Senior cats and dogs may remain healthy and maintain active lifestyles for years, but some can fall prey to dementia; learning to recognize the signs of dementia in your pet can help you cope with the changes and enjoy  your time together.

Signs of Dementia in Dogs and Cats

All senior pets may become less active, have trouble controlling their bladders and may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. Some behaviors could point to dementia; talk to your vet if you begin to see these signs in your aging pet.

Repetitive Behaviors

Pacing, doing the same thing repeatedly for no apparent reason and forgetting training or previously mastered tasks could be a sign of age related dementia. If you pet seems disoriented or lost, he could be experiencing memory related issues.

Changes in Vision and Hearing

Losses in vision and hearing can be part of aging, but if your pet seems overly confused or struggles to adapt to simple changes in sensory input, he could be experiencing some early signs of dementia. Pets deprived on one sense often make up for it with another and rapidly learn to find their way around the house and yard. If your pet can’t adapt, he could be struggling.

Increased Aggression

A dog with dementia may not have the patience he once did – -he may also be more easily startled and seem short tempered. Disorientation can lead to anxiety and stress reactions and result in an increase in aggression over food, toys and territory.

Recognizing the signs of dementia allows you to take proactive steps to help your aging pets; in some cases behavioral therapy, medication and other steps can be taken to help your pet as he ages. You’ll both feel better if you spot the signs of memory loss early and take steps to support your dog or cat as they adjust to a new way of life.

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