Our precious Annie Laurie (15.5) has advancing canine dementia. I thought I'd share what can happen and how we deal with it. Maybe some of the things we've learned can help some of you. 1. Increased sleep: Annie sleeps a lot during the day. Old dogs do, so we let her enjoy her naps. 2. Increased anxiety and pacing: Annie becomes anxious when anything upsets her routine or at her sundowny hour (8:00 pm). We have started giving her Zen Pets to reduce anxiety during the day. At night, she and DH go upstairs where he reads and Annie sleeps until it's last potty call. Routine is important for old dogs. Benadryl is useful in some cases (we use it at night), and there is a prescription med available for canine dementia, but we prefer to avoid the potential side effects. 3. Getting lost in the house or stuck in corners: Sometimes Annie gets disoriented and winds up between a stereo speaker and a table. Fortunately, she usually barks to let us know "We are not amused." We often put her out in the backyard to potter about, but in cold weather, we have to remember to bring her in after a short while. Usually she barks when she's ready to come back in, but just as often, she just stands there staring. Old dogs must get lost in memories or just in the fog. 4. Waking in the middle of the night: Every night, Annie wakes us (usually between 1 and 3, but sometimes later) because she has to go out. We take her, of course (cheerfully, because we owe her so much that this is the least we can do). After she comes in, she has to have a long drink from the bathroom dog bowl (no, not the toilet). We've learned that we have to stay awake until she returns to put her up on the bed again. Otherwise she wanders and gets lost and frightened. The whole process takes about 15 minutes, and whoever takes her (DH prefers it be him) usually has no trouble going back to sleep. 5. Nighttime agitation: Annie has begun having night agitation. She stands up on the bed, panting and trying to pace about. We've started giving her 25mg of Benadryl before we all go to bed, which has stopped this. 6. Problems eating: Annie has always been a hearty eater (anybody remember the 29 chocolate covered cherry cordials?). Now, however, with her front teeth missing and some issues from what we think was a TIA (transient ischemic attack, sometimes called a mini-stroke), she sometimes has trouble eating. She has a hard time starting (will stand in front of the bowl staring), and once she does, she may stop as soon as her mouth doesn't immediately find food. We've stopped giving her canned food mixed in with her kibble because she can't manage mushy food unless she's hand-fed. We'd like to hold that at bay for as long as we can, so we're just moistening her kibble slightly and placing it in a smaller bowl. That way, she always finds food until it's gone, or nearly so. We've also raised her bowl, which makes it easier to reach. 7. Accidents: They happen. Annie will usually make it pretty clear that she has to go by getting up and walking. We also know that 20 minutes or so after eating, she has to go poop. If we fail to read the tea leaves correctly or forget Her Majesty's schedule, she cheerfully squats right in front of us and lets loose. 8. Irritability: Annie was always the Fun Police ("There will be no amusement after 8 pm!"). Now, however, she is even more intolerant, especially since she can't back up. If another Sheltie appears to be in her path, she stands and yells until they move. If I try to brush her or pick her up when she doesn't want to be picked up, she bites. Of course, she has no front teeth, so this is futile, but it relieves her harried little soul. She does allow Loki the Papillion to boof her with his fluffy bum in the evening, a game that seems to delight her for about three minutes. 9. Exercise: Annie swims weekly with the exception of the coldest weeks. She's really good at it, and it keeps her joints flexible and her hind end working. She likes to potter around the yard, but long walks are out. 10. Being with Daddy: Annie's sun, moon and stars is my DH. Wherever Daddy is, that's where Annie needs to be. When he's out, she's more agitated. If he's home, she has to find him. Mom is ok in a pinch (like today, when Daddy's is at the doctor), but she's no Daddy. I'll add more as we learn more!