Does Your Senior Dog Have Dementia?

Dementia can often go untreated for quite some time or forever, because there is no test to diagnose it.

Many of the signs of dementia can be explained by other health issues. For example, a dementia dog can forget his housetraining and pee inside, but that could also happen if a dog has a urinary tract infection, kidney disease or diabetes and can’t get outside fast enough or often enough.

That’s why I created this checklist!

This alone does not prove your dog has dementia, but it will go a long way to helping your vet make a diagnosis. In addition to bringing this with you to your appointment, it’s also helpful to make a list of all the changes in behavior you’ve been noticing. Even something you don’t think is worth mentioning, is worth mentioning. Try and note when it started, what time of day it happens, how long it goes on etc…

If you find out your dog does have dementia, read this ⇒ “A Comprehensive Guide to Dog Dementia

Read this ⇒My Life as a Dog with Dementia


Note: There is a downloadable version at the end of this post.

Sleep and awake patterns

___Changes in sleep pattern

___Sleeps more during the day, less at night

___Wanders or cries at night

___Keeps family up at night


___Performing the same behaviours over and over

___Having trouble eating or drinking 

__Doesn’t respond to her name

___Doesn’t respond to cues/commands

___Wanders aimlessly/paces

___Seems lost or confused in familiar surroundings like the house or yard

___Gets stuck in corners or other tight spaces and just stands there

___Has trouble with stairs

___Stares into space or at walls

___Difficulty finding the door

___Stands on hinge side of the door

___Does not get out of the way when the door is opening

___Stands at wrong door to go out

___Does not recognize family or friends

___Gets stuck under or behind furniture

___Has difficulty learning new things

___Walks in circles, usually in one direction

Housetraining issues

___May not remember the signal to go outside

___Goes outside and just wanders, then pees and poops in the house

___Does not let you know she has to go out like she used to

___A perfectly housebroken dog seems to have forgotten her training

Interaction with family and others in your household

___Does not greet anyone, or if she does she’s less enthusiastic than usual

___Does not look for attention like she used to

___Walks away when petted

___Withdrawn from family


___Seems fearful and/or anxious

___Easily startled

___Barks for no apparent reason

___Aggressive but never was before

___Trembles for no apparent reason 

___Afraid of people she knows

Activity level

___Less enthusiastic about her toys 

___Plays less or not at all

Downloadable checklist

Other dementia articles you’ll find helpful:

A Comprehensive Guide to Dog Dementia

My Life as a Dog with Dementia

How to Treat Dog Dementia




I’m a dog trainer specialising in working with senior dogs. Whether you have health & wellness concerns, or you’ve just rescued an older dog and need training tips, I can help! Sessions are conducted via Zoom and I offer a FREE 15 minute no obligation chat. To book, email or visit my website

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