Part of life is getting old and dogs, like us, becomes weak at a certain age. Old dogs are vulnerable. You may notice they’re not as sharp as before and they may have issues with some of their senses. The problem is when the owner doesn’t know his pet is already suffering a serious condition since dogs can’t talk.
Even though we can’t stop them from aging, as pet owners, it should not be a hindrance for our dogs to live a normal life especially if we take good care of their health. But, if there’s a health issue already, definitely his quality of life will be affected. That’s why it’s very important to detect any possible health problem as early as possible.
Canine cognitive decline or CCD is a condition wherein a dog’s brain function is progressively declining. You may notice your dog is sleeping too much—more than his normal hours of sleep in a 24-hour period—and has no appetite for any activity. We should acknowledge these signs of aging because there’s no way for us to determine how serious it is by just looking at our dog.
A neurologist from the Animal Medical Center, Dr. John McCue says that dog’s brain is almost the same as the human brain when it comes to aging. Thus, there’s a big chance his going to benefit from a treatment that also humans undergo with the same age-related condition.
Dr. Judy Morgan, an author and veterinarian, firmly says she wants the pet owners to take responsibility and to notify her on any changes in their old pup. Some pet owners are linking any changes on behavior to aging; therefore, they treat it as normal. This is not advisable since there might be an underlying health problem we don’t know.
Larger Breeds, like Great Dane and English Mastiff, gets old faster than smaller breeds. But, we may find more cognitive decline issues with smaller breeds compared to larger breeds due to their longer existence. Dr. McCue says that there’s no specific age where a dog’s brain function will start to have some issues but an average earliest age is around 8 to 10 years old.
Abnormal sleeping patterns, inability to do the things he can easily do before and impaired hearing and vision are some of the changes we must not ignore. You may observe his mostly sleeping during the day and stay awake at night.
Next is that you may observe him like a couch potato. He may have little or no interest at all in any activities recently. You may also see signs of disorientation like not knowing where the bathroom is or difficulty locating the door when someone opens it. Signs of lethargy and disorientation should be relayed to a veterinarian.
Lastly, your dog must have impaired hearing and vision. This might also be the cause why he’s becoming disoriented but it must be confirmed first. Look for signs of disorientation like changes on how he roams around the house and inability to find his toys or treats recently.