Just like humans, dogs can develop dementia as they age. The feisty speedster used to zoom out the door might one day wander precariously to make its way out into the closet.
It’s an unfortunate reality that many dog owners have to face, especially if their breed lives more than 10 years. dog aging project In most dogs, the risk of developing cognitive impairment increased by 52% each year after the age of 10.
But if your furry best friend is showing signs of canine cognitive decline, or CCD, there’s no reason to despair, says veterinarian Dr. Dana Burble, chief veterinary officer in the veterinary community. .
“Too often, pet owners think their dogs are just slowing down, and there are things they can do to slow, slow, or reverse the age-related cognitive decline in their dogs. “We didn’t realize it,” Varble said.
“Studies show that mental activity and exercise are just as important to the mental health of dogs as they are to humans. Stimulating the brain is important, and this can easily be done with food puzzles, for example.” she said.
A food puzzle is a toy in which the owner hides a treat, and it is up to the dog to push, rock, or jog the treat. Activities like this help keep both dogs’ and cats’ brains active, experts say.
Additionally, “dietary supplements have been shown to improve symptoms and slow the decline of CCD. There are also special foods for aging dogs,” said Verble.
In new research, Published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reportsresearchers asked more than 15,000 dog owners to complete two studies on their dogs’ health and cognitive status between December 2019 and 2020. We grouped by age and analyzed the results
Based on age alone, the odds of a dog developing CCD increased by 68% each year after the first decade of life. However, when other factors such as dog breed, pre-existing health problems, sterilization, and physical activity were taken into account, the risk dropped to 52% per year of life expectancy.
Inactive dogs of the same breed, health status, age and sterility were almost seven times more likely to have canine dementia than comparably active dogs. It’s unclear if the opposite is true, say the study authors.
Additionally, dogs with a history of neurological, eye or ear disorders were at increased risk of cognitive decline. the study.
There was also good news. The study found little cognitive decline in dogs under the age of 10.
For years, veterinarians have studied the signs and symptoms of dementia in dogs in an effort to better understand and assist in pet care. I have:
Disorientation: Dogs with cognitive problems may have difficulty getting around the house or may wander as if they are lost. They get stuck behind furniture, don’t know how to get out, stare aimlessly at floors and walls, and get out into space. They may not even recognize family members.
sleep cycle changes: Dementia in Dogs Day and night, and confuse your pet They may wake up in the middle of the night and walk around the house barking or whining. Insomnia at night can lead to excessive sleep during the day.
House training: Some dogs forget years of home training and start lounging indoors and can become anxious. They may forget to warn you when they need to go out, forget to do their work while they are out, or even leave the house dirty when they return.
Changes in social behavior: Your interactions with others can change. Dogs can become overly clingy, frightened, or embarrassed. Alternatively, the dog may become antisocial, withdraw from interaction and spend time alone.
Changes in physical activity: Dogs with cognitive decline may lose interest A favorite toy, another dog or person, or unable to calm down, starts rambling.
If you see any of these signs, take your dog to the veterinarian. “Early intervention can prolong and improve a pet’s quality of life,” she said.
First, your veterinarian will check for other causes of your dog’s symptoms, rule out diabetes, vision and hearing loss, kidney or urinary problems, arthritis, high blood pressure, and more. Cushing’s disease, It is caused by excess cortisol, the stress hormone.
If you and your vet detect early signs of dementia, your doctor may suggest: behavior modification drugs Approved for dogs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to work with the neurotransmitter dopamine to help with wasting.
Your vet can also help feed your dog with a brain-healthy diet, encourage more physical activity, socialization, brain stimulation with food puzzles, teach new tricks, sniff and smell during walks. may encourage sniffing.
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