Can Dogs Get Dementia?

Can dogs get dementia

Dear Hindy,

Can dogs get dementia? I’m asking because my old dog Barney (he’s 14) has been behaving really strangely the past few months. I feel terrible because I figured it was him just getting older, but my friend told me it’s probably dementia. Her old dog had it and she recognised some of the signs of dog dementia. I can’t believe it I’m freaking out and don’t know what to do. Please help!!

Thank you,


Can Dogs Get Dementia

Dear Regina,

I’m so sorry to hear about what’s going on with Barney, but please try not to panic. I know how tough that is but I hope you can relax for a moment and take a breath…at least long enough for you to read my reply!  

In answer to your question can dogs get dementia, yes they most certainly can but…does it mean your dog definitely has it? No it certainly does not!

There is no one test to diagnose dementia in a dog, and many of the symptoms can be due to other health issues. For example –

If your dog

  • is pacing and can’t settle he could be in discomfort or pain
  • has been having accidents in the house, he may be drinking more due to new medication
  • gets stuck behind a door or under a table he may be losing his vision

See where I’m going with this?

Here’s my best advice

Make an appointment to see your vet sooner rather than later. Once you’ve done that, think back to some of the behaviours you’ve been seeing you assumed were part of the normal aging process and write them down. If possible, take a video because that can really help your vet with a diagnosis.

If it’s been awhile since your dog has had a check-up, please make sure blood and urine tests are also done. Once the test results are back you will have a clearer picture of what’s going on and you can then take the next step.

If your dog is very anxious and you want to try something right now, an Adaptil plug in, spray or collar might help and look into Rescue Remedy as well. These are just a couple of products you can find easily.

Good luck and please let me know how your appointment goes.




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Hindy Pearson
I am a dog trainer and behaviour consultant, specialising in working with first time dog owners. Whether you're thinking of getting a dog and aren't sure if it's the right time, or you've been sharing your life with one for awhile but there are issues you can't resolve, I am here for you. No matter where in the world you live I can help.


  1. Ruth Epstein

    Great post and was thinking the same lately with Layla being 12 and when walking she goes one direction and then suddenly stops and wants to go back from where we came and other little things but my vet says she is 100 percent healthy so am just keeping an eye on her.

    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Sounds like she’s fine, but in my experience and that of many many group members, vets aren’t always aware of dementia symptoms, and certainly not treatment options. You know you can always ask if you have any concerns!


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