Pet Dementia: Does it Exist?


Kitty Alzheimers, puppy dementia, are these even real things? You bet your bottom dollar. Though not the exact same as the human version, animals have a similar disorder designated “Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome”. All those times you thought Fluffy and Fido were acting just a bit off, perhaps even a bit confused, could have been early signs of this disorder.

dog brain

According to a study done a few years ago, by the age of 11 approximately 50% of pets have started to show signs of CD, and by the time your pet hits 15 that number goes up to 68%. That means that the majority of senior animals are struggling with some semblance of cognitive distress. Several pets begin to show signs of mental decline beginning at middle age, and for whatever reason it seems to have become more prevalent.



Some of the symptoms of cognitive dysfunction include:

  • Increased sleeping during a 24 hour period
  • Apathy
  • Lack of interest in activity
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inability to remember simple tasks previously learned
  • Increased anxiety through the day, notable discomfort
  • Staring into space with a blank look
  • Pacing
  • Unusual or unwarranted barking
  • Trouble recognizing familiar environments and/or people
  • General confusion


All of the above listed symptoms can be part of other conditions, and do not in themselves diagnose a pet with cognitive dysfunction syndrome. A variety of tests are often run to rule out other possible diseases. For instance, animals with incontinence as they age could fall into the CD category as well as those with seizures. In these cases the underlying condition is the cause rather than the actual dementia


What can you do about cognitive dysfunction disorder? To start, keeping your pet mentally stimulated is imperative. Much like humans, the brain is similar to a muscle in which if you don’t use it, you being to lose it. Mental exercises will keep your pet sharp and entertained while also strengthening your bond. In addition to mental stimulation, a healthy and appropriate diet along with regular physical exercise maintains a sound mental state. A healthy body promotes a healthy mind!


cat dementiaIf you think your pet may be suffering from a form of kitty alzheimers or doggy dementia, definitely pay a visit to your local veterinarian to rule out any other potential causes first. Once that has been done, do your best to keep your pet active, both physically and mentally. Doing this will pay off in the long run and can keep you both happy! If you have further questions feel free to contact us at 248 602 0807 or via email at

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