Dog dementia, or cognitive dysfunction in dogs, is a condition that affects the brain of an aging canine. Over time, dementia can result in such things as loss of memory, lack of awareness and decreased responsiveness to external stimuli. This is a progressive disease that worsens as dogs get older: canine cognitive dysfunction.
In fact, studies have shown that about 50 percent of dogs between 11 and 15 years of age display at least one symptom of canine cognitive dysfunction. However, as much as 70 percent of dogs over 15 years old experience multiple symptoms of dementia. As such, if you have a dog that is nearing its senior years, you may want to know the symptoms of this condition.
Does Your Dog Have Dementia?
Just as with Alzheimer’s disease in people, dementia in dogs is caused by various physiological changes within the brain. When these changes occur, there is a marked deterioration in your dog’s ability to remember, think and learn. This, in turn, causes many different behavioral changes as listed below. Dog dementia symptoms:
- Gets Lost in Familiar Places
- Gets Stuck Behind Furniture or in Corners
- Cannot Navigate Through Doors or Up and Down Stairs
- Does not Answer to Name or Familiar Commands
- Loses Interest in Walks, Toys and/or Playing
- Does not Recognize Family Members or Other Pets
- Gets Startled Easily
- Trembles or Shakes Often
- Wanders Aimlessly or Paces
- Has Frequent Housetraining Accidents
- Sleeps More Often than Normal
- Stares at Walls
- Is Unresponsive to Attention and Praise
- Loses Interest in Eating and Drinking
Common Treatments for Dog Dementia
If your dog is displaying any of the symptoms listed above, it is essential that you make an appointment for a checkup. In this way, you can rule out any other medical problems that have some of the same symptoms such as arthritis, vision loss, hearing loss, urinary infections and kidney disease.
If your veterinarian determines that your pet is, indeed, suffering from dementia, you can then explore dog dementia treatment options. While there are no cures for canine cognitive dysfunction, there are some medications that can reduce the effects of the disease. Some of the most commonly-prescribed drugs for dementia include L-deprenyl or Selegiline.
In addition to medications, your veterinarian may also recommend a special diet for your pet and various supplements such as vitamins E and C, antioxidants, beta carotene, Omega-3, carnitine, flavonoids and selenium. Aside from medical treatments and special diets, some things you can do to make your dog more comfortable in its senior years are listed below.
- Do not Rearrange or Change Your Furniture
- Keep Clutter Picked Up from the Floor
- Invest in a Ramp for Stairways
- Maintain Routines Pertaining to Feeding and Walks
- Be Patient, Understanding and Compassionate
- Put Your Pet in a Quiet Room When You Have Visitors
- Do not Allow Children or Other Pets to Annoy Your Senior Dog
- Encourage Gentle Playing
- Show Your Love to Your Pet
Aging is something none of us can avoid including our furry friends. As your senior dog‘s world changes, it is essential for you to show your pet that your love has not changed. By utilizing the tips listed above, you can make your dog’s golden years much more comfortable and stress-free.
Cats can experience dementia just as dogs can. Go here to learn about the common symptoms and treatments for dementia in cats.