The human-animal bond is a very special thing and if your dog is diagnosed with canine dementia, known clinically as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD), it can be heartbreaking news. Every pet owner wants their pup to live a long life, but with that comes aging-related diseases. Studies show that we’re seeing more of CDD than ever before because so many dogs are living to the age of 12, 14, or even older.

In this article, we are going to discuss more about canine dementia including the clinical definition, symptoms, treatment and tips. Plus, we are going to share with you our favorite products that will help to make life easier living with a dog with dementia.

Definition of Canine Dementia

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction is an age-related neurobehavioral syndrome that leads to a decline in cognitive function. It is very similar to Alzheimer’s disease as it appears in humans. In dog’s brains, the protein beta-amyloid accumulates creating protein deposits called plaques. This term CDD relates to four separate cognitive forms including:

Involutional depression

First off, involutional depression is defined as depression occurring in a dog’s life in their later years. This is similar to chronic depression in humans. There may be several factors contributing, but untreated anxiety seems to be the major cause. If your dog’s anxiety increases, it could worsen the symptoms. Symptoms of this form of CCD could include lethargy, sleep disorders, and decreased activity.

Dysthymia

Next, dysthymia is often a result of loss of awareness in body length and size. They may often get stuck behind furniture and don’t realize how easy it is to get out. They could also have disrupted sleep-wake cycles, constant growling, whining, or aggressive behavior. If your pup is going through a dysthymic state, interrupting them could cause them to get made and bite.

Hyper-aggression

Lastly, hyper-agression is associated with the neurotransmitter serotonin. Dogs with this form of CCD often lose their ability to communicate with other animals. They do not understand how to give signals to other pets around them nor when others give off signals. This means they will bite first and warn second.

Symptoms

Furthermore, dementia in dogs affect their memory, learning, and comprehension. You may be noticing your dog wandering and pacing around the house. Symptoms can develop gradually and get worse overtime. They can also be caused by various medical problems. Any dogs showing signs, should be seen by a veterinarian to rule out any health issues. Symptoms of canine dementia include the following.

1. Pacing, anxiousness, and disorientation

2. Getting lost in familiar places

3. Urinating/defecating in the house

4. Lethargic: ignoring family members

5. Barking for no reason

6. Appetite increase or decrease

7. Changed in sleeping pattern

8. Other unusual behaviors

Treatment Options

A diagnosis of canine dementia can be quite difficult to handle. There is no cure for dementia and it is a progressive disease. This means it will get worse overtime. However, there are things you can do as a pet owner to make your dog more comfortable. This could include herbs, natural supplements, essential oils, omega-3 fatty acids, and anipryl.

Additional treatment practices include developing a routine for feeding, exercise, and other activities. It is important that your dog gets plenty of exercise to manage their level of anxiety. Soothing music and aromatherapy will also help to calm them down. It is also important to spend quality time together to strengthen the bond between you and your dog. Furthermore, avoid rearranging furniture or drastically changing their environment.

Helpful Tips

Dementia can vary with each dog. Steps to take often depends on how far advanced the condition is. It will be helpful to work with your vet to figure out the right plan. Here are some helpful ways you may be able to help your dog and topics to discuss with your vet.

Follow a strict daily routine-Setting a schedule for your dog when it comes to feeding, exercise, and bedtime will reduce anxiety and is great therapy for confused dogs.

Make gradual instead of sudden changes- Changing furniture arrangements or personal/familiar spaces will often confuse dogs more and increase their anxiety and aggressive behaviors.

Puzzle toys and swimming can be helpful for enrichment- Thinking games will allow their minds to stay active. They will also build cognitive reserve and sharpen their minds.

Calming music to reduce anxiety- If you notice a lot of panic and anxiety in your dog, soft music will lessen stress. They will feel calmer and won’t feel the need to have bad behaviors.

Short and simple play and training- You never want to exhaust their minds because this may increase their lethargy and confusion. While getting plenty of exercise is great for them, too much could make them irritated.

