Dogs Community
10.4k Members
Avatar universal

Does my dog have Dementia?

Hi, so glad I found this site. We have a 15 year old border collie. 2 weeks ago, she was sitting down in the kitchen when she suddenly flopped over and shook. At first we thought she just laid over to hard like she usually does on the hard floor. But then we seen her shake. 2 nights ago, while laying on her pillow she started shaking like she was dreaming, but I could tell she wasn't. We are sure they are little seizures. She is also acting very "ignorant" for a dog. I will let her out and back in and 5 minutes later, same thing. She will do this all night. She "bang" on the door until I tell her to lie down.  I do ignore most of them because all she does is stand on deck and look around.  So many other weird behaviors she has now. My husband said she might have dementia. Is that possible for a dog to have?  I know in my heart she probably won't make it to spring. One of our friends just lost their Pyrenees this morning to a seizure. So heartbreaking. I just want to know if there is something we can do for our poor girl. Thanks!
4 Responses
10821430 tn?1439580883
You have done an AMAZING job loving and caring for this
little lady as she's been with you for 15 years,how lucky
she has had such loving "fur parents."
It sounds like she may be having small seizures,if so(?) the
"distant or ignorant" actions may be the result of a seizure
or something else but they may effect her ability to focus.
I feel she needs to see your vet for a evaluation and check-
up to get a better idea on what she is doing and acting,I'd
take her in as sometimes it is possible to use medication if
it is in fact seizures?
Yes,dogs as they get older( and she is a very elder lady at
15) a dog can start to loose some of their ability to act and
be as sharp as they once were.
Your best way to help her is to take her to see her vet,this
you can do for her to help her and get some answers for
Please come back,let us know how things turned out as
what effects our own fur kids and the answers may help
another with their fur kid.
HUGE HUGS for your little girl and I hope you find a way
to get her on a better road.
441382 tn?1452810569
Dogs are subject to something called Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.  The initial symptoms of the disorder are mild, so mild, in fact, that you may not even have realized that they were symptoms at all.  Clinical signs of CDS are found in 50% of all dogs by the age of 11, and by the time they are 15, some 70% of them are showing at least one sign.

Many of the symptoms are things that the average person would simply chalk up to the fact that the dog is getting older.  Dogs will exhibit disorientation and/or confusion, irritability, anxiety, restlessness, a decreased desire to play, seemingly forgetting their housetraining, inability to follow familiar routes, don't want to clean themselves with any regularity any more, fecal and urinary incontinence, changes in sleep habits, and changes in appetite.

The best thing to do would be to take your dog to the vet to have a complete blood workup done to make sure all of her systems are functioning correctly (liver and kidney values, etc.) just to make sure it's CDS and not anything else.  In a 15 year old dog, however, it's pretty much a safe bet that that's what it is.

If anything, the thing that would worry me would be the shaking, and not because of seizure activity because seizure activity can be controlled with medication.  In dogs, shaking often signifies pain, so I am wondering if there are arthritic or neurological changes going on in her body that are painful for her.  Again, there IS medication to help her with this, but if it's pain that is causing her to shake, you want to get on that ASAP so that she doesn't have to live in pain when you can give her medication to control it.

Please keep us apprised of her situation and let us know what the vet says.  Good luck to you.  You must be a WONDERFUL dog mom to her for her to be 15 and just now dealing with this.  She's a lucky girl to have you.

A huge thank you for your answers. So far, she hasn't started going potty in house. (Thank goodness), but she is so restless at times..she drives me crazy. And she is terribly irritable with our other two dogs. My husband chalks it up to not wanting to give up seniority in the household. And forgot to mention that she has a really hard time getting up the very small step into our house at times. She thinks about it and then hops in the door.  And she has a hard time getting up from floor alot of the time. Just this morning, her back legs more or less gave out on her way to "breakfast". Though that might be due to the new floor in kitchen.  I will definitely get her in for a checkup. Been along time. Our vet usually just gives the three dogs their shots when she comes out to do our heifers in the spring. Due time for our Katie to get her senior checkup. Thanks! I will keep you updated !
441382 tn?1452810569
You are more than welcome.  It sounds like she may have at least some of the signs of CDS, BUT, they can also be attributed to other components of aging, so you never know.  The irritability, while a sign of CDS, can also be because she doesn't want the other dogs bumping into her and either knocking her around or bumping into her and making her hurt a bit.  She apparently has some arthritic changes from the way you describe her having a hard time getting up from the floor and getting up the small step into the house, so that can go a long way toward explaining the irritability.

I will look forward to hearing back from you on how Katie is doing.  My rough collie girl that I lost five years ago was named Katie, I always loved that name for a girl dog.  :)   Give your Katie a gentle hug from me.

Will do. Thanks Ghilly.
10821430 tn?1439580883
Oh my gosh,when you said the vet usually just came
out to give vaccinations,check over the fur kids when
the vet came to check the heifers in the spring it sure
brought back special memories for me. Our vet used
to do the same when he came to do our horses and
float teeth and over all checkups,ahhh those were
the days! ( now I ride a "iron horse" but still miss the
living horse days and shows.
I think Ghilly might be one to something when she'd
said with Katie's elder age,she might be havinf issues
with pain and sore muscles (meds for this to help her)
and each bump hurts HER A LOT so Katie is reacting
to her pain and wants to keep them away.
I also know when we put new tile floors in our kitchen
my elder girls had issues with walking or trying to run
on them and my older Yorkie (15) still had her "run"
moments but she slid and slipped. I put a long carpet
runner in the kitchen,it was easier for her to walk or
'fast walk" and also put some other rugs in the other
areas,making it easier for her to get up also.
(like you,our fur kids are not spoiled they are just
I had her on Glucosamine (1,500 mg) with 1,200 mg
of Condroition each morning,smashed in her food,a
herbal vet said if you crush the pills it goes into their
system faster.( so I used pliers and crushed it,one pill
had both herbs in a single capsule) BUT it does take
at least a month to work as it is a herb so,for Katie a
vet meds to help would work quicker if she is in pain,
all our fur kids are on the herbs every day,each day
even the younger ones.( preventitive measures)
Arthritic dogs will have a heck of a time with steps
or getting up, the older joints and muscles just plain
hurt,anything really at her age can cause pain,I could
really see this as Shelby aged,even with the herbs
but I didn't want her on vet meds and this is just me.
( a 3-1/2 pound Yorkie I just lifted up and by passed
steps and foot stools) but you have a Border Collie so
Katie girl is a mite bigger to lift.
I know with all the love and caring and devotion you
give to your Katie,the vet will have a way to make her
more comfortable and can ease her pain.
HUGE HUGS and gentle pets to your Katie,I KNOW
you will find the right combination to help her.
Thanks for the update and please let me (us) know
how the sweet girl is doing after the vet visit.( with a
vet medication you will see an improvement in a week
or so in Katie)
Jan ;)
Have an Answer?
Top Dogs Answerers
675347 tn?1365460645
United Kingdom
974371 tn?1424653129
Central Valley, CA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Members of our Pet Communities share their Halloween pet photos.
Like to travel but hate to leave your pooch at home? Dr. Carol Osborne talks tips on how (and where!) to take a trip with your pampered pet
Ooh and aah your way through these too-cute photos of MedHelp members' best friends
For people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the COVID-19 pandemic can be particularly challenging.
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.