As different as dogs and humans look, there are big similarities between the species, and dogs are affected by many diseases humans get. A dog's brain is also a lot like a human's, and aging dogs can get a disease that resembles Alzheimer's.
The disease is called Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, and around half of all dogs over age of ten will exhibit at least some symptoms.
Just like humans with Alzheimer's, dogs with CDS will appear disoriented and forgetful. The dogs may get lost in familiar areas such as the yard or house, don't know how to get out if they're behind furniture, or be unable to find the door.
Other symptoms include an increase in pacing around, a decrease in purposeful behavior, and an increase in overall sleep.
All these behaviors can be cause by physical changes too, so it is important to see a vet and make sure your dog gets the right diagnosis.
Not all dogs will get the disease, just like not all humans are affected by dementia. You can decrease the risk by providing mental stimulation, a healthy diet, physical exercise, and plenty of interaction.
If your dog is diagnosed with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, there are drugs that can improve the symptoms and give your furry friend a better quality of life. There is, for instance, one drug created to treat Parkinson's in humans that have worked very well on dogs with CDS.
Have you had a dog that became more forgetful with old age?
~ Maria Sadowski ~