Signs of dementia in dogs, also diagnosed as canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD), appear in ways that might go unnoticed or could be misdiagnosed when your dog has accidents in your house or she doesn’t respond to your commands until you repeat yourself several times, and even worse, your dog may wander aimlessly and not recognize you any more, which could frustrate you enough to wonder if your dog should be put down to save her from further decline and reduced quality of life.
This news brief gives you facts about canine dementia including symptoms, possible causes and treatment so you can take better care of your senior dog who actually needs more love and understanding than when she was a puppy.
Dementia in Dogs: 10 Potential Symptoms
- Confused – Your dog may seem disoriented and she could also wander around aimlessly in your home or outdoors. When you look in your dog’s eyes, you may not feel she’s connecting with you the way she did when she was younger.
- Anxious – Your dog’s behavior could change and she might seem nervous, shaky or ill at ease. You may also notice your dog barks and whimpers at the smallest distractions or changes in her environment.
- Lack of appetite – Your dog may not be interested in her meals and walk away from her food. If you offer your dog treats, she may ignore them or seem confused.
- Sleeplessness – Symptoms of dementia in dogs can also cause your dog to have difficulty sleeping, wander around, whine and seem uncomfortable during the night.
- Forgetful – You may need to guide your dog on walks because she might not remember the route and seem anxious. Your dog may also require your help to find toys, her water bowl and her favorite place to take a nap.
- Less self-grooming – Watch for a decline in self-grooming like licking private parts and paws. This lack of personal care could be a sign of dementia in dogs.
- Incontinence – Senior dogs with dementia may develop incontinence because the messages sent by their brain no longer work well and they can’t control when they urinate or move their bowels.
- Less playful – A decline in energy along with a lack of playfulness may be yet another sign of dementia in your dog as she ages.
- Irritable – Your dog may have signs of dementia if she’s easily disturbed, nervous or jumpy.
- Slow learner – Another subtle sign of dementia could be if your dog doesn’t pick up new clues when you show her how to do something like getting into your car or fetching a toy.
Possible Causes of Cognitive Disfunction and Dementia in Dogs
- Genetic predisposition to cognitive disfunction.
- Oxidative stress related to free radical damage to your dog’s brain.
- Nerve damage from protein build up that blocks signals from your dog’s brain.
Prevention and Treatment
- Diet – Feed your dog a balanced breed-appropriate diet and keep treats to a minimum so your dog maintains a healthy weight. Overweight dogs are at higher risk for diseases including dementia.
- Exercise – Keep your dog active and useful with toys and long walks every day. The more your dog uses her brain, the better chance she will retain her memory and live a longer, healthier life. Stimulating toys that challenge your dog to think are the best ones to use for your dog at any age.
- Remedies – Add alpha lipoic acid and grape seed extract as remedies to prevent and treat dementia in dogs.
- Unconditional love – Be sure to spend time with your senior dog and give her extra care, attention and company. Your dog is affected by her environment, so positive energy can go a long way to help your senior dog have a better quality of life.
- Vet visits – Bring your dog to your local vet twice a year for checkups to monitor her progression of symptoms.
This short article covered symptoms causes, prevention and treatment for dogs with dementia so you have the tools you need to keep your dog healthy.
Share this news brief with your friends and family so they have information on dementia in dogs to help them with their senior dog. You can always depend on the best dog health strategies from Dog Health News.
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