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Dog Dementia
Doctors are now recognizing an illness in older dogs that is similar to human dementias. They are calling it Canine Cognitive Dysfunction or CCD. It can onset around 9-10 years and by 15-16 years many dogs have at least one symptom.  It explains why a beloved family pet seems to change and become almost a stranger.  There is not much in the way of treatments right now, but there is some help and it is better to have your dog properly diagnosed.

This is sad. We are now able to keep our dogs alive longer and if we do there is a chance that they can develop CCD.
I just hope they find a treatment that helps. 
This does explain why the perfect pet acts different when it gets older. It hasn't forgotten house training or forgotten who you are. The dog's brain is no longer working right.

Now I wonder about other older pets. Do they develop dementias as well?
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I often wonder how much of a "given" dementia with advancing age has to be...

I wonder about pollutants, plastics, toxic metals in the system, substances in tap water etc which might be making dementia/alzheimers more prevalent nowadays.

This will affect all creatures.

All I can say is Misty was nearly 15 and showed no signs at all of any cognitive dysfunction. Not even the beginnings of it.
She didn't have a perfect life but I did my best to make sure she got (mostly) human-grade foods. And she had plenty of fresh air and exercise in a green environment with little traffic-fume pollution.  I can't help thinking a well-oxygenated system helps.
And a day to day interest in life with good mental stimuli.

But I don't know why so many develop it. I just wonder if it's something in our modern environment/lifestyle which makes it more prevalent.
Quote:I often wonder how much of a "given" dementia with advancing age has to be...
I don't believe it is a given for humans or animals.
I think there are factors like food, exercise and mental stimulation that play a big part. A lot of city dogs never get a good run outside. They seldom see the outside. People are terrible when it comes to food and vitamins and a general well balanced nutrition. I mean this for people and their pets.

Some cases of a dog peeing in the house could be dementia, but the dog also might have an aging bladder that has less control.

A dog that seems lost in its own house might just be having problems seeing. The dog might not hear as well. our senses do decline with age a bit and so does our sense of balance.  With our pets we just need to keep that in mind and make allowances for the changes. 

There probably are cases of dementia in dogs, but that doesn't mean we should assume all old dogs have dementia or see any change in a dog to be the signs of dementia.

People are like that over Alzheimers. If you misplace something everyone immediately gives you that look. Now they are going to do that to the family dog.  It is hard to recognize an illness or condition and tell people about it without creating and "epidemic" of people thinking they are seeing signs of the condition. If it leads people to get an older dog checked by a vet that is good. If it leads to people abandoning or euthanizing a pet it will not be good. I guess it depends on how the information is handled and how it is made public.
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Really well said there, Catherine.

A neighbour (human Smiley4 ) came to me with tears in her eyes the other day. She had forgotten her pin  number at the bank! She was so scared she might have Alzheimer's starting! She has no other symptoms and her mind is sharp.

I told her I forgot MY pin number once when I was about 30 and fighting fit. What a silly fuss and bother that a lot of driving about!

I often wonder if the trouble is that the more attention a disorder gets, the more people think themselves into focusing on it and worrying about every tiny mistake as being a "symptom"?

Dementia may be more common now as many people and animals are living far beyond the lifespan they used to have. But I know quite a few humans in their late 80s and in their 90s who have no signs of dementia, even though some have other health problems.
Strangely, all of them have always enjoyed outdoor walks and exercise.

And yes there are many causes for odd behaviour in animals, including older animals. Some like you say, may have deafness, partial or complete blindness, urinary infections,  and other complaints of old age, or may just have become more sensitive to things like traffic noise, sudden surprises, etc.

There is nothing unnatural or frightening about changing as we grow older, and being less capable in some ways, and that doesn't have to mean we have dementia.
Quote: I often wonder if the trouble is that the more attention a disorder gets, the more people think themselves into focusing on it and worrying about every tiny mistake as being a "symptom"?
This is the problem of medical information on the internet.  People get convinced that they are seeing certain conditions (in themselves and their pets) because they think they see one symptom.

Forgetting a pin number is very normal. Everyone forgets a pin or a password. I have them all written down. It is the only way I can remember them.

Some actual memory issues can be caused by stress, depression and even nutritional deficiencies.
Dementia and alzheimers are more complex than a simple case of forgetting something. People lose track of concepts.
Dogs that seem confused might be having trouble seeing.  If the dog does have dementia then it can be cared for lovingly and helped by medication and special care. I would think touch and constant reassurance would help. Keep the dog closer on walks so it can find you by scent. Scent is one of the more basic senses. Don't leave anything out that a dog could trip over.

I am sure there are many more ways to help an old dog feel better.
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