Dementia in dogs—also known as “canine cognitive dysfunction”—is similar to Alzheimer’s in people and is caused by changes in the brain’s chemical balance. The condition often gets off to a slow start with mild, almost imperceptible changes but can speed up quickly. If your dog is getting on in years, be on the lookout for symptoms like disorientation/confusion, anxiety, restlessness, irritability, apathy, lack of self-grooming, loss of appetite, and changes in sleep cycles.
We don’t yet have a way to cure dementia in dogs any more than we do in humans. But you can make a great deal of difference to your dog’s condition by keeping up a stimulating daily routine of exercise, play, and training. Your veterinarian may also recommend adjustments to your dog’s diet as well as nutritional supplements like Omega-3, vitamin E and C, selenium, beta carotene, and L-carnitine, all known to have a positive effect on cognitive function in dogs.