Sunday, January 18, 2015

Can Dogs Get Alzheimer's?

It was rainy this afternoon so I decided to peruse the Internet, as dogs do, and read dog-related articles. Imagine my surprise when i came upon an article of high interest to me, a middle-aged dog!

Older Dogs, Aged Minds: Dealing With Dog Dementia is worth reading. Sometimes I stare at the wall and my owner wonders why. Actually I am usually just soaking in a sunbeam and relaxing.

My owner worries that I don't get enough mental stimulation so she often takes me on errands in the car just so I'll have something to do. Now that isn't my idea of something to do but maybe it's better for me than staying at home sleeping or staring at a wall.

The article, and other similar ones, say that yes, dogs can suffer from dementia. There are signs that your dog is suffering from dementia. Watch for these early on and maybe you can do something to help! Here are some things to be concerned about.

-       Pacing nervously
-       Stares at walls or into space
-       Can’t figure out how to come inside from the yard
-       Is unsure of familiar foods and treats

-       Gets lost in the house… like behind a couch and can’t figure out how to get “unlost”

Now just remember that when I, CINNAMON, do some of these things, it's not anything to worry about. I like staring once in a while. And sometimes I ask to come in the side door when my owner has requested I use the back door all the time. I just like the side door, really.

If you read the articles on the Internet, you’ll soon find that dementia is relatively common in senior dogs. This condition may be called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction or Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. Once an elderly dog is suffering from dementia there is not a lot to do to change it. You just have to help your dog cope.So if you are worried about your dog becoming demented as he or she ages, there are some things you can do now.

You can keep your dog’s mind as young as possible by doing things like (unfortunately) taking your dog out in the car on errands. Better than that, let your dog socialize with other dogs at a dog park.
Here I am hunting squirrels!

Teach your dog tricks or how to do new things. Take your dog for walks. Consider learning a agility course together. Play with your dog. Enjoy toys, ball chasing and, for hounds like me, tracking in the woods.

There’s a lot that you can do with your dog. If you work during the day, consider doggie day care where they will play with your dog for you.

I am taking responsibility for my own cognitive health too. I carefully watch all the squirrels that come in my yard and do my best to chase them off. Then, when they are gone, I sniff around the yard looking for the peanuts they hide in the garden and lawn. I dig them up and eat them!

Activity is good for us dogs. It helps our bodies and minds stay young. Just think of it as Lumosity for dogs!

Love, Cinnamon

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Thanks for your comment. Love, Cinnamon