Cherie T. Buisson, DVM, CHPV, CPEV Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Veterinarian

Certified Peaceful Euthanasia Veterinarian

Low Stress Handling (TM) Silver Certified

Did you catch Doc B’s monthly Live Q+A session?

In case you missed it, here are some highlights, but make sure to catch the replay so you don’t miss any of Doc B’s informative answers!

September’s topic was:

Doggie Dementia – officially called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD)

So let’s get into it! Here are some of the very important questions that were submitted for this episode, but tune into the full episode for more.

Can dogs get sundowners?

Just like humans with Alzheimer’s, some pets may have an increased sense of confusion and disorientation in the evening or nighttime hours.. This may happen for a number of reasons, but some main ones to consider are:

• The dimming light– daylight helps to keep them more alert.
• Their meds– this may just correlate with their medications starting to wear off or just kicking in.
• Sleeping all day followed by increased activity– there may be more activity at the end of the day as you arrive home causing their brains to be overly stimulated

How can you help?

Try your best to keep them awake during the day! Let lots of natural light into the home so they don’t get their days and nights mixed up. If possible, hire a pet sitter or ask a neighbor to drop in and interact with your dog while you’re out so they don’t snooze the daytime hours away! There are also devices that can allow you to speak to your pet and throw treats to them during the day.

Why is my dog suddenly losing his house training ability?

First and foremost, rule out any medical issue that could be causing this. A very common reason for this could be a urinary tract infection. Your pet won’t always show other symptoms, so it’s important to explore!

Chat with your veterinarian to determine what tests should be done to rule out other medical issues. If you aren’t able to identify any, determine if your pet could be in any pain as a result of arthritis. Pain tends to be worse at nighttime and can manifest as panting, restlessness, and whining.

If you’ve ruled out everything else, discuss the possibility of dementia with your veterinarian and come up with a plan of action.

What can you do for doggy dementia?

Unfortunately, nothing can stop doggie dementia, but we can try to slow it down.

• Diet– If your pet isn’t already on a prescription diet for something else, I’ve seen improvement with these two formulas. Both companies are very transparent about their ingredients, which is why I chose them. Please do not change your pet’s diet without talking to your veterinarian first!

• Hill Science Diet B/D
• Purina Bright Mind/Neuro Care

• Exercise– Of the body and mind. It’s important to keep weight off of your older pet’s arthritic joints in order to keep their muscles strong. When their muscles are strong, they’ll be better able to go on walks, play fetch, chase laser pointers, play hide and seek and do the things that will keep them active and alert. For brain exercise, try general training commands, food puzzles, working for their food, novel smells, etc. ANYTHING that stimulates their brain is a plus!
• In some cases, a younger companion– I have seen families have success when they get their older dog a younger companion to interact with (assuming the other dog is a good fit for them). A younger spirit may keep their brain stimulated and, as a result, keep them up and moving.

Can cats get dementia?

Yup, we even talked about our dear feline friends who tend to get overlooked!

Cats CAN also get dementia, but their signs are often due to multiple issues. Most cats that I’ve seen with possible dementia were actually in pain, suffering high blood pressure, or experiencing deafness. Our approach is to treat for pain and make sure there isn’t underlying kidney or thyroid disease causing high blood pressure. In Doc B’s experience, cats tend to show symptoms of dementia in very late years– like 17 or over! Chat with your veterinarian about the options for treating pain symptoms in your cats.

What else did we talk about?

This episode was JAM packed with solid information, so you’ll definitely want to watch the full replay and have a pen handy to take notes! Some other things we discussed were:

• What supplements are good for doggie dementia?
• Is there anything else that could be causing my dog’s weird behavior?
• Can doggie dementia be reversed?
• Is doggie dementia fatal?

Head over to the Facebook page for the replay and the answers to these questions!

Have more questions for Doc B? No worries! Submit them on her website!

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