Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in Aging Dogs – Guide from Vaughan Vet Clinic

Is your aging pet showing signs of ‘Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome’? Only a qualified Vaughan Vet Clinic can tell you for sure after detailed diagnosis. But it’s important that you observe the changes in your pet’s behavior.

Like humans, aging dogs, experience changes in the brain that affect memory and comprehension. In dogs, this term is called Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.

What are the Causes and Symptoms?

Cognitive dysfunction Syndrome can be seen in aging pets. It is a change that occurs in the brain and typically exhibits as behavioral changes. The cause of this disease is unknown but it seems to be related with old age. The symptoms can range from being subtle to severe. Here are several signs that can be found in pets suffering from CDS:

  • Disorientation: Pets may start forgetting their house training. They may also seem confused about common routines such as where their food bowl is located.
  • Sleep/wake patterns: There may be a change in their sleeping patterns. Dogs may be awake for most of the night where they used to sleep soundly.
  • Interaction: Dogs may also change the way they interact with people or other animals in the house.
  • Activity levels: It is possible to see them on their own more if they used to be very social or friendly.


When to Seek Care?

One or all of the above signs could indicate the onset of cognitive dysfunction symptoms. It is important to visit a Vaughan vet clinic and mention these changes to the veterinarian. The veterinarian may recommend a full check up, including blood work and x-rays, prior to diagnosing CDS. Other medical causes such as underlying liver or kidney disease need to be ruled out first.


Unfortunately, there is no particular treatment that will reverse these symptoms, but the veterinarian may recommend some supplements that will help preserve the function that is there. If your furry friend is having trouble sleeping at night, there are also medications that can help reset the sleep/wake cycle. While these medications have not been proven to work in every patient, they may help to some extent.

It is also important for pet owners to continue engaging the pet’s mind and body. Whenever possible, encourage the pets to play and exercise to keep their muscles and mind strengthened. There are some special diets that have been made in order to help prevent these age related changes in the brain of dogs. Working with Vaughan animal services will help you determine which method is best for you and your pet.

Napa Valley Animal Hospital has trained veterinarians in their Woodbridge offering a wide range of veterinary services in Vaughan & surrounding communities.
If you notice changes the above mentioned changes in your senior pet’s behavior, do not panic. Simply give us a call at 905-552-VETS (8387).