The Best Natural Treatment For a Dog With Dementia

the best natural treatment for a dog with dementia

dementia in dogs

Ever since Red was diagnosed 2 years ago, I’ve learned how many options there are to treat a dog with dementia.

When I first realised my sweet girl had dementia, (yes it was me my vet never mentioned the possibility), I was given a prescription only drug called Selgian, and told there was nothing else to treat her with. I have a fantastic vet, but he does not prescribe supplements so I took his recommendation and started her on it right away. As much as I prefer a more natural approach when possible, I will absolutely use drugs when necessary. She would wander and circle for hours without settling, I was at my wits end and didn’t even know the reason for her behaviour. I wasn’t going to say no to something that could help.

Long story short within just a few days I noticed a big difference, and haven’t looked back.

the best natural treatment for a dog with dementia

My search for more ways to help

Over time I started researching other ways to help with her doggie dementia symptoms. I did a lot of Google searches, and joined a FB group, and the amount of information I got was astounding. Supplements I had never heard of were actually helping alleviate some of the symptoms, and dog and parent could rest. Each time I found something of interest I ran it by my vet. He may not stock alternatives but he’s open to hearing about them and commenting when he can. 

I wish our vets were a bigger help and support in this instance

This is not vet bashing, this is me wishing more of them had a bigger arsenal and support system when it comes to recommendations to help our dogs. 

I see firsthand what a cruel disease dementia in dogs is. Of course all disease sucks (how else can I put it), but to watch your dog circling aimlessly, stuck behind a door, staring blankly at a cupboard or crying for no apparent reason, not much is more heartbreaking. 

A couple of vets I’ve spoken to will not recommend or even mention an option if they haven’t personally tried it, and there’s no “scientific” proof it works. I’m not going to comment on that, but I will say I’m happy to consider options based on the experiences of others in the same boat.

What is the best natural treatment for a dog with dementia?

The best natural treatment is the one that works for your dog. I’m not being funny, this is serious. I love that we have options and like anything, not every treatment will work on every dog. The best product ever may work for your dog, but not for mine so luckily there’s something else that may be the best for us.

A routine and a schedule are crucial

I am a firm believer in the importance of a routine and schedule in a dog’s life (cats as well to a certain extent), no matter the age. From the day a new dog walks into my home they are on a schedule, and in the case of a dog with dementia, it’s particularly helpful.

In their confusion they do get some comfort in knowing what’s happening when, and I see that with Red. She’s always known exactly when it’s feeding and walking time, but of course sometimes things come up and her schedule has to be adjusted slightly. When that happens she doesn’t handle it as well anymore, most noticeably if it’s first thing in the morning. She starts her day unsettled and can find it difficult to adjust once I’m back. What often happens is she can’t stop wandering, and she’s anxious. 

Red on a day trip with us on the train

She also used to be fine on day trips or a few hours out with us, but now I find she’s a bit more anxious during those times as well so I prefer to leave her at home if it won’t be for too long. 

A quick word of caution

Natural doesn’t mean harmless, so I do recommend you find a holistic vet or a vet trained in alternative therapies to speak with first regarding dosage, suitability for your dog etc… I know not everyone does that, so whether you decide to seek advice or go it alone based on what you read here and elsewhere is entirely up to you. 

Disclaimer

I’m not a vet, and aside from the products I’ve personally given my dog Red, the others I listed are based on research and experiences of other users.

Some on the list are the herbs or single ingredient, others are “finished” products that contain them.  

Where dosages are listed I would consult a holistic vet to determine whether it is a suitable product for your dog, and the dose is appropriate. 

Alternative/natural treatments

Choline

  • Needed to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that mediates brain function like mood. A deficiency of this neurotransmitter is believed to be a contributing factor for dementia. 
  • Shown to be effective in reversing signs of dementia in dogs and cats
  • “Recommended dosage is 50 to 100 mg daily for a 50-pound dog.” (Natural Dog Health Remedies)

Rosemary

  • Antioxidant
  • Helps prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain 
  • Helps improve memory and energy
  • Stimulates the appetite in people with Alzheimers
  • Slows the effect of free radicals on the body

Leave a light on

A few members in my Senior Dog Care Club FB group have mentioned leaving a light on at night. I’ve never tried that because Red is blind, but they have found it helps comfort their dogs, especially if they start to wander at night. Sounds like it’s definitely worth a try!

