Dogs can show signs of dementia as early as 8 years old. In order to diagnosis your dog Dr. Malamed recommends that every dog over the age of 8 have a wellness exam twice a year. Also, she suggests that owners watch closely for the following changes and take your dog to your veterinarian if you notice any of these changes in your older dog:
- Social Interaction changes – suddenly aggressive with a life long cat friend, etc.
- Sleep/Wake cycle is reversed or changed dramatically
- House soling in a potty trained dog or in your dog’s bed
- Activity – either a decrease or an increase that is very noticeable
- Anxiety – pacing, barking, paw chewing
- Sudden aggression towards people or other animals
According to Dr. Malamed treatment and early intervention is the best way to slow the process. Dementia is progressive so you can’t stop it but you can slow the process. Studies do show that humans get a much more advanced dementia than dogs. Further studies into canine dementia may give humans with dementia hope in the future.
There are quite a few options available for actual treatment of dementia. Check with your veterinarian for options that are right for you dog.