Dog dementia is more common than owners realise
Vets typically refer to dog dementia as canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD). Overall, the incidence of CCD is 15 to 30 per cent, says veterinarian Ashley Rossman. “It’s often under diagnosed,” says Melissa Bain, a professor of clinical animal behaviour. On average, most dogs are diagnosed at eight years old. In a study conducted by Bain, 28 per cent of dogs aged 11 to 12 and 68 per cent of dogs 15 to 16 showed one or more signs of cognitive impairment.
Here are the signs to watch for – and what you can do to help your dog.
Your dog doesn’t seem to be able to focus anymore
Even though dementia in a dog can’t be officially diagnosed, certain signs can indicate your dog might be suffering from this condition that causes a decline in cognitive function. The best way to tell? Watch your dog’s behaviour. “Specific behavioural alterations can indicate your dog may have dementia,” says Rossman. Aimless wandering or pacing and staring into space are two of the biggies.
Your dog doesn’t want to interact as much
Whether it’s with you, other members of the family or canine buddies, decreased social interaction is one of the telltale signs of dog dementia, Rossman says.
But don’t mix being antisocial up with your dog just wanting a bit of alone time.