Brain ageing and dementia in dogs
Your four-legged friend, just like you, will eventually get a day older. Dogs struggling with brain ageing or dementia often start behaving differently. Don't worry: there are several things you can do. We tell you all about brain ageing and dementia in dogs. Read on.
What is brain ageing?
Just like in humans, a case of brain ageing can occur in dogs. Often, this is a gradual process of mental decline. It starts with small behavioural changes that get worse over time. Around the age of seven, dogs often show the first signs of cognitive decline.
Dementia in a dog
Dementia is impaired functioning due to brain ageing. A dog can therefore also become demented. In dogs, dementia is often not referred to as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). This reduces the ability to remember and learn. This often alters animals’ behaviour.
Symptoms of brain ageing in a dog
Brain ageing and dementia in dogs can have different symptoms. It often does not happen suddenly but creeps in slowly. The following symptoms are a possible indication of brain ageing or dementia in your dog.
- reduced interaction: the dog no longer greets the family or does not respond when called.
- reduced motor skills and balance
- walking around aimlessly or staring blankly
- reduced spatial awareness
- forgetting commands
- reduced appetite
Treating dementia in a dog
Do you recognise these symptoms in your dog? Or do you suspect that something has changed in your dog’s behaviour or health? If so, you can always consult your vet. After all, the symptoms may also be indications of other health problems. Often, the vet will first rule out other diseases that have the same symptoms. For dogs, there is no scan possible to diagnose dementia. Nor is there any real treatment available. However, the process of dementia in your dog can be slowed down, for example through medication, diet and/or training.
Brain games for your dog
Is your dog struggling with brain ageing or dementia? If so, it is important to keep challenging him physically. Keep taking your dog for good walks and play together regularly. Mental challenge is also important. These brain games for your dog will help keep the mental processes going. Do adjust the activity to your faithful friend’s physical and mental condition.
- Use a food ball or KONG and put some kibble in it. This will keep your dog occupied both physically and mentally.
- Gather some boxes of different sizes and hide kibble between and inside the boxes.
- Fill a bin with different objects such as plastic balls or wads of paper. Scatter kibble through the bin and let your four-legged friend sniff around.
- Make or buy a sniffing mat. This is made of a rubber mat and strands of fleece. Between the fabric, hide kibble. Search away!
- Buy a dog puzzle for your dog. Make sure it is not too difficult. That will cause unnecessary stress.
Food to stimulate brain activity
Does your dog suffer from brain ageing? Feeding a food with MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) can boost brain activity. This is because MCTs provide easily absorbable energy for the brain compared to other fats. SANIMED Neuro Support is a complete food for adult dogs that supports brain function. The food contains medium-chain fatty acids. These support the learning ability and memory of older dogs and therefore accompany behavioural changes due to age.