Owner Shares the Reality of Dog Dementia at 3:30 am: ‘Breaks My Heart’

Although aging is inevitable for pets, owners still feel heartbreak as they watch their dog’s energetic spunk slowly decline and signs of cognitive dysfunction increase.

The American Kennel Club reported that 28 percent of dogs between the ages of 11 and 12 show at least one sign of dog dementia, which is the dog equivalent of Alzheimer’s disease in humans. That increased to 68 percent when dogs reached the age of 15.

Owner Paola Kulsrud noticed the family’s oldest dog Mehkia showing early signs of doggy dementia last fall. She told Newsweek that he would get stuck behind the couch, not knowing how to get out and he would pace more. A trip to the vet confirmed these were signs of dementia setting in and at his age, 15, it isn’t uncommon for dogs to start declining.

Kulsrud’s recent TikTok video shared to the account @3crazyhuskies on May 6, showed one of Mehkia’s particularly hard nights. Confused, he went downstairs and started pacing at 3:30 a.m. Kulsrud brought his bed downstairs and calmly stayed with him, encouraging him to go back to sleep. She wrote in the caption that his condition “breaks my heart.”

Husky pacing at 3:30 a.m.
Screenshots of a 15-year-old Husky pacing around the house at 3:30 a.m. The dog’s owner shared this heartbreaking clip to show the realities of doggy dementia.


Kulsrud thought this night was especially difficult since her husband Mike was not home from work, noting that whenever Mike is gone, the symptoms seem to worsen. She believes that could be due to the stress Mehkia experiences when he cannot find Mike.

Mehkia is going through a few trials of different medications recommended by the vet. He is currently taking Senilife, CBD, and calming support supplements. Kulsrud said it will take 30 to 60 days to determine if the medications help, but he is her “tough old guy.”

And luckily, Mehkia is still showing signs of enjoying life. He likes to go out on walks every night. He still eats, knows where the water is, and gets excited whenever Mike returns. Plus, he runs around trying to keep up with his doggy siblings.

“[Doggy dementia] definitely tests your patience,” she said. “But then you look at them and know he is obviously aging and going through something. Me doing anything or raising my voice is not going to help.”

The heartbreaking reality of doggy dementia struck a chord with TikTok viewers as the clip amassed nearly 10 million views, over 788,500 likes, and 22,500 comments.

“Awww you’re so patient with him. You are exactly what he needs,” said one viewer.

Another added: “Being gentle and kind is something people don’t get. These dogs need extra love…”

A third person wrote: “It’s at this age and mental state the only thing you can do is provide them comfort and consistency. A soft bed, food and water close by, and most importantly your company.”

Doggy Dementia

Like humans, dogs can experience cognitive decline as they age and one of the conditions older dogs might experience is canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome, also known as doggy dementia.

While the exact cause of doggy dementia is still being studied, there are a few factors that have been identified as potential contributors, according to Preventive Vet. These factors include the natural aging process, neurological changes, genetic predisposition, reproductive status, and underlying medical conditions such as neurological eye and ear disorders.

Owners should be on the lookout for cognitive decline signs as earlier detection of doggy dementia can lead to an approach to slowing it down. Dogs will show signs of disorientation, restless nights, loss of appetite, behavioral changes, and potty accidents.

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