How to know if a dog has Alzheimer’s? Symptoms and care

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Alzheimer's dog

Alzheimer’s does not only affect the elderly. In fact, Alzheimer’s exists in dogs and manifests itself very similarly. What has been learned and lived through a lifetime is gradually erased from memory.

It is a neurodegenerative disease and, although there is no going back, with a lot of love and patience we can make our furry friend feel more comfortable and safe.

We will also be able to reduce the anxiety that Alzheimer’s usually causes in dogs, also known as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome or CDS.

Index of contents

  • 1 Alzheimer’s symptoms in dogs
  • 2 Alzheimer’s Treatment
  • 3 Care that a dog with Alzheimer needs

Alzheimer’s symptoms in dogs

The first thing we should know about Alzheimer’s is that it mainly affects older (elderly) dogs, especially from 8 years of age. In fact, it is estimated that one out of every two dogs over 15 years old suffers from this disease. However, cases can also occur in young dogs.

As the dog ages, it is normal that it loses faculties, just as it happens to us. In the case of Alzheimer’s, however, progressive memory loss and problems with consciousness and learning ability are much more evident. In fact, the first signs that can make us suspect are:

  • Memory failure and difficulty concentrating. If you see that your dog does not obey or attend as he did before, he may have forgotten certain orders or may no longer understand expressions that were familiar to him.
  • There are behavioral changes. Our dog may have abnormal behaviors, such as wet the bed or inside the house.
  • The apathy or lack of interest for what happens around it is another of the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s in dogs. The dog no longer plays or socializes as much and its physical activity decreases. It may even be difficult to walk.
  • Changes in sleep habits. In the early stages of the disease, our dog may no longer sleep on its regular schedule, may do so at the wrong time, and roam the house at night.
  • If you see that is disoriented, who doubts where to go or what to do, may be due to memory loss.
  • Anxiety tends to increase in dogs with Alzheimer’s, so if it was very calm before, with this disease their stress will multiply. This is due to changes in your central nervous system.
  • Are more aggressive or irritable. It is also quite common, so you should be aware that it will be much more susceptible to anger.

If you have noticed any of these changes in your dog and you see that over time they get more, take him to the vet so he can examine him and confirm if it is Alzheimer’s disease. These symptoms may be due to other disorders, so it is important that you be seen and treated by a professional.

old dog

Alzheimer’s Treatment

Alzheimer’s currently it is a disease that has no cure. However, with the right treatment it can slow down the evolution of this disease in the dog and improve their quality of life. For this, it is important that there is an early detection.

Depending on the phase of the disease you are in, the vet will recommend one treatment or another. Typically, various medications are prescribed to help delay the development of this syndrome, combined with a high quality special diet and nutritional supplements.

A diet rich in Vitamin E, for example, will help delay some of the effects of the disease. Finally, some of the learned behaviors can be reinforced to make them more difficult to forget.

Care that a dog with Alzheimer needs

Proper feeding and reinforcing daily routines are some of the special care and attention that will help a dog with Alzheimer’s to be less anxious. Other recommendations that may be useful in these cases are:

  • Try to always eat and go for a walk at the same time. Consult with your vet and, if there is no problem, establish some physical exercise routines for the dog. For example, short walks or simple games.
  • Avoid leaving him home alone for long periods of time.
  • If you must travel, try to keep him company and that his routines are not altered.
  • Music can be your great ally to make the dog feel more calm and relaxed.

The above, together with all the pampering you can give him, will make your furry friend feel more comforted despite the illness. Do not forget that it is at these times, precisely, when he will need you most.