Dementia also affects dogs. But it can be tricky to find. Its prevalence, particularly in dogs older than ten years, is demonstrated by research released today.
Here are some behavioral changes in senior dogs to look out for and when to call your vet.
What is doggy dementia?
Dog dementia, also known as canine cognitive dysfunction, is a degenerative brain disease that causes behavioral, cognitive, and other abnormalities, comparable to Alzheimer’s disease in humans.
Although it can happen in puppies as young as six, it is typically found in dogs over the age of eight.
Many behavioral changes in pets may be dismissed by owners as simply a natural aspect of aging. Therefore, there may be more dogs present than we are aware of.
It can be challenging for veterinarians to make a diagnosis. No reliable, non-invasive test exists for it. Additionally, senior dogs may have additional health conditions that make diagnosis more difficult, just like senior humans.
Does my dog have dementia?
Dementia-affected dogs frequently go lost in their own backyards or houses. They may not realize they have a reverse gear, which might cause them to become trapped behind objects or in room corners. When attempting to pass through a door, they may also move in that direction.
Dogs can alter how they behave around people and other animals. They might begin to demand less or more affection from their owners than they used to, or they might start becoming grouchy towards the other dog in the house when they used to get along well. They might even lose sight of people they have known their entire lives.
I think my dog has dementia, now what?
Some drugs can help to lessen the symptoms of canine dementia, which can enhance quality of life and make caring for them a bit simpler. So, if you suspect your dog is affected, talk to your vet.
Our team is preparing to do research on a few non-drug therapies. This includes investigating if training and exercise could benefit these canines. But it’s still early.
Sadly, there is no treatment. Our best option is to lower the likelihood of contracting the illness. According to the most recent study, exercise may be crucial.
What results did the newest study show?
As part of the Dog Aging Project, more than 15,000 dogs provided data for a US study that was published today.
Owners of dogs kept as pets were requested to participate in two questionnaires. One inquired about the dogs’ well-being and level of physical exercise. The canines’ cognitive abilities were tested in the second.
It was estimated that 1.4% of the canines had canine cognitive impairment.
For dogs over ten years old, every extra year of life increased the risk of developing dementia by more than 50%. Less-active dogs were almost 6.5 times more likely to have dementia than dogs that were very active.
While this may imply that regular exercise could guard dogs from dementia, this type of research cannot guarantee it. Dementia-affected dogs or those showing early signs of the disease may be less likely to exercise.
Exercise can, however, lower a person’s risk of developing dementia, as is known. So, taking our dogs for walks could help us all lower our risk of developing dementia.