Signs Your Dog May Be Getting Dementia
If you have a dog, you probably hate thinking about negative things, such as the signs your dog may be getting dementia. But part of being a good pet owner is acknowledging that our pets do get sick, and they do age. And the more we can learn about all of the above, the better we can take care of them.
Dog dementia, otherwise known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome , is very similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. If your dog has it, they may start to show signs of confusion, anxiety, listlessness, and other neurological-based problems. But usually not until they’re older.
“Age of onset can vary greatly based on individual breed characteristics, however we commonly see signs of CCDS in dogs 11 years and older,” Dr. Emily Wilson, of Fuzzy Pet Health, tells Bustle. “Subtle initial clinical signs can be noted as early as seven years of age in some dogs.”
The good thing is, if you notice signs of dementia, there are ways to help your dog feel better and stave off worsening symptoms. “One of the best things is regular environmental enrichment and mental stimulation,” Dr. Wilson says. “This can include food puzzles or some simple low stress training to help engage their minds on a daily basis. Regular low-impact exercise is also really important and it will also help maintain a healthy weight as well as mental stimulation.” There are also special diets, natural supplements, and medications your vet can recommend, if need be.
What Are The Symptoms Of Dog Dementia
The symptoms of dog dementia are extensive, ranging from mild to severe as the disease progresses. Initial symptoms of dog dementia are often mild, but they gradually worsen over time. Below are the most common symptoms of dog dementia:
- Disorientation and confusion Appearing lost or confused in familiar surroundings
- Failing to remember routines and previously learned training or house rules
- No longer responding to their name or familiar commands
- Extreme irritability
- Staring blankly at walls or at nothing
- Slow to learn new tasks
- Lack of self-grooming
- Changes in sleep cycle like night waking and/or sleeping during the day
Signs Of Dementia In Dogs And What To Do About Them
Dr. Julie Buzby
Signs of dementia in dogs can be distressing to notice. After all, we want our grey-muzzled companions to be mentally sharp and happy for as long as possible in their golden years. Integrative veterinarian Dr. Julie Buzby takes an in-depth look at the five common signs of doggie dementia and explains how to help your dog with dementia keep living the good life.
Recently, a longtime friend and client brought in his 10-year-old black Labrador Retriever, Dixie. I had known her since she was about three months old. Dixie pranced into the clinic with the same happy attitude that she is known for.
However, Dixies dad looked very concerned. As I asked what was going on, Dixies dad started describing some changes he had noticed at home recently. His dear Labrador was no longer sleeping through the night. She was also barking more than normal and had started to show some aggression towards her brother, a small Terrier mix. It was very obvious that something was changing with his beloved dog.
Finally, he looked up at me and said Dixie is doing things I never would have expected from her. Can dogs lose their memory? I looked back at him and told him, Yes, unfortunately dogs can develop dementia.
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Treatment Of Dog Dementia
Dogs with canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome require lifelong therapy and support. However, you can make a world of difference when it comes to improving your dog’s cognitive functions.
For example, although it will not cure your dog, maintaining a healthy and stimulating environment will help slow the progression of cognitive decline. This typically involves imposing a daily routine of exercise, play and training .
Making your home more accessible and safer for your senior dog can also help:
Night lights can help your senior dog navigate in the dark.
Potty pads near doors give your pup a place to go if she cant make it until you come home or wake up.
Orthopedic foam beds can make sleep more comfortable.
In addition, medication and behavioral therapy can be used to help keep your dog comfortable and active.
Your veterinarian may also suggest employing a special, balanced diet to improve your dog’s cognitive function in terms of memory, learning ability, etc.
This diet is also typically supplemented with antioxidants, vitamin E and C, selenium, flavonoids, beta carotene, carotenoids, omega-3, and carnitineall considered excellent for improving a dog’s cognitive functions.
Vet Checkups For Dogs With Dementia
Your veterinarian will evaluate your dog periodically to monitor their response to therapy and the progression of symptoms.
However, if you notice any behavioral changes in your dog, notify your vet immediately.
In geriatric dogs, any change can be serious, so its important to talk to your veterinarian at the first sign. For stable patients, twice-yearly checkups are sufficient enough, unless new problems arise.
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Exercise Is Still Important
Exercise is closely linked to brain health and mental wellbeing, so walks are important for dogs with dementia. Moderate exercise gets blood flowing, which brings more oxygen to the brain. New smells and sights are also brilliant for mental stimulation.
Gentle walks are best for older dogs with dementia. A strenuous walk could be too much for your pet, and may not provide the same brain benefits. Give him plenty of time to sniff and walk at his own pace.
What Causes Dog Dementia
As with human dementia, the causes of dementia in dogs are not well known, but accumulations of sticky proteins called beta-amyloid plaques around neurons and the breakdown of neurons resulting in so-called neurofibrillary tangles are considered to be the leading culprits. As in humans, both phenomena affect the brain by interrupting nerve impulse transmission.
