Do Pit Bulls Get Dementia? 8 Signs of Dementia in Dogs

If you have Pit Bulls, you probably heard about them having dementia when they grow up. Taking care of your dogs is an essential part of having a happy pet; accepting that they get sick as they age is a part of the whole process, and the more you know about it, the better you’ll be able to take care of them.

Do Pit Bulls Get Dementia? Pit Bulls do get dementia. Like any other living being, get more sick and weak with age. Dementia happens to be one of the most prevalent diseases older dogs have, which is when a dog gets increasingly disoriented and forgetful with time.

Keep reading to know more about dog dementia and how to take better care of your dog if it has it.

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 when 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.

How Do You Spot Dementia in Your Pit Bull?

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

Less interest in grooming, a lack of hunger, increased restlessness, and separation anxiety can also be indicators of reduced activity levels. They will also lose interest in their favorite toys, food and people.

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.


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.

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. Your dog 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. House cleaning, learning, and remembering. 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. Dogs suffering from dementia may stop obeying orders or performing tricks. You may find it more challenging to get your dog to pay attention.


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 to do the following:

Changing Your Dog’s Diet

Food rich in antioxidants may help reduce the decrease in your dog’s cognitive abilities. 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 do 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:

Related Questions 

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 could 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.

Helpful Resources 

Common Health Issues in Senior Dogs

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