Getting older is a natural part of your pet’s life cycle. While it may be difficult to watch your once active pet begin to slow down, know that it is still possible for them to continue leading a full, happy life, even as they progress through their senior years. This might include checking in with your local animal wellness center around Vancouver for treatment ideas or supplements to help support your aging dog.

But the physical signs of aging- like a reluctance to take that extra-long walk or difficulty with stairs, are not the only symptoms you need to watch out for; one in three senior dogs will also gradually begin to experience cognitive decline.

Here are a few signs of cognitive decline in your aging pet and tips on adjusting your routine to maximize their well-being.

  1. Forgetfulness

Does your pup suddenly seem confused about which direction to turn on the regular walking route, or maybe they sometimes forget where their water bowl is? These types of memory lapses result from brain cell deterioration and are typical of dogs displaying signs of age-related cognitive decline.

  1. Disregarding Basic Commands

Failure to respond to basic commands may not be a sign of disobedience in elderly dogs but rather a symptom of cognitive decline. If your pup has been failing to come when called or forgetting commands like “sit” or “stay” is probable that cognitive decline – not disobedience – is to blame.

Your pet wellness center may be able to offer supplements to help support your dog during this time, but the best thing you can do for your pup is to be patient and kind. There is something special about being able to love and care for your friend as they progress through this next stage of their lives, and you still have plenty of time to continue making happy memories.

  1. Having Accidents in The House

Along with experiencing a decline in their short and long-term memory, senior dogs experiencing cognitive decline are also prone to fecal and urinary incontinence. These accidents can be understandably frustrating for homeowners, but there are ways you can help lessen cleanups. Increase the number of times you offer to take your dog outside during the day and make sure to allow them time to relieve themselves right before going to bed for the night. You can also check in with your animal wellness center in Vancouver; some medications can help with animal incontinence.

  1. Experiencing Behavioural Changes

It’s not uncommon for aging dogs to undergo behavioural changes as they age. Your once sweet-natured puppy might now be a little aloof or irritable. Or you might notice an increase in barking or a heightened level of anxiety. Once again, cognitive decline is often responsible for these changes.

It’s important to recognize these behavioural cues and not push your dog into situations where they might be uncomfortable. For example, if rough play, small children, or crowded dog parks seem to be stressing or irritating your dog, it’s time to adjust your routine to make them feel more comfortable.

  1. Changes in Activity Level

Has your dog been pushing back on those extra-long walks or not jumping into the water for a swim like they used to? Cognitive decline could be the reason. Shying away from exercise can be a sign of both physical and mental decline. If your dog has been reluctant to participate in activities they once enjoyed, it may be time to schedule a checkup at your Vancouver area animal wellness center to find out why.