Omega 3s

  • Omega 3s are “good fats” that have anti-inflammatory properties, can reduce cholesterol and prevent blood clots. 
  • Krill Oil and Flaxseed Oil are both excellent sources. 

(A note about Krill, not to discourage you just inform – because it’s such an excellent source of omega 3s krill fishing has increased while habitats have been disappearing)

SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine)

  • Made naturally in the body and found in every cell
  • Antioxidant that can stall or improve mental decline
  • Used to treat many conditions including dementia 

Read more about it in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Coconut Oil

Carrington Farms organic coconut oil

Here is a brief explanation why coconut oil is sometimes recommended to help a dog with dementia. 

The theory behind coconut oil’s potential use in AD [Alzheimer’s disease] is that ketones might provide an alternative energy source for brain cells that have lost their ability to use glucose as a result of Alzheimer’s disease pathology.” (petmd.com)

An important thing to be aware of is the high calorie content in coconut oil, and large amounts can cause diarrhea, pancreatitis and gastrointestinal problems 

I have tried it for Red, and gave her about 1/8 tsp, and it didn’t take long for a touch of pancreatitis to rear its ugly head, and that’s too dangerous to risk so I immediately stopped.

Ginkgo Biloba

Has been used to treat dementia in dogs – enhancing long term and short term memory

To learn more, here are some interesting results of a clinical trial in an abstract entitled Reduction of behavioural disturbances in elderly dogs supplemented with a standardised Ginkgo leaf extract

Melatonin

Melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone secreted by the pineal gland at the base of the brain, is used for dogs with anxiety, suffering from epilepsy and to help restore the sleep/wake pattern which is often disrupted in dogs with dementia.

It works within just a few minutes of taking it, and can last for about 8 hours. In an article on the American Kennel Club website the recommended doses for dogs are as follows – 

Under 10 lbs – 1 milligram

10-25 lbs –  1.5 milligrams

25-100 lbs – 3 milligrams

Over 100 lbs – 3-6 milligrams

Obviously you can see quite a wide range in terms of weight, so it’s best to start with a lower dose and see how your dog reacts, then increase as needed. Have a chat with your vet to see what he has to say.

Bacopa

An Ayurvedic herb used in India to enhance memory and concentration

Vitamins C  

An anti oxidant that helps neutralize free radicals

Vitamin E

An antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals

B vitamins

Helps optimise the function of neurotransmitters in the brain

Gotu Kola

  • Traditional herb of both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine
  • Antioxidant
  • Improves the flow of oxygen to the brain, helping memory and improving mental awareness

Lemon Balm

  • Strong performance in Alzheimer’s studies
  • Reduces depression and agitation in dogs with CCD

Resveratrol (Japanese knotweed)

A chemical extracted from grapes, it is an antioxidant that protects against free radical damage and beta-amyloid deposits (problems that affect blood vessels)

Acetyl-L-carnitine

Helps support cognitive health

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Antioxidant used to slow CCD (canine cognitive dysfunction)

r-lipoic acid

Antioxidant used to slow CCD

Green Tea Extract

Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, that protect the brain against toxins, promote memory, and reduce inflammation. Green tea extract is a good source of flavonoids, but can be toxic to dogs if taken on an empty stomach or in too large a dose. If this is an option you’d like to explore, it should only be administered under the direction of a veterinary professional.

Valerian root

Valerian root is an herbal supplement with mild sedative qualities that humans have traditionally used to alleviate insomnia, stress, and anxiety. Integrative veterinarians also recommend it for their anxious canine patients. My vet recommends valerian with skullcap as he feels it works better. 

