Dementia in Old Age Lhasa Apso’s. Symptoms and How to Help Your Lhasa


I remember my mother saying as she became older that she never wanted to lose her mind. Thankfully she lived to the age of 84 without any loss of her faculties. Becoming old can cause dementia in your Lhasa Apso just as it can for you. In this post I will share with you how I am dealing with my Lhasa “Lucky” and his dementia.

Lucky is now 18 years old, and bless him he has dementia, it is something that he is coping with to the best of his capabilities. He gets around the house and grounds with a little difficulty, he is blind and deaf which does not help the matter. The other problem is me, I have to learn how to adapt to his new world now.

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Lucky with Dementia

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Before you continue to read this post I admit now I am not a Doctor or Veterinarian. All this information is from my own experience with my Lhasa Lucky and research on the internet.

What is Dementia in Dogs?

CCDS or Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome is an illness that attacks your dog’s neural system. As canine medicine progresses so does the lifespan of your pet, increasing the chances of them getting CCDS. Just the thought of seeing your dog with this is terrible. 

CCDS is an illness that affects the frontal part of the brain, where memory and learning are connected. I see in Lucky the forgetfulness, an example, when I give him a treat he forgets to lift his paw. Over time this will spread throughout the brain resulting in other comportment problems.

What Causes Dog Dementia?

As your Lhasa ages they will slowly have brain cells that die, resulting in the strange way your pet behaves. If your dog has had a small unnoticeable stroke this could lead to the onset of CCDS. Although the exact causes are still unsure they resemble those of humans that have dementia.

What are the Signs of Dementia in your Dog?

Having a Lhasa, or any pet, you will see life in an accelerated form. Your new arrival comes as a puppy, grows into a young dog, then an adult dog and finally a senior dog. All this in 14 years, or less if you have other large breeds of dogs at home.

It’s this last stage where you can see the first signs of CCDS starting to affect your dog. I have seen dementia slowing progressing in my Lucky now for a few years and it is upsetting to see. Helplessness on my part is my first concern. 

Some of the first signs I noticed was his unusual behavior. Forgetting to obey commands that he learned as a puppy and had performed all his life. Also finding his way back to the home started to become more difficult. 

One of the latest signs now is that he has started to pee indoors, not remembering to go to the door as was his behavior before. We live in a hot climate and do not have carpets or rugs in our home, thankfully, as this could become a major issue.  

Dr. Denise Petryk, DVM states the acronym DISHA will help you understand more the signs of CCDS, 

  • Disorientation
  • Interaction with other animals and humans
  • Sleeping and wake pattern changes
  • House accidents
  • Activity level changes

She continues that this acronym gives you something to use daily, looking for these early signs, warning you of behavior patterns that are not normal for your dog.

I have filmed Lucky suffering from dementia in the grounds, trying to find his way back home he has great difficulty, its sad to watch but brings you the reality of this illness. If you watch the film don’t worry where he bangs his head, he was not hurt in the making of the film. Click on this link to watch the short film of Lucky trying his best to get home.

Can Dog Dementia come on Suddenly?

In my personal case with Lucky CCDS has progressed over several years. In the research, for this article I did not find any relevant articles suggesting of sudden attacks of CCDS. It would appear that it is a slow build-up from my experience with Lucky.

Are Dogs with Dementia in Pain?

Pain comes in two forms, the physical and the mental. When you fall and bang your knee you feel the pain. If someone says hurtful words to you, you suffer from a mental pain, a pain that no one can see.

This is the same for your Lhasa, we can see their physical problems and act accordingly. If your pet has CCDS, they could be suffering mentally, they can not tell you how they feel. 

Is this mental pain in your pet serious enough to direct you towards a veterinarian to end that pain? I want to keep Lucky with me for as long as can be, is this selfish? What will you do when that day arrives?

Do Dogs with Dementia Forget to Eat?

