Posted 57d ago
By Danielle Elton
If your dog is approaching their later years and is not quite as sharp as they used to be, it could be an indication that something is wrong.
Similarly to humans, older dogs can experience dementia.
In dogs, it is called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) - a condition where the brain does not function quite as it should, often displaying signs of disorientation and failure to recognise family members.
According to vet John Ambler, of My Family Vets, canine dementia is actually quite common in older dogs, and while there is no cure for CCD, it is manageable with the right treatment.
What are the signs of canine dementia?
While it’s important to remember that this is not a definitive list and many of the symptoms could also indicate a range of other health issues, John told us which signs owners should look out for.
Dog dementia symptoms include:
- General disorientation
- Failure to recognise family members or familiar places
- Forgetting commands and behaviours
- Going to the toilet inside
- Becoming withdrawn from owners
- Restlessness, pacing or excessive whining/barking
- Failing to respond when called
- Reluctance to move
Many of these symptoms could also be a sign of old age.
John said: “If your dog is no longer able to recognise you, or your voice when you call their name, it could be a problem with their vision or their hearing.
“If they’re reluctant to move, they could be suffering from arthritis.
“As an owner, the most important thing to do is to keep an eye on your pet. If something doesn’t look right, contact your vet right away.”
How is it treated?
Although there is no cure for this condition, it can be managed with medication, following tests to rule out other potential causes.
A change in diet can also be beneficial.
John advised: “Ingredients such as Omega 3 fatty acids are known to support brain and mental function.”
Owners also have a part to play in caring for a dog with dementia, including making sure the home is as stress free as possible.
John added: “At home, you can help your dog by keeping them as enriched as possible. Try getting them a few new toys and patiently practising the basic commands.
“Interacting with your dog will help to keep them on their toes.”