It is heartbreaking for pet lovers to helplessly watch their dog’s health decline. Here, I share tips and suggestions for helping your senior pet with dog dementia to restore cognition.
My dog Daisy has been one of the smartest dogs I have ever seen. She could fetch hidden toys by a word command. And when there were two balls just tell her which color ball and she would bring it back. If the ball was upstairs she would remember that too.
And if you had just made muffins and they were cooling in the middle of the dining room table she could help herself to one. I have no idea how she could pull this off, I had only seen her running with the muffin in her mouth and no one else was in the house.
You see all the chairs were pushed in and the muffins were still in the pan. And yet this 40-pound dog was able to pull the muffin out of the pan leaving behind the paper liner without disturbing the rest of the muffins or the pan.
However, Daisy has not always been a walk in the park as they call it. Actually, quite the opposite.
Over her years I helped her through the debilitating symptoms of Lyme disease in 2012, when she was just four years old.
In February 2016 Daisy was again struck in a big way with dementia like symptoms when I let her out as usual and she did not return nor respond to my calling her. This may not sound like such a big deal except for the fact that it was downright frigid and her behavior was uncharacteristic.
After finally locating her in the woods and getting her back inside she was distant, afraid and lost. It was like looking her straight in the eyes but no one was home.
I felt so sad. Not sure what to do, I returned with her to the woods daily. She very much enjoyed our walks in the woods. During our time spent outside, I observed her behavior and noticed her instinctual nature being overpowered by her sick mind. This was the only place she could be a normal dog.
This was amazing to watch, like a switch had been flipped. When it was time to come back inside, her instincts took a back seat to her mind. She would refuse to come in, freezing in her tracks and unable to move. I would play games with her by bringing her inside through different doors. And when that no longer worked she would stay in the heated wood shop for when all else failed she would always go into the shop. It was like her safe haven.
(This picture may look unclear or grainy to you but that is because it was pouring rain, Daisy frozen, soaked, and unable to move when I was calling her inside.)
This period of ups and downs was like riding a roller coaster. Daisy had really good days and really bad days. Some of her symptoms included not being able to respond to commands. I would call her and she wouldn’t come. She no longer knew what her cookie was. And she didn’t even know who I was. When we let her out she began leaving the property and walking aimlessly down the road even crossing the road in front of a school bus!
She began getting lost inside the house ending up in closets unable to navigate her way out. Or she would stare at the wall. She would sleep near the door where the cold air would blow across her each time it was opened. She just didn’t know enough to move to a warmer place.
On those nights when she did accompany us to bed she was very noisy. She would lick her paw and leg excessively, she would pant and she would walk around the bedroom making it very difficult for us to fall asleep.
And then this very food driven dog lost her appetite. Some days going without while others only eating about half her normal ration.
I felt it my responsibility to restore balance within her as she moved in and out of these highs and lows over a two-year period. During this time, I have found and used products that truly had a positive effect for bringing her to a more balanced state of being for a longer period of time. As Dr David Perlmutter stated during an online Alzheimer’s Summit in 2018 it is best to do many things together to remedy Alzheimer’s.
STEPS TO TAKE FOR DOG DEMENTIA
•All dogs are carnivores so feed a species appropriate diet suitable for a carnivore. Daisy has always eaten this way but I know that many dogs are not offered the food their body requires.
•Help your dog maintain a healthy weight.
•Exercise your dog’s mind and body with age appropriate activities. According to Dr Pamela Smith exercise maintains memory. I used to walk Daisy 1.5 miles daily but now that we have 6 acres of woods and hills she gets plenty of exercise for her years, roaming freely every single day. Together her and Marley play and chase squirrels and deer. Remember dog’s with cognitive decline love to reconnect with nature. This is the place where instinct rules.
Daisy also has a series of commands my daughter taught her as a puppy. I will run through this activity then offer her a dried beef treat.
You could also hide treats around the house and have your dog retrieve them.
SUPPLEMENTS USED TO RESTORE COGNITION
•Include a high-quality fish oil such as *Omega 3 Gold (concentrated from wild caught anchovy) to reduce inflammation in the body and improve brain function.
•Include unrefined virgin coconut oil and MCT oil to significantly improve your dog’s cognitive function. According to Dr Karen Becker ketone bodies derived from medium chain triglycerides found in both coconut oil and MCT oil cross the blood brain barrier to efficiently nourish aging brains.
Dr Karen Becker states in Urgent Brain Function Alert for Beloved Pet’s, that your dog’s brain is about 60 percent fat, and that fat needs to be appropriately fueled as he ages.
I use all three oils with Daisy. The coconut and MCT oil I give her twice daily. She loves the oils and willingly laps them up from her dish.
•Tumeric once per day. Dr David Perlmutter says that it can help reduce plaque in the brain.
ESSENTIAL OILS TO HELP WITH INTERMITTENT ANXIETY
Intermittent anxiety can include apprehension, panting, moaning or shivering.
•Frankincense essential oil reduces sadness and inflammation.
•Lavender essential oil reduces anxiety, stress, fear and sadness as well as reduces inflammation.
•Rosemary essential oil boosts brain function.
•I add one drop of each essential oil (Frankincense, Lavender and Rosemary) to a make-up pad and place in the pocket of Daisy’s bed to help calm her nighttime anxieties.
•Stop poisoning your dog by saying no to vaccine toxicity. Titer test instead if you are concerned about your dog being protected. Note that the product inserts for vaccines states that a sick dog should NOT be vaccinated.
PRODUCTS I FOUND TO BE HELPFUL RESTORING COGNITION
Neutricks made from jellyfish was useful and the first supplement specifically for canine cognitive decline I tried.
CBD oil, 500mg from Source is what I currently use once per day and have gotten excellent results. I highly recommend this product if your dog is experiencing dementia like symptoms.
Have patience, patience, patience with your senior dog! Speak kindly and don’t raise your voice. Remember it is not their choice to be this way.
Becker, Karen Dr., 8/13/17, Urgent Brain Function Alert for Beloved Pet’s, [Internet], Available from: https://www.healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2017/08/13/geriatric-dementia.aspx [Accessed 10/14/18]
Axe, Josh Dr. et al., Essential Oils Ancient Medicine, USA, Axe Wellness LLC Publishers, 2016, p393.
Becker, Karen Dr., 1/29/18, Your Pet’s Aging Symptoms: Are they Cognitive or Medical?, [Internet] Available from: https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2018/01/29/senior-dogs-behavioral-problems.aspx [Accessed 10/14/18]
Becker, Karen, Dr., 9/18/13, Pet Alzheimer’s Disease – Is Your Dog Showing Signs?, [Internet], Available from: https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/09/18/cognitive-dysfunction-syndrome.aspx [Accessed 10/14/18]