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Doggy Dementia; Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD)

Just like people, our canine friends can suffer from dementia as they age. Dementia in dogs is called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD). It is a neurobehavioural condition that is related to the ageing of a dog’s brain. 

Symptoms of Doggy Dementia; Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD)

CCD symptoms often start out very mild, sometimes going unnoticed by the owners, but over time they progressively get worse as the brain function continues to decline. Symptoms of CCD include; 

  • Disorientation or confusion, including appearing confused, getting lost, getting stuck behind or under furniture, staring into space or at walls, pacing or circling in one direction, falling off or over things, in the way when opening doors or having trouble with stairs and ramps.
  • Being anxious or restless 
  • Excessive barking
  • Reduce activity levels or becoming more sedentary/passive 
  • Losing enthusiasm for play
  • Interacting less with other pets or people
  • A change in sleep patterns, such as sleeping more during the day or wandering at night.
  • House soiling or having accidents inside when they have always been “house-trained” before. 
  • Changes in appetite

What can you do to help

Unfortunately CCD is a degenerative disease and there is no cure. However there are some things that can be done to slow its progression and improve the quality of life for our pets. There are a couple of medications that can be prescribed and used under the guidance of your veterinarian which may help slow CCD progression. Your veterinarian may also suggest anti-anxiety medications or even melatonin to help with regulating sleep cycles. It is believed that diets high in antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids and medium chain triglycerides may also help. 

Even though your dog may be ageing and their brain function declining they still need enrichment. Anything that keeps them active or their brain working is good. It can help slow down the progression of CCD. So playtime, games, treat or puzzle toys, exercise and walks are all important to keep their brain functioning and to keep them happy and healthy for as long as possible. 

Consult your vet

If your dog is suffering from any symptoms mentioned above please consult your veterinarian. Some of these symptoms could be related to an underlying medical condition that is not CCD and potentially treatable. 

More Information

For more information on Canine Cognitive Dysfunction and ageing dog’s please visit the vet-n-pet DIRECT YouTube Channel where veterinarian Dr Glenn has answered common questions about doggy dementia. 

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