the dog and cats when he does this. Along with him acting fearful. I am mainly concerned for my pets health. Anyone have any insight on this?

March 31, 2009 at 12:10 pm
(27) Gloria says:

Our 10yr old yellow lab, ‘Jack’ has had seizures since a puppy. He went on pheno at 5 and that controls it. However, he now is completely deaf and has cataracts. About 4 months ago he started wandering the house so much I bought a baby fence to keep him near the patio door because he also want’s out every 10 minutes or so…sometimes he drinks, but mostly he seems to forget why he wanted out the moment he is out. Also, his brother ‘Tucker’ a westie seems to be sad about ‘Jacks’ behavior. I’ve had blood work done and nothing came up. Although he does have some tumorous growths on him.

April 17, 2009 at 9:19 am
(28) Shawna says:

I have a 17yro dalmatian Pepper. She has a thyroid problem which she is on meds for, has had kidney failure 2 times, and on antibiotics for that,and has bad arthritis in her hind legs and hips and taking Rimadyl, lots of benign tumors in hind legs. She has been having trouble get up and drags her hind paws when she walks.Sometimes falling down. Also when she goes to drink her water, she will just stare at it like she is trying to remember how to do it. My question is should I put or down, and how do I know if she is in a lot of pain. I don’t want my baby to be hurting.

May 24, 2009 at 10:07 am
(29) John says:

9 year old welsh terrier, crawling on his chest/belly using both hind legs and front paws. This behavior happens throughout the day and evening. He has a history of knee surgery.

June 3, 2009 at 6:40 am
(30) Eric says:

hi, i have a 14 year old miniature schnauzer, he is VERY healthy but I have noticed what I think is the first stages of blindness, but I’m not sure. He seems very alert and aware of things outside and in bright light but in the house i’ll set a treat next to him or throw it close to him and he can’t always find it…….. other then that there are no signs but I know my sweet Jake very well and something is not right……. any suggestions???? sniff sniff…..

September 3, 2009 at 11:40 pm
(31) monica says:

i have an 11 year old black lab. she used to sleep all through the night but now she paces through out the house and pants heavily. what is going on?

November 6, 2009 at 10:13 pm
(32) Lois says:

Sorry, but it’s only going to get worse. Our lab is 13 and is up 3 or 4 times a night. What’s worse is that because of her arthritis, we have get out of bed and help her move each time. Her legs are almost worthless. The panting gets really scary at times. Then she farts and smells up the whole bedroom. Akkkkkkkk! Good luck. Just love ‘em.

November 11, 2009 at 7:50 pm
(33) gina says:

my dog, well i don’t know what is wrong! we got a new puppy and she likes it. but she isn’t letting us hug her or pet her as much as she usually does. she seems sick when the puppy is around but when the puppy goes she goes to sleep…then she was like always an indoor dog. but ever since the puppy came she always wants to be outside. my dog is 8 years old and the puppy is nine weeks… we don’t want to get rid of my puppy but we have no clue what to do… and we rescued them both … my 8 year old 8 years ago we got her and we got my puppy almost 2 weeks ago. i would appreciate it if anyone would leave a comment on any advice on how to help me. i think my dogs just jealous but i think there is more to the story. PLEASE HELP!! some times she won’t even eat! PLEASE HELP ME!!!

November 20, 2009 at 1:25 am
(34) Jennifer says:

Hi my grandma has a chihuahua he tends to sometimes star at the ceiling when nothing is there is it possible he might be schizophrenic?

