Senior Dog Behavior Information  
 
Many changes take place physically and behaviorally as a dog ages. Often behavioral changes are the first sign of disease. If you notice any of these changes in your older dog, discuss them with your veterinarian.
 
Common behavior problems in dogs over 7 years of age are:
  • Aggression towards people or dogs
  • Housesoiling "accidents"
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Noise phobias
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Restlessness at night
  • No longer greets family members
  • Does not seek attention/petting
  • Does not recognize familiar people or places
  • Does not respond to verbal clues
  • Appears lost or confused
  • Wanders or paces
 
Diagnosing a behavior problem includes a physical exam, bloodworm and urinalysis to rule out other potential medical or neurological diseases causing the change. Annual monitoring of behavior changes after the age of 7 years can help identify early stages of cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS).
 
Treatment includes treating any concurrent diseases found. Anipryl is an effective drug used for CDS. Improvement in cognitive function is often noted in 2-8 weeks, improving an animal's quality of life and relationship to its owner. Anipryl is continued as long as a beneficial effect is seen. CDS is a progressive disorder and can be helped for a time but not cured.
 
Hill's B/D is a new diet that has nutrients and anti-oxidants to maintain healthy brain function in older dogs. It has been clinically shown that dogs act younger and had improved alertness and attentiveness after eating the diet for just 30 days. 
 
With good veterinary care and loving owners, senior pets can live longer and more comfortable lives.