Dog Dementia

Dog Dementia

Are you worried about behavioural changes in your dog? Is your dog failing to remember routines or even family members? Are you worried your dog has dementia? If your dog is looking disoriented and confused, then it may simply be a sign of ageing, dog’s behaviour can change much like humans as they age, or it could be a sign of dog dementia. Knowing what to look for when determining if a dog has dementia is vital so you can get the right help to support your pet through this time.

What is dog dementia?

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) or dog dementia is an umbrella term that includes four different cognitive disorders. Found primarily in older dogs, it is an age-related syndrome in dogs that is likened to Alzheimer's in humans.

Much like the disease presents in humans, dog dementia can range from mild to severe and is a progressive disease. Initially, the symptoms will appear mild; however, over time, they worsen. Signs of dog dementia to look out for are:

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Failure to remember people or routines
  • Not recognising their name
  • Not responding to commands
  • Aimless wandering
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes to their sleep cycle
  • Staring at walls or seemingly nothing in particular

It is a sad fact that many of these symptoms of dog dementia are overlooked and put down to a dog's old age. But once you know what you are looking for, you can be proactive in getting your dog diagnosed.

How do you diagnose dog dementia?

It is important to remember, that just because your dog may be displaying one or more of these symptoms of dog dementia, it doesn't automatically mean they are suffering from this condition. There could be any different illnesses that your dog could have that present in the same or similar ways. This is why it is important to visit your vet to confirm the diagnosis and discuss any concerns you may have.

Your vet can conduct appropriate tests or use an MRI to make their final diagnosis.

What causes dog dementia?

The exact cause of dog dementia is currently unknown. Factors including age, genetic factors, brain tumours, or brain trauma can all play a part in affecting the brain function in dogs as they age.

Can you prevent dog dementia?

It is challenging to determine precisely how to prevent dementia in dogs as the exact cause is still unknown. Helping your dog to stay physically and mentally active could play a part in avoiding dog dementia but doing this will enable them to live a full and active life regardless of this condition.

Because an exact cause is unknown, it is difficult to determine precisely how to prevent dementia in dogs. However, keeping your dog physically and mentally active may help to prevent dementia. It is recommended to do the following with your dog to keep their mind sharp and healthy:

  • Play games together
  • Feed them a nutritious, balanced diet
  • Ensure they get regular exercise
  • Consider supplements - especially ones that are formulated for brain health in dogs
  • Make sure they get regular exercise
  • Avoid overly stressful situations

If you are worried about your dog suffering from dog dementia, then visiting your vet should be your first port of call. It is recommended that dogs have regular check-ups so that any warning signs can be picked up at these appointments and diagnosed quickly.

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