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Dealing with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction
Age-related cognitive decline is not just an occurrence among elderly people. In fact, both dogs and cats can develop memory problems with age. In dogs, this condition is typically called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD).
Signs of CCD
Although most pets will get a bit slower both mentally and physically with age, there are certain steps pet owners can take now to help them stay healthy. Signs that your pooch may be developing CCD include changes in its behavior – ranging from it being excited one minute to depressed or sad the next. The dog may also seem more anxious or agitated and may not be sleeping on a normal schedule. You might notice the dog gets up frequently during the night and walks around the home acting disoriented or confused. Your pooch may also begin to eliminate in the home more often and show other behavioral issues.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should bring the dog to the vet right away for a complete physical. Here the vet will likely ask you about the symptoms the dog has been showcasing and can look for other underlying medical conditions such as arthritis that could be to blame for the odd behavior. If arthritis is the problem, the vet may start the dog on a joint supplement with glucosamine for dogs or on anti-inflammatory pet drugs like Metacam to curb the changes. However, if the vet thinks your pooch is starting to develop CCD, he or she will likely discuss treatment plans to help the dog cope with the condition.
How to help the dog cope
Most vets will recommend owners start a combination regimen of dietary and nutritional supplements with the dog to help keep it alert and active with CCD. This means switching out the dog's current pet food for a more balanced kibble made for senior dogs. A brand like Whole Earth Farms Senior Dry Dog Food may be best as this food is made from lean meats and has natural antioxidants in every bite derived from blueberries and cranberries. During this transition, you should also consider adding in supplements that contain an ingredient called S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe), which supports liver and brain function. Denosyl capsules are a good source as it lists SAMe as its first ingredient. Stick the medicine in Greenies Pill Pockets to disguise the pill as a treat.
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