A dog’s brain is a lot like a human’s, and unfortunately this means that the same problems that affect the human brain can affect dogs. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome is the canine equivalent of Alzheimer’s, and around half of all dogs over the age of ten will exhibit symptoms.
Don’t panic – not all aging dogs will get the disease, and those who do get different symptoms than humans. You can also help decrease the risk through providing a healthy diet, mental stimulation, physical exercise, and plenty of human contact.
Dogs with cognitive dysfunction syndrome may appeared disoriented in everyday situations. They may appear lost in the house or the yard, get stuck behind furniture, or have difficulty finding the door. These problems can also be caused by hearing loss or loss of vision.
Other symptoms include sleeping more overall but less at night, and an increase in pacing back and forth. Some dogs become clingy and want human contact around the clock, while other leek less attention and walk away from their humans. These behaviors can also be attributed to physical changes, so if your dog displays them, see a vet to get a proper diagnosis.
If your dog gets the diagnosis, there is a drug used to battle Parkinson’s disease in humans that can improve symptoms and give the dog a better quality of life.