Dogs are getting older, as the medical care and dog food of the four-legged friends is steadily progressing. Unfortunately, dogs, like humans, can suffer from dementia. This concomitant phenomenon of increasing life expectancy is also called cognitive dysfunction syndrome and is manifested by various symptoms.
The symptoms of dementia in dogs are very similar to signs of dementia or Alzheimer's in humans. The memory and mental abilities of affected dogs continue to decrease and as a result their behavior changes as well.
When old dogs lose their memory
Over the years, your faithful friend has always dutifully followed all the basic commands, greeted you happily, enjoyed playing and had a healthy appetite - and now that he is old, you hardly recognize him? This may be because your dog is gradually getting demented and losing his mental faculties. He loses his memory.
Dogs with dementia often lose their bearings or forget things that used to be natural to them. He may be wandering aimlessly in the apartment or simply standing with his head against the wall. Or he waits for hours indoors in front of the front door to be let in because he no longer knows he is already in the house. Gradually, he no longer understands simple, everyday commands, even though his ears are all right. He may remain confused outside as soon as you have let him out or he is standing in front of his food bowl and does not know how to eat.
Symptoms of dementia: Changed behavior
In addition, there may be other symptoms that manifest themselves in altered behavior. Your dog, who was otherwise so happy, may suddenly seem withdrawn and no longer welcome you. That may be because he has forgotten who you are because of his dementia. In addition to apparent loss of appetite, it can happen that dogs with dementia are no longer housebroken. Either they no longer know that they are only allowed to do business outside, or they realize too late that they have to. In addition, it may happen that a demented dog apparently begins to bark or whimper, sometimes in the middle of the night, because his sleep pattern has changed. This is a sign that he is confused and unsettled, and calls for help.
If your dog has some of these symptoms of dementia, you should go to the vet with him. Because some signs can also point to other, physical illnesses. The doctor must first rule out this before he can diagnose dementia and start a therapy that slows down the course of the disease.