Symptoms Of Cognitive Dysfunction In Dogs.
Examples of behavior change are a “confused” dog who appears disoriented or lost in a familiar environment, dogs that wander aimlessly and may seem “forgotten” to return from corners.
Your dog, although properly trained throughout its life, can have accidents. They may no longer greet you at the door, bring you balls to throw, or seem to care about being petted. Often times, you will be able to spot cognitive dysfunction in dogs when you might have a sleepy dog during the day but not a tired dog at night. You have disrupted the sleep pattern. The night can bring restlessness and increased wandering as if your biological clocks were reversed. You can also sing at night to keep you and others around the house awake.
None of these things mean your dog will care less about you. Cognitive dysfunction in dogs simply causes your pet to behave differently, and they likely have no idea that it is causing you trouble!
If you experience cognitive dysfunction in dogs, it can be recognized by a number of clinical symptoms. The diagnosis can be made if your older dog has behavioral changes that have no obvious physical cause. The syndrome has been compared to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Some people may think of “canine dementia,” although dementia in dogs is, of course, different from the disease in humans.
Treatment Of Cognitive Dysfunction In Dogs
You don’t need to worry if your dog suffers from CDS: behavior changes in aging dogs can really respond to treatment. Treatments can include diet changes, medication, and behavioral therapy. Further tips for older dogs – even without CDS – are:
- For your dog’s safety, be aware of any risks in your home and garden that could cause your dog to fall, such as steps, and watch your dog in these areas.
- Stick to a routine whenever you can. Older dogs and dogs with CDS don’t like changes in known schedules, so a routine may keep them calmer.
- Stick to an exercise regimen when there is no medical reason not to, as regular walks will help improve mental and physical health.
- Avoid stressful situations like being put in a kennel – find a house sitter instead to minimize changes in your dog’s environment.
- You may also want to avoid visitors bringing dogs.
- Home education problems can be difficult to resolve. Make sure your dog has every opportunity by taking him out frequently and reward good behavior.
- Discuss with your veterinarian whether medication will be of benefit to your dog.
Whatever happens, after a lifetime of unconditional love and companionship, our older dogs deserve all the care and consideration we can give them – and they will no doubt continue to give it back to you!