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Canine Cognitive Dysfunction: Signs & Symptoms Checklist

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Aging canines often display symptoms similar to those exhibited by humans suffering with Alzheimer’s disease.
Many senior dogs show some changes in personality, at times act confused or distant, and experience slight problems in processing their thoughts.

As your pet advances in years, he should be seen bi-annually by a veterinarian. At these times it is important to mention all lifestyle changes so that it can be determined if aging is proceeding normally or if atypical things are occurring, which may indicate the presence of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD). Your veterinarian will take a behavioral and medical history and conduct physical and neurological examinations. The symptoms of CCD also occur with other ailments. Only after these diseases are ruled out can a positive CCD diagnosis be made. Fortunately, in the case of CCD, there are treatment options that can help boost a dog’s ability to reason, to increase his brain activity, and to retard the advancement of the disease.

Modifications to the dog’s environment, moderate physical exercise, interactive toys, and a diet rich in antioxidants may all help to support his mental health and assist in the management of this serious age-related condition.

Does your dog become lost in places that were once familiar to him?
Have you found him stuck behind pieces of furniture, unable to find a way of escape?
Does he have new nighttime habits, such as wakefulness or pacing?
Does he forget to signal you that he needs to go out for his bathroom break?
Is he lethargic, inattentive, or does he stare into space?
Do familiar faces startle him?
Is he indifferent to human attention?
Are there changes in his eating and drinking habits?
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