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How To Treat Dog Dementia
While there is no known cure for dog dementia, there are several options to treat this condition in our canine companions. Treatment includes medication, diet changes, life enrichment, supplements, and surgery. If you suspect your dog might have dementia, we recommend consulting with your vet immediately to determine the best treatment options for you and your elderly dog.
Identifying Dementia In Senior Dogs
Could Your Senior Dog Have Dementia?
Dogs and people share many things in common, including the tendency to develop dementia as they age. If your dog has dementia, you’ll notice a few key behavioral changes.
Common Signs of Dementia
Canine cognitive dysfunction , commonly called dementia, is responsible for the changes you may have noticed in your dog’s behavior. Your dog’s chance of developing dementia increases with age. Twenty-eight percent of 11- to 12-year-old dogs have CCD, while 68 percent of 15- to 16-year-old dogs have the disorder, according to Today’s Veterinary Practice.
Signs and symptoms of dementia may include:
What to Do if You Think Your Dog Has Dementia
A visit to the veterinarian is a must if you suspect that your dog has dementia. Some diseases and illnesses, such as brain tumors and tick-borne diseases, can cause symptoms similar to those that occur with dementia.
If your pet is diagnosed with CCD, your pet’s doctor may make a few recommendations that could help your pet, including:
Are you concerned that your dog may have dementia? Contact our office to schedule an appointment.
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Senior Dementia In Dogs
Alycia Washington is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with nearly a decade of experience as a small animal emergency veterinarian. She currently works as a relief veterinarian for various emergency and specialty hospitals. Dr. Washington recognizes the importance of education and also works as a freelance veterinary writer.
Jillian Dara is a fact checker for The Spruce Pets, reviewing articles about pet care and pet products for factual accuracy and consistency. She has more than five years of experience in lifestyle editing and media and has been published in a variety of prestigious outlets.
Paff / Stocksy United
Senior dementia is a common problem occurring in older dogs just as it does in aging humans. Similar to Alzheimer’s in people, dementia in dogs is a degenerative brain condition that causes altered behaviors and memory loss. These progressive changes affect the quality of life for both dogs and their owners. There is no cure for dementia, but owners may be able to lessen the negative effects and help their dogs live happily for a little while longer.
How Is Dog Dementia Treated
According to Fanucchi, Canine Cognitive Dysfunction treatment involves management of behavior and environment, enhanced diet, and medication. Its dual goals are slowing the diseaseâs progress and improving quality of life for dogs and their people.
âBehavior can be effectively managed by providing daytime activities and opportunities for play, as well as structured social interaction for physical and mental stimulation,â says Fanucchi. âExposure to sunlight will help regulate the sleep-wake cycle. If they canât walk anymore, use a wagon or a stroller. Managing the environment is also very important. Make it more predictable. Pet-proof the house just as youâd toddler-proof it.â Providing adequate toileting opportunities is essential as well, as old dogs canât âhold itâ as they did when they were younger diapers, pads, and waterproof bed and furniture covers may be helpful.
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How To Prevent Dog Dementia
Since veterinarians aren’t sure what the exact cause of the condition is, it is hard to determine how to prevent dementia in dogs. However, keeping your dog physically and mentally active may help to prevent dementia. It is recommended to do the following with your dog to keep their mind sharp and healthy:
- Teach them new tricks
- Feed them balanced, whole food diet
- Consider brain-healthy supplements
Signs And Symptoms Of Canine Dementia
According to Doctors Foster and Smith, canine dementia is also referred to as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction or Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome , and it produces brain lesions like the lesions that Alzheimer’s produces in people.
Dementia-related symptoms include:
- Personality changes – A dog may seem more anxious and whine, pace, or circle the room frequently. Some dogs become irritable, and others may simply seem to lose interest in the world around them.
- Disorientation – The dog seems confused about where he is and may even get lost in his own home.
- Forgetfulness – As the condition progresses, the dog may no longer recognize people he has known all his life.
- Withdrawing – The dog spends more and more time on his own just staring into space. He gradually stops seeking attention from his human companions.
- Changes in sleep pattern – This includes sleeping more, especially during the day, as well as staying awake at night.
- Onset of house accidents – A previously trained dog may suddenly begin having house accidents, especially in inappropriate places such as his or his owner’s bed.
- No longer responds to learned commands – The dog may no longer seem to understand what you’re asking him to do, such as come when called or sit on command. He may forget other trained behaviors such as how to walk on leash or fetch a ball.
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Life Turned Upside Down
Alex Williams’ life radically changed when her old rescue dog Murphy was diagnosed with dementia.
The 29-year-old, who lives in Arizona, was devastated by Murphy’s dementia and felt the impact emotionally and physically. Both she and her partner were constantly sick, and hardly got any sleep.
“We were running on two hours of sleep within 24 hours. It was constant attention to Murphy,” she said.
