Signs of brain aging in your dog

A dog's brainAs your dog gets older, you may notice differences in her behavior, as she may be developing problems associated with brain aging.

There are numerous physical signs of aging in dogs, such as dry skin, gray fur, joint stiffness, loss of teeth and impaired hearing. Aging also affects your dog’s brain, just as it does in humans. According to Hill’s Pet Nutrition, 50 percent of all dogs 8 years old and older will show some signs of brain aging.

So what exactly are the signs of brain aging in dogs? You may not notice the changes in your dog’s brain function at first, because the changes can be small and happen slowly. The acronym DISH (Disorientation, Interacts less, Sleep pattern disturbed, House training lost) can help you to recognize the signs.

Disorientation

  • Appears lost, even in familiar surroundings. To prevent your dog from getting lost you can use an invisible fence.
  • Fails to recognize familiar people or places
  • Decreased alertness and aimless behavior

Interacts less

  • No longer excited to greet family members
  • Does not seek attention or petting

Sleep pattern disturbed

  • Sleeps more during the day and/or less during the night
  • Wanders around the house at night

House training lost

  • Doesn’t ask to go outside
  • Frequent accidents occur indoors
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

What causes brain aging in dogs?

Free radicals are molecules that damage your dog’s cells. This destructive process is known as oxidation. Free radicals are produced normally through your dog’s metabolism, but their levels increase with exposure to stress and toxins. These toxins may come from your dog’s food or the environment. Little can be done to stop oxidation, but the damage can be reduced by antioxidants.

What can I do about brain aging in my dog?

  • Consult your veterinarian if you notice any of the above symptoms
  • Feed your dog a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet
  • Give your dog regular exercise and mental stimulation
  • Supplement your dog’s diet with antioxidants from green tea
  • Supplement your dog’s diet with reishi

Reishi is an herbal mushroom that can delay the aging process and also reduce symptoms associated with aging. The loss of the body’s internal balance (homeostasis) is what causes many age-related problems. Reishi can restore this balance, thus alleviating related problems. The benefits of reishi also include increasing memory and preventing forgetfulness in old age. Reishi can protect cells from damage by inhibiting the growth of free radicals in the body, which in turn can also reduce the effects of aging.