DALMATIAN CLUB OF GREATER PHOENIX
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Treating Cognitive Dysfunction Disorder in Dogs
There is no cure for CDS. However, there are steps you can take to make your dog more comfortable. Veterinarians have a wide range of approaches to treating CDS, including medications, nutritional support, and behavior modifications.
There are several options in your veterinarian’s pharmaceutical arsenal to help alleviate the symptoms of CDS in dogs. Selegiline is a drug that was developed to treat pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease) and CDS, and can control many of the clinical signs of the disease. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can also reduce anxiety in your senior dog, and sleep aids can help them get back on a normal sleep-wake cycle.
Diets supplemented with appropriate amounts of fatty acids and antioxidants have been shown to improve cognitive function in senior dogs, so talk to your veterinarian about the best diet for your senior dog, especially if the dog is showing signs of CDS.
There are behavioral steps that owners can take to make their dogs more comfortable, as well. Just as we make exceptions and adjustments for aging human relatives, caring for a senior dog with CDS requires a little flexibility.
One of the best things you can do for your senior dog is to continue to provide mental stimulation. Even though he may no longer be able to run and jump, he still needs to be engaged. Play, light exercise, and training are just as important for your senior dog as they were for your puppy. Puzzle toys and food toys can also give your dog something to think about, and keeping playtime and exercise structured gives dogs a routine and reduces anxiety.
Try to avoid changing your schedule. Anxious dogs thrive on a routine, and keeping your senior dog to a familiar routine in familiar environments can help alleviate anxiety and disorientation. Teaching a “settle” command may also help very anxious dogs.
As much as we love our senior dogs, nobody enjoys cleaning up after pet accidents. Dogs with CDS are more likely to have accidents in the house. Instead of feeling frustrated, make arrangements for your pet to relieve himself easily. This could mean installing a dog door or creating designated indoor potty areas for your dog.
Living With Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome
Dogs with cognitive dysfunction syndrome can lead full and happy lives, as long as you know what your treatment options are. If you suspect that your senior dog may have CDS, call your veterinarian and set up an appointment to see what you can do to make your dog more comfortable in her golden years.
April 12 & May 3, 2019.
The Fire Station
2701 W. Belmont Ave. Phoenix 85051
Meeting starts at 7:30 pm