We love our senior dogs but, as with everyone, old age comes with health problems. One common problem affecting many older dogs is dementia. Similar to human dementia, dogs can develop the illness as they age. However, the prognosis of canine dementia does not decrease the lifespan of your dog, according to many studies on the disease. It does, however, cause a lot of worry for dog owners. Understanding what dog dementia is as well as the signs your dog may have it can alleviate that worry.
What is Dog Dementia?
Canine Dementia, dog dementia or cognitive dysfunction syndrome, is an age related disease seen in dogs. It is very common and dog owners will see it to a range of degrees in their dogs by the age of 11.
In fact, roughly 50% of dogs over the age of 11 begin to show signs of dog dementia. After the age of 15, 68% of dogs begin to show signs of canine dementia. This means that a large portion of the dog population will acquire some type of cognitive dysfunction during their senior years.
However, it is important to realize that dog dementia ranges in severity. These are:
Mild: Dogs with mild stage dementia are often free of symptoms. The first indicator of a problem is changes in sleep patterns, such as sleeping less at night, and changes in social interactions. For instances, a dog may suddenly become fearful of the owner while he is wearing his usual hat.
Moderate: Owners will being to notice the symptoms of dog dementia as they become more intense. Symptoms of mild stage dementia are present, however, they are worsening. In addition, your dog may become hyperactive at night, need more daily care and have potty accidents in the house. Behavior may changes, for instance, an independent dog may become extremely needy.
Severe: This is where owners will see dramatic behavior changes in their dog. He will be less likely to listen to commands, may become lost in the house, or bark for no reason. He may be less responsive to care and will sometimes wander around the house aimlessly. There are also increased accidents in the house.
By the time the dog has reached the severe stage of canine dementia, owners should be aware of the diagnosis with their dog.
As dogs age, they need more tender, loving care. Truthfully, the golden years of a dog’s life can be wonderful years. However, following the tips on the next page will ensure that your senior dog is receiving the best care possible.