As with humans, dogs can also suffer from dementia, and many dog owners are completely unaware of it.
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (or simply, canine dementia) is a terrible condition that affects a significant portion of senior dogs.
Disorientation, restlessness, spinning, pacing, and forgetfulness are just a few of the many symptoms of this condition, which unfortunately affects all breeds.
That is exactly what happened to Zoe… a beautiful, 15-year-old dog from Minnesota.
Zoe was diagnosed with canine dementia at 14 years old.
“The vet called me and was basically describing canine cognitive dysfunction, which is canine dementia,” Nikki, Zoe’s mom, told GeoBeats Animals. “And my first words were, ‘you have got to be joking me.’ I was like, ‘she has dementia?’”
Nikki, as well as the rest of the family, was completely shocked with the news because they never knew this condition was an actual thing in dogs.
They had to learn all about this illness and how to live with it.
Sadly, it wasn’t easy at all, especially when they noticed that Zoe started to forget them. It was heartbreaking.
“She gets really nervous and gets lost a lot. On occasion, I’ll say her name and she’ll kind of look at me like, ‘who are you?’ But then it clicks, and it’s like, ‘she’s like as happy as ever to realize it’s me.’”
At night, Zoe started to pace and pant all over the house, so they had to adjust their nightly routine.
Making Zoe feel comfortable and safe became their priority.
Here are some of the canine dementia tips that the family learned along the way:
@deafdogofmn How we manage Zoe’s #canine #dementia ❤️ #cbdoil #CCD #elderdog #fyp #fypシ #tips #youngatheart #robinwilliams #viral ♬ original sound – 👑👨👧👦Rob Brown👨👦👦👑
Living With Canine Dementia
Zoe shares the house with her deaf sibling, PeeWee… a rescue from Indianapolis. They assumed he was born deaf.
After fostering PeeWee for a couple of months, the family decided to adopt him. Although he is completely deaf, PeeWee is actually a really smart pup who even knows about 10 signs.
The first time Zoe and PeeWee met, they simply fell in love with each other. They quickly became inseparable and started doing everything together.
“He always looked up to her when we first got PeeWee and what to do next. But now the tables have kind of turned. She looks for him or to him on what to do next. It’s heartbreaking to see her,” Nikki said.
Zoe also needed constant care because as a result of her being kind of lost and confused, she would often eat things she wasn’t supposed to. “If I drop a tissue on the floor, she will run and think it’s food and try to eat it.”
The family had to learn to take extra measures in order to make sure that Zoe is safe.
Although she was suffering from this terrible illness, Zoe was still a very happy dog.
According to their vet, many dogs with dementia decline within a year, so much that owners choose their quality of life over how they’re feeling.
For about a year and a half, Zoe was, for the most part, doing okay, but then her condition started to get worse.
One morning, she woke up and they immediately knew something was wrong. Zoe couldn’t walk anymore, and she was urinating on herself and constantly vomiting. As the day progressed, she couldn’t even lift her head up.
It was time for her to go, even though it completely broke their heart.
The family posted a video that Zoe enjoyed her final hours smelling all the smells at the park on her last walk with the family, completely at peace.
@deafdogofmn Forever in our hearts. 💔 We are all just heartbroken and devastated. 🌈 #missyou #loveyou #rainbowbridge #petloss #mybaby #heartbroken #lost #sobbing #fyp #fypシ #viral #firstlove #trending #thissucks ♬ original sound – charile
Despite the awful illness, she was very loved by her family and her deaf sibling.
Zoe’s family is a huge advocate for deaf dog and pet loss awareness, as well as teaching people more about canine dementia, so if you need some tips or consolation, please follow them on Instagram and TikTok.