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Study finds dogs can get dementia and lazy pooches are at a much higher risk

Charisa Bossinakis

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Study finds dogs can get dementia and lazy pooches are at a much higher risk

Featured Image Credit: KE Magoon / Alamy Stock Photo. VisualNarrative / Alamy Stock Photo

A canine’s chance of developing dementia increases by 50 per cent each year after they reach a certain age, according to a new study.

Research conducted by the Dog Aging Project has found that dogs aged 10 and over are at risk of developing the cognitive disease; however, pups as young as six can even begin to show symptoms.

The data was collated from 15,000 dogs, with owners asked to complete two surveys.

One was about their pet’s health status and physical activity and the second surveyed the dog’s cognitive function.

​​Researchers found that 1.4 per cent of dogs were believed to have canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD).

Credit: Ros Crosland / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: Ros Crosland / Alamy Stock Photo

It was also found that dogs over 10 who were not that active were 6.5 times more likely to get dementia than regularly active dogs.

While some owners think their dogs are merely ‘slowing down’ as a result of age, researchers have discovered many things that can help dogs from developing CCD.

Chief veterinary officer for the North American Veterinary Community Dr Dana Varble said: "Studies show that mental activity and exercise are important for a dog's mental well-being just as it is in humans.

"Stimulating the brain is important and this can be done easily with food puzzles for example.”

She also insisted that ‘nutritional supplements have been shown to improve signs and slow the decline of CCD. There are also special foods for ageing dogs’.

Credit: Farlap / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: Farlap / Alamy Stock Photo

The research published in the Scientific Reports journal also highlighted the main symptoms associated with doggy dementia. 

This includes a change in how they interact with other dogs and people, irritability, fatigue and beginning to forget familiar faces.

Researchers detailed how canines may begin to pace up and down with no purpose and forget how to do simple tasks, such as going outside for the bathroom.

The Guardian reports that dog health and science expert at the Kennel Club, Nick Sutton, noted how important it is for owners to prioritise their dog’s health, especially as they age.

“There is no cure for canine dementia or Alzheimer’s disease in humans, but by improving our understanding of these diseases, with research such as this, and by working towards a One Health approach, we can find better ways to prevent, identify, treat and eradicate these awful diseases,” he said.

Topics: Mental Health, Dogs, Animals, Science, News

Charisa Bossinakis
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