“Researchers aren’t precisely sure how valerian works, but they think it may increase the amount of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. “Valerian root is believed to work via the receptors of the GABA, which blocks nervetransmissions between neurons that stimulate activity. Therefore GABA has a calming effect,” explains Wynn, who is board certified in veterinary nutrition.” (petmd.com)

Bach Flower Remedies

Bach Flower Remedies rescue remedy for dementia in dogs

A system of 38 different flower remedies, Rescue Remedy is the one most commonly used for helping deal with anxiety in pets. I know it has gotten mixed reviews as to its efficacy in helping reduce anxiety, and it has never helped any of my dogs. Having said that, they claim to be able to help with a variety of issues by combining various remedies. If you’re interested in learning more about them, I have included a link to their website. 

Lavender essential oil

A few weeks ago I bought Lavender essential oil because I read it had a calming effect and helped with anxiety. Yesterday was the day I finally decided to open it since keeping it in the box was not going to help Red. There are various ways to use the oils but I decided I wanted to diffuse it, even though I don’t own a diffuser!! Thank goodness for Google and I found this very helpful article called “DIY Scented Votive Candles With Essential Oils.”  

CBD oil

This is all a bit confusing, people wondering if they’re giving their dogs marijuana. There is a difference between CBD oil from Hemp and CBD oil from the cannabis plant, and the oil given to dogs is not marijuana but hemp. It has been quite successful in helping with epilepsy, and many pet parents use it to help with the anxiety that accompanies dementia. As with most things, it has helped some dogs and not others, so it’s a case of trial and error. 

I haven’t tried it yet for Red although I did order a bottle so I could have it on hand. I’m a bit on the fence about it at the moment because I think what she’s taking now is fine, but I may have a reason to try it down the road.

Here are some brands recommended to me by a holistic vet and those who have found CBD oil helpful. One point – my holisitic vet recommends organic. 

Nuleaf Naturals

Bluebird Botanicals

Canna-Pet

Innovet

Creating Better Days

Sensi Seeds

CannaWell

Golden paste (turmeric)

Turmeric not only has amazing health benefits for us, but it does for our dogs as well, including helping with the symptoms of dementia. Given the huge amount of information about turmeric and golden paste I decided rather than writing an article about it and re-inventing the wheel as it were, I would link to some so you can get a better understanding of what it’s all about.

Healing With Turmeric Golden Paste For Dogs

USING TURMERIC FOR DOGS: LEARN WHAT IT’S GOOD FOR & HOW TO USE IT

Turmeric for Animals

Senilife (U.S.) – Aktivait (U.K.)

Senilife for a dog with dementia

Senilife supports brain function in older dogs and contains ingredients such as Ginko Biloba, Vitamin B6, cod liver oil and Vitamin E. 

Aktivait for a dog with dementia

Aktivait for dogs is a feeding supplement designed to help maintain optimal brain function during ageing in dogs. Aktivait capsules contain natural antioxidants and other nutrients renowned for their beneficial effects on the brain. Aktivait capsules help restore and maintain your dog’s energy levels and vitality, and can improve their memory and mental alertness.” (product description from petprescription.co.uk)

Heart Health

One of the members of my Facebook group, Senior Dog Care Club, recommends Heart Health by Animal Essentials. She has found it very helpful in helping her dog handle dementia. I have no experience with this product but I wanted to mention it for anyone interested in looking into it. 

nutramind

Nutramind is a high strength support for brain and mental function, consisting of Omega 3s, gingko biloba, fish oils and B vitamins.

My holistic vet mentioned nutramind and few weeks ago, but when she mentioned it was a high strength oil, I was concerned because of Red’s susceptibility to pancreatitis. I decided to try it, just not give her the whole gel cap at one time. It’s been about 3 or 4 weeks since I started her on it, and I give her one whole capsule a day which I prick and squirt onto her breakfast. Thankfully she hasn’t had any adverse reaction and I like knowing she’s getting all these very helpful ingredients.  

nutracalm

Manufactured in the UK by the same company that makes nutramind, it was created to calm anxious dogs, cats and horses, and help reduce unwanted behaviours. Red takes one in the morning and one in the evening to help with her anxiety. It’s as easy as opening the capsule and sprinkling it on her food with a little water mixed in. 

