How Do I Know If My Dog Is Getting Dementia?

Dementia is cruel, both to the patient and their family. It’s also not restricted to humans. Aging pets can suffer from dementia, too.

In fact, according to, about 30% of dogs 11 years or older and nearly all dogs 13.5 years and older display symptoms of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CDD). Cats are also afflicted with dementia, but frequency rates are harder to determine because cat owners often don’t recognize or report the symptoms to their veterinarians.

And because one indignity is often not enough, some pets with dementia are also inflicted with other physical ailments, like incontinence, mobility issues, and/or deafness.


Here are some signs your pet may be suffering from dementia:

  • Memory loss
    • Forget simple commands
    • Can’t find the litter box
    • Not recognize family members
  • Disorientation
    • Continuously walk in circles
    • Bump into things
    • Appear confused
    • Get “trapped” in corners or on the wrong side of the door
  • Decreased interaction with family members
  • Changes in their sleep cycle
  • Cats often become more vocal
    • Crying or howling

Sadly, the symptoms of pet dementia are often dismissed as part of the natural aging process. Dementia is a medical disorder and should be treated as such. Please let your veterinarian know if your pet exhibits any of the symptoms above.


If the diagnosis is Dementia:

  • Ask your vet about treatment, including medication, supplements, or foods that support brain health.
  • Play with your pet.
  • Set up “play dates” with other pets.
  • Utilize Pet Enrichment games and toys, like the ones found at TLC’s Pet Daycare Enrichment Academy.

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