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Understanding Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CDS): Causes, Signs, and Support

Discover how to manage cognitive dysfunction syndrome in older dogs, its signs, causes, and supportive care tips for your canine companion.

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS), also known as dog dementia, is a common age-related brain disorder in dogs.

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. Dog cognitive dysfunction affects 68% of dogs aged between 15 and 16 who showed one or more signs of CDS. However, our knowledge about dogs and their care constantly improves, so our canine companions live longer than ever.

While this is excellent news, we see more cases of diseases typically associated with older age, including cognitive dysfunction.

What causes CDS in dogs?

As people age, they become more forgetful and perhaps less sharp than in their youth. As we get older, it can be perfectly normal, but we know that in some cases, it’s severe and associated with the disease; in people, we call it dementia.

Sadly, our dogs can experience a similar problem called cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). This can affect all breeds and is typically seen in those over 8-10 years old. Like our human Alzheimer’s, CDS is diagnosed by behavioural changes, as degeneration in the brain leads to loss of learned behaviours and alterations in sociability.

CDS is much more common than you might think – a study showed that 28% of dogs aged 11-12 and 68% of dogs aged 15-16 exhibited one or more signs of CDS. The condition is progressive, so sadly, the behavioural changes of affected dogs, known as cognitive decline, are likely to worsen over time.

Looking at the brain without expensive scanning is tough, so CDS is diagnosed with behavioural changes. While these are expected with old age, knowing more worrying signs is essential so that if your dog has developed CDS, you can start supportive care as early as possible.

Dog dysfunction CDS. Common signs of cognitive dysfunctions

Learn about cognitive dysfunction in dogs: signs, causes, and care tips for managing this condition in aging canine companions.
You must speak to your local vet if you see any of these signs in your dog.

Toileting in the house, especially if your dog forgets to tell you that they need to go outside, goes outside, fails to go to the toilet, and then bathrooms in the house on their return.

  • Forgetting training * Slow to learn new tasks
  • Disorientation/confusion
  • Forgetting family members
  • Bypassing regular or familiar walking routes
  • Anxiety/restlessness Less likely to get up and * greet you when you come home
  • Decreased desire to play
  • No longer following house rules

Sleep cycle changes (awake at night and sleeping more during the day). You must speak to your local vet if you see any of these signs in your dog. They can look at your pet and see if the symptoms are related to CDS or if there is another underlying cause.

It will involve taking a complete history, and they may need to take blood or carry out another test to rule out different problems; for example, not getting up to greet you could be due to pain from arthritis.

Dog dysfunction CDS. Can cognitive dysfunction be treated?

CDS is a lifelong problem and cannot be cured. However, they can manage the symptoms, and many dogs are responsive to supportive care. In addition, the proper diet and mental stimulation can go a long way to supporting brain health and slowing the progression of degeneration.

Dog dysfunction CDS. Tips to Support Your Dog

Routine

Maintaining a routine is best for dogs with CDS as they struggle to cope with change.

Exercise

Older dogs may have other issues that limit exercise, but getting out and about is great for mental health.

Reduce Stress

Dogs with CDS find coping with stress very difficult. For example, they can include going into kennels, meeting new dogs and gathering people.

Medication

Medication and supplements can support brain health, so discuss their suitability with your local Vets4Pets vet.

How much to give?

Our tasty chicken powder formula makes it great for even the fussiest pups! It is virtually undetectable. Sprinkle the appropriate amount of scoops onto your dog’s food, and wait for them to gobble it up! It’s as easy as that.

The recommended dosage depends on the weight:

  • Up 10kg – 1/2 of scoop daily
  • 10kg to 20kg – 1 scoop daily
  • 20kg to 35kg – 2 scoops daily
  • over 35kg – 3 scoops daily

Diet

Some specialist diets have been developed that provide nutrition and energy that is easier for the brain to use

Frequent Trips Outside

Housetraining problems can be very frustrating; give your dog plenty of opportunities to go outside and reward outdoor toileting.

Regular Check-ups

Keep in touch with your vet, and monitor your dog for worsening signs of CDS.

Thank you for reading the article to the end. Your reading contribution was significant to us.

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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