Did you know that senior dogs can be affected by cognitive decline, just as people can? Doggy dementia—or canine cognitive dysfunction, as it’s officially called—affects Fido’s brain in much the same way that Alzheimer’s does with people. While there’s no way to guarantee your pooch won’t be afflicted, there are things you can do to keep his mind healthy as he ages. A local vet lists some of them in this article from Armitage Animal Clinic, your Newmarket, ON veterinary hospital.
Playing is not only a great doggy workout, it also offers beneficial mental stimulation. Choose activities that will challenge Fido mentally, rather than on physically demanding games, such as chasing Frisbees. Puzzle games and scavenger hunts are two good examples of this.
Does Fido stay home alone while you’re working? Keep a TV or radio on for him. You can also now get gadgets that allow you to check on and play with him remotely, through smart apps and devices.
Many pups actually enjoy learning new things. Training offers beneficial mental stimulation, and is also a good way to strengthen the bond between you and Fido. Take time to refresh your furry friend’s training. Or, teach him some new things. You actually can teach an old dog new tricks!
Watch For Warning Signs
Watch for signs that something is amiss. Some red flags include disorientation, nervousness, crankiness, reduced interest in play, and changes in eating and sleeping habits. Fido may stare blankly at the walls, wander around aimlessly, or simply seem disoriented and confused. Contact your vet right away if you notice anything odd.
Stress and anxiety are just as bad for pets as they are for us. Make sure your canine pal feels loved and safe. Keeping Fido on a set schedule can help a lot with this. Belly rubs and affection are also important. Keep that tail going!
Stay The Course
It’s all too common for people to rehome older dogs, or trade them in for puppies. This is really cruel. Fido gets very attached to his owners, and becomes extremely sad and distressed when separated from them. Savor this special time with your faithful friend! Senior dogs are super cute, and are a joy to be around.
Do you have questions about senior dog care? Contact Armitage Animal Clinic, your Newmarket, ON pet hospital, today!