Here is the ingredient list –

 L-Tryptophan – is a natural amino acid found in many proteins which is involved in the production of the hormone Serotonin and has been shown to help support aggression and stress.

GABA – is an important neurotransmitter in the brain and is responsible for relaxing the nervous system. Maintaining GABA can help support anxiety and phobias.

L-Theanine – is an amino acid component of Green Tea and is involved in Dopamine neurotransmitter function. It has been shown to have a calming effect in dogs and cats.

Passiflora Incarnata – Commonly known as passion flower this extract has long been known for its ability to relax and reduce tension. Biochemical studies show that natural flavonoids are a key active ingredient and that Passiflora aids the effectiveness of GABA brain receptors which promote relaxation.

B Vitamins – helps to optimise the integrity and function of neurotransmitters within the brain.

Acupuncture

My senior dog Red having acupuncture treatments at her holistic vet in Spain

Studies have shown acupuncture and acupressure has helped humans with dementia, Acupuncture Rejuvenates Alzheimer’s Disease Patients” and has been known to slow the progression of canine dementia, supporting brain function and cognitive responses. Not to mention how beneficial it is to your dog’s overall well being. 

I took Red for twice weekly treatments for 3 months, and while I didn’t notice a difference at the time, when I stopped it that’s when noticed how much it helped with her overall wellness. 

Fruits and vegetables

Antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties found in certain fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk of cognitive decline i.e. spinach, blueberries, raspberries, carrots, tomatoes. Consult with your vet before adding them in case there are restrictions on certain foods due to health issues.

Hill’s Prescription Diet

A few days ago I discovered Hill’s makes a canine dementia formula. I know that a home made or raw diet would better suit an article on natural treatments, however this formulation does have a lot of natural supplements added. The quality of the supplements and how much has actually withstood the manufacturing process are not issues I can answer, but this is another potential weapon in the fight for our dogs. 

“Some natural compounds also exist for the treatment of cognitive dysfunction in North America. Hill’s Prescription Diet b/d Canine is the only diet tested in both laboratory and clinical trials. The diet is a sodium and phosphorus restricted senior diet with added alpha-lipoic acid and L-carnitine, which help mitochondria function more efficiently. It is also supplemented with antioxidants, such as vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium, flavonoids, carotenoids, and omega-3 fatty acids. This diet was tested in a laboratory for more than two years. From that study, the researchers learned that a combination of brain enrichment and this fortified diet is the most effective in improving learning and memory.” (dvm360)

Purina Bright Mind

This article, Nutrition and Your Senior Dog will tell you more about Bright Mind and how it may help your dog. 

How do I know how much to give?

Remedies, supplements, herbs and any other kind of medication should only be used under the instruction of a qualified holistic vet, or vet with training and experience in alternative protocols.

You can certainly find recommended doses on the internet, but it’s safer not to.

Patience please!

We like “quick fixes.” Have a headache, pop a pill, instant relief.

Herbs and supplements typically work much more slowly than Western medicines, and a significant amount of time is usually needed before improvements can be seen or measured in human or animal.

To contradict myself a little, I have read about many cases of doggie dementia where change took place quite rapidly.

Mental stimulation and environmental enrichment

Red showing the importance of mental stimulation

This is not a supplement or a drug, but it can be just as effective a treatment.

