Health Alert: When Dogs Have “Senior Moments” – Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

September 8th, 2010 by Dan

If you’ve noticed behavioral changes in your aging dog, it could just be due to the passing of years, but it also may be a condition called Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. CDS is a behavior disorder that is related to the aging process. It’s also been nicknamed “Canine Alzheimer’s Syndrome.”

Photo by Mollissima!

Symptoms of CDS include:

* Disorientation in familiar places (including the house, yard or even orienting around furniture)
* Disrupted sleep patterns (the dog often sleeps during the day, but wanders or paces at night)
* Failure to recognize commands or name (medical issues must be ruled out)

It is believed that CDS is caused by specific physical and chemical changes that take place in the brain during the aging process.

Photo by woofslc

Research shows that 62% of dogs between the ages of 11-16 exhibit at least one symptom of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. A full veterinary workup should be done if your senior dog is experiencing any behavioral changes. Currently the medication Anipryl (used by humans to treat Parkinson’s disease) has been found to successfully improve symptoms of dogs suffering with CDS.

Ask The Dog Guide: Excessive Drooling

September 15th, 2007 by Dan

Question: We adopted a four month old Catahoula. He has a wonderful temperament. However, when we leave the house and I have to crate him he drools excessively… he is soaked as well as the crate and the floor… any suggestions?

Answer: Excessive drooling can be a sign of an ailment requiring medical treatment, triggered by environmental substance, a sign of anxiety, or any number of other factors. Drooling while left alone suggests separation anxiety, which is not unusual for the breed. It’s always a good idea to rule out possible medical conditions with a vet visit.

Coping with separation anxiety involves a process of getting your dog used to being alone for very short periods of time, and gradually increasing those periods until you’ve reached a couple hours at a time. At that point, if your dog is comfortable alone, he will probably be fine for the day. Make his crate as pleasant as possible. Give him meals in the crate, and treats whenever he wanders in by himself. A four month old puppy should not ever be crated for more than 5 hours at a time. Ideally, you should work up to that period of time so he can gradually adjust to you leaving and returning, and learn to trust that you will always return and that he is fine by himself.

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Home Within a Home: Your Dog’s Crate

February 27th, 2007 by Dan

We’re preparing for a new puppy right now: collecting good toys and treats, planning a (highly specialized, in this case) diet, looking for a sturdy dog bed and a good harness. We already have many of the things we’ll need when he arrives in early April, including his crate. Crate-training is not an easy subject for many to think about- it may seem cruel or unnecessary, even neglectful. However, when done properly, crate-training gives your dog a den that will be a safe, comfortable and peaceful space.

The advantages:

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