December 14, 2009 at 10:24 pm
(35) Jane Davie says:

I have a 15 yr old female dachshund. The last few weeks she has been acting a bit strange but in the last few days she is vomiting alot, walking aimlessly from room to room, goes to all the water bowls and hangs her head over the bowl but never drinks. Took her to the vet today and did bloodwork, all is fine, liver, kidneys, pancreas and heart ok, fecal test is ok too. Vet put her on cerenia to stop nausea, hasn’t worked yet. her vomit is extremely foul smelling. She still won’t drink or eat. Does CDS come on this fast? If so should i get her on anipryl? or just some cholodin supplement? Vet felt a small lump in small intestine, it is not fecal matter. Could this be the problem? I feel she is too old to put through any intrusive testing. Again this has all happened in the last 24 hours. She will not rest or sleep. Any suggestions? Thanks for any help…..Jane

December 29, 2009 at 10:04 pm
(36) li says:

this is for jane.. did your vet xray or ultrasound? Am concerned that with the lump felt in the intestine, and the foul smell to the vomit there may be an obstruction… I hope your dog is okay now..

January 3, 2010 at 6:18 pm
(37) vicki maxwell says:

my four year old bullmastiff has started staring at the ceiling and following something from the kitchen to the livingroom along the ceiling even though there is nothing there. We ve only moved into the house six months but itis old. My dog is in good health also. Any ideas what could be wrong

January 10, 2010 at 8:18 pm
(38) renay says:

hi jus need to know if there is somethin serious wrong with my six year old boxer mix, she injured her hind hip in a fight with another dog in the past and know shows signs of favoring her hip she often shakes her head as if she is havin a siezure or somethin im not sure what to do need advice really bad the vet is a expensive bill right now so could i get some help

January 12, 2010 at 9:06 am
(39) Marlene says:

My 15 year old dog has started acting very strange for the last month or so. She will stand outside staring into space and barking nonstop untill she falls asleep! This is driving me crazy because she barks all day long and at night if she isnt sleeping. She will also walk around aimlessly and for some unknown reason she will run headfirst into bushes. Sometimes I think that she doesnt recognise us at all. My vet says that she most probably has dementia and might be hallucinating. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to help her, otherwise I will go bananas!

January 17, 2010 at 2:07 am
(40) Christin says:

I have a 16 year old mutt mix (she was adopted from the shelter, and I believe she is a ShitZhu Pomeranian mix) and other than a few minor things she has been very healthy. Last night, my grandmother let her out to use the bathroom, and she walked out on the patio, and just collapsed and fell over, and stopped moving. Once I came out to see what was happening, she had got up and walked off. We took her to the vet, and they said nothing visual was wrong (no ticks, lesions, etc.) and I don’t have the money for the tests so they sent us home with some medications for her. Could it be dementia?

February 2, 2010 at 7:52 pm
(41) Kay says:

Our 14 yr old yellow lab has multiple fatty growths all over, she is hard of hearing and has full blown cataracts and bumps into things, including us. She doesn’t mind at all anymore. She licks her feet all the time, breathes hard most of the time. She used to sleep all night thru but now she gets us up to go out 2-5 times a night and sleeps alot during the day. She drinks enough but is spotty about eating. She’ll eat for a couple days, then not, then cycles again. She is constantly trying to get anything in the kitchen, even from your hand. She has daily fits to make us give her treats. She is also started to nip at us. She clearly has arthritis and dementia. At this point all we can do is love her although she can be hard to deal with.

February 7, 2010 at 7:29 pm
(42) Jane Davie says:

To Li: It was an obstruction. She passed a peach pit that evening, couldn’t believe it. The pit showed nicks in it so I think her bizarre behavior was from the arsenic in the pit leeching out and poisoning her little system (she’s only 7 lbs).She is fine now and back to normal. Thanks for your concern.

April 23, 2010 at 11:55 am
(43) becky says:

My 15 year old beagle bassett mix has been acting very strange lately. She has always been an inside spoiled rotten little angel and slept with me at night. lately she is very afraid in the house and runs from me when I try to get her to come in. If I do get her in she pants and paws desperatly at me wanting to climb all over me. I am worried sick and the vet is puzzled also. I love her so much.

