Dogs cared for throughout their early years live longer than ever before. It’s not unusual for Toy-breed dogs to live into their mid-to-late teens and even big dogs today enjoy a decade or more of happy life with a loving owner. A longer life, though, can leave your dog befuddled when canine brains turn to mush.
Dogs aged 11 to 16 are most likely to develop Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD), sort of the doggy version of Alzheimer’s Disease. CCD is a medical condition in which a starch-like waxy protein called beta amyloid collects in the brain and causes behavior changes.
There actually are some ways to treat CCD in dogs–and reverse the signs, at least temporarily. Special dog foods such as Hill’s Prescription Diet bd and Purina ProlPlan Senior 7+ Original include a mix of antioxidants that help “feed” the brain. There’s also a natural supplement called Cholodin, and a drug called Anipryl that work well for some dogs. I discuss many of these options in my Pet Care-Cutting Edge Medicine book as well as Complete Care for Your Aging Dog.
But the biggie–the easiest thing you can do for your dog–is to make them think! That old adage “use it or lose it” works for pets, too. Here’s my latest Paw Nation article with 7 tips to keep doggy brains youthful.
Special thanks to Gina Misiroglu and the whole Red Room team for connecting me with the pet folks at Paw Nation!
Old dogs may feel energized by getting into the "spirit" of Halloween, too--or the whole idea might scare them spitless. With the Howl-iday coming up soon, be sure to take steps for keeping Fido safe at Halloween. And if you're both truly into the whole costume thing, here are tips for teaching any age dog to better accept dress up.
Causes Amy Shojai Supports
Cat Writers Association, Winn Feline Foundation, AKC Canine Health Foundation, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)