Just like in humans, advanced age diseases such as dementia can occur in dogs depending on the progression of age. This disorder, which can be briefly described as a kind of cognitive decline, can also be called “cognitive dysfunction syndrome” or canine dementia. Symptoms of dementia in dogs usually appear at age 9 years. Veterinarians should be visited to monitor these symptoms carefully and to question other potential causes of the symptoms. In this article, you can find information about dementia in dogs, symptoms of dementia in dogs and treatment for dementia in dogs.
What Is Dementia in Dogs?
Dementia in dogs is a condition that occurs with age and causes problems with memory, confusion, anxiety and disorientation much like Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Although the exact cause of dementia in dogs is not yet known, it is accepted that this condition is related to the physical and chemical changes that occur due to aging.
What Are the Symptoms of Dementia in Dogs?
There may be differences in the movements, habits and behavior of older dogs. Not all age-related changes may be related to dementia. For this reason, veterinarians should be consulted if the symptoms, which we will detail later, are observed. Although it is not possible to treat dementia in dogs, it is possible to alleviate the symptoms of this disease and improve the quality of life of dogs. We can list the most common dementia symptoms as follows:
One of the most common symptoms of dementia in dogs is disorientation. Dementia can cause dogs to become disoriented in familiar environments or environments. For example, a dog that spends time in the backyard may turn to the wrong door to get in, cannot find his bed when going to sleep, or have difficulty in spatial awareness.
Relationships May Change
Dementia in dogs can affect the relationships and behavior of our friends. It is known that they may start to behave differently towards family members or other pets. Under normal conditions, a dog with a social structure may prefer to remain isolated due to dementia and may even become aggressive from time to time even if he has no temperament. Some dogs diagnosed with dementia have been known to avoid spending time with their families and activities they have always enjoyed.
Sleep Patterns May Be Disrupted
Changes in dogs’ sleep patterns or a disruption in their circadian rhythm are specific indicators of cognitive dysfunction. A dog that slept all night in the past may start to stay awake all night due to dementia, preferring to do the activities that it does during the day.
Change in Urine and Stool Habits
It is a typical sign of dementia that an older dog, who normally does not urinate or defecate at home, begins to meet his needs at home. The reason for this change in dogs may be that they forget to let them know that their toilet is coming or they lose their urine or stool control. Therefore, the cause of the problem may need to be determined by veterinarians as usual. Weakness in the bladder muscles or urinary tract problems can cause similar symptoms. Identifying the source of the symptoms will mean evaluating the right treatment options.
Reduction in Activity Level
Dementia in dogs can cause them to lose interest in the world, people and situations around them, decrease their activity levels, and exhibit depression-like behaviors. Diagnosis by veterinarians is important, as decreased activity in older dogs may also be caused by pain as a result of diseases such as arthritis.
Eating and Drinking Difficulties
Some dogs diagnosed with dementia may start to have difficulty eating or drinking water, while others may not be able to find food and water bowls. For this reason, food and water containers should be located in an easily accessible place for dogs with aging and differentiation in cognitive functions.
Dementia can cause dogs to exhibit repetitive movements such as head-shaking, leg-shaking, and circling while walking. These symptoms are more difficult to confuse with other conditions and it is recommended that dogs displaying these symptoms be examined by a veterinarian without delay.
Treating Dementia in Dogs
Visiting veterinarians for examination and consultation is the first step to take when signs of dementia begin to appear in dogs. Veterinarians will listen to the dogs’ health history and perform a thorough examination. A CT scan, X-ray, MRI, blood test, and urinalysis may be ordered to look for causes of symptoms that may also occur due to other health conditions.
Unfortunately, dementia in dogs is not a completely curable disease. The main purpose of the treatment of dementia in dogs is to alleviate the symptoms experienced and to increase the quality of life of dogs. In order to alleviate the symptoms of dementia in dogs, it may be recommended to prescribe some medications, revise daily feeding plans, restructure exercise programs, and even reposition some items in the house. It may also be possible to apply additional nutrients and vitamins to slow the progression of dementia in dogs. You can find dog vitamins and supplements by clicking here. The most accurate decision can be made as a result of the evaluation of the veterinarians in line with the general health status of the dog and the severity of the symptoms.