Is My Old Dog Senile?

Q

Is my old dog senile?

A

It is tough to see our old pet friends age.  Stiffness, hearing, vision, or energy loss can be observed as the years pile up. But what about the brain?

Unfortunately, many older pets (dogs and cats) show mental changes as they age. The syndrome, called cognitive dysfunction, is not uncommon in old pets. Actual brain changes similar to Alzheimer’s have been documented.  The resulting behavioral changes include altered sleep-wake cycles, general anxiety, pacing, staring, disorientation, and inappropriate elimination.

Keeping to a strict routine, reducing anxiety with music or medications, and possibly offering a long walk should be helpful. In severe cases, dementia medications may be needed.

If you’re concerned about your aged pet, visit your veterinarian for an exam and consultation.

It might make everyone’s day (and night) go a bit easier.