May 19, 2010 at 11:43 am
(44) captain salim chagla says:

my healthy 9yr lab passed away on 26th apr,12.48hrs
was as per vet ‘spleen rupture’ ? is such the Ph.d
vet last 5 yrs all food/vitamins as per same vet….for our ‘sir rex’

June 9, 2010 at 11:31 am
(45) Lauren says:

My 10 year old Border collie/lab mix LOVES to sleep and sleeps all the time.I’m kinda worried because he needs he’s exercise. What should i do?

July 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm
(46) Yvonne says:

My Tiebetain Terrier is 20yrs and 3 months.Walks around in circles and wears himself out.Vet gave him phenobarbitone,has anyone used it before for their dog.
p.s anyone know what age the oldest living dog is ? in 2010.

July 3, 2010 at 10:34 pm
(47) Ileana says:

I lost my Tommy on April 30,2010. In March, he started falling down and I thought he had arthritis. Then his eyes started rotating from left to right. I took him to the vet, and after tests and medication the vet said he either had an ear infection or a brain tumor. Tommy started staring at things in rooms, and outside the house as if someone was coming to bring him to heaven. Tommy kept falling down, and blacked out on me and howled in pain, and I realized he was in agony. For those of you who see their dogs staring at something you cannot see, it may not be physical, but spiritual. Our dogs are brought to the other side by God’s kindness and love. After seeing Tommy not respond to treatment, I had to put him to sleep. Even though my life will never be the same without Tommy, I know Tommy has finally found peace and happiness. He is no longer suffering. Every moment we have with our dogs is a blessing. I wish you all the best with your doogies. May God bless them all.

July 5, 2010 at 8:36 pm
(48) Nick says:

This message is for Yvonne. I have a 20 year + miniature poodle. I got him from the shelter 15 years ago. At the time they told me he was 5. Since he was 17 he began the cognitive dimentia behavior and has progressed quite textbook style since then. Currently he is mostly blind due to cateracts and hearing is weak. He has no housetraining control at all. His appetite is unchanged from puppyhood. He sleeps very well at night and when he is awake he paces in circles constantly. I have put my life on hold and get quite frustrated at times. I am a very dedicated animal lover and a right to life advocate to the core. My vet(s) all tell me he is unbelievable for his age. I give him a 12.5 mg Lasix (1/2 2x a day) and 1/2 of 2.5 mg Enalipril daily. He is my family and I will deal with it until I see he is miserable. I have tried the Anipryl med. No effect. Anyone have an older dog that is not brain challenged??????

July 7, 2010 at 3:21 pm
(49) Yvonne says:

Thanks Nick for your reply.I am going to go back to vet and see if he suggests Lasix and Enalipril.Winston doesn’t seem to be in pain .It is difficulty seeing him going in circles and sometimes being unable to get up by himself.Our house is now Winston friendly and re-organised to make him comfortable as possible.Good luck with your dog and loyal friend.

July 15, 2010 at 2:46 pm
(50) Lois says:

I have a 13 y/o Lhaso Apso, she was dx with CCD about 6 months ago, has been on Anipryl 5 mg. She has cateracts and she’s deaf, eating like I own the food mill and doing realatively pretty good. Has a hacking cough once in awhile, sleeps good. House training habits are gone…so I have to take her out about every 3 hrs or she’ll mess. Is there anyone else out there going through CCD issues with their dogs. I can’t believe how fast this hit and how fast it just took the quality of life away from her…she’s not in pain, walks fine..but it’s just sad. I fell I am on borrowed time.

July 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm
(51) LOIS says:

My previous post, the last line should be “I feel I am on borrowed time with my best friend”.

July 28, 2010 at 4:00 pm
(52) priscilla says:

My boyfriends dog is 14yrs. old.He started to bite his paw and lick it.So much that the flesh is showing.we have placed the “e”collar on him repeadedly.He is blind and the collar makes his walking around worse than it already is.Is this behavior normal for senior dogs?

