However, unlike human, signs of these conditions often go unnoticed not until it gets advanced when it's already hard to prevent and treat.
Luckily, you can help your aging pet maintain good mental health for as long as possible. There are a lot of ways to do it. Not only can it delay, but there's a good chance that your dog will avoid developing one.
- The basic foundation of a dog's overall well-being is a healthy, nutritious, and species-appropriate diet, no matter what age he is. You should include omega-3 essential fats, such as krill oil, on your diet. Omega-3 is essential for a dog's cognitive health. The best fuel for an aging dog is a diet consisting of healthy, fresh, and nutritionally balanced foods.
- Always keep your dog's body and mind active. Make sure you engage him in his daily physical exercise and do some mental exercises as well, as these will help him stimulate his mental health. Always make sure that your dog has a chance to socialize with other pets and people.
- Supplement your dogs with SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine). This supplement is a safe and effective way to help your dog improve his mental decline. Consult your vet for the right dosage for your dog. You could also ask for other supplement recommendations.
- Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) have also been known to improve brain energy metabolism. Aside from that, it also decreases the amyloid protein buildup, which is the cause of brain lesions in senior dogs. Coconut oil is one example of a rich source of MCTs. The recommended dosage is 1/4 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight and is to be fed two times a day.
- Resveratrol, also known as Japanese knotweed can also be administered on your dog. Resveratrol is known to be a protector against free radical damage. Other supplements that can inhibit age-related cognitive issues are gingko biloba, phosphatidylserine, beta-amyloid deposits, and gotu kola. Consult your veterinarian for the right dosage of those supplements.
- Senior dogs can develop sleeping problems at night. They tend to sleep all day and stay awake at night, feeling anxious, making noise, and feeling uncomfortable. Melatonin is one of the supplements that can help dogs suffering in this condition. It gives a calming effect and is also known as an antioxidant. Other supplements to consider are chamomile, Rhodiola, and I-theanine.
- Always keep your dog at a healthy weight. Overweight dogs are more prone to diseases as they grow old.
- Maintain your dog's dental health.
- Visit your veterinarian at least twice yearly for your dog's general check up, no matter what age he is. Being always aware of your dog's overall and detecting possible issues as early as possible, will help you to be prepared for your dog's condition before it gets worse.
If your dog begins to respond positively to the therapies that were designed to improve his cognitive function, then you can already begin training him again with the same techniques that you used when he was still a puppy. Positive reinforcement behavior training is done with a lot of involvement of treats and praises.
It is worth noting that the recommendations above would not be helpful for a dog that is already in the advanced stage of his mental decline, which is why it is stressed here how important it is to have your dog diagnosed as early as possible.
Cognitive dysfunction is a disease that can't be cured. However, if your dog has been diagnosed as early as possible, then early treatments can help in slowing down his mental decline and will give a good quality of life for your senior dog.