Use natural supplements-Natural supplements have herbs and essential oils that are proven to reduce stress, pain, and anxiety. They don’t have harmful chemicals or unknown ingredients that could end up making their symptoms worse.

Products to Help with CCD

1. Nutrition Strength Cognitive Support for Dogs

This supplement is made with the highest quality FDA-approved ingredients. Nutrition Strength’s formula is made to satisfy the biological requirements for optimal nutrition for canine dementia. With these pills, old dogs will become more attentive and less lethargic. They are made in the USA using 100% green, carbon-neutral technology and is third party certified for purity and potency. Not only are they made naturally but they are made to meet the strictest animal supplement manufacturing guidelines for your pet’s safety.

Additionally, they can be used for dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes. They are easily digestible and highly absorbable. These supplements are formulated with vitamin E, phosphatidylserine, ginkgo biloba, and grape extract. The vitamins and minerals in this product help dogs to retain alertness at any age.

2. Dr. Bill’s Canine Cognitive Support – Healthy Brain Function

Dr. Bill’s products have been used by veterinarians, breeders, and trainers for more than 30 years to treat canine dementia. This supplement is a unique blend of natural ingredients that support healthy brain function, preserving memory, improving mood, and reducing stress and anxiety. These work by slowing down cognitive decline in aging dogs by using biologically-appropriate ingredients that are high quality. Ingredients include gingko biloba, DHA, L-carnosine, vitamin B12, L-glutamine, and L-tyrosine.

About 50% of dogs over the age of 11 show signs of canine dementia. Dr. Bill’s Canine Cognitive Support provides support to slow this disease. Plus, you won’t have to worry about chemicals or harmful ingredients because they are made with all-natural substances. They are made in the USA and are regulated by the NASC (National Animal Supplement Council).

3. Remember Me? Loving and Caring for a Dog with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

Next, we chose this award-winning guidebook is great for owners of dogs who are suffering from dementia. The author, Eileen Anderson, tells a story about a dog and its owner who kept their strong bond through this difficult situation. Remember Me? will give you the insight on everything you need to know about the difficult condition to give your dog the best life possible. Some of the things you will learn include:

·     How to adapt your home and habits for your dog

·     Products available to solve any issues you may have

·     How to make life easier for both you and your pup physically and emotionally

·     Symptoms of canine cognitive dysfunction and how to treat the condition

Additionally, this book has won the 2016 Maxwell Award from the Dog Writers Association of America for a book on health, behavior, or general care.

4. Halo Holistic Condition-Specific Whole Food Supplements Dogs

Your dog will be feeling young again with these supplements by Halo. They support cognitive function, alertness, and vigor. Plus, they are made with 100% whole food and non-GMO ingredients. There’s no fillers, sugars, glycerin, or artificial flavors or preservatives. Halo’s products are tested to be pure and these supplements provide an aroma and taste that dogs will love!

Active ingredients in this product include coconut, sweet potato, fish oil, bee pollen, anise, and gingko biloba. All you have to do is sprinkle the supplement over dry food or mmix in with moist food. Serve 1.5 tsp. per day and adjust the proportion to the size of your dog.

5. Ethical Pets Spot Seek-a-Treat Flip ‘N Slide Treat Dispenser for Dogs

Secondly, this interactive puzzle is great for older dogs whose minds seem to be less active. Your dog will not only have one but multiple games and puzzles. This game provides mind training and fun activities. Your pup will no longer be bored with the bright colors and hidden treats that will keep them busy for hours. The toy is made of high-quality materials that are sturdy enough for the usual energy of your dog. It’s also great for high energy dogs as well with dog-proof material that will last even with rough play.

Additionally, the treat dispenser turns giving treats into a fun interactive play. Plus, you can play with them as well to turn this toy into your dog’s favorite bonding activity. Use this toy to sharpen your dog’s mind and decision skills. This toy will both challenge them and give them a fun playtime.