Pet insurance policies are underwritten by Markel American Insurance Company.
Follow Us

Diet, medicine and other support help old dog with dementia

Q: We think Buddy, our 12-year-old beagle, may be senile. He wanders around, stares into space and occasionally doesn’t recognize us. Sometimes he even urinates and defecates in the house. He is restless at night and sleeps during the day. How can we help him?

A: Buddy may very well have senile cognitive dysfunction, but first, ask your veterinarian to rule out other diseases that can cause similar clinical signs.

Cognitive dysfunction is common in senior dogs, its prevalence ranging from 22 percent at seven years of age to 73 percent in elderly dogs. There is no gender or breed predilection.
When senile dogs’ brains are examined at autopsy, they display the same abnormalities seen in human Alzheimer patients’ brains, including beta-amyloid plaques. In dogs, the severity of the plaques correlates with errors on cognitive tests.

If your veterinarian agrees that Buddy has cognitive dysfunction, you can improve his brain health by feeding him Hill’s b/d, a prescription diet shown to increase cognitive function within eight weeks. Research has proven that some medications, including selegiline (Anipryl) and SAMe (S-adenosyl-methionine), help improve clinical signs.

You also can support Buddy by structuring a predictable routine, exercising him daily, providing a variety of toys and other environmental stimulation, and offering him opportunities to play with other dogs.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com.
 

Q: I have diabetes, so I...

Q: When our dog, Addie,...

Cat communication | @car0L_in via Twenty20

Q: My daughter, Jayne,...

Cat scratching chin | @sussialfredsson via Twenty20

Q: My 4-year-old cat...

More From Figo Blog
@alyson.tomassetti via Twenty20

It seems there’s a holiday for every occasion...

Party animals: pets celebrating the good life | @mattspataro via Twenty20

They’re called party animals for a...

Cat playing | @klovestorun via Twenty20

When we think of cat toys with a purpose, what...

Feline fitness: Tips for exercising your cat

We tend to think of cats as lithe and agile...

Indoor cat with fleas itching itself

Q: My cat, KitKat, who never...

10 pet safe cleaners

We all know that keeping a clean house isn’t...

Small dog sitting in pet carrier at airport

No matter how seasoned you are, traveling can...

10 dog care tips for winter weather | Figo Pet Insurance

When the temperatures drop, our canine friends...

HELP