While humans are suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s in great numbers all around the country, it might come as a surprise that man’s best friend—dogs—are also suffering from such an affliction.
Is canine cognitive decline actually a thing? Scientists have found that it is and it occurs between the ages of 7 to 10. While general aging signs are easily recognizable in dogs, the mental issues aren’t as readily understood. For example, cognitive decline can lead to toilet accidents in the home, general agitation and an overall confusion in the home environment. Similar to humans, dogs suffering from dementia no longer recognize family members or loved ones and can become anxious and upset when left alone.
Everyday routines and rituals can become even more challenging. For example, dogs may struggle going up the stairs because they’ve simply forgotten how. This is why exercise is important, as it offers an altered atmosphere and become a refreshing change of pace. Exercise with your dog can promote a sense of calm and well being, increasing the production of serotonin and dopamine while lowering stress.
Utilize mealtime as a way for your dog to cultivate its hunting skills. Instead of feeding directly from a food bowl, try putting the food inside a toy and incorporating a game to find it, which promotes seeking capabilities and healthier brain function.
Additionally, it’s crucial to give your dog the right food. Many vets recommend goods with medium-chain triglycerides to help enhance brain function. These are found in coconut oil, in particular. Also, fish oil and antioxidants can go a long way towards helping your dog’s brain as it suffers decline.
Naturally, we hate to see our beloved pooches go through these signs and symptoms just as much as we hate seeing it in our loved ones. Thankfully, there are ways to navigate this terrain to make life easier on them through the process.