CBD for Dogs With Senior Dog Dementia
Is your dog living out their senior years?
Do you notice him getting stuck behind furniture or soiling the house?
While they’re often just dismissed as signs of aging, these can be symptoms of a serious condition known as canine cognitive dysfunction or “doggie dementia.”
If you’re worried that your dog is suffering from cognitive decline due to their age, I have some good news:
There’s some pretty solid research suggesting CBD can help reduce the symptoms of canine cognitive dysfunction and maybe even slow its progression.
Keep reading to learn more.
This is a top choice for older dogs. It’s a 100% Organic Full Spectrum Oil that has received a ton of amazing reviews. It’s one of our top choices right now.
Bonus: Download a free checklist to see if your senior dog will benefit from CBD. This includes a full PDF guide to CBD for dogs. Get access to the checklist here.
What is Canine Cognitive Dysfunction?
Canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) is a condition which causes dogs to become senile.
In fact, the condition is sometimes referred to as canine senility or “doggie dementia.”
Canine cognitive dysfunction causes a variety of different symptoms of senility which I’ll describe in further detail below.
Unfortunately, many pet owners and even vets dismiss early symptoms of this disease as just signs of “getting old” or “senior moments.”
However, canine cognitive dysfunction is a real disease that, over time, can become increasingly debilitating.
How to Spot Canine Cognitive Dysfunction: Signs of Doggie Dementia
Senility affects every dog differently.
Some dogs might suddenly seem to forget the route on their daily walk.
Others might lose track of their owner around the house, even if they just saw them only a few seconds ago.
Some dogs might walk in circles, bump into walls, and get stuck behind furniture, while others might seem less active and excited to do things that they previously enjoyed.
Below is a list of some of the common symptoms:
- Disorientation: This is a very common symptom of doggie dementia. You might notice your dog looking lost even in familiar places like your home. You may also find him staring out into space or directly at walls.
- Forgetfulness: Just like people, dogs with dementia can start to forget familiar aspects of their lives. This can include other pets, people and, in advanced cases, even their owners.
- Dysthymia: Dogs with dementia tend to lose awareness of their size and suffer from reduced spatial perception. Hence, they might get stuck behind furniture or in corners.
- Behavioral changes: Your previously popular, friendly pup might become irritable or even aggressive as a result of canine cognitive dysfunction. Dogs with dementia also tend to withdraw from social interactions with people or other animals.
- Barking: Persistent barking, whining, or growling, especially during the night.
- House soiling: It is very common for house-trained dogs to begin urinating or defecating inside the house as a result of CCD.
- Decreased alertness and activity: Dogs with CCD tend to be less alert to things like sounds or smells. They might struggle to find their food, struggle to hear their owners when being called or even forget to respond to their name. Dogs with dementia also tend to become less active,
- Repetitive movement: If your dog repeatedly bobs their head, shakes their legs, or walks around in circles, this is usually a pretty solid sign that they are suffering from some kind of cognitive decline.
- Changes to sleep cycle: Dogs with CCD are often restless at night and sleepy during the day.
- Anxiety and depression: Canine cognitive dysfunction can leave dogs acting anxious and suddenly getting scared by objects, people, or actions which previously didn’t bother them.
- Reduced learning ability: Dogs with CCD struggle to learn new tricks.
Many of these symptoms, especially in isolation, are subtle, and many pet owners dismiss them as signs of just “getting old.”
If your dog is starting to show signs and symptoms like these, make sure to report them to your vet.
While canine cognitive dysfunction can’t be cured, it is possible to manage it and slow down its progression when detected early.
What Causes Canine Cognitive Dysfunction?
CCD is very similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans.
In fact, dogs with CCD have been suggested as a model of study for early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Dogs with CCD (like humans with Alzheimer’s) develop amyloid plaques in the brain.
Amyloid plaques are made up of deposits of beta-amyloid, a fragment of amyloid precursor proteins.
Normal healthy brains are able to process these compounds and eliminate them.
In dogs with CCD and humans with Alzheimer’s, the body doesn’t do this and the proteins deposit and form hard plaques that affect the proper communication between neurons.
People with Alzheimer’s disease also suffer from neurofibrillary tangles, which are tangled fibers inside brain cells caused by abnormal proteins and the collapse of structures within neurons.
Some dogs with canine cognitive dysfunction also suffer from neurofibrillary tangles, although this is less common.
Over time, both Alzheimer’s and CCD cause neurodegeneration, or the loss of brain cells, which ultimately lead to the symptoms I mentioned above.
Like Alzheimer’s, CCD seems to be somewhat genetic, but it can affect dogs of any breed and sex.
It is more common in older dogs and has been estimated to affect over 25% of dogs aged 11-12 and almost 70% of dogs aged 15-16.
How is Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Treated?
