Doggy Dementia

Share advice for keeping your aging dog happy and healthy


Barked: Thu Jul 11, '13 1:47pm PST 
My 14 Y/O Siberian Husky "Happy" is starting to show signs of Dementia. Happy has always been a champ when it came to house breaking, adapting to apartment life, and always sharp as a tack. When we got her as a puppy, Happy was potty trained in the first 2 days and never had an accident since then. In 2009 I moved to NY for work and in the interim she was staying with my mom until I could find a place that was ok with a dog over 20 LBs. During that time she was accidentally let out of the backyard by the gardeners. She was lost for 2 weeks and ended up losing almost a third of her body weight and a 2 inch section of her tail where she was bit by something while sleeping in a sewer drain next to a freeway offramp. Even when she went from living next to the beach chasing seagulls to a 1100 sq ft apt in manhattan she adapted and overcame.

Last month she turned 14 and for the past 3 months she has definitely started showing signs of dementia. I have a staircase in my duplex and she has always traversed the steps slowly but now she whimpers at the last 4 steps and just takes a leap. I have since put a gate up so she cant go up and down the stairs when I'm not home. I also noticed that she is staring into corners and moving her head closer to the ground to see things. All of that is tolerable and manageable with attention and a gate but she seems to have forgotten potty training. Starting 2 weeks ago she seems to have forgotten how to signal me when she needs to go out or where her pee pad is. I'll see her walking around the apartment and then without any warning spins, sniffs or barks she will just go into poop position and do her thing in the middle of the living room. The other night I was in my home office when I caught a whiff of that unmistakeable odor of poop. I had a window open in my bedroom since the AC was on in the rest of the apt so that stank just started to billow through the apartment. She hap pooped again and stepped on it, even worse she was laying next to it. I took her to the vet and he said it was most likely dementia. Its really frustrating to see my buddy lose her marbles so quickly. This is the first time Ive had to deal with this and the dementia in addition to her skittish tick makes the situation really not fun.

Any advice?

Member Since
Barked: Thu Jul 11, '13 3:42pm PST 
I know exactly what you are talking about. I have a 19 1/2 yr. old border collie, sheltie mix who has been showing the same signs for the past year. She will walk in circles until she almost falls over, she has no idea where she is and not only does she poop in the house, she walks through it and eats it. It is heartbreaking to watch her and we are in the process of letting her go. The hard part is her body is still very healthy, and her appetite is great but her mind is gone.
There is a product called Cholodin that you can try, it didn't help my dog but I have heard good things about it.

Good luck

Barked: Tue Jul 16, '13 2:24am PST 
I know what you are going through and while I can't offer any advise, I can offer you support. hug


Earned my wings- Jan. 22nd
Barked: Tue Jul 16, '13 9:12am PST 
You can try Cholodin. It has been very helpful for Tucker. http://www.amazon.com/Cholodin-Canine-50-Chewable-Tablets/dp/B00076H STS/ref=pd_sim_petsupplies_6

Barked: Thu Jul 25, '13 8:36am PST 
Thanks for the support and suggestions.

She continues to have her accidents and she definitely has her good days but recently the accidents seem to be more frequent. I'm glad that she still pees on her pad but those random land mines are still lurking around the apt. Funny thing though like most places in NY, we have a mouse problem in the office building. When I bring her to work she's free to roam the office but she will actively seek out holes that mice have made and lay down on her side scratching at the hole. She hasn't actually caught one but she will spend hours just watching the holes, even taking naps next to them and then jump up all of a sudden spin scratch and go back to sleep.