If you are looking for home remedies for dog dementia, you have likely heard that dogs can get the canine equivalent of Alzheimer’s disease. Yes, dogs suffer from a sort of Alzheimer’s too. It’s called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction and symptoms may not be detected at their first signs as owners think of them as simply signs of aging. Affected dogs exhibit a series of symptoms such as seeking less attention, howling in the night, getting lost in familiar surroundings, forgetting commands, urinating or defecting in the home, pacing, barking at nothing, getting stuck in corners etc. Fortunately, when caught early, there are some steps you can take to make life easier. Following are some tips and home remedies for dog dementia.
Stop by The Vet
While it’s true that dogs may suffer from dementia, sometimes behavior changes in older dogs may be attributed to medical conditions. So stop by the vet before assuming your dog has canine dementia. For instance, if your dog appears to be anxious, consider that a decrease in hearing or seeing may make him feel more vulnerable and anxious.
An increase in appetite that may cause your older dog to raid the trash can, counter surf or steal a sandwich you left unattended on the table, may be attributed to medical conditions such as Cushing’s disease, diabetes and malabsorption, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. And those accidents around the home may be caused by painful arthritis, loss of sphincter control and other medical conditions. If your dog has a clean bill of health and your vet suspects dog dementia, consider that when caught early, a prescription medication called Anipryl may slightly reverse the syndrome and alleviate the symptoms.
Stick to Routines
As dogs age, they feel reassured by a routine. To help your dog cope with doggy dementia, try your best to feed him always at the same time, walk him at the same time and minimize changes in the home. Older dogs don’t cope too well with abrupt changes such as moves, a new dog, being boarded in an unfamiliar place or travel. Even little things such as asking your dog to do a trick before a meal, or making him aware of what comes next can help him out. When you want to touch him, it’s a good idea to use a verbal cue to alert him a few seconds prior. Older dogs tend to get startled easily due to visual, hearing or orthopedic impairment and sometimes they can react fearfully or aggressively if touched without warning, explains board-certified veterinary behaviorist Lisa Radosta with Florida Veterinary Behavior Service in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Just like humans, older dogs benefit from mental stimulation and enrichment to keep their brains active, even in old age. Skip the strict obedience regimens and instead focus on some fun brain games such as providing interactive toys, foraging activities such as spreading kibble around the house, and fun brain games such as nosework, treasure hunts and fun tricks. Seek out activities that celebrate your special bond with your dog and don’t put pressure or cause frustration in your dog.
The Power of Supplements
There are several great supplements on the market today that can help senior dogs affected by dementia. Senilife made by CEVA Animal Health is made of a combination of antioxidant ingredients which address the effects of degenerative changes to the brain and the associated behavior changes, explains veterinary behaviorist Theresa DePorter with Oakland Veterinary Referral Services in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Other products include Novifit by Virbac and several products containing SAMe.