Does a dog’s memory fade like ours as it grows older?

old dog
Our dog, who is now 16 years of age, doesn’t seem to be as aware of his surroundings as he used to be. It used to be thought this was simply a medical problem - a dog’s hearing and sight often deteriorate in old age, so that older individuals may appear less alert and responsive than when they were younger.

 But now it is clear dogs can suffer from a deterioration in brain function as well as they become old, rather like Alzheimer’s disease. They often become disorientated, even in familiar surroundings, typically at night, and may start barking for no obvious reason.

There is often nothing that can be done by way of treatment under these circumstances - but a course of sedatives prescribed by the vet and plenty of reassurance can be helpful.