There is no cure for canine cognitive dysfunction.
However, you and your vet can work to slow down the progression of the disease and reduce the severity of its symptoms using a combination of lifestyle changes, behavioral therapy, prescription medications, and supplements.
Making small changes to your dog’s lifestyle can have a big impact on the progression of their dementia.
Diet, for example, is super important for older dogs and there are special prescription diets formulated for dogs with CCD.
These diets usually contain higher amounts of antioxidants to help reduce the number of free radicals (highly reactive compounds that can combine to make a long list of mainly toxic chemicals) in the animal’s brain.
You can work together with your vet to create a tailored diet plan especially for your pet and reduce the effect of CCD on their quality of life.
Just like humans with Alzheimer’s can benefit from cognitive stimulation, so can dogs with CCD.
If your dog knows tricks or obeys commands, make sure to engage them in this way.
You can also set up a simple “find the food” game to help stimulate your dog’s senses and cognitive abilities.
Also, remember to rearrange your house in order to accommodate the changing needs of your pet.
This includes things like:
- Making sure your dog can easily access their food and water.
- Avoiding stairs or steps when possible.
- Removing furniture or any other hazards from your pet’s way to accompany the decline of their depth perception and motor skills.
As we saw earlier, it’s very common for dogs with dementia to undergo behavioral changes.
Behavioral therapy, while not a cure for the behavioral changes caused by CCD, can help your dog hold on to some of the behavioral traits that made them who they are.
The exact type of behavioral therapy used to treat CCD is very case-specific, and you should work together with your vet to come up with a plan tailored to your pet’s needs.
This can include re-training of old tricks or rehouse-training, re-socializing with other animals and people, cognitive stimulation via games, and more.
Prescription Medications and Supplements
There are a number of drugs on the market that have been shown to help reduce the impact CCD has on a dog’s life.
- Selegiline (Anipryl): Selegiline chloride inhibits monoamine oxidase (MAO) enzymes. These enzymes play a crucial role in regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin, melatonin, dopamine, tryptamine, phenethylamine, and many more. Too much or too little MAO activity is believed to play a role in a number of diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Selegiline chloride can be used on dogs to treat CCD via the same mechanisms.
- Nicergoline: Nicergoline helps decrease vascular resistance and increases blood flow to the brain. In doing so, it allows more oxygen and glucose to be delivered to the neurons, potentially improving cognitive function in pets with dementia.
- Propentofylline: Propentofylline is thought to increase blood flow to the brain by increasing the flexibility of red blood cells and stopping them from clumping together, ultimately increasing the amount of oxygen transported to the brain.
Besides these medications, there are also a number of supplements that are believed to help dogs with canine cognitive dysfunction.
- SAMe (S-Adenosyl methionine): SAMe is an amino acid that has been shown to increase activity levels and awareness in dogs and cats in a number of studies.
- Apoaequorin: Sourced from jellyfish, apoaequorin is a protein said to help fight neurotoxins associated with Parkinson’s and dementia in humans. Studies have shown that apoaequorin improves the learning ability and attention in dogs.
- Phosphatidylserine: Phosphatidylserine is used in human patients with Alzheimer’s and is also used in a variety of pet supplements designed for older animals.
- Adrafinil: Adrafinil is used to promote wakefulness and alertness. It has been shown to improve learning ability in some dogs as well as promote positive locomotion.
CBD: Can Cannabidiol Help With Dog Dementia?
Now that you have a better understanding of CCD and how it works, let’s start talking about CBD.
Over the last couple of years, CBD has gotten a ton of attention from the media thanks to its potential health benefits.
Studies show, for example, that CBD can help fight chronic pain, reduce the intensity and regularity of seizures in patients with epilepsy, and much more.
There’s also a growing body of research looking into the potential use of CBD and other cannabinoids for Alzheimer’s disease.
Given that Alzheimer’s and CCD are very similar, this is pretty exciting news for the veterinary world, too.
Below I’ll cover some of this research.
The Endocannabinoid System as a Therapeutic Target for Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Your dog, just like you, has an endocannabinoid system.
This system mainly comprises of cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, as well endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG.
Research suggests that this system could be an exciting potential therapeutic target for new Alzheimer’s treatments.
That’s because the endocannabinoid system seems to be involved in various aspects of the Alzheimer’s pathology.
Increasing endocannabinoid signaling, for example, has been shown to reduce neurotoxicity, inflammation, and oxidative stress in the brain.
Cannabinoid receptors, especially CB1, are also found in extremely high concentrations in key parts of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s.
These include the cortex and the hippocampus, both of which play a central role in learning and memory.
Endocannabinoid deficiency has also been linked to brain disease.
Dr. Phillip Blair, Medical Director for Elixinol (a brand fo CBD oil for humans) has openly discussed some of the research into endocannabinoid deficiency and its role in brain disease.
