Until recently, I never knew that dogs can get senile. While I’ve seen old dogs get slower and sleepier, this is my first time to witness my dog’s cognitive decline.
Three of my dogs are in the 14 -15 year old range, and one of them has been showing signs of anxiety, confusion, and restlessness – the only one among my geriatrics and seniors to exhibit such symptoms. He has a bad hip and despite medications, is unable to go down the stairs, limiting him to the second floor of our home.
Whenever we are on the first floor, he whines and barks non-stop, not stopping until we all make our way to where he is. He is miserable when we would have our meals, since he could no longer be by my foot as he used to be during mealtimes, ready to get a morsel from whatever I was eating. We’ve tried to make him feel a part of the routine by giving him his meals just as when we are eating, but this only comforts him some of the time. Thankfully, his appetite has not changed, and he can still be comforted by food.
At night, he also whines for no reason. His sleeping schedules have become erratic. He does not know where to sleep, appropriating various spots including the shower stalls of two bathrooms. He barks when other dogs approach him, and he also blocks some of them from passing – whether on purpose or not, I cannot tell.
I’ve noticed that there are times when he seems incontinent, as he walks without seeming to know that he is doing his business.
Occasionally, he would come to ask for some pats – something he used to do repeatedly when he still had his full mental faculties. As I pat him, I could see how much this comforts him.
A friend has suggested the use of some supplements, and I am about to try them. Hopefully, it helps him and calms him down.
It’s not easy seeing our friends go this way, and I must say it is not at all easy. All I can do is hope that in the sunset of his life, he continues to find comfort and joy in just being around our family.