Lucky continues to eat at the same time as my wife and I, he has not forgotten how or when to eat. There are occasions though when he just stands over his food bowl, doing nothing, just looking at the wall. It would seem he wants to eat but has either no appetite or has forgotten.

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Can Dogs Die from Dementia?

The life expectancy for your Lhasa is up to 18 years or more in perfect health. What if your dog has CCDS, is it going to die? Researchers that studied dogs with CCDS found in 98% of cases there is no evidence this illness caused their death or that their lifespan was shortened, that’s the good news. Yes they can live as long as any other dog that does not suffer from CCDS.

Dementia will not kill your pet, it can though have an adverse effect on their quality of life. Some owners have had to make the sad choice of putting their pets to sleep in a way of ending their suffering. 

Can CBD Oil Help Dogs with Dementia?

What is this Cannabidiol oil? This is obtained by extracting the substance CBD from the cannabis plant, thereafter it is mixed and diluted with an oil carrier, CBD is digestible to the receiver. Studies are showing the benefits this oil can have in helping relieve pain, actually interacting with neurotransmitters reducing inflammation. 

Using CBD oil for your Lhasa is not going to bring back their full memory. Dementia side effects include anxiety and stress, and CBD oil is shown to have relieving properties in this domain. Helping your Lhasa to stay relaxed and calm.

In the USA the government has a patent on cannabis, because of its qualities of a neuroprotectant. 

If you are able to purchase CBD oil in your country then you can add some to your Lhasas food. They will benefit more if you start before dementia sets in. 

If you think your Lhasa is starting to show signs of early dementia you can buy CBD online. Using an online store you can purchase CBD oil, Amazon is one store for example.  

If you prefer to buy from an alternative to the BIG A site, I found a website selling CBD oil for your pet. The company, Flexoffers, is American based in Miami and has a wide range of pet dog sites. I am an affiliate for this company and I propose them in place of the more well-known actors on the internet.

To save you time, here is the link directly to the offer on Flexoffers, CBD oil for dogs. Whichever site you choose is your decision, but don’t waste time, if you think your baby is suffering from dementia then I recommend you purchase some CBD oil or supplements now to help them in the years to come.

What is the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

Both these are looked upon as mental illness, but what really are the differences?

Although confusing, the term Dementia differs from that of Alzheimer. Dementia is a term used to describe many various mental conditions, including Alzheimer. Dementia is not an illness in such, but a combination of different mental conditions. 

As your pets’ brain cells die, due to some form of damage, they lose some of their mental faculties, reasoning, memory, even their emotions towards you are affected. Resulting in an interference within their daily activities and life in general. Affecting their memory, they become lost and in their own world. You may notice your Lhasa standing at the open door just looking into space.

Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that degenerates over time in humans, leading to dementia type symptoms. CDDS can be called the canine equivalent of human Alzheimers because of similar symptoms.   

Ask for your Vets Advice

I strongly advise you to consult your veterinarian to get their expert opinion, determining if your Lhasa is showing signs of dementia and the steps you can take in helping them lead a better old age life.

How can I help my dog with dementia?

There are actions you can take to help your pet, remember they are suffering in their own small world and even moving furniture in the home can seriously disturb their life. They have become used to walking in the same space without obstacles, you move a chair to a new position and they will collide into it.

You already do I know, but give them lots of cuddles and love, this reassures them you are there. I have to carry Lucky outside to go to the toilet, waiting with him to make sure he can find his way home. Stimulate their minds with some games, take them for walks (you need to have patience) Understand that if they have accidents in the home it’s not their fault. 

You might like to try supplements to help. So as not to fill this post with a lot of links here is one link covering most of these supplements. Give it time to load as they have so much choice at unbeatable prices.

  • Vitamins E and C. …
  • Vitamin D. …
  • Zinc. …
  • Vitamin B1. …
  • Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid. …
  • Phosphatidylserine. …
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

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