Do you know how to spot the signs of doggie dementia? More importantly, are you prepared to keep your senior puppy mentally engaged and active to soften the effects of canine cognitive dysfunction?
How can you help your hound stay vibrant, confident, and calm as she eases into her later golden years?
What is Canine Cognitive Dysfunction and What are the Symptoms?
Because dog years speed up your pup’s life, there’s a good chance, you’ll have to prepare yourself to see your dog age. Most dog parents watch for signs of physical discomfort like arthritis, digestive issues, and weight gain. While physical comfort improves your dog’s quality of life, many dogs also face psychological discomfort as they get older, too.
The most common form of dogie dementia is CCD. CCD is similar to its human equivalent, Alzheimer’s disease. Like Alzheimer’s, CCD occurs when protein plaques build in a dog’s brain. These plaques can form in different regions, resulting in a wide range of effects.
Signs and Symptoms of CCD
- Confusion and restlessness
- Increased anxiety
- Pacing and repetitive behaviors
- Distressing vocalization
- Becoming lost in her environment
- Lethargy and disengagement
- Increased potty accidents
1. Bring Your Best Friend to the Veterinarian
Some signs of canine dementia, like confusion and staring, may show your dog is slowing down mentally, but they can also be symptoms of hearing loss or vision impairment. Your vet can get to the bottom of the problem with a thorough exam. She may even decide to prescribe some meds to help.
2. Keep Your Dog’s Routine to a Tee
The fewer changes your courageous pup faces, the less confusion she’ll have to deal with. The more predictable your day-to-day activities, the less stress your dog will feel.
- Keep breakfast and dinner times the same.
- Don’t skip walks. Use a reflective vest to protect your pooch on walks. As she ages, you may find her wandering into the road more often. Visibility is key to preventing an accident.
- Try to maintain a regular bedtime in the same spot night after night.
3. Increase Mental Stimulation with Disrupting That Routine
Play is connected to a bright mind. The same is true of mental stimulation. The question many dog parents have is how do you balance play, mental engagement, and routine?
One way is to provide plenty of play opportunities. Keep a variety of high-interest toys like our mess free, adorable plush pack or rope toys in your dog’s toy bin. This will allow your dog to find her favorites when she’s feeling feisty.
A snuffle mat can add mental stimulation to breakfast and dinner. A snuffle mat evokes your dog’s sense of adventure and wit. Searching for her food helps maintain healthy connections in the brain.
Our connections to our dogs are unbreakable. From tail wags to those loving eyes, our best friends deserve to age with dignity and respect. If your dog faces the struggles related to CCD, help her enjoy her golden years to with these tips and plenty of cuddles.