Dementia or memory loss is not only a problem that affects people, but is also a common disorder in dogs. Dementia in dogs is referred to as canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD). Canine cognitive dysfunction can occur for a number of reasons, such as an accumulation of abnormal proteins in the brain. This is created through a buildup of plaque which eventually damages the nerves and results in the loss of brain function, affecting your dog’s memory, motor functions and behaviours. In this article, we shall explain some signs which show that your dog is suffering from cognitive impairment.
Your dog starts to lack focus
Although dementia in dogs cannot officially be diagnosed, certain behavioural symptoms may indicate that your dog is suffering from cognitive impairment. If you notice that your dog is forgetting the usual route to your daily walk or he cannot seem to find his way through to certain things in the house such as his food bowl, these are clear signs that he may be suffering from this condition.
Dogs with cognitive impairment may also start to lose spatial awareness capabilities, finding themselves in a corner or behind a piece of furniture, without knowing how to get back out. Dogs with dementia also tend to stare blankly at a wall or into thin air.
Your dog is not interacting as much as he used to
Another sign of dementia in dogs is a lack of interaction. If you notice that your dog’s interaction towards you or other members of the family has decreased or has drastically changed, this could be a clear sign of cognitive impairment. It is also important to note that these behaviours can be caused by many other conditions besides dementia. Your dog could feel sick or in pain, so it is best to consult with your vet to understand the exact cause.
Changes in sleep-wake cycle
Interrupted sleep or disturbance is another common sign of dementia in pets. Pets with this condition start to experience progressive confusion and reversal of day-night, wake-sleep patterns. As a result, your pet starts to sleep throughout the day and stays awake or sleeps less during the night.
Your dog is becoming more aggressive
Dogs with dementia may experience problems controlling their emotions and may show a change in attitude, as they become more aggressive. The reason for this is that senior dogs may start to “forget” the relationships they once had with their family members and therefore they become more aggressive.
Your dog has become more fearful or anxious
If your dog starts showing signs that he is getting scared of things that may have not bothered him in the past this could be another sign of dementia. Your dog might even show signs of separation anxiety and follows you around the house more closely.
Your dog starts to pee in the house
When a trained pet starts having problems with peeing around the house, this could be another sign of cognitive change. According to a veterinary expert, dogs whose cognition is affected may lose the ability to control their body functions and they lose the capability of indicating to their owner when they need to go.
Treasure every moment with your older dog… do not put them to sleep just because they got old and a bit crazy; they wouldn’t do it to you; a dog would care for you, even in your worst senior moments.