Have you noticed strange behaviors in your older furry friends? Has Fido been getting lost in the house? Have you found him sitting there, staring at the wall? Has Fido been getting lost in the house he’s lived in his whole life? Does he seem to randomly forget his house training after going years without an accident? Drastic behavioral changes in older animals may point to a more serious issue – canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (also known as dog dementia). Like Alzheimer’s Disease in people, elderly pets experience similar brain changes affecting their temperament, behavior, and quality of life.
As we continue to make strides in veterinary medicine, we are seeing patterns of household pets living longer than ever before. Naturally, as our pets get older, they become more susceptible to developing degenerative diseases associated with aging like dementia. “Today, up to 50% of dogs and cats aged 11 and older show at least one symptom of cognitive dysfunction syndrome,” says integrative veterinarian Carol Osborne, DVM, of the Chagrin Falls Pet Clinic in Ohio.
Warning Signs of Pet Dementia:
- Less interaction with family members and other pets, notable changes in behavior (abnormally aggressive, no longer greets you at the door).
- Abnormal sleep-wake cycles
- House training accidents
- Excessive barking/ barking for no reason/ excessive vocalization in cats
- Abnormally anxious and confused
- Less active
Diagnosis and Treatment of Doggie Dementia
If you have a pet that is experiencing dementia, it can be a difficult and emotional time for both you and your furry friend. However, there are steps you can take to help treat the symptoms and improve your pet’s quality of life. In addition to providing a safe and comfortable environment, it is important to maintain a routine, engage in mental and physical stimulation, and provide a healthy diet. Regular visits to the vet can also help in managing any medical conditions associated with pet dementia. By taking these steps, you can help your pet live a comfortable and happy life, even with dementia.
Your vet might prescribe Anipryl (selegiline hydrochloride), a drug that is intended to help control the signs associated with CDS.
Pet Supplements and Antioxidants that support Brain Health
- SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine) and Senilife (Ceva Animal Health), which contain a combination of brain-supporting ingredients, including Ginko biloba, Vitamin E, and a phospholipid membrane stabilizer.
- PAAWS Plus: Patent pending natural blend of Antioxidants, Vitamins A, C, E, Ginseng, Minerals, Enzymes and other nutrients to support cognition in dogs.
- Dog food manufacturers including Purina [Bright Light/Neurocare] and Hills[b/d] offer foods to maintain and boost your pet’s brain health
Prevention of Pet Dementia
- Exercise: increasing physical activity can strengthen the brain and help offset the effects of aging by stimulating blood flow to the brain as well as oxygen and glucose.
- Enhance the Environment: Visit new areas on your daily walks to stimulate your dog’s brain. Take your dog to visit new places, people, and pets
- Stop and Smell the Roses: Allow your dog to stop, sniff, and experience new smells they come across. Smelling something new can stimulate their brains just as much as the exercise itself.
Interactive Toys and Play:
- Take your pup to dog parks so they can meet new animals and people.
- Teach your dog new tricks & play with puzzle toys.
Maintain a regulated home routine
Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM
Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM, is a practicing integrative veterinarian and a nationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in the field of functional medicine. She is the founder and director of the Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center and Pet Clinic and an Emmy-nominated television journalist. Her first two books, Naturally Healthy Dogs and Naturally Healthy Cats hit the international best-seller lists. She is a regular contributor to several television shows and networks including FOX & Friends, The Today Show, Discovery’s Animal Planet, and Good Day LA.Dr. Carol is board-certified in Anti-Aging Medicine and developed and patented PAAWS: Pet Anti-Aging Wellness System for dogs and cats. Today she has turned her passion for functional pet medicine, real food, nutrition, and wellness into activism. Dr. Osborne is leading a pet health revolution that challenges us to reimagine our pet’s biology and the process of aging to create and sustain your pet’s health for life. Learn more at http://www.chagrinfallspetclinic.com