Dr. Blair explains that increased expression of CB2 receptors, low levels of endocannabinoids, and increased numbers of the enzymes used to breakdown these endocannabinoids are common traits in patients with Alzheimer’s.
Luckily, cannabinoid therapy with compounds like CBD can help restore this imbalance of the endocannabinoid system.
That’s what makes CBD and interesting potential treatment option for patients with Alzheimer’s, as well as dogs with CCD.
Endocannabinoid Activity Can Influence Amyloid Generation and Clearance in the Brain
This is a really important finding.
Studies show that activating CB2 receptors can drive down the activity of microglia, a special type of cell which, when active, seems to contribute to the production amyloid.
This has led some researchers to hypothesize that activating CB2 receptors could reduce the production of amyloid and therefore fight the formation of amyloid plaques in patients with Alzheimer’s.
Animal studies have also shown that activating CB2 receptors can increase the clearance of amyloid from the brain.
Cannabinoid Therapy Could Fight Neurofibrillary Tangles
Studies also suggest that endocannabinoid activity could help prevent the formation of neurofibrillary tangles in the brain.
Studies have shown, for example, that activating CB1 receptors with selective antagonists can help drive down the abnormal hyperphosphorylation of tau proteins.
This hyperphosphorylation (basically an abnormal growth of tau protein) has been suggested as one of the main mechanisms contributing to the tangles that characterize Alzheimer’s and are sometimes also present in cases of dogs with dementia.
Other Important Roles of The Endocannabinoid System in Brain Disease
As I mentioned earlier, there are many different ways in which the endocannabinoid system seems to be involved in the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Neuroinflammation: Studies show that endocannabinoid activity can help drive down inflammation of the brain cells, a common symptom of brain disease.
- Neurodegeneration: While we’ve long been told to believe that cannabis kills brain cells, studies are showing exactly the opposite; cannabinoids like CBD and even THC have been shown to promote neurogenesis in various parts of the brain.
The way the endocannabinoid system relates to Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases is really complex, and there’s no way I can cover this topic entirely in the span of this one article.
What I’ve tried to do above is highlight at least some of the key research showing the important role the endocannabinoid system seems to play in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
For more information on the role of the endocannabinoid system in Alzheimer’s, make sure to check out the following resources:
CBD for Dogs With Canine Cognitive Dysfunction
Unfortunately, no studies have actually tested CBD on dogs with CCD.
However, the information I covered above makes a solid case that your dog’s endocannabinoid system could be an interesting target for addressing their symptoms of CCD as well as the progression of the disease.
And the fact that CBD can increase endocannabinoid activity in a safe and natural way obviously makes it an interesting supplement for people whose pets are dealing with this condition.
Now, I know you might be skeptical about trying a supplement that hasn’t been tested on dogs with your furry friend.
I was exactly the same when I first learned about CBD and it’s potential health benefits for dogs.
However, after seeing the positive effects CBD had on my dog Rosie (who suffered from cancer and hip dysplasia) I was convinced:
CBD, based on my experience and the research I’ve read, can be a super effective treatment for dogs with a wide variety of ailments.
If your pet is showing signs of CCD, I highly recommend talking to your vet about trying CBD.
HolistaPet is a really respected company that makes high-quality CBD pet products using full-spectrum CBD extract.
I highly recommend looking into HolistaPet’s oils and capsules, both of which are available in various strengths.
You can visit their official website here: www.HolistaPet.com.
Remember, CBD is completely legal and safe, and usually doesn’t produce any side effects.
And even in the rare cases that CBD does produce adverse effects, these are very mild when compared to those of other prescription medications.
For more information on CBD and the health benefits it can have for your pet, make sure to check out the other articles on my blog.
Hey I’m Blake, the founder of this website. Our family was fortunately to have discovered CBD products after our dog Rosie was diagnosed with a few common ailments. I truly believe they enhanced her last few years, and it’s my passion to spread the word through this website. Thanks for visiting!
CBD for Dogs With Senior Dog Dementia Is your dog living out their senior years? Do you notice him getting stuck behind furniture or soiling the house? While they’re often just dismissed as
Can CBD Oil Help Dogs With Dementia or CCD?
Updated on September 14, 2020
When your dog enters their senior years, you may notice a change in their behavior. It can be tough to spot at first, but if your senior dog is showing behavioral changes, it may be time to take them to the vet to find out if they have Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD).
CCD is also known as dog dementia, sundowners, or “dogzheimers” but all are terms for the same cognitive issues.
If your dog is diagnosed with CCD, it can be heartbreaking. Nobody likes to see their best friend suffer, and as your pet ages, you may feel helpless. But, knowing ways to prevent CCD, knowing the symptoms of CCD and making your pet’s twilight years comfortable with all-natural treatments can be beneficial in minimizing stress.
