Our dog, our most loyal companion, isn’t able to tell
us if he starts becoming forgetful or why he’s suddenly obsessively licking and
barking or why he’s awake at 3am wondering where everybody is.
Dog dementia – Did you know it’s real and do you know what it is?
Dog dementia, clinically known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, affects
nearly 30% of dogs aged 11-12 years and 70% of dogs aged 15-16 years. It’s
also often called “Doggie Alzheimer’s” because the symptoms are so similar to
Alzheimer’s disease which can affect us humans.
A dog’s cognitive function encompasses everything from perception and memory to awareness and judgement. Over time, that cognitive function becomes compromised when nerve signals fail to transmit as fast as they used to. If you’ve noticed any odd behaviour in your older pet that you don’t have an explanation for, it could be down to dementia.
Common symptoms of dog dementia include the following:
🧠 Difficulty navigating through familiar environments
When we let our Rosie (who’s almost 16) out, she goes to the wrong door
or the wrong side of the door when she wants to come back in. This is because
doggie dementia affects the part of the brain that is involved with
🧠 Confusion and disorientation
Rosie will sometimes bark or moan and we have no idea why or she’ll go
and lie on the empty shelf in the kitchen. I used to have a few books there but
once she started trying to squeeze into the small space I had to remove the
books and let her have the shelf for herself.
🧠 Regression in housebreaking skills
Rosie’s always been a little piglet when it comes to following “no pee/
poo” rules. I sometimes used to think she’d do it in protest when something
(we) upset her… like not letting her finish a tub of butter that she stole from
the fridge or a bag of nuts that she pinched from my hand bag.
🧠 Obsessive behaviours like licking and barking
Obsessive licking is the latest thing when it comes to Rosie’s strange
behaviour. In the morning she’ll sit in her bed and obsessively lick the edge
of it, irritating Jazmine who shares the bed with her. Because Jazmine has her
own issues it doesn’t occur to her that she can just leave and go to a
different bed. Instead she starts to growl at Rosie who is oblivious to the
frustrations she’s causing and what does Rosie do… she carries on licking. I then
have to move Jazmine to another bed 🙈.
Food for thought: Licking is thought to reduce stress hormone levels and release calming hormones.
🧠 Unprecedented anxiety
🧠 Reduced interest in past favourite things like food, family, and games
Rosie is still very interested in her food as well as everybody else’s
luckily. Her motto is “the more the better” and occasionally she will still
play fetch, chew on a Kong toy or destroy a fluffy one.
🧠 Unusual sleep/awake patterns
This is the biggest issue with Rosie and it was even worse with Kimi. Both used to wake us up at silly hours (like 3am) and demand their breakfast. We’re now at the point that if Rosie wakes up at 4:30-5am, it’s ok with me. I don’t even have to use my alarm anymore. If she’s not up by 6 I usually start to worry if she’s ok.
Dog dementia doesn’t have a cure but there is something you can do to help manage it and that is… use essential oils and watch their diet.
From my own experience and from other dog owners as well, the essential
oils in Comfort Blend can improve quality of life for
dogs with dementia. Bergamot essential oil (which is one of the main oils in Comfort Blend) has various uses when it comes
to the treatment of dementia symptoms. It’s also an excellent and popular
option for relieving anxiety and nervousness and even mild bouts of depression.
Ylang Ylang essential oil is another great oil when it comes to calming the mind and combatting stress, anxiety and insomnia.
“My Bichon has recently been diagnosed with doggie dementia and has been really unsettled and hysterically barking and not wanting to be away from me. In January I spoke to Jitka and she recommended that Comfort Blend may work but couldn’t guarantee it as it is new and she hadn’t tried it on a dog with what Disney has. I bought a bottle and although I know nothing will cure it, it has most definitely settled him down a lot. He’ll go and relax by himself in a cage and I can now leave a room without him panicking on my whereabouts
Thank you so much for this product.”
Jade Borrow and Disney
If you’re struggling with what might be Dog dementia in your dog, feel free to drop me an email and I’ll try help out anyway I can.