There are 4 areas where we see changes in your dog that are consistent with this disease: 1) disorientation in the
home/yard 2) changes in social interactions with the human family members 3) a decline in housetraining and 4) changes to the sleep-wake cycle. Your dog must have a least one area of change at least once a week for at least a month. It is found more commonly in neutered male dogs but affects breeds of all shapes and sizes. The older the dog is the more likely you are to see changes consistent with cognitive decline. And once signs are noted the disease progresses within 6-18 months. As in Alzheimers, research has shown dogs have memory deficits and forget trained behavior.
A complete mix of antioxidants is proven effective in reducing and preventing this condition. Antioxidants also have anti-inflammatory properties which help too. Antioxidants and certain fruits and vegetables have been shown to improve cognitive performance in 2-8 weeks. Additionally, ginkgo biloba, L-deprenyl and Omega 3 fatty acids help.
Physical Rehabilitation focuses on practical skills and increasing cognitive activity. Exercises such as senior dog
socialization classes, scent discrimination, “safe” obstacle courses, and hide and seek games help engage the pet’s brain and encourage social interaction. Exercise itself has been shown to modify the brain’s function as well but it is
not completely understood how. As is true for so many things, proper nutrition and exercise can prevent the condition or slow its progression once its started.