Have you noticed that your dog seems more confused lately? Or may be having accidents indoors? Do they have less energy? Although these signs may seem like a natural process of aging, your dog may actually be suffering from Cognitive dysfunction.
Cognitive dysfunction (aka Canine Senility) is a disease that occurs in the brains of aging dogs. Just like people, dogs are susceptible to the effects of aging on the mind and body.
Signs of cognitive dysfunction can include:
- Soils in the house
- Problems with wake/sleep cycle
- Less interest in playing
- More irritable/less patient
- Confusion/ disorientation
- Getting stuck in corners
Studies have found that cognitive dysfunction affects approximately one third of dogs older than 11 years old. Although there is no cure for cognitive dysfunction, there are options available that can help treat the syndrome and make the process easier on your pet.
There are some medical treatment options available that may help decrease the clinical signs associated with cognitive dysfunction. Based on the clinical signs your dog is exhibiting your veterinarian will determine which medications would be best.
There are also dietary changes that can be implemented such as prescription brain diets that help with brain function. As well as but not limited to supplementing in omega fatty acids.
Finally, be sure to adjust their environment to accommodate their lifestyle. Try to encourage mental stimulation with new toys. If they’re physically able, it’s important to continue regular exercise. Try to stick to a schedule so it’s easier for you dog to follow and decreases confusion and anxiety.
If your pet is having difficulty with vision or hearing help them out with additional lighting and move slowly to avoid startling them.
Remember to be patient and compassionate! Your furry friend is going through many changes and we owe it to them to help them through this process safely and gracefully!
Dr. Ashley Woo