“In your mind as their mum, you’d be thinking: ‘Do we put him to sleep, do we keep him alive? Are we keeping him alive for us? Is he living a good quality life?’
“It was a very traumatising disease.”
Ms Williams has been rescuing dogs for 10 years. She found two of her four dogs Max and Ella on the side of the road while driving to Arizona’s capital city Phoenix.
Ms Williams was not aware that dogs could get dementia and it was difficult for her to watch the effect of the disease on Murphy.
“You know, a dog gets cancer or has diabetes, you can see they’re physically sick. I think it’s a lot easier,” she said.
” would kiss us and he would be excited to eat.
“His body wasn’t sick, his mind was sick. That was a really hard thing for me to understand.
“It was like he’s still okay, but it’s really not okay.”
Murphy’s dementia would keep him awake at night when his anxiety and confusion would increase. He paced constantly.
“When he would pace, he would fall over, and then he’d walk into corners or into the back side of the door,” recalled Ms Williams.
Can Dogs Get Dementia Signs Symptoms And Stages
Most people are familiar with dementia in humans, but did you know it can also affect your dog? Canine Cognitive Decline , or Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome , is the veterinary term for dog dementia, and it exhibits similar symptoms and signs as humans.
As our canine companions live longer lives, we see more signs of dog dementia. Studies indicate that as much as 62 percent of dogs between the ages of 11 and 16 demonstrate signs of dementia.
Learn more about dog dementia, the signs and symptoms to look out for, and when to seek veterinary care.
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How Can I Prevent Dementia In Dogs
In one study, older adults are four times more likely to develop MCI when they consumed too many carbohydrates.
Dog food typically contains up to 50% carbohydrates.
Diet plays a big role in a dogs mental health. Feed a dog whole foods like lean meat, omega 3s from cold-water fish like salmon and sardines, and avoid feeding too many carbohydrates.
Carnitine, DHA, Ginseng, Vitamin C, and E from fruits and vegetables are good for brain health.
Full Spectrum CBD and MCT oil from Coconut has also been shown to be beneficial for brain health and can be used as a preventative measure.
Apart from brain health, learn more benefits of Hemp in dogs here.
Hemp is rich in Omega 3 and 6 and has been proven to help with brain function.
Homeopathy can help dogs with a myriad of conditions.
The main ingredient in BrainPet is Bacopa monnieri which has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for millennia. All animals can benefit from this remedy including cats and horses.
Its been shown to improve brain function, memory, and focus for aging animals.
HomeoAnimal has 450 remedies available which can be used as an alternative to prescription medicine.
What Is Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease is very similar in both dogs and humans. While this is the case, there are also key differences. Both, though, do not have a cure. From what we know, Alzheimers disease is a cognitive and brain condition where the brain cells die and dont regenerate. When a brain cell dies and your dogs body cannot continue producing more, this leads to relapses in memory, changes in personality, and confusion.
Although Alzheimers itself does not cause death, the effects and symptoms as they worsen can lead to the worsening of other health conditions. There is a lot of stress that comes with canine dementia. The thing about canine dementia with dogs is that it is not fully understood. Not all dogs as age feel this way, although there is confusion and a loss of memory and sight.
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Is There A Cure For Dog Dementia
At this time, there is no known cure for dog dementia. The condition leads to the physical deterioration of the brain, and therefore, there is no simple corrective measure that can regenerate these tissues. However, research into this subject is already being conducted, with potential cures involving stem cell therapyÂ² as well as pharmaceuticalsÂ³.
Understanding Dog Dementia: How To Recognize And Treat Canine Cognitive Dysfunction
Dog dementia can be challenging, but knowing the facts, outlook, and options can help! Find all tips and info here.
Is your dog displaying some curious behavioral changes? Failing to remember routines? Appearing disoriented or confused? They may be affected by dementia . What is dog dementia? How does it affect our furry friends? And what can we do to prevent, treat, and care for dogs with dementia? Here youll find all the most frequently asked questions and answers on dog dementia.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Dementia In Dogs
Age is a risk factor for dementia and, sadly, symptoms can become severe enough to interfere with daily functioning as the disease progresses. According to Martin, a senile dog exhibits certain behaviors that can indicate Canine Cognitive Dysfunction is present, including one or more of these symptoms, following the acronym DISHAA:
- Altered activity
- Increased anxiety
The clinical signs are progressive with age, and they negatively impact the dogs welfare and the dogs relationship with people, Martin says. in dogs can be diagnosed with cognitive testing, behavioral signs, and brain imaging studies.
What Are The Causes Of Dog Dementia
The exact cause for dog dementia is currently unknown. However, the disease is often caused by the fact that the brain function is affected by the physical and chemical changes that occur along with the aging process. But age related cognitive decline is not the only condition that causes dementia in dogs. Genetic factors or other diseases like brain tumors and brain trauma may also predispose an animal to develop the dementia.
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