what is dementia in dogs
Dementia in dogs, which is more common in older dogs, is also known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. Affected dogs will display symptoms similar to Alzheimer's disease in humans. The dog experiences deterioration of brain capacity resulting in loss of memory and motor function. Much of the training the dog much earlier in his life will be forgotten.
SYMPTOMS OF DEMENTIA (CCD)
Definitive diagnosis of CCD can only be made by a veterinarian. However, if your dog is over 10 years old there are some symptoms to watch out for.
Disorientation: Your dog may become confused and not be able to find his way around the house. Familiar objects will seem strange to him and he may have trouble remembering where his bed and food bowl are. He may become begin pacing or become anxious for no apparent reason.
Lack of interest: You may find your dog no longer wants to go for walks, play with you, or take part in all the other activities you used to share together.
Hygiene issues: Your dog may start to poop or pee inside. He may stop telling you he wants to go outside for the potty.
Change in sleep patterns: You may find your dog awake and confused at night. He could be sleeping much more during the day.
Non-responsiveness: He may stop responding to your voice and not obey simple commands such a sit, stay, or come.
In fact, he does not seem like your old dog at all. Some of these changes in behaviour may not be symptoms of dog dementia but something else. Your dog could be losing his hearing or eyesight. There could be some other medical explanation. This is why a visit to the veterinarian is important.
WHAT DO YOU SHOULD DO IF YOUR DOG HAS DEMENTIA.
Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for CCD. But there are many things you can do to make your dog's life easier. Firstly, you should listen to the advice of your veterinarian very carefully.
A drug called Anipryl has been approved for use with dogs suffering from CCD, and you should find out from your veterinarian whether it's use is appropriate in your case.
It is important that you are patient and caring with your dog.
In many cases, exercise has been found to be helpful. Of course, with an older dog you need to ensure that the exercise program is within his physical capabilities.
Try teaching your dog some new simple games such as tug of war.
Check with your veterinarian to see if a change of diet could help.
You should establish a regular daily routine for feeding and watering your dog. Once established, stick to the routine to avoid confusion.
Avoid rearranging furniture or putting new things in the dog’s section of the house. Keep your dog’s walkways clear.
Spend as much quality time with your dog you can and avoid introducing new things which could confuse him.