Pet with Alzheimer's? Try these tips

June 14th, 2024 at 10:19 am EDT
Unfortunately our dogs and cats do get Alzheimer like conditions. In veterinary medicine we call it 'cognitive dysfunction'. The brain is an organ that ages, and when the cells of the brain are affected, the brain doesn't work as well.

Problems thinking and remembering?

It happens to all of us to some degree, BUT there are supplements that have been shown to help delay cognitive decline.

Natural antioxidants like omega-3 fatty acids, and astaxanthin can help protect the brain.

We are having an upcoming FREE webinar on Dog Anxiety, but also cognitive dysfunction, and why treating your dog's anxiety is essential. You will get my most important holistic remedies for the most common dog diseases.

Sign up here:

Which one of these 2 has cognitive dysfunction?
How to Help your Dog (or cat) with Cognitive Dysfunction

This is similar to Alzheimer's in people. Dogs and cats accumulate deposits of beta-amyloid (a protein plaque) in the brain with age. Pets 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
• Deafness
• 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.

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


CCD treatment involves management of behavior and environments, enhanced diet, and medication. Its dual goals are slowing the disease's progress and improving quality of life for dogs and their people. 

  • "Behavior can be effectively managed by providing daytime activities and opportunity for play, and structured social interaction for physical and mental stimulation,"
  • "Exposure to sunlight will help regulate the sleep-wake cycle. If they can't walk anymore, use a wagon or a stroller. Anything to get them sunlight and stimulation
  • Not letting the dog act elderly is vital. "Don't treat the dog as old.
  • Understand there are limitations, but don't give up on that dog. You have to keep walking the dog - especially now"
  • "Managing the environment is very important," "Make it more predictable. You pet-proof the house just as you'd toddler-proof it."
  • Providing adequate toileting opportunities is important, as old dogs can't “hold it” as they did when they were younger. Diapers, pads, and waterproof bed and furniture covers can be helpful.


ANTIOXIDANTS. Taurine, Flavonoids, Coenzyme Q, Astaxanthin. The basis of this is that cell damage releases free radicals,and this damages the brain. A varied diet, and additional antioxidants may help, such as CoQ 10 or Astaxanthin. CoQ 10 dose of 20mg/10lbs daily.

ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID. An increasingly talked about supplement for people, it can have benefits for your pet. It is an antioxidant, found in every cell in the body, and one of its main purposes is to convert sugar into energy. Being an antioxidant it also helps protect the cells of the body against free radical damage. Free radicals are the result of normal cellular reactions; they themselves cause harmful cell reactions, but alpha-lipoic acid can protect against this. Of special note, most antioxidants only work in water (i.e. Vitamin C) or fatty tissues (Vitamin E); alpha-lipoic acid works in both. The alpha-lipoic dose is 10mg per 10lbs daily.

FLAVONOIDS. These are compounds in a class of their own. They compose the thousands of structures that give the bright color to fruits and vegetables. They are antioxidants as well as having anti-cancer properties. These include flavones, (apigenin), isoflavones (genistein), and flavonols (quercetin). Purchase a mixed bioflavonoid product that contains polyphenols, particularly EGCG (epigallocatechin-gallate), which is the specific flavonoid isolated from green tea. The dose for a 10 lb dog or cat is 250 mg daily.

MELATONIN. Frequently used for older pets that have trouble getting to sleep and pace at night. Melatonin also makes the mitochondria more effective. It is also an ANTIOXIDANT. For dogs and cats, give 1mg/10lbs up to 6mg 1 hr. before bedtime and on an empty stomach. Try it for 2 weeks to assess if it is working. It is now in our Dog Calming Chews Supplement.


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 Alzheimer's. The animal 95% curcuminoid dose is 100mