Keeping your elderly dog's mind healthy

by Akshay Mirchandani

CDS, Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, is the severe mental decline that happens in many dogs as they enter into their elderly years. It can involve symptoms like disorientation, restlessness, increased sleep, increased agitation, separation anxiety, loss of appetite, loss of interest in exploring, less of a reaction to sights, sounds and smells, and overall changes in the way they interact with you. We can simply think of CDS as something like pet “dementia.”
So, how can you help your dog if he or she is dealing with this degenerative condition? Here’s how:

  1. Teach your old dog some new tricks

You may have heard the phrase, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”  So, just as some older people do activities like crossword puzzles or brain teasers to keep their minds sharp and active, dogs too can learn new and engaging activities to keep their minds stimulated!

When your dog’s brain is forced to work and focus on something new in order to succeed, it tends to slow down the degeneration process. Try new toys, new forms of exercise, and even training to keep his mind sharp.

  1. Feed your dog right

Make sure that the food you are giving to your aging best friend has plenty of vitamin C and E, as well as selenium, beta carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids. For example Krill oil, has proven to improve cognitive health, and overall this diet should promote growth, healing and a healthy metabolism in your dog.

  1. Do not over/under feed your dog

This is true for dogs of all ages, but it is especially important for older dogs. This is because if they are of an unhealthy weight, it may increase their chances of suffering from various diseases and it will in turn harm their overall health. If your dog is already dealing with CDS, this will only make things even worse. So, make sure you feed your dog the appropriate amount.

  1. Brush their teeth regularly

Unhealthy or dirty teeth make for unhealthy dogs and open your little canine up to all sorts of potential health problems. These health issues only get worse as your dog ages, and they can impact both physical and mental health. So, make sure you brush your dog’s teeth regularly.

  1. Consider the option of supplements

Before you do anything related to supplements, it is always wise to discuss it with your veterinarian first. There is a lot of research that is being done into CDS and how to slow down the process and therefore, the number of tested supplements on the market continues to grow.

Coconut oil is a supplement that has tested well, but there are a number of other options out there. If your vet doesn’t think that supplements are a good idea but you’re still interested, you can always seek out the advice of another one.

  1. Ask your vet for drugs

This should be considered as your last option to improve the cognitive state of your pet. Luckily, there are a few that have been improved but it is strongly advised to research on it thoroughly and also discuss it with your vet.

While we understand that there is no known way to completely stop or reverse CDS, the best way to deal with it is to keep your dog very happy, healthy, active, and engaged. As long as you do this, you will make their life as rich and long as it can be. For any more queries, contact us right away!