Canine cognitive dysfunction
AS dogs age, some may develop signs similar to a person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Symptoms may include: Wandering and/or pacing. General confusion or disorientation. Restlessness, sleeplessness at night or barking for no reason. Getting “stuck” in corners or small spaces. Acting “dazed” or staring off into space. Seeming to be lost in familiar places. Going to the wrong side of familiar doors. Becoming withdrawn; interacting less with familiar people and other pets. Forgetting housetraining; having “accidents” in areas where they never did before. Less enthusiastic about games, toys or foods that used to create excitement. Change in personality and temperament, such as uncharacteristic aggression for no reason. Not responding well to their name or to commands they once knew. Any other behaviours that are unusual for your dog. These signs often develop gradually and get worse over time. They may also be worse at night and seem to improve during the day. This is a similar situation with people and is partly due to the tired brain not able to function as well as it used to. Of course, not all dogs with dementia will display the same signs. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, be sure to see your veterinarian as there could be other medical reasons for some of these symptoms. There are some medications and senior dog prescription foods that can help reduce the symptoms of dementia in dogs. The medications can act by improving circulation of blood to the brain and can help to increase oxygen supply. Medications include Vivitonin which is specifically for aged dogs and some human dementia products have also been found to be helpful in some dogs. The foods have high levels of omega 3 fatty acids, this helps to protect the brain from free radical damage and also helps with inflammation. If you think your old mate might be showing some of these symptoms, have a chat to your vet who might be able help.