7 Tips to Keep Doggy Brains Youthful

More on PawNation: canine cognitive dysfunction

TheGiantVermin, Flickr

Dogs cared for throughout their early years live longer than ever before. It's not unusual for toy-breed dogs to live into their mid-to-late teensm, and even big dogs today enjoy a decade or more of happy life with a loving owner. A longer life, though, can leave your dog befuddled when canine brains turn to mush.

Dogs age 11 to 16 are most likely to develop Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD), sort of the doggy version of Alzheimer's Disease. CCD is a medical condition in which a starch-like waxy protein called beta amyloid collects in the brain and causes behavior changes.

Affected dogs become disoriented, wander, cry and pace, and can become lost in the house when out of your sight. Their behavior can change from confident to frightened, and the awake/sleep cycles may turn upside down. Dogs can forget house training, how to find the door or be unable to tell you when they need to "go." And most heartbreaking of all, senile dogs lose interest in petting, ignore their beloved owners or furry friends, and might not recognize you.

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