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Help! My Senior Dog has Dementia

Black dog with a graying face , side profile view, looking up.

Canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) is the official name for senior dog dementia. However, it’s often known as doggy dementia or doggy Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is a set of symptoms that cause significant changes in mood, behavior, and memory of your pooch. It typically has a detrimental impact on a senior dog’s day-to-day existence and is evident in varying degrees as canines get older. Read on to learn what you can do if your senior dog has dementia.

Senior Dog Dementia Symptoms

Dog dementia has a wide range of symptoms that range from mild to severe as the condition advances. These symptoms are frequently minor at first, but they steadily increase with time.

Early indicators of canine dementia are sometimes tough to spot because they’re misunderstood as “simply becoming old.” Early detection, on the other hand, is critical, and all dog owners should be alert to notice these signs. The following are some of the most prevalent signs and symptoms of senior dog dementia.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Frustration
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in the sleep cycle
  • Disorientation and perplexity
  • Difficulty in remembering house training and other manners
  • Slow to learn new things

What are the Causes of Senior Dog Dementia?

Close up of an old chihuahua on a black background.

Various brain disorders can cause distinct symptoms and forms of dementia. Hence, there is no perfect understanding of the reasons of dementia. However, observations reveal that the following factors seem to play a role in the development of this condition.

Aging – Some dogs develop dementia in their old age. That is just an observational case where signs of dementia become prominent.

Genetic Disorder – Genes play a vital role in determining the functioning of the body. Some dogs develop dementia in their old age due to some genetic problems.

Brain Tumors – This is one of the causes about which veterinarians are not sure but dogs with brain tumors often develop the symptoms of dementia.

Deficiency of Antioxidants – Older dogs are quite likely to become deficient in antioxidants. These essential nutrients are essential for the regular functioning of the body and their deficiency can lead to several problems. Dementia is one of these effects.

Lack of Nutrients – Not all dogs remain fit in old age. Some senior dogs become weak as they lack essential nutrients in the body. Such pups suffer a lot and can show the symptoms of many serious problems, like dementia.

Stress – Senior dogs can suffer from anxiety for various reasons, like lack of attention and fear. This is disastrous for a pup’s health because stress leads to intolerance and other behavioral issues. In extreme cases, an anxious dog can show signs of dementia.

What to Do if My Senior Dog has Dementia?

Old tan dog sitting outdoors

Although there is no cure for dementia, the signs and symptoms of this condition can be managed. In fact, it is the responsibility of the owner to assist his/her senior dog to counter the effects of dementia. Some of the ways to improve your dog’s quality of life are discussed below.

Reduce Anxiety

Touch, much as with people, can help your elderly dog relax. Take some time to pet your dog in a peaceful and quiet environment. The hormone oxytocin is released in both your dog and you as a result of this act of touching. The “love hormone,” oxytocin, makes the receiver and giver of touch feel more attached to one another. Oxytocin decreases stress, increases pain tolerance, and improves your dog’s overall health.

Dog Massage

Yellow lab getting a massage

A simple dog massage might help your dog’s nervous system to relax. As your dog sleeps on his side, run your hand from the base of his neck to the base of his tail. Ear rubs and focused squeezing along his body are other options.

Take Control of Your Dog’s Urinary Tract

Consider using reusable doggy diapers or pee pads if your older dog has to relieve himself within the home. And you thought you’d gotten rid of them years ago! Increase the amount of time you spend with your dog. Move his toys and bed to non-carpeted sections of your home.

Try Different Walking Paths

Close up of the face of a beagle outdoors

When you’re out on a stroll, keep an eye out for these senile dog symptoms: Is your dog now barking, whining, or shrinking in some places? Take a new route or try a different street.

At home, keep an eye out for your dog stumbling over items he hasn’t stumbled over before or becoming caught in small spaces. Redirect your elderly dog’s routes throughout the house to keep him safe.

Provide Mental Stimulation

Brown and white dog playing cup game with owner

With your older dog, go to new areas. Continue to play games with him and give him the sweets he enjoys. Every day, spend a few minutes looking into your dog’s eyes and conversing with him.

Improve the Diet Quality

German shepherd eating from a dog food bowl with dog bones on it.

A diet high in antioxidants may help minimize cognitive deterioration in pets with CCD, according to Today’s Veterinary Practice. Supplements that may treat or minimize dementia symptoms are provided to your dog.

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