Brain Health and Behavioral Changes in Dogs

What is brain aging?

Just like the rest of the body, the brain is affected by the aging process.  Damage to the brain’s cells can lead to changes in your dog’s behavior.

Half of all dogs 8 years and older will show some signs of brain aging.  Thanks to advances in medicine and pet nutrition, the right food and advice can help limit its effects and maintain your dog’s activity level.

What causes brain aging?

As the brain ages, free radicals cause damage to teh cells.  Although some free radicals may be caused by effects of environmental conditions, the majority are produced by the body’s own metabolism.

Little can be done to stop free radicals from being produced.  Antioxidants, vitamins and minerals have been found to counteract the damage caused by free radicals and may help maintain normal behavior for a long and healthy life.

Is my dog showing signs of brain aging?

Changes in brain function occur very slowly.  The first thing you’ll notice may be small differences in behavior such as increased sleeping, lack of energy or irritability.  You may not notice these changes until they start to interfere with yiour dog’s everyday life.  The following signs are commonly used by our office in the diagnosis of brain aging:

  • Disoriented
  • Seems lost
  • Unfamiliar with normal routine/surroundings
  • Forgets house training
  • Wanders or paces
  • Not interested in  playing
  • Fails to greet you

Important note:  If you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior please consult our office

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