  • Stick to a routine for feeding, walking, training…
  • Daily exercise – the length, intensity and frequency will depend on the fitness of your dog. Even 5-10 minutes 2 or 3 times a day will help.
  • Mini training sessions – you taught him to sit and give you his paw years ago, but he may have forgotten. Hide a treat and get him to find it.
  • Go out – take a drive, visit a friend who has pets, walk in a new neighbourhood
  • Interactive toys and games – play tug of war, stuff a treat toy with a favourite food
  • Don’t re-arrange the furniture – it may confuse him
  • Get clutter off the floor – he may trip
  • Spend time together – let him know he’s not alone

Bioacoustically designed classical music

This has been the most incredible thing I could have done for Red. Even when she’s feeling particularly anxious, I put on this CD and she calms down very quickly. Created by a psychoacoustic expert and veterinary neurologist, studies have shown it reduced anxiety behaviour and induced calmness in 70% of dogs in shelters or kennels, and 85% of dogs in households.

Remember Me?: Loving and Caring for a Dog with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

Remember Me for people with dogs with dementiaThis is a book I have heard so much about, I thought it would be a good idea to mention it here. It is all about living with a dog with dementia and I know of so many people who have read it…and loved it. For those of us living with dogs with dementia we can use all the help, advice and support we can get and it seems like this book is a must have

Dementia in older dogs – conclusion

A diet rich in antioxidants, mental stimulation and some physical exercise have been known to improve cognitive abilities. If your dog does have dementia, get him to the vet as soon as possible, since your best chance of helping is before the disease has become too advanced.

Read about my experiences caring for Red, who suffers from dementia in dogs.

 

Let me know what supplements you have found helpful by leaving a comment below, or on my Facebook page.

 

I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, a Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.

The Best Natural Treatment For a Dog With Dementia

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31 thoughts on “The Best Natural Treatment For a Dog With Dementia

  1. This is so great to see! I have never been a fan of Western “medicine” and have often found that a more natural approach can be just as effective. Now finding that the same works for animals is really cool. Sometimes that Instant gratification of popping a pill, is not always the best long term solution!

    1. Hi James, I agree! I prefer taking a more natural approach for myself, why not for my pets as well! The problem with pills is they are often just band aids, curing the symptom without understanding why the problem occurred in the first place, and that’s what alternative medicine does. There are some really great outcomes using alternative medicine on pets, I just wish I had access to a holistic vet where I live.

      1. Hi Hindy Peaeson ,

        You were given a “prescription only drug called Selgian.”

        Has this drug helped your dog?
        If not, what have you given your dog that help?

        I am aware what may work for your dog may not work for mine, I just need a base line to work from.

        Your help will be greatly appreciated.

        Respectfully,
        Alfonso Martinez

        1. Hello Alfonso, yes I was and it did help. It has the active ingredient selegeline which in the US is found in a drug called Anipryl. CBD oil has been very helpful for so many dogs as well, but you’re right what works for one does not work for all, it’s often a case of trial and error. If your dog is a senior, which I assume he or she is, why not join my FB group Senior Dog Care Club. You can ask whatever you like and get tons of helpful advice.

  2. Hi Hindy

    I have to say that I found this article very interesting. I don’t have a dog but I do have a cat and you very kindly gave me some great advice on how to stop my little monster from ruining my furniture.

    It’s funny, when my dad was ill I researched a lot of alternative medicine for him so I came across a lot of the things mentioned in your article.

    How do you know if a dog is showing signs of dementia?

    Olive

    1. Hi Olive, thanks I’m so glad you found this post interesting! Cats can get dementia as well, although I haven’t experienced it with any of my senior cats. I find it interesting how much crossover there is between human and animal therapies. Signs of dementia are things like pacing, staring at the wall, getting stuck under or behind furniture, not seeming to recognise people he knows, forgetting his housetraining, not moving out of the way when a door is opening… Hope this helps!!

      1. Hi Hindy

        It helps a lot thanks. Fortunately, my cat is only a young one at the moment but I will know the signs for later in life, should it happen.

        Olive

  3. This is a really great resource for people who are struggling with dementia in their dogs. Giving people a list that they can take to their vet to discuss possible treatments is just a brilliant idea. The emphasis on stimulation and routine is really important too, all in all, a really fantastic post that will be super helpful to anyone who’s dog is suffering from dementia.

