Similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans, dogs can suffer from dementia in old age. While the signs may not be blatantly obvious, there are behaviours your dog may exhibit which will give you an indication that they may be experiencing cognitive dysfunction.
Dogs who may have traditionally slept through the night without any issue, may shift their sleeping patterns and spend the night pacing through the house and then sleeping all day.
Your dog may start barking at people they know, at things that are not there, or even wake up in the dead of night to sit and bark incessantly.
Dogs may appear confused by things and environments they should know such as becoming stuck in a room, unsure where the doggy door is, or go wandering around the house like it's their first time.
Unable to recognise people
If your dog starts barking at your family members or friends that they’ve known their whole life, or appear not to know them at all, this is a sign of dementia.
Usually placid and laid back dogs can become aggressive, even to people they love and have known their whole life.
If you think that your dog is showing signs of dementia, speak to your vet who can confirm the diagnosis and provide you with guidance on how to best manage the condition.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for dementia and no way to reverse the impacts of your dogs' neurological disease. Medication can help to ease the symptoms, and with your care and patience, your dog can still lead a happy and healthy life.