Canine dementia is a condition that typically affects dogs as they age. Most start to show signs of problems between the ages of 11 and 15. There is no specific cause of the condition, but aging of the brain helps explain exhibited signs.
It can be quite difficult to detect exactly when cognitive dysfunction in dogs sets in. Owners have a hard time telling because the signs start off mild and gradually develop as time passes. Many will just think their pet is just showing signs of getting older.
Some of the most common signs of dog dementia include being unfamiliar with familiar surroundings, decreased activity, and anxiety. Many canines also exhibit problems going to the bathroom when they previously had none. Increased barking and whining are also common signs of this condition.
If you suspect that your dog is starting to suffer from cognitive impairment, you should document any symptoms that you witness. Keep them in a log to present to your veterinarian. It can be very helpful.
In order to diagnose canine dementia, the veterinarian will have to rule out possible medical problems that are causing symptoms. This will begin by performing a complete physical exam on your dog. Tests such as ultrasounds, x-rays, and blood work will also be helpful in determining exactly what’s wrong.
Dementia in dogs can become quite severe. In these cases, medications can be somewhat helpful in relieving symptoms. However, these medications aren’t effective in all dogs. Some owners will be discouraged from trying them in the first place since they can be expensive.
It’s important to note that there is no cure for canine cognitive dysfunction. The medications merely help relieve some symptoms. However, there are a few things that you as an owner can do to make your dog’s life a bit more comfortable.
Sticking to a routine schedule will help significantly. Try to feed your dog at the same time each day. Take him for walks and let him go to the bathroom during the same time periods on a daily basis. You want to avoid doing anything that will possibly confuse him.
Make things easier on your pet by keeping the house clutter-free. Navigating stairs may be a bit difficult, especially as the condition worsens. To help improve brain function with canine dementia, the vet may also suggest that you put him on a special diet.