Table of Contents
Signs of CCD or Dementia
Recognizing dementia or CCD in dogs is not quite as straightforward as it is in humans. Your dog cannot tell you that they forgot something, they cannot tell you that they are scared or worried or don’t know where they are. So as your pet ages, it is important to pay attention to their habits and routines so that you can know when something is off.
Since there is no easy test to diagnose a dog with CCD, it is important that you write down any observations you have made and bring that paper to the vet.
Your veterinarian may be looking for the following symptoms:
Disorientation and Increased Anxiety
If your dog is experiencing signs of CCD or dementia, you may notice her pacing behind closed doors. The reason for the pacing is usually due to being lost. She may not remember how to exit the room or might not remember the home at all. You may also notice her gazing into space; almost as if she is staring into the wall. This could be a house she has lived in for years. She may simply not remember it due to a declining mental state.
This will lead to increased anxiety. That’s as to be expected. Think about what would happen if we were completely lost and didn’t know where we were or where to go. We would become anxious ourselves.
Excessive barking may occur. You know your dog’s bark and what each one means. You’ll hear the anxiety or nervous bark along with some possible howling. She’s letting you know she’s in distress.
Lack of Bowel Control
Even if your dog has the best track record for using the bathroom outside, he might start peeing and/or pooping inside the house. Stay calm if this occurs; this isn’t his fault. He may lose control of his bowels due to anxiety or another underlying condition. Comfort her and let her know everything is going to be okay. If you remain optimistic, she is more likely to remain optimistic.
Changes in Appetite
You may notice a decrease or increase in appetite with CCD or dementia. Usually, this is due to increased anxiety, but it could be she just forgot to eat. She may not eat until she remembers; or if you place her food bowl directly in front of her.
Changes in Hearing and/or Vision
It is important to note that changes in hearing or vision can cause some of the same symptoms. For example, a dog who is losing hearing or vision may become disoriented and may have increased anxiety as a result. Have your vet test for hearing and vision problems to rule out CCD.
How to Help Your Dog Through the Mental Decline
There is no cure-all for dementia or CCD. However, there are ways that you can keep your pet comfortable and slow their decline.
Routine, Diet, and Essential Oils
Maintaining a regular routine can help your dog maintain a sense of balance, even if they have trouble remembering the routine. It can also soothe their anxiety to listen to soft music and exercise regularly. Incorporating omega-3 fatty acids into their diet can also help brain-health.
Additionally, essential oils, like lavender , can provide a calming effect and can help senior dogs feel comfortable. Many pet owners also turn to melatonin to help their senior pet rest at night.
It is important that you consult your veterinarian (we recommend a holistic vet when possible) to discuss supplements that can help slow decline and to discuss all of your options.
CBD and Cognitive Decline
CBD has been proven to help treat everything from seizures to anxiety and depression, and neurological issues in dogs. In fact, the U.S. government has a patent on cannabis as a neuro-protectant .
CBD can be used as a preventative measure against dementia and has been proven to help brain function. In dogs, CBD can not only help prevent dementia or CCD from beginning in the first place but if your dog has CCD , it is an excellent treatment option.
CBD may not fully bring back your dog’s memory or old behaviors, but it can ease the anxiety and stress related to dementia and can help your dog stay calm and comfortable in their senior years. Full Spectrum – Hemp Extract is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which contribute to brain health.
If your pet has dementia, we recommend our HEAL CBD oil for dogs, as it has 1100 mg of full-spectrum CBD and has a perfect balance of fatty acids and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
CBD can safely be incorporated into your pet’s diet early on to use as a preventative measure, and as your pet ages, it is a more natural way to treat the changes that come with age. Whether your pet is suffering from dementia or just aches and pains associated with aging, when you start using CBD oil for dogs, your pooch will thank you for it.
To learn more about keeping your senior pet healthy and happy, visit CBDDogHealth.com or AngelaArdolino.com .
Dosing for Dementia with Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract
Dogs with dementia are recommended 35-50 mg of CBD per day, but this can vary by age and condition (many dogs with dementia are in their senior years). Split the daily dose into multiple applications a day. This will maintain blood concentration of CBD throughout the day. Additionally, it will lower the possibility of any stomach upset as your pet’s gut gets used to an oil tincture.
Book a Consultation and Ask All Your Questions
Here at CBD Dog Health, we know trying something new can be difficult, especially when it comes to our beloved furry family. Luckily, you can book a consultation to discuss your dog’s individual situation to help you feel more at ease with something new and become accustomed to the dosage.
Book a one-on-one consultation with Angela Ardolino and Dr. Zac Pilossoph and get a full plan and regiment for your pet’s specific needs today!
It may be tough to spot at first, but if your senior dog is showing behavioral changes, it may be a Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD).