The dog, like the man, is old. When he reaches the so -called “senior” age, his body will change and the first signs of aging can be seen and resolved in many years. If aging is a natural occurrence, it is possible to accompany your little one in his or her last years of life to give him or her comfort, well -being and reassurance. However, the signs of senile dementia need to be quickly identified in order to provide the appropriate response. We will discover them in this file.
Senile dementia in dogs: understanding the aging process
In dogs, the pathway to so -called “senior” age is not as clear as in cats. Actually, the life span of our doggie friends varies depending on the breed, but especially the size. Small dogs have a higher life expectancy, with an average of 15 years. They are therefore considered to be 9 years old. A medium-sized dog is an older one from the age of 8, as it has an average life expectancy of 12 years. Finally, large dogs and giant breeds have a shorter life expectancy, with an average of 8 years. So they are 6 years old.
We see in the dog, from this old age, a clear evolution. The animal begins to show signs of aging. It is usually physical and psychological. The older dog may suffer from incontinence, he is always more anxious, he may have difficulty moving and he is less dynamic. Her hair started to turn gray and became more brittle. Often his senses are damaged, causing reduced hearing, smell and vision. Also, the animal may begin to show signs of aging.
You need to know that in the natural process of aging, changes do not happen suddenly. They are progressive and occur over a period of months or years. However, aging must be monitored to better anticipate the changes that accompany it, and this, to help the little animal in the final years of its existence. If aging is easily recognizable, the recognition of aging is less obvious in dogs.
Senile dementia is characterized by behavioral changes. The dog can thrive cognitive dysfunction similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. The dog suffering from old age presents singular behavioral signs that are often underestimated and considered signs of aging. However, this degenerative evolution is serious. If it doesn’t affect the dog’s longevity, it can seriously interfere with his daily comfort. It is better to know its symptoms very early to put in place the appropriate response as soon as possible. This care will make it possible to better get along with the animal and facilitate normal life inside the ashtray.
We will examine the main signs that confirm senile dementia in dogs.
Senile dementia in dogs: what are the symptoms?
A dog suffering from senile dementia may show many symptoms especially intellectual disorders of memory, learning, comprehension and attention.
Loss of energy
If the dog has senile dementia, he or she may be less dynamic. He rarely plays with his master or with his teammates, loses his interest in some activities that have interested him so far and he may still seek to rest regularly, play pashas on the carpet, sofa or bed.
Decreased social contacts
The senile doggie often shows a marked decrease in interactions with his masters and his companions. Walking is no longer a source of great joy for him and he may no longer know the places he often visits and the people he often meets. This sign is associated with a change in his memory that pushes the animal to become more fearful, even aggressive in front of his acquaintance. The doggie is then likely to isolate himself even more.
Loss of concentration
Your dog will have difficulty concentrating due to age. So it’s not uncommon for him to feel lost when you send him an order that he always masters. He may look at you that you don’t understand, but also choose to ignore you.
Even if your little companion is always a dynamic and relaxed animal, aging is likely to promote the development of anxiety. The dog, troubled by the confusion that is attacking him, may suffer anxiety or unreasonable fear at the slightest event familiar to him. Thus he can show signs of extreme stress when he is alone, when he is facing a change, even a little, or even if you offer him a new route for walking or when you meet and unknown person, and so on.
Sensitivity alters memory and the animal is likely to gradually lose its spatio-temporal signs. That way, your dog may suddenly disappear into an environment he or she knows very well. He may no longer be able to find his way home or just to the garden, but this disruption can lead to other consequences. In fact, the animal has a lost appearance, a disturbed air, as it were elsewhere, to the point, sometimes, of no longer recognizing the members of his household or the layout of the dwelling.
If you’ve noticed that small “accidents” are more frequent, it’s not a question of your dog’s desire to challenge you. Unfortunately, memory loss and the disorientation caused by aging have an impact on loss of rules and acquired commands, but also on some basic reflexes. When your dog feels the need to comfort himself, he may no longer be able to warn you and he will seek comfort wherever he can, as this behavior is normal.
A troubled sleep
The nights of the dog suffering from senile dementia will improve. Usually, the animal sleeps more during the day, to the point of prolonging the day. But at night he would wake up several times and wander around the house not knowing what to do or where to go.
Even the most adorable dogs can develop aggressive behavior as senile dementia persists. He may suddenly become more aggressive towards you and those around him, which he knows very well. This behavior, which confuses the master, is due to the confusion that comes with old age and which also promotes the onset of anxiety. The dog, lost and frightened, was frightened at his sudden perception of an unknown and confusing element, or even something that would shock him. To defend himself, he reacts aggressively.
A healthy dog has a good appetite and usually eats what can be reached, including – sadly – inedible items. If he suffers from senile dementia, the doggie is likely, on the contrary, to lose his appetite. He no longer eats much and avoids his bowl. Within weeks, weight loss can be seen.
Be careful, however, that this sign of senile dementia does not hide another underlying and possibly serious illness.
For the dog, old age is hard to live with. The consequences of this dementia are global and affect his physical condition, his dynamism, his social interactions, his ability to move freely, and so on. He no longer wants to play, he may no longer know his loved ones in life and his home, he isolates himself more every day… behaviors that favor the onset of depression.
Depression is severe in dogs. It should not remain unresponsive or a veterinary framework, because in the long term, the dog often has a tendency to allow itself to die without it being able to intervene.
How to improve the comfort and daily life of your older dog?
If you notice one or more of the symptoms mentioned above, we recommend that you consult your veterinarian immediately. Thus the practitioner is able to diagnose the event and rule out any underlying disease. The sooner this diagnosis is made, the easier it will be for you to support your animal to improve its daily life.
Many actions are possible.
- Medical treatment: the veterinarian may prescribe medication to the dog tailored to its morphology.
- A dietary change: you can gradually introduce (with a change made over several weeks to avoid digestive disorders) a new diet that is more fatty acid, especially omega 3 and melatonin. Dietary supplements, on the advice of a veterinarian, may be another solution to the same.
- Quality recreation: at least once a week, go for a walk with your dog. Not enough exercise in the garden. He needs to get out and keep in contact with the outside environment, other people and other dogs. On the other hand, avoid running it.
- Strengthen his environment: remove any source of stress and help him by arranging his environment safely to avoid dangerous behavior in the event of a confusing crisis.
- Stay kind and patient: don’t yell at your dog if he acts foolishly or behaves the way you don’t want him to. He can’t understand your reaction. Stay calm, attentive, friendly and clean up his little accidents if he doesn’t see you doing it. Similarly, avoid being confused by the slightest sign of senile dementia, because your dog understands your stress, which can add to his anxiety.
Of course, do everything possible to make your dog’s daily life comfortable. Despite her senile dementia, you can accompany her through her last years of life by offering her a pleasant, safe and loving environment.