Doggie Dementia

<< Back to Pet Health Blog

Canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) is no laughing matter. Its symptoms and causes are similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Whether human or canine, the brains’ chemistry changes, and lesions will appear in and around the brain.

Symptoms of CCD

  • Fails to respond to basic commands and/or their name
  • Has difficultly maneuvering steps
  • Gets lost, disorientated, and/or scared in familiar areas (like their own backyard Doggie Dementia)
  • Unable to get out from behind the couch
  • Not able to locate doorways or remember how to use a “doggie door”
  • Does not recognize members of the immediate family
  • Awake during the evening hours and sleeps more during the daylight hours
  • Will go to the bathroom inside the house, even if they have just been outside
  • Will have the “shakes” or “tremors” often
  • Lacks the desire to play and/or seek your attention/affection in any way

Once your veterinarian has conducted a neurological and physical exam, reviewed the medical history of your dog, ruled out any other disease that these symptoms share, and a conclusive diagnosis of CCD has been made, then it is time to explore available treatments for this non-curable disease.

Treatment options

There is a drug (Anipryl) that has been proven effective in increasing dopamine in the brain, but it is very costly. Since this disease is not curable, you can take steps to make your dog’s living environment as safe, friendly and as familiar as possible.

  • Remove clutter from your home; keep a wide open pathway for your dog.
  • A ramp would make it easier for your elderly dog to go up and down the stairs.
  • Try to avoid rearranging furniture; it will cause great confusion for your dog.
  • If you don’t already have one in place, create a routine schedule of feeding and walking.
  • Be compassionate and keep commands simple and short.
  • Don’t push you dog beyond their limitations; it will only frustrate the both of you.

The world that your dog once knew and understood has changed, so be patient and compassionate with your friend.