    1. Hi Steph, thanks very much. I think a lot of dementia cases go undiagnosed because people attribute many behaviour changes to old age. Having a list for people to tick off, and even bringing along a video of their dog behaving “strangely” will help the vet. The sooner we know it’s canine cognitive disorder, the sooner we can get dogs started on a treatment plan to help.

  4. I’m really glad to see you are promoting the use of alternative medicine in senior dogs. I typically don’t trust western medicine – too many side effects and usually it doesn’t so much cure the problem, just covers up the symptoms.

    You really seem to know your herbal supplements and what each of them can help with. I can imagine that if done correctly, this would be a lot safer for the dog than giving them any kind of modern medicine.

    Very interesting read. Keep up the good work – I have much respect for you and your site!

    Hannah.

    1. Hi Hannah, First of all thank you for your very kind words, and for your comment. I agree – it’s all about curing the symptom without any desire to understand the reason for the problem in the first place. I liked being viewed as a whole person (mind, body, spirit) not just a sore arm, or a stomach ache. Treating our pets with supplements, strengthening their immune systems and keeping things in balance may very well prevent problems that may otherwise have arisen.

  5. I am actually staring at my screen jaw-dropped on reading “canine dementia”. As per the internets definition of dementia: “a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.

    Soooooo instinct (canine) is affected too?

    I assume it would take a truly experienced and trained person to diagnose a canine as having dementia in its old age as to have a lifetime of never regulated bad habits growing up.

    Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. I encourage holistic treatment of all conditions, yet now can’t stop thinking that maybe the reason that the honey bees are disappearing is due to apiary dementia.

    Pet ownership is a tremendous responsibility. Just as an average un-supervised human will pick a Big Mac sandwich over a whole wheat healthy wrap, a dog will pick the unhealthiest nasty smelling food over what is good for it. There lies the “bond” of the human and the canine. Their behavior on well-being and lifestyle choices is almost human. They (pets) are like babies that need our help throughout its lifespan. The responsible thing to do at the time of feeding our pets and treating disease should be first holistic and as natural order as possible.

    unfortunately, we have stopped caring. thanks for keeping the flame going.

    1. Hi and thank you for such an in depth thoughtful comment. Diagnosing canine dementia is a process of elimination, and it takes pet parents who really know their pets to realise that something other than the natural ageing process is occurring. Yes, caring for others is a big responsibility, and it’s up to us to do all we can to ensure our pets are healthy, and their physical and emotional needs are met. I do think there is a lot to be said for taking a holistic approach to our own health, and our pets.

  6. Hi Hindy,
    thanks for the informative article on using a holistic approach for the treatment of dementia in senior dogs.
    I like the idea of a holistic approach but know little about it and would not trust giving that to my pet. Have they done studies to prove the effectiveness of certain holistic remedies and dementia in dogs?
    I like your suggestion of stimulating your pet through physical exercises and mental stimulation such a walking or playing games. I am a big advocate of spending quality time with your dog by interacting with them.

    1. Hi Dinh, Glad you found the post useful. These remedies and supplements should never be given to your dog, except under the supervision of a qualified holistic vet or one with experience in alternative treatments. As with alternative therapies for humans, those in the field believe strongly in them, and people taking them who have positive experiences with proven results think it’s wonderful, and of course you have naysayers who think it’s a load of nonsense. The same is true for dogs. I have spoken to holistic vets who believe it’s the best way to treat our pets, and read lots of testimonials from people who wouldn’t treat their pets using any other approach. On the flip side, I’ve read many disparaging remarks from vets who don’t believe in any of it. I don’t really understand people who have pets, and then ignore them. We all need love, attention, exercise and something to keep our brains active.

