Ever heard of dementia in pets?
Well, dementia in pets is real!
Doggy dementia shares similarities to Alzheimers in people. So much so that dogs with dementia are used as a model to study early Alzheimers in people. Dementia in pets does not shorten life expectancy, however, it affects our interactions and relationship with our pets. Like any other organ, the brain deteriorates with age.
Studies have shown that as many as 50% of cats over 15 years will have dementia and close to 70% of dogs!
What are the signs of dementia in pets?
Firstly remember that your pet doesn’t need to be ancient to have dementia. From the age of 9-10 your pet can show signs of dementia
Look out for:
- Confusion- staring at walls or into space, wandering aimlessly, missing cues associated with scheduled events like feeding time
- Reduced interest in play behaviours
- Sleeping deeper and longer
- Reduced interest in food, water, housemates and human interaction.
- Some will get clingy, some aloof and others more aggressive but probably the most telling sign is that of pacing and night walking.
How do we slow down these changes in the brain?
Dogs with early dementia will respond to treatment much better than those in advanced stages because they have much more functioning grey matter for us to protect. There is a lot of research telling us that a brisk walk every day can improve brain function. You can also challenge your dog with food puzzles. Then there are supplements. Some of these are made just for dogs and you get them from your family vet. We also have treatments for dogs who have switched their day and nights around due to night walking!
This is definitely a disease where time matters. So as soon as you see any behavioural changes in your pet
come and talk to us!