Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, Aggression, and Dementia in Senior Dogs

 

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction - CCD - More than half of the dogs over 10 years old will experience some form of canine cognitive dysfunction. This is characterized by behavioral problems ranging from confusion to changes in long-established behavioral patterns; one example is not making it outside to go to the bathroom. If you think you're dog might have CCD, talk to your veterinarian because there are new drugs to help some of the symptoms however it's important to rule out other causes first.

Canine dementia - As dogs age they become grayer, slow down and do a lot of the normal things that aging people do and sometimes that includes a form of Alzheimer's or dementia. This is characterized by aimless walking or pacing, a lapse in memory such as forgetting where to go to the bathroom or where they go to sleep at night. Some dogs even forget their name when they are called and might just sit and stare at you for a moment until they recognize their name again. A Canadian study shows that approximately 75% of geriatric canines experienced at least one symptom of senility by the age of seven.

Aggression - Some dogs as they age become more aggressive. In some cases aggression is a reflective action against pain. After having lost his vision or hearing your dog may snap or growl when he doesn't know where he is or bumps into things. The first thing to do is to find out what is bothering your dog, find the source of his pain. If you're dog's behavior suddenly changes take him or her for an exam at the veterinarian's office. If he is already on medication asked the vet if this could be the problem, such as behavioral side effects. If all else fails, and there is no pain found, you might have to consult with an animal behaviorists who specializes in dog aggression. They will be able to help you modify the dog's behavior to one of lesser aggression.

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