August 15, 2010 at 9:33 pm
(53) debra says:


There is a great product for your dog’s biting of his paws. It is called “Derma Paw.” And it wont restrict him like a collar would. Dermapaw.com. Check it out!

January 14, 2011 at 11:11 pm
(54) Terry says:

I have an older cocker spaniel who is provided the best in dog food and fresh filtered water daily. BUT, he wants to go outside and eat snow…Why?

January 22, 2011 at 8:06 am
(55) jo says:

my 11yr old smooth fox terrier we have been told has dementia its pityful to see her pacing round all the time not resting until physically exhausted. shes bumping into things all the time shes gone from a fun loving dog who loves nothing better than a cwtch,now she doesnt aknowledge us and weve just discovered lumps by her boobs. i know we are being cruel by keeping her going but dont want to let go.

February 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm
(56) Glenda says:

My 16 year old dog is acting weird. We put newspaper down at night for him as a safety net. If he has to go to the bathroom he goes on the paper. Lately he has been sleeping on the paper even though it is soiled. Last night he pooped on the paper and he was lying near it. Also he paces all over the house constantly, particularly at night. He also pees constantly all day. And, in his bed and in my female dog’s bed too. He also won’t eat when I put the food down for him. He will constantly pace around the house and sometimes not eve eat. Usually my 5 year old female will eat the food if it is not eaten by my 16 year old male. It is starting to become stressful for me. He seems healthy in every other way. No serious medical problems.

February 6, 2011 at 7:17 am
(57) Brenda says:

My 13 1/2 year old basset hound is also acting very strange over the past month. She paces the house all night long, panting heavily, and we have to put EVERYTHNG up at night and when we leave the house. She knocks everything over and pushes it around -the trash cans, the plants, you name it. She is also clawing at us during the night when we sit on the couch, and tries to climb up, even though she can’t. This is something she has never done before. She is on tramadol and a muscle relaxer, and is on her last few days of prednisone. I just don’t know what to do anymore. Neither me nor my husband is getting any sleep, and it’s leading to some pretty big difficulties. What should I do? I love my dog, but I’m not sure if she has a good quality of life anymore, and ours is suffering a well. She eats, drinks, and poops and pees ok, so I would feel bad putting her to sleep. Help me!!

February 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm
(58) Marcia says:

I’m wondering if this constellation of behaviors is familiar to anyone. If yes, what is the timeframe for their progression?

Any words of wisdom or advice?


No single behavior is alarming but taken together they are a cause for concern with my 15.5 year old toy poodle. She wakes up and stares into space in the evening and during the night; I am not sure about the day. Apparently humans with dementia have a phenomenon called “sundowning” when symptoms intensify. And she sleeps alot, which I have attributed to aging. Recently she has not been eating enough to maintain her weight so I’m resorting to hand feeding which does better than food on a plate. She has always been a pickey eater but never to the degree she is at present. She drinks alot of water now relative to the past but medical tests rule out diabetes.

On the high side, she recognizes and loves me. Adores her walks in the park and rides in the car. Loves to go to the grocery store or anywhere, really. We just started agility which she does in her own leisurely pace and seems to enjoy.

On the puzzling side: No night wanders or incontinence. On the contrary, her ability to control her bodily functions are still strong.

February 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm
(59) Sue says:

Our 13 year old west highland white terrier has suddenly started to howl most of the night, he has always slept in his bed in the kitchen very happily. We have tried leaving him in the lounge, putting an item of our clothing in his bed, reassuring him, reprimanding him, nothing works! We are both retired and now at the end of our tether, can someone please help?

February 22, 2011 at 3:48 pm
(60) vetmedicine says:

Check out the signs of Senior Dementia in Dogs (also see: Senior Dementia in Cats).

The first thing to do is schedule a visit with your veterinarian to rule out any medical reasons for the behavior, such as pain, urinary infection, or other health problems.

If your vet determines the general health to be OK for a senior dog, then other options, such as Anipryl, can be discussed.

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