  7. Hindy,

    Thanks so much for this wonderful Senior Dog website you have, I really love it.
    While my wife and I are now pet less we both recently concluded caring for our older dogs and it was very difficult.
    I love and greatly appreciate your holistic approach to an older dogs health, I am not a fan of the Big Pharma and their greed and manipulation!
    I was wondering however if you have done any reading or research into another holistic approach using CBD oil (cannabidiol).
    It turns out that despite all the lies forced upon us over the last 40+ years about Cannabis it is good medicine for the EndoCannabanoid System in all mammals and some non-vertebrates.
    That means that humans as well as almost all our pets can benefit from a 100% safe holistic & beneficial medicine.
    cbdfarm with a dot org is a great site as is healthyhempoil and a dot com.
    I hope you can check them out, all my best,

    CannaGary

    1. Hi Gary, I’m so happy when I hear people are enjoying my site. I’m doing my best to present as much helpful information as I can. I know what you mean – it can be very difficult, and emotionally draining, but that’s part of what we signed up for isn’t it? Although I’ve been interested in alternative therapies in my own life for quite some time, I haven’t done anything about it as far as my pets were concerned for various reasons. What really sparked my interest was my concern about what’s been going on with Red, and the amount of medication she’s taking. No I haven’t heard of CBD oil, but thanks for leaving me the websites, I will have a look when I get the chance. Perhaps there’s another post in there somewhere!!

      1. Hi! I’m wondering if the drug you give to Red is Selegeline, just spelled incorrectly? The name it is sold by is “Anipryl”. Selegeline is the generic name.

        It has been a life changer for my Shih Tzu, Sweet Pea. I get it through our drug store, prescribed by the Vet.

  8. I my Jack Russell is 15 and is showing signs of Alzheimer’s and he just seems lost how is the best way to use rosemary as I have it growing and I have organic coconut oil and turmeric powder can I give this to him as a paste with black pepper ?

    1. Hi Lorraine, I’m very sorry to hear that and happy you wrote in. Are you sure it’s dementia? Could it be he’s not feeling well or perhaps losing his sight? I mentioned natural treatments that vets and others have used as possible treatments for dementia. They aren’t things I recommend personally or have used, nor would I ever try anything without consulting my vet first. For example you have to be careful with coconut oil because it can cause pancreatitis. The best advice I can give you is to see your vet and have him do a thorough check up. Dementia does not have a test but rather it is a process of elimination. If it is dementia, ask about Selgian or Anipryl (depending on where you live) and see what he says. Red has been taking it for about 1 1/2 years (4mg once a day) and it has been very helpful. If you see a holistic vet they may be able to offer you some natural support as well. My holistic vet has not found anything natural he can recommend. In addition to Selgian, a CD called Through a Dog’s Ear has helped Red settle down when she’s been anxious. You can find it on youtube and give it a try. Good luck and let me know what happens.

  9. This has been a helpful read. My 12yr jack Russell is already blind, having had glaucoma in both and having them removed a few years now. She is now showing these signs too, Increased sleeping, deafness Ike symptoms and disoriented, however, she has an increased appetite as it seems she forgets she’s had mealtime! I thought I would try coconut oil to help but having read your comments you seem to think vet medication is the main assistance?

    1. Hi Alex, apologies for the delay in replying. I’m so sorry to hear about what’s been going on with your dog. I can only speak to my experience. My vet here in the UK only has Selgian to recommend (Anipryl in the U.S.). He doesn’t practice, or offer, holistic alternatives, so in his experience this is the only treatment available. I must admit it has done a really good job helping Red. I did try coconut oil because I read it was supposed to help. My vet believed it would be something to give very early on, not at the stage Red was at. I did find a holistic vet in Spain recently, and I spoke with him about some of the natural ingredients I read were supposed to help. He was not familiar with them, and he did not have a natural supplement to offer. The drug they sell in Spain that is recommended for dementia is not one he believes does any good. I’ve been happy with Selgian, and a product called Nutracalm only available at the vet. I don’t think I would bother with coconut oil, and you have to be careful about pancreatitis. Have you been to the vet? Are you sure it’s dementia? Although there’s no test for it, it is diagnosed by a process of elimination. Let me know what your vet says/has said and take care.

  10. Thanks, Hindy, for another great article on canine dementia. I’ve been using your research as the foundation for my own quest for relief and support for my senior dog, Soldier. I’ve never found anyone who does such extensive and non-biased research into treatments and support techniques for canine dementia.

