Dementia in the senior dog
Dementia is as real for dogs as it is for humans. But, with proper management, patience and care, your furkids can live their senior years both healthily and happily.
With dementia in dogs, recognizing the symptoms early is key to successful management of the condition. It is, therefore, crucial to consult with your veterinary professional early for the best possible prognosis.
What are the symptoms of dementia in dogs?
Most often, a clinical diagnosis by your veterinarian will determine the likeliness that your furkid is displaying signs of dementia.
Symptoms of dementia may include:
Howling, barking or whining without a particular reason
Interruption in sleep-wake cycle
Anxiety and being “on-edge”
Staring into thin air
Dementia in senior dogs is certainly not a reason to panic. More important, adjustments to your behaviour and implementing a few new rules around the house will help you successfully manage your pet’s dementia associated symptoms.
How to manage dementia in pets
In dogs with dementia, consistency is key. Introducing your furkid to a new environment or pets they are not familiar with can cause them to be anxious. And, a pet that is anxious is a pet that will display signs of confusion. So, be consistent with where you take them and who you let them play with. After all, even if they don’t remember, their inner anxiety will.
For a dog with dementia, getting outdoors and exercising a little is key. If, for example, your furkid has always enjoyed a walk, then keeping to this routine is crucial. Plus, exercise in dogs with dementia is good for heart and brain health and may assist with feelings of anxiety.
A sudden change in routine may cause distress. Remember, dementia is known to be well managed by keeping to a routine that your pet has always been familiar with. So, think feeding time, playing time and general routine in your home.
What about food?
Your veterinary professional may recommend a dietary change to improve cognitive function.
There are a great variety of foods available for senior dogs. Remember, dementia is not always treated with medication. However, food that is high in omega fatty acids and brain-healthy nutrients may improve your pet’s symptoms and slow disease progression. So, your veterinarian will advise you on the best brand of food for your pet. To sum up, dementia can be a frightening diagnosis for pet parents. But, with stress management, proper diet and a veterinarian that understands your lifestyle and your pet’s needs, your furkid can live a well-balanced life.