Pet Wellness Guides > Dog Breeds Prone To Dementia - Pet Insurance Review

Dog Breeds Prone To Dementia

Posted: 03/05/2024 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Behavior , Dog , Top Tips

Our beloved canine companions bring so much joy and love into our lives. But as our pups age, they may face challenges just like us humans. One such challenge is canine cognitive dysfunction, sometimes referred to as dog dementia. While it can be concerning, understanding this condition can help us navigate this journey with love, patience, and support, ensuring our senior dogs continue to feel safe, secure, and cherished members of the family. Let’s dive in deeper and take a look at the dog breeds prone to dementia.

What Does Dog Dementia Look Like?

Just as with humans, cognitive function and memory decline with age in our pups. And the signs look strikingly similar as well.

Loss of Spatial Awareness

You might find your fur baby having more trouble navigating the house or seemingly getting lost on their daily walk; a route you’ve taken many times before.

Less Social Interaction

As our pups’ cognitive faculties decline, they become less social with humans and other dogs. They can often become fearful of strange dogs where once they were friendly, confident and outgoing.

Sleep Patterns

Pups with dementia tend to have trouble sleeping through the night. They may get up and roam the house, pace, and drink a lot of water. 

Here are a few more signs of dog dementia:

  • Accidents in the house
  • Confusion with commands, tricks, or name
  • Unusual barking
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lack of interest in playing and greeting people
  • Anxiety
  • Shorter temper and uncommon signs of aggression
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Staring at walls

In humans, the most severe form of these deficits show up as Alzheimer’s disease. The canine equivalent is called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction or CCD. 

The similarities between Alzheimer’s and CCD on the neurological levels are quite apparent and striking. Both show changes in the brain and the formation of tangled clumps of neural tissue known as beta-amyloid plaques.

Dog Breeds with the Highest Risk of Dementia

While there have been a number of studies that looked at CCD, most have been very limited in size and scope. This has made it impossible to come to any broad conclusions, such as which breed of dogs are the most likely to develop this devastating disease.

But a relatively new study out of the University of Washington has shed some light on those dog breeds most susceptible to the cognitive decline associated with CCD. The study was huge, comprising over 15,000 dogs.

The study found there are those dogs who have a higher risk of developing dementia. While all senior dogs, in theory, are at risk, those with a poor health history are very susceptible. This is particularly true for dogs with neurological eye or ear disorders. Interestingly, similar findings have been found in human studies, where individuals with diminished sight and hearing are more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Breed Matters

The study also found that certain breeds do seem more predisposed to developing CCD than others. Using the American Kennel Club group designations, those pups classified as toys, terriers, or a part of the non-sporting group were more than 3x as likely to be diagnosed with CCD compared to other breed groups.

What Can You Do?

While you can’t change your fur baby’s breed, or its susceptibility to neurological disease, the study does offer a ray of hope. Among pups of the same age, health status, and breed type, the odds of developing CCD were a whopping 6x higher in dogs that were not active!

Exercise is as important for our dogs as they age as it is for us. If you want to be proactive to protect your fur baby’s mind, make sure you help them move their body each day. 

And, if you do happen to notice your dog is beginning to show even just one or two of the symptoms we listed earlier, it’s incredibly important that you bring them in for a checkup with your vet. In fact, while our dogs are young, it is fine to bring them in for a yearly checkup. But, as our pups age they really should be seen every six months so that any new health issues can be diagnosed and treated.

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Let Pet Insurance Help You Pay Those Bills

As our pets age, we can find we’re spending more at each vet visit. And boy can those bills add up!

A pet health insurance plan reimburses you for up to 90% of those vet bills so you can always provide the car your pup needs, without going into debt to do it.

If you’ve been thinking about enrolling your fur baby into a pet insurance plan but weren’t sure of the best providers, here are the top pet insurance providers – in order – based on over 150,000 authentic reviews from pet parents just like you:


Top Pet Insurance Providers of 2024

RatingProviderTotal Review
4.9Healthy Paws7,498
4.8Prudent Pet125
4.5Pets Best7,216
4.3Pet Assure12





The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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