Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) or Dog Dementia is a condition caused by the aging of a dog’s brain. This condition can cause a change in learning and memory and has been compared to dementia or Alzheimer's in humans.
This condition can start with mild symptoms and gradually worsen over time causing a slow decrease in the brain’s ability to do normal tasks.
Symptoms of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction
- Getting stuck going around objects
- Not recognizing familiar people/pets
- Staring blankly
Changes in behavior:
- Extreme irritability
- Decreased desire to play
- Excessive licking
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Lack of self-grooming
- Slow to learn new tasks
- Accidents in the home
- Seemed disregard for previously learned training
- Trouble following familiar routes
Changes in sleep:
- Night walking
- Night pacing
- Night vocalizing
What can you do to help?
There is no cure for CCD but there are support and therapy options you can implement in your home to help.
Making sure to maintain a stimulating environment for your senior dog can slow the progression of this condition. We do this by providing mental and physical stimulation in a regular and strict daily routine.
We can also make our home more accessible and safer for our senior dogs by providing night lights, potty pads if they can not wait for you to get up, and orthopedic foam beds to make sleep more comfortable.
You can consult your veterinarian for behavior and medication assistance by starting a special and balanced diet. They now can provide prescription diets for brain health; these special diets are loaded with antioxidants that have shown to improve cognitive function. They can also provide supplements of omega fatty acids.
If you are noticing anxiety related symptoms that seem to be worsening, they can provide anxiety medications specifically tailored to CCD. Your veterinarian can consult with you on all the options and that best fit for your home environment.