Do Pit Bulls Get Dementia? 8 Signs of Dementia in Dogs and How to Deal with It

Dementia, or Canine Cognitive dysfunction, is a common condition that affects dogs as they age. As a pet owner, it’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of dementia in dogs and to be aware of any breed predispositions.

One breed that has been subject to speculation is the Pit Bull. So, do Pit Bulls Get Dementia?

Pit Bulls can get dementia as they age, just like any other breeds. This condition can lead to changes in the Pit Bull’s behavior, difficulty performing daily activities, and confusion. It’s important to spot signs of dementia early and to take your dog to veterinary check-ups regularly to manage the symptoms.

Keep reading to learn more about why Pit Bulls get dementia, how to spot it, and what to do if your dog has dementia.

Do Pit Bulls Get Dementia?

a photo of a senior pit bull to show if pit bulls do get dementia

One of the best things in the world is having a dog, but you have to accept that they get sick as they age and be aware of any strange changes in their behavior.

Dementia is one of the most common diseases in older dogs. It’s also called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD), and it’s a cognitive disorder that affects a dog’s brain as it ages.

It causes behavioral changes and deteriorates the dog’s memory, comprehension, and learning capacities. Its symptoms parallel the symptoms of Alzheimer’s in humans.

Vets usually diagnose dogs with dementia after ruling out other possible medical explanations for their disorientation, such as:

  • Hearing problems
  • Vision problems
  • Kidney Disorder
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Skin Disorder
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Cushing’s Disease

Why Do Dogs Get Dementia?

There is currently no known cause for dog dementia. The disease, however, is often caused by the effect of aging-related physical and chemical changes to the body and how they alter brain functions. 

According to some studies, 50% of dogs over the age of 11 have clinical symptoms of dementia. There are also other conditions that are non-age-related cognitive deterioration that causes dementia in dogs.

Your dog having dementia may also be influenced by genetic factors or other conditions like brain tumors and head injuries.

When to Euthanize A Dog with Dementia?

It’s best to euthanize a dog with dementia in the last stages of the disease.

It’s mainly the owners’ decision if they can handle dogs with dementia, but at the last stages of the disease, the dog will fail to recognize his loved ones, and it will be more merciful to end its suffering.

How Do You Spot Dementia in Your Pit Bull?

a photo of an old pit bull to answer do pit bulls get dementia

Pit Bulls are highly energetic and fun-loving dogs that love to exercise and play. When trained well, they love socializing with people because they like to please them.

If your dog was a ball of energy, but as it got older, its behavior changed, and it became more distant and unaware of its surroundings, then it may have developed dementia.

Here are the possible signs of dementia:


Your pet can roam the house aimlessly and show little interest in staying put for an extended period of time. In dogs with dementia, pacing and going around in circles are common behaviors.

Low Activity Level

Seeing your dog become less active is another sign of dementia. They may be less curious about their surroundings and less interested in playing with their toys.

Additionally, your dog can become less responsive to outside stimuli, including other dogs, sounds, objects, and humans.

Changes in Their Sleeping Pattern

Changes in the sleep/wake cycle of your pet may be hampered by dementia. Your dog may spend the day snoozing and the entire night running around your home.

Confusion and Memory Loss

Even in their own homes, dogs with dementia get easily confused. They might lose track of where their food plates are or have trouble figuring out the way around the house. Your dog may even forget its name or become unable to identify family members as the disorder worsens.

Dogs suffering from dementia may also stop obeying orders or performing tricks. You may find it more challenging to get your dog to pay attention.

Separation Anxiety

While some dogs lose interest in being around family members, others can’t stand to be apart from you, even for a short period.

You can check out this article about how to deal with separation anxiety in Pit Bulls, where I also discuss how to handle your Pit Bull being alone so they don’t get separation anxiety.

Housetraining Accidents

Your dog may promptly start peeing inside the house as it may find it challenging to remember that going potty should only happen outside due to brain changes. 

Additionally, some dogs may have issues controlling their bowels or bladder. When your dog needs to go outdoors to relieve themselves, they may cease alerting you to the need. This is a sign that their housetraining is fading.

They might start to drool all over the house, making things worse. I have another article in which I discuss why Pit Bulls drool so much here.


Dogs with dementia may show behavioral changes, such as hostility and agitation, as these changes are more common in sick dogs. They may also howl and bark for no apparent reason


If your dog creeps you out because it stares blankly at walls or into space for long periods of time while being unresponsive to the surrounding stimuli, then it may have dementia.

Before getting their dogs diagnosed, many owners mistake the signs of dementia for “bad behavior.” When your dog misbehaves, such as destroying the carpet or waking you up in the middle of the night with their barking, try to remain composed and patient. You don’t want to increase their fear and anxiety.

What Do You Do If Your Dog Has Dementia?

If you think your dog may have dementia, a trip to the vet is a must. Dementia-like symptoms can be brought on by certain diseases and conditions, such as brain tumors and tick-borne diseases.

If it gets diagnosed with dementia, then your pet’s vet may recommend you do the following:

Changing Your Dog’s Diet

Food rich in antioxidants may help reduce the decrease in your dog’s cognitive abilities. You can check out my recommendations for the best foods for Pit Bulls here.

Additionally, you could purchase supplements for your dog to help with the disorder’s symptoms.

Prescribed Medication

Your dog’s vet may prescribe medication that helps control some of the dementia symptoms. If your dog has dementia-related anxiety or sadness, other drugs may be helpful.

Regular Routine

For pets with dementia, changes can be very perplexing. Your dog may feel more confident if you stick to a daily routine.

Potty Breaks

A quick strategy to decrease mishaps during housetraining is to take your pet outside multiple times every day.


For the physical and mental health of your dog, exercise is very crucial. Make sure to take your dog on daily walks or offer it a new puzzle toy to play with. Check this article about how much exercise Pit Bulls need for more information.

The layout of Your House

Keep your home’s layout consistent and orderly as much as you can. It can be unpleasant for dogs with dementia when a sofa is moved or when there is a mess.

To avoid problems when looking for food, your dog should always find their water and food bowls in the same location.

PitbullsHome Personally-Tested Picks for Pitties:

Helpful Resources 

Common Health Issues in Senior Dogs

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