As pets and humans grow, our brains go through astounding levels of development. As we age out, though, the brain starts to experience changes. 


The brain shrinks, dopamine levels drop, and fewer receptors are communicating with neurotransmitters. 


These changes inevitably leave senior dogs vulnerable to cognitive health concerns. Older dogs can start to experience confusion, changes in behavior, or emotional distress. 


If you have an older dog, then you need to be aware of these potential issues. Keep reading to learn more about cognitive issues in dogs, how to identify them, and how to help your pet thrive.


Common Cognitive Issues in Older Pets


As your pet starts to get older, some cognitive decline is natural. Cognitive issues may start to impact your pet’s ability to remain independent, though. 


They could even start to make your pet behave in new, unexpected ways. 


Here are a few of the most common cognitive issues in senior pets:

  • Confusion 
  • Changes in behavior 
  • Irritability 
  • Inability to sleep or sleeping too much 
  • Forgetting house rules that your pet used to abide by 
  • Sudden house soiling 
  • Repetitive self-soothing behaviors like liking or pacing 
  • Wandering or pacing (signs of anxiety)

Have you noticed some of these signs or symptoms? If so, then it’s important to consider whether cognitive decline could be the issue.

Don’t try to diagnose your pet on your own, though. Instead, schedule a visit with your vet.


Identifying and Diagnosing Cognitive Issues in Older Dogs


Your veterinarian will listen to your concerns and observe your pet. From there, they’ll help you identify and possibly diagnose the issue.

CDS is one of the most common types of age-related diseases in dogs. Cognitive dysfunction syndrome is much like human Alzheimer’s disease.

Overone in three (35%) of dogs over 8 experience CDS symptoms.


How to Improve Cognitive Health Symptoms

Whether your pet receives a diagnosis or not, it’s never too late to start improving symptoms. To help your senior pet, consider making a few lifestyle changes.

Make it easier for your pet where possible, and remove any hazards that could trip them up in old age. Consider adding cognitive games to your pet’s routine.

For instance, you can get innovative toys like the brain bowl to help your pet stay sharp. 

Adding supplements to your pet’s diet might also be appropriate.


Helping Senior Dogs Thrive Through Old Age


Senior dogs are amazing companions, but they do need extra TLC sometimes. This is especially true if your senior pet is starting to struggle with cognitive issues.

The good news is that cognitive decline is something you can manage. By taking small lifestyle changes, you can ensure your pet continues to thrive.

If you suspect cognitive decline, then it’s best to consult with your vet. They may suggest certain supplements or provide you with tips to help you care for your pet.

If you’re looking for more senior-specific products, then you’re in the right place. Check out our shop now to see more senior pet toys, supplements, and other products.