We aren’t the only ones at risk of experiencing the effects of Alzheimer’s or dementia. As pets age, signs of cognitive impairment may become more apparent. However, with proper preventative care such as careful monitoring, early diagnosis, and appropriate intervention, you can support your senior pet’s mental health for a more peaceful life.
- Interaction — Your pet may display a decreased interest in socializing and interacting with your family and become irritable or aggressive with visitors, other animals, or familiar family members.
- Disorientation — Your pet may get stuck behind furniture or doors, have difficulty getting around objects, fail to recognize familiar people or pets, or get lost in your home or yard.
- Activity — One change in pets that is commonly confused as an old-age problem is a decreased desire to play or exercise. Pets may also display repetitive behaviors, such as circling, chewing, licking, or pacing.
- House-soiling, learning, and memory — Your pet may be less likely to respond to previously learned commands or their name and suffer from decreased focus and increased distraction. You may also notice inappropriate elimination issues if your pet forgets their previous house training.
- Sleep-wake cycles — One of the most common complaints of cognitive dysfunction is an off-balance sleep-wake cycle. These pets are typically restless, will pace or continually wake up, and may excessively vocalize throughout the night.
- Anxiety — Pets with cognitive dysfunction may exhibit increased anxiety when separated from their owners and be more fearful of visual or auditory stimuli.
Commonly referred to as DISHAA, this acronym of cognitive dysfunction signs will help you spot changes in your pet sooner, allowing for more effective treatment.
Has your elderly fur friend started showing signs of cognitive dysfunction? Do you want to catch the early warning signs before it’s too late? Give us a call or make an appointment online to schedule a wellness exam for your senior pets.