You may be noticing some odd behavior in your senior dog, but it may or may not be dementia. To be sure, you will always want to take your dog to the vet first and rule out any other issue that could be causing similar behavior as dementia. Obviously, if it a specific illness you can treat the illness and things may get better. If there is nothing wrong with your dog, then it may well be dementia and your vet can recommend things or medication that could help. Don’t assume, though. Get your pet checked out and be sure you know exactly what you are dealing with.
About.com has an article that deals with different behaviors that might indicate dementia. For example: getting lost in corners or confused by doors. They may also seem anxious and pace or they might forget their house-training and simply go in the house the way a puppy might. Senior dogs may also not greet family members in the same way or can bark for no apparent reason. Sleep patterns and eating can also be affected, so be sure you keep an eye on new patterns or issues.
8. Doesn’t respond to voice commands as before
The first thing to rule out here is hearing loss, which is quite common in senior dogs. In the case of cognitive dysfunction, the dog cannot process the command and act on it as before. The dog may even be confused about his or her name when called.
9. If you notice some of these signs with your pet
Keep a log of what behaviors you have noticed, the timeframe or how often you notice these behaviors, and make an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss. As noted above, the first step for any behavior problem is to rule out any medical causes first. (Full article here)
Arrive at your vet’s office with clear examples of how your dog used to behave and what is happening now. They will want you to be as specific as possible so that they can properly asses what is happening and determine if something else could be going on or if your dog has dementia.
There are things that can be done to help and knowing exactly what you are dealing with is always best. It can be frustrating to see your pooch display confusion or forget his/her obedience training. Take a breath. Be patient…and see the vet as soon as possible.