Disorientation, dogzheimers or confusion, call it what you want, but dementia in senior dogs is a severe issue. It is also called canine cognitive dysfunction and is a very common issue in senior canines just like older human beings. Same as Alzheimer’s, it can take a toll on the cognitive function of a dog resulting in memory loss and altered behaviors. Such changes can affect the life quality of the dogs and even the owners. However, a better understanding of the causes of this problem and its treatment might help in lessening its adverse effects.
Causes Of Senior Dog Dementia
Symptoms like barking without any reason, anxiety, and loss of appetite are generally the result of the damage or the changes in the dog’s brain. However, it is worth noting that different types of symptoms and different varieties of dementia might arise because of various brain problems. Till date, the causes of dementia in older dogs have not been understood completely. However, there exist some reasons similar to the roots of dementia in humans. Some proteins collect around the neurons in the brain. This causes the breakdown of the neurons, which further disrupts the process of information transmission within the brain. This is probably one major cause of dementia in older dogs.
Diagnosis And Treatment Options
For the ones who are apprehensive of their dogs being affected by dementia, the first source of contact should be a veterinary service. Your vet will help in ruling out the other medical problems that might have any effect on the mental function of your canine companion. The diagnosis involves a complete physical examination and detailed history of the symptoms. There might even be some routine urine tests and blood tests prescribed for ruling out conditions like kidney and liver diseases or diabetes. If behavioral problems are more intense, then consulting a behaviorist is apt.
Some Treatment Options That Work
- Natural supplements like melatonin are great alternatives. They help the dog in relaxing.
- CBD oils are an exciting and new alternative to dementia drugs for pet owners. They are not just effective for dementia but even for other conditions like epilepsy.
- Essential oils can also prove to be beneficial.
- Different types of herbs like gingko, lemon balm, Gotu cola, and bacopa work towards treating dementia in canines.
- Pet owners should also try switching their dogs to diets that are rich in their content of omega-3 fatty acids along with other beneficial antioxidants. Reports suggest that omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants help in enhancing brain health.
- If you are consulting a vet, they will prescribe medicines like Anipryl and Selgian. These are effective when it comes to treating dementia. They work by prolonging the activity of the remaining dopamine in a dog. This helps in improving memory and in making the canines think clearly.
There are many other treatment options for dementia in senior dogs. You simply need to get help online or from support groups where pet owners discuss the options that they have tried on their dogs.