When dementia is mentioned, few associate it with an aging dog. But older dogs can suffer from the condition as much as humans.
In dogs, dementia is also known as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.
At first, the symptoms might be missed or explained-away as just oddness. But as the dementia progresses, there is no mistaking the strange behavior as anything other than a serious issue.
Not all dogs have the same symptoms, but some of the more common ones are similar to those seen in humans, including confusion, excessive sleeping, wandering off, restlessness, changes in bowel or urine habits, and what appears to be a general lack of interest in life.
What makes dog dementia difficult for human family members is knowing that their pet can be truly frightened by things and situations they no longer have the ability to understand.
Dog dementia by itself is not necessarily fatal, but older pets may also be suffering from other geriatric conditions simultaneously, like failing eyesight, arthritis, or heart disease.
The combination of dog dementia and other age-related issues, all contribute to declining quality of life and varying degrees of pain for an older dog.
It’s never easy for pet owners to know if, or when, euthanasia is the right decision for an aging pet. Adding dog dementia to the situation only makes it harder.
As with all physical and mental conditions, there will be good days, and days where it’s painful for you to watch your dog wander around in a miserable state of confusion.
For the most part, if your dog still shows an interest in food, there may be reason to believe that their pain or discomfort is tolerable. When they stop eating, it’s often a sign that all they really want is peace.
The right decision should always be what is best for the dog.
For more information on dog dementia, visit Vetmedicine