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Pets With Alzheimers: 7 Solutions for Cognitive Dysfunction

By Dr. Andrew Jones


Cognitive Dysfuntion

This is similar to Alzheimer’s in people. Dogs accumulate deposits of beta-amyloid (a protein plaque) in the brain with age. Dogs show signs similar to people with Alzheimer’s.


Your pet sleeps much more and plays less. He has a graying muzzle, poorer hearing and poorer vision. You may see cataracts. He may show abnormal signs, such as pacing, excessive panting, and barking at the wall.

Common symptoms of Cognitive Dysfunction:

•Increased sleeping
•Appear confused
•Loss of training – i.e. house training
•Unable to recognize familiar people
•Lack of interest in surroundings/events
•Increased drinking/increased urination
•Decreased, occasionally increased appetite
•Excessive panting
•Unusual behaviors – i.e. staring at the wall
•Excessive barking
•Overall less interest/activity – appearing “old”


Your dog is considered a senior when past the age of seven. Most cats are not considered seniors until the age of 10. Older pets have natural organ changes: eyes often develop cataracts; the bones of the middle ear often fuse, resulting in lowered hearing; joints lose their soft cartilage covering, resulting in arthritis; and the brain can age, resulting in signs of senility. New research is focused on chronic inflammation such as that from reactions to grains in the diet, vaccine induced inflammation, and brain dysfunction.

Known contributors to cognitive decline:

•Barbiturates such as the common drug for epilepsy, Phenobarbital
•Valium and related drugs
•Gas anesthetic
•Drugs used to increase heart rate, typically during anesthesia (anticholinergics)
•Chemotherapy drugs for cancer
•One of the most commonly prescribed veterinary drugs, steroids, such as prednisone


ANTIOXIDANTS. Taurine, Flavonoids, Coenzyme Q. Of them all, Vitamin E appears to be most important in maintaining healthy brain function and delaying further loss of brain tissue; give 100 IU of Vitamin E per 10 lbs of body weight. An antioxidant combination (Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Selenium) may be most effective.

MELATONIN. Frequently used for older pets that have trouble getting to sleep and pace at night. Melatonin also makes the mitochondria more effective. For dogs, give 50 ug per lb of body weight 1 hr before bedtime and on an empty stomach. Try it for 2 weeks to assess if it is working.

EXERCISE. The importance of this cannot be overemphasized, and it is one of the easiest and least expensive remedies. Get more oxygen to your pet’s brain by having them exercise regularly.

REGULAR TOUCH. Touch and positive interaction with your pet – it has been found that in people even though they may not remember an interaction, the human touch can stimulate parts of the brain that cause emotion. This then has an effect of improving symptoms of Alzheimer’s. The same principles can be applied to pets.

SENIOR’S DIET. Place your pet on a commercial senior’s diet. It will be easier to digest, lower in protein so easier on the kidneys, lower fat to keep weight down, and probably contain added glucosamine to help arthritis. Hills produces a specific brain diet for cognitive dysfunction which is high in antioxidants and L-carnitine.

SUPPLEMENTS: Nutrient that help the nervous tissue include B Vitamins and Omega 3 Fatty Acids. ALL dogs with cognitive dysfunction should be on a high dose of EFAs – 1000 mg per 10 lbs daily.

CURCUMIN. New research in people has shown a strong link between chronic inflammation, and degenerative brain disorders, such as cognitive dysfunction. Researchers are implicating diets high in grains, along with repeated vaccines as potential underlying causes. The active ingredient in the spice turmeric is curcumin, and this is shown to be effective in people with alzheimers. The animal 95% curcuminoid dose is 100mg per 10lbs daily.

Heal Your Pet At Home!

Best Wishes,

Andrew Jones, DVM

P.S. My supplements, Ultimate Canine Health Formula and Ultimate Feline Health Formula contain many of these ingredients which may help prevent, and potentially treat cognitive dysfunction.

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Topics: Cat Care, Cat Health, Dog Care, Dog Health, Pet Care, Pet health | 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Pets With Alzheimers: 7 Solutions for Cognitive Dysfunction”

  1. Avatar teresa cline Says:
    March 7th, 2014 at 6:04 am

    just to confirm….100 IU of Vit e PER 10 LBS OF WEIGHT in dogs? recently I read 10 IU per 10 lbs somewhere else, wanted to make certain I understand. thanks

  2. Avatar Michelle Says:
    March 7th, 2014 at 8:30 am

    As a nutrition consultant I disagree strongly with the suggestion to use most commercial Senior’s Diets and reducing protein in senior dogs; this is not entirely accurate. Senior dogs almost always require more protein in their diet due to their age and the QUALITY of protein and how the food is prepared (ie. commercial vs cooked vs raw) is what is most important in terms of ability to digest. Commercial kibble is much more difficult to digest and the type of protein used is often poor and most of which is not of animal origin. Reducing protein in our senior pet’s can cause more damage than good. There are only very specific situations where the reduction of protein in the diet of a carnivore is recommended.

  3. Avatar Nancy Says:
    March 7th, 2014 at 10:17 am

    I have to agree with what Michelle states. I am also surprised that you would recommend any food from HIll’s
    knowing the poor quality of their ingredients.

  4. Avatar dakota Says:
    March 7th, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    ????? “Your dog is considered a senior when past the age of seven.” /WHAT/!!! My JRT lived til 18, my Toller is 16, and my cat lived til 21!!! None of them were ‘senior’ after age 7. Feed raw prey diets and see the difference in health and longevity. Sheesh. I started True Carnivores the raw food store for cats and dogs almost 20 years ago…..and the raw really makes a positive diff and health.

  5. Avatar Gale Says:
    March 7th, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    At the end of January, I had to put down my two 13.25 year old Cavalier siblings. Zorro was diagnosed with MVD at 8.5 yrs and lung cancer at 9. I managed to control the cancer with LDN until the pharmacy changed it’s policy and I couldn’t get it anymore. His sister, a vegetarian from the age of 2 because of protein intolerance, was almost completely blind and had developed Canine cognitive disorder, no longer recognizing me and running away from me, and would tremble in fear if I picked her up. I supplemented their food with CoQ10, taurine and WSO, and this is why they lasted as long as they did. Zorro was no longer able to oxygenate, and since his sister depended on him a lot, I had to let them go as they came in, together.

    I miss them and they have both let me know that they are ok.


Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM