When we think of cognitive decline we generally think about aging and senior dogs. Unfortunately we now know that younger dogs can also suffer from cognitive issues. And the most frequent culprit for these issues are Epileptic Seizures.
Seizures are also more common than we realize. Up to 5% of dogs suffer from seizures and they are usually younger dogs between 6 months and 6 years old. The exact cause of these seizures is unknown but they are more common in purebred dogs such as border collies, Australian shepherds, Labrador retrievers, beagles, Belgian Tervurens, collies, and German shepherds.
Seizures are generally treated with phenobarbitol and anticonvulsant drugs. But a major side effect of seizures is that they can cause permanent cognitive impairments in very young dogs
If your dog suffers or has suffered from seizures in the past, you can chat with your veterinarian about ways to manage this scary condition and address the cognitive issues up front.
Studies show that in addition to drugs:
- Ketogenic or Whole Food Diets are helpful in addressing cognitive impairment in dogs that have suffered from epilepsy
- MCT oil as 9% of total caloric intake can improve spatial-working memory and problem-solving skills
- Supplementation with specific amino acids can also be supportive
It is super important to start learning about your dog's cognition even if they're still a puppy. You can help them develop skills and confidence that help them live longer and happier lives. Plus playing cognition games with your pup helps you understand their behavior, so that when anything changes you catch it early on.
If you are curious about cognition for puppies and younger dogs come to our Dog Cognition Meetups! We'll share the latest research and play cognition games.