Dear Porky and Buddy,
Last week you answered a question about a 16-year-old cat with behavior changes.
You talked about the possibility that it might be something called FCD, feline cognitive disorder, (although it sounded to me like she was just getting old and senile).
My question is, does something similar happen to dogs?
My dog Buddy is 12 and seems to be fine, but should I be worried?
In a word, yes, a similar condition can affect dogs, but you should be more vigilant than worried.
Dogs can develop a condition called canine cognitive disorder.
Like FCD, it is different than just being “old and senile.”
It is comparable in some ways to Alzheimer’s in humans.
There are medications that your veterinarian can prescribe that will help with some of the symptoms of CCD if it is eventually diagnosed.
We assume if you read the Porky and Buddy column that you know to make sure that Buddy receives annual checkups, especially now that he is technically a “senior” dog.
Similarly to the coping strategies that we mentioned with cats, the behavioral changes that result from CCD in older dogs (as well as dogs that are “just old and senile) can be managed with careful attention to their environment and activities.
Don’t make abrupt changes in their routine, be careful that they get the exercise they need but not too much, let them sleep more if they are more tired.
Make sure they are getting adequate nutrition to meet the needs of their changing bodies.
When you think about it, dealing with older dogs (and cats) should be much like dealing with older humans.
Just because they are slowing down or sometimes a little befuddled, is no reason not to treat them with both respect for their lives well lived and with kindness for their current condition.
We hope you have many more years of happiness with Buddy!
While still being well-prepared for the inevitable changes that will come.
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Located at 29 W. Seneca St., Oswego, NY.
Email: [email protected]
Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.