A few days ago, I was randomly scrolling through the news, I saw something that actually scared me. I saw an article from Rappler that dogs can have dementia, too. However, lots of walks may lower the risk. So, naturally, I researched further into this — just in case this happens to my furbaby in the future.
Everything you need to know about dog dementia
Dog dementia, also known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD), is a cognitive disorder in dogs. This causes similar symptoms to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. It’s a condition related to the aging of a dog’s brain. This, then, leads to changes in behavior and primarily affects memory, learning, and comprehension. Clinical signs of dementia are found in 50% of dogs over the age of eleven.
Here are the symptoms of dog dementia
The symptoms of dog dementia are extensive. This also ranges from mild to severe as the disease progresses. The initial symptoms of dementia are often mild. However, they gradually worsen over time.
- Disorientation and confusion
- Failing to remember routines and previously learned training or house rules
- No longer responding to their name or familiar commands
- Extreme irritability
- Decreased desire to play
- Aimless wandering
- Staring blankly at walls or at nothing
- Slow to learn new tasks
- Lack of self-grooming
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in sleep cycle like night walking and/or sleeping during the day
These symptoms do not necessarily indicate dog dementia immediately. However, it could be a sign of another possible illness that your dog is suffering from. Diagnosis of dog dementia must be done by a professional. So, if your dog is exhibiting these symptoms, a trip to the veterinarian remains essential. Your vet can also conduct appropriate tests to rule out any other conditions or use an MRI to make the final diagnosis.
Although the exact cause of dog dementia remains unknown, it is difficult to determine exactly how to prevent it.
However, keeping your dog physically and mentally active may help prevent dementia. It is recommended to do these things with your dog to keep their mind sharp and healthy:
- Teach new tricks
- Play games together
- Feed them balanced and whole food diet
- Consider brain-healthy supplements
- Make sure they get regular exercise
- Allow them to have new experience and regular socialization
- Avoid putting your dog in stressful situations
- And, eliminate exposure to toxins
Unfortunately, at this time, there is no known cure for it. However, research into this subject is already beign conducted.
Angela Grace P. Baltan is a Communication graduate from Colegio de San Juan de Letran. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, and mental health among others.