By Nancy Cope
Alzheimer’s in dogs is known as canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome. It does not have the same medical cause as Alzheimer’s but it presents with similar symptoms in dogs as Alzheimer’s does in humans.
Dogs who have cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) will usually display the following signs:
* a senior dog who experiences confusion
* failure to recognize familiar people
* fails to respond to his name
* trouble finding the door or standing on the wrong side of the door
* forgetting why he went outside when he needs to potty
* seems aloof
* uninterested in being petted
* changes in sleep
* wandering or pacing
* and having accidents in the house
In short, the older dog begins to experience forgetfulness and a change in personality, along with confusion. These changes often begin when a dog is around eight years old, depending on the dog’s breed.
CDS occurs in many dogs
According to studies, at the University of California-Davis, in dogs between 11 and 16 years of age, 62 percent of thedogs showed at least one sign of having CDS. In a pet owner survey, almost half of the dogs eight years of age and older had at least one symptom of CDS.
Treatment for CDS
However, canine cognitive dysfunction is not unavoidable. It is not a necessary part of a dog getting older. If your dog is diagnosed with CDS, the drug Anipryl has been remarkably beneficial in treating the condition. In studies, 69 to 75 percent of dogs improved by at least one clinical symptom after taking the drug for a month. Anipryl is a tablet that is prescribed by vets. Dogs generally take one tablet per day in the morning with food.
There probably isn’t any way to prevent canine cognitive dysfunction but if your older dog begins to show signs of confusion or a change in personality, you should check with your vet and ask about medication.
As your dog gets older you should make sure that he remains active both mentally and physically. Do not allow him to become obese or too sedentary. See that he continues to get some regular exercise. Try to do some regular activities with him to keep him interested in life and the world around him. Alzheimer’s patients are advised to keep their minds active as a way to fight off their disease and the same advice is good for dogs as they get older, too.
Interactive toys, games, spending time with your dog, and participating in dog sports and other activities are all good ways to keep your older dog’s mind active.
Feed your dog a healthy diet with good antioxidants to promote healthy brain activity, too. Antioxidants in their natural state include blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, and other fruit. Many people are unaware that dogs love these berries and fruits. Try giving them to your dog as healthy snacks. They’re a great way to promote a healthy mind.
Nancy Cope is the owner of four rescue dogs and Pampered Dog Gifts.