    1. You’re too kind Lori, and I am truly happy you find my posts so helpful. I try and be as thorough as I can, and prefer a non-biased approach when possible. If it’s something I believe strongly in, or a treatment or product I’ve used on my own dogs that have made a difference, then I give my opinion. Otherwise I prefer my readers to make the decisions that they feel are right for them. I hope you’re finding some relief for Soldier.

  11. Hi I just requested to join your facebook group. I am feeling to overwhelmed and looking for help. About a year ago my 17.5 year old cocker spaniel was diagnosed with Sundowners (which is believe is a form of dementia) – nighttime pacing. At that time we did a very high dose anti-anxiety med, which actually reset his system and was perfect (well off a few nights here and there but nothing horrible). That was until about a week ago when I took him to an emergency hospital. I won’t go into the details here, but due their care, his anxiety went through the roof. He also as a muscle pull on a front leg. Right now my vet has put him on Xanax and Rimdyl (for the injury) and we are seeing a very senior neurologist this weekend.

    His currently behavior includes: constant pacing, panting, staring into corners, slow head bobbing, inability to settle, etc. Currently aside from what’s above he’s only on Glucosamine (by injection ) and an Omega’s pill.

    I wanted advice before seeing the neurologist on what I should ask about in terms of:
    1) Medicines
    2) Home/natural treatements
    3) Anything else that can be done to help control his stress.

    I read the list of natural and frankly I was overwhelmed as to what to even start with, what to ask about, etc. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my dog and money really isn’t an issue.

    1. Hi Amy,

      First of all let me say I’m very happy you’ve joined my group, you’ll find lots of helpful advice there. It certainly sounds like your dog has dementia. Let me first say that many vets will either tell you there’s nothing you can do other than giving anti anxiety medications, or they may recommend Selegiline which is the one ingredient in a drug called Anipryl (US) or Selgian if you’re in the UK. Unless you’re seeing a holistic vet many won’t believe in or be comfortable recommending alternatives they don’t think work or have no experience with. Personally I highly recommend the drug solely based on my own experience. It made a huge difference for my dog Red in just a few days. Ask your vet about it, and if he says it doesn’t work (which some do) ask him if he’ll give you a prescription anyway unless there’s a reason he feels it will be a danger. As with so many things, it’s a case of trial and error because what works for some dogs won’t work for others. Melatonin helps with the sleep/wake cycle and CBD oil has been very successful for so many people in not only treating dementia symptoms but pain as well. I believe melatonin is 1 ml per 10lbs of dog but I would look that up, and my vet recommended 1 drop of cbd oil per day to start and see how it goes but my dog weighs only 8 or 9 lbs. Turmeric golden paste has also been incredible in helping people with dogs who are in pain from arthritis. I know how overwhelming it all seems but I would start with these. The most immediate option you can try is going to youtube and finding “Through a Dog’s Ear.” It’s a yellow cover and a 13 minute snippet is available. Within seconds of my dog hearing it she relaxes so you can try that right away. We talk about this a lot in the group so when you have some time have a scroll through and see what others are doing and of course ask for help. I hope this gives you a starting point and remember we’re always here for you.

  12. I have a 14 year old husky mix with CCD. What works for her is Citicholine (20 mg/twice a day) and a B vitamin complex. Although it took some time and patience, she is now back to her normal self!!! I can only hope that she can stay at this level for the rest of her life. Although I was doubtful that this would happen, I’ve got my doggy back!
    I also give her some other supplements for her joints that may also have contributed to improving her CCD, but the key supplement that was the major turning point for her improvement was Citicholine with which I eventually added a B-vit complex.

  13. I’m so happy I found your article. My 16 year old dog has lost most of his sight, but he still bounds across the backyard. About a month ago, he started turning in circles before he would walk toward me. I plan to look for a holistic vet and maybe try some of the supplements that have been mentioned.
    I’ll let you know how they work

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