The most important thing to consider when making the decision of if and when to put your dog to sleep is the state of your dog at the moment. Put the level of her suffering, pain and quality of life into consideration. Fortunately, you do not have to make this decision alone.
Your veterinary doctor will be there to guide you at every stage to ensure you make nothing but the right choice for your dog.
My Dog Has Dementia Should I Put Her To Sleep
In answering the question about when to put your dog with dementia to sleep, it is important to note that you do not have to put your dog down the moment she is diagnosed with dementia as study shows that most old dogs live with some degree of CCD.
However, if your dog’s condition seems to be deteriorating and she begins to show severe symptoms, putting her to sleep could be the best decision to make at that point, to put her out of her misery and suffering.
One factor that might influence your decision to put your dog to sleep is denial. This is very likely to come into play if you have developed a close bond with your dog over time.
You would likely struggle with putting your dog to sleep when you consider living without her, even when you know that it is the logical thing to do. If you find yourself going through this struggle, try not to feel guilty about it, as it is a perfectly normal reaction.
Dementia In Dogs
CCD or Canine Dementia is a terminal disease that degenerates and gets worse with time. Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome is a condition in dogs that is similar to Alzheimer in humans. Just like Alzheimer, the causes of CCD remain unknown.
However, a known fact about CCD is that it is a condition that occurs more in senior dogs. This condition could also be genetic i.e. if your dog’s parent had the disease, your dog is very likely to suffer the same fate.
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Signs Of Dementia In Dogs
If you begin to see a cause for concern in your dog’s physical and mental health, experts recommend looking out for the following signs and symptoms to look out for:
- Pacing or circling continuously
- Spacing out, acting dizzy and confused.
- Purposeless movements and restlessness.
- Getting lost in behind furniture and in corners
- Walking in the wrong direction
- Looking lost in familiar places.
- Unable to figure out the next step
- Lack of enthusiasm to meet new people, or welcome family members when they return.
- Not recognizing people and other pets that she is familiar with.
- Forgetting her name or not responding to commands
- Inactiveness and lack of interest in social activities. If your dog is suffering from dementia, she is not likely to seek out any form of companionship from you or anyone else. She might even ignore petting; this is normal.
- Meaningless barking
- Noticeable change in sleep schedule – sleeping more than usual, more during the day than at night.
- Pooping and urinating inside the house even after going outside or using the potty.
- Significant change in appetite. Your dog either develops a larger appetite and is always hungry or loses appetite and is seldom interested in eating.
- Anxiety and sudden show of aggression towards people or other pets.
Study has shown that dementia may not necessarily shorten your dog’s lifespan, but it is likely to affect the quality of your dog’s life as your dog may even begin to forget who she is.
A sense of identity is most times important to dogs as they are intuitive animals. Your dog’s sense of identity gives her delight and a sense of purpose. When her sense of identity is tampered with, she tends to become confused and frustrated.
Depending on how far the disease has gone before the time of diagnosis, your dog can live up to 2 years. If the disease is already at a critical stage before diagnosis, your dog is not likely to be around for up to 2 years.
Treatments and nutritional therapies have proven to be very instrumental in improving your dogs health and delaying the progress of the disease.
Treatment of Dementia In Dogs
Although there is no cure for Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, there are nutritional therapies that can help slow down the progress of this dysfunction and improve your dog’s health and quality of life. These therapies are:
Routines like learning new commands, engaging in new exercises, making use of interactive toys, will help improve your dog’s mental and physical health. If you are confused on how to go about this, ensure you consult with a professional.
Nutritional Aids And Supplements
Nutritional aids help slow down the changes that would occur in your dog’s brain as he ages. They also help enhance your dog’s learning and memory. Experts recommend the following supplements for your dog:
- Omega-3 fatty acids (promote health of cell membrane)
- Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT’s)
- Antioxidants (Beta Carotene, Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Selenium)
- Vitamins C and E
- Flavonoids and carotenoids from vegetables and fruits.
- L-carnitine (improves functioning of mitochondria)
What To Do With A Dog That Has Dementia
Here are few things you can do, in addition to treatments and therapies, to help improve your dog’s quality of life:
- Exercise a little more patience with your dog. Lots of the behaviors she would begin to exhibit are not done on purpose. While she is going through these tough times, it is important that you treat her with utmost kindness and show her love. Do what you can to keep her happy so she does not fall into depression.
- Help your dog find the things she has problem finding, like her bed, food and water. Literally offer physical comfort
- Engage your dog in less strenuous exercises like walks and games that are mentally stimulating like puzzles or hide and seek. Ensure to keep these games simple and straightforward. Make frequent visits to dog parks so she has quality playtime with other dogs
- Maintain a consistent routine as unplanned schedules may cause your dog to be confused and disoriented.
- Ensure your dog can be easily identified, in case she wanders off and cannot find her way back home.
- Constantly reassure your dog that you are there for her and maintain an optimistic and positive attitude.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are Dogs With Dementia Suffering?
If your dog has dementia, you can be assured that she is suffering. This is because she will have disturbed sleep, she becomes disoriented, forgetful and rarely remembers much of anything. Some of the things she would tend to forget are where her bed and food bowl are, her owners, and so on.
What Is The Cure For Dementia In Dogs?
Quite sadly, CCD has no cure. There are, however, various treatment options that you can use to help your dog and slow the progress of the disease. Do well to consult your veterinary doctor for professional advice on food supplements to introduce to your dog.
Does Dog Dementia Get Worse At Night?
Dogs with dementia often suffer more at night from as they tend to have disturbed sleep and would most times remain awake through the night. This automatically altars their sleep pattern.
There is no hard and fast rule that determines when you should put your dog suffering from dementia to sleep. Considering how much suffering your dog is going through, it is up to you to decide the best line of action to take for your dog.
Before you take any drastic decision though, consult with your veterinary doctor to get medical professional advice on the situation.
Also bear in mind the possibility that your older dog might be suffering from other health conditions like kidney disease, heart disease or diabetes, in addition to dementia. It is therefore advised that you report any new signs and symptoms to your veterinary doctor for proper examination.