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

Responses: 137


From the article: Senior Dementia in Dogs
Have you noticed odd behaviors in your senior dog or cat that you can't explain? Pets, like people, can suffer from dementia as they age. The hallmark of clinical signs is confusion; they may greet their humans differently than before, forget about house-training and other learned behaviors, and easily get "lost" in their familiar home or yard.

It is very see your veterinarian first to rule out a medical problem first, as many diseases can have these same signs.

What were the first signs you noticed in your senior pet? What have you done to help make life easier for him/her?

Our cat died from Senior Cat Dementia

I know all of the signs and symptoms, because our precious first cat died from Senior Cat Dementia; I don't wish this on ANY cat. It is Kitty Cat Alzheimer's, and some of the signs are like humans. Our cat's dementia started at age 15, with the loss of reasoning to use the litter box. Over the next three years, she lost recognition of me, but always knew my husband; would go into a room and not recognize it; would go to her food bowl and just stare at it; had to have a blood transfusion because fleas were worse than ever where we live and they were causing anemia--yes, we treated her for fleas; and just a slow decline in health until she was confined to my husband's bathroom. She let us know that she did not want to live anymore because she was going behind his toilet getting ready to die. We took her to the vet, to end her suffering, and she went quick; the vet said that she was ready. She had also lost about 1/2 of her long, beautiful hair.
—Guest Pammy58

Be there

All you can do is be there and support them both medically and emotionally. I pay 50.00 a month for my Spencer's meds and often get up at 2:00am to bring Spencer back to bed and calm him down. He still loves life when he's awake and with us so we will keep him till he tells us otherwise. This is a dog that has nurtured so many and now it is time we do the same for him.

tough stuff

I have a 14 1/2 year old shepherd, chow and terrier mix. After our younger Schipperke passed he got very depressed even though they were not really friends. We got a new mix he picked out and he brightened a bit. The new young female was board so we got another mix male. I knew my 14 year old Spencer had dementia at this point and it was confirmed by our vet. He seemed distant and detached at times and found little interest in the things he normally loved. When we brought home the most recent adoption, Spencer seemed to brighten again and this time he stayed with us a bit more. He also has arthritis in his back end and has had pancreas issues for years. He still loves his walks and food and wants to play sometimes but he can't move that well. He gets up some nights confused and he drinks a lot more since he seems to forget he just drank. All his functions have been checked so I know it's because he forgets. He pants a lot now, especially when you talk to him. Sad..........


Milo is a 13 1/2 yr. old Rat Terrier. He has always been a challenge, but he is such a loving dog, I just dealt with his issues. He started peeing in the house (more than usual) lately, sometimes just after being let outside. Sometimes he can't even make it to the grass; he'll pee or poop on the cement sometimes. He even pees in his crate. I'll leave a towel in there, and he figures out if he pees in there, he can cover it up with his towel. He paces a lot; drinks lots of water lately too. But he still eats, is happy to see us when we get home. I'm taking him to the vet tonite to see what might be wrong with him. It's hard to think we might have to put him down. He's been such a loving pet, it's hard to think about it.

17 yr old Missie

My 17 yr old dog Missie is a Cacapoo. She is blind in one eye completely and has limited vision out the other. I have the hard choice of putting her down ,she is up and down all night and fell out the bed a couple of times. We been thru a lot in the last 10 yrs. Been misplaced by hurricane Katrina and recently hurricane Issac.caused lot of damage to house . She used to be my Mother's dog but been with me since she passed after Katrina. She is up and down all night and walks thru the house bumping into walls as she walks. The Vet put on heart pills .I don't want to put Her down yet but her quality of life is just not there anymore. I am a truck driver home everyday and look forward to seeing her when I get home. Lately it's not the same. It's a hard decision but I think I owe it to her to put her out her pain. It's time she spends time with my Mom again.
—Guest Steve K

My Sable Girl

she is 12 this year and my shepard cross malamute has been one of the family since she was 3 months old. Lately she is forgetting to drink and where her water is, her appetite is in decline and I am worried about her going through the cold this winter. I am not looking forward to having to do what I know what's best for her, we all love her so much it seems impossible for any of us to have to think of when that day comes. I hope to get a couple more years with her but the thought of her suffering is the worst.
—Guest JW


I have an American Cocker Spaniel who was 14 on the 21st Feb 2014. He is blind deaf and has three legs but seems to be quite happy. He gets confused about which way a door opens sometimes and wets his bed at night. He will urinate were he is stood if he is in the house so we have to let him out a lot. He eats well but is very thin. I love him so much, we have had him for 13 years and cannot make the decision to let him go. I want him to go to sleep in his bed and drift away. It is so hard.
—Guest Allie

14 yr old Yorkie Poo

My little sweetie eats ravenously and is always looking for food or treats, he was not like that up until about a year ago. He also paces a lot now and seems quite restless. Not sure what this is, vet said he is ok??


My daughters 10 year d dog had every symptom associated with dog dementia. We thought we would try taking her to a dog chiropractor as a last resort. She came home and slept for 12 hrs was a bit restless the following night as we were advised she would be sore and then has been back to normal ever since. It only cost $20 and she only needed 2 visits. The same symptoms can be caused by pain from arthritis or just their body being out. He also advised us to give her a glucosamine 1500mg tablet daily. Available in supermarkets in vitamin section (the same as humans take) so any dog with these symptoms try a dog chiropractor first. He worked a miracle. We have our dog back
—Guest Belinda

It's time when

When your dog's quality of life is gone, you are keeping them alive for you. Please be kind and let them go to doggy heaven. We put down 2 of our little dogs this year - one 13 and the other 12. Soon, our 14 year old will be ready. No regrets, we promised them we would not let them suffer and they had good lives.
—Guest Nancy Adams

Senior Eskie Girl

The last couple of months there has been pooping in the house but no loss appetite or energy.....then suddenly while we were on a walk....she stopped and started walking extremely slow. When we arrived home her hind legs couldn't seem to make it up the single small step at the from door. The next day her snout was swollen as if she was bitten by something or had an allergic reaction. Vet couldn't find anything. Now she seems disoriented, and stays in her cubby under the stairs....its really strange like she suddenly got old overnight. She's 13 years old so I understand that this could all be normal.
—Guest Tina Reed

walks aimlessley at night

my male Chinesecrested is very alert during the day, but at night he walks aimlessley around the house, gets on my bed and after a few minutes he may climb off the bed or he falls off the bed. is this dimentia, that just occurs at night. along with dog food I vave been feeding him rice with chicken noodle soup. is this dimentia or just a new night habit?
—Guest Tom

Doggie dementia

I always said as long as my dogs aren't in pain I would not put them down. I'm a nurse and see all kinds of different suffering everyday. I never thought what would happen if my dog became demented with age. I adopted Orbit when she was 9 from our local shelter. She was a great fog and I loved her company. She got atypical cushings when she was about 11. This came with a host of symptoms and problems but we worked through them and she's been good this last year. She just turned 13 a couple of weeks ago . She began losing her sight with the cushings, was hungry and thirsty all the time, but she was a trooper and still seemed to enjoy life. Lately she's been getting lost in the house and yard, she seems to be in her own world, she started having bowel accidents in the house and really just sleeps a lot. I don't think she's in any pain. But what is her quality of life?? She is a shell of the dog she use to be. We watch humans suffer with dementia because we have to...
—Guest Candace

odd behavior in my puppy

it all started a friday night when my family and i were awoken by the loud crying of my 9 months old puppy. it was like she was having a break out. she started to scream and run around like crazy and while she is doing this she also pees and stools. we gave her a worm shot because a friend told us that it could be tap worm that she has. however, we gave her the shot and we continue to witness the strange behavior from her once in a while. i really want answers to this because it bring discomfort to my puppy and i refuse to see her suffering like this.
—Guest unknown

Chloe, the toothless wonder.

For about 14 years I've had my white fox looking Manchester x jack russle terrier. Recently I have noticed her having multiple number 1 and 2 accidents when she has been very good with barking and jumping up and down at the door to let is know it's her time to go outside. But these past few months are just not the same. She has gone to the vet for her regular teeth cleaning and pulling, She's got to have a minimum of 6 teeth by now. But since then, I've noticed a big change in her behaviour. she sleeps hard like a rock, and doesn't wake up when her name is called or poked. My mom could of sworn she was dead. Today I noticed she didn't look at me after calling her name several times, asking if she wants a cookie, or even when I said 'go for a walk Chloe?'. From googling I think the Anaesthetics caused her to lose hearing. Very sad to say the day I let my little girl go is coming soon.. So heartbroken. She will be the second dog I will put down. So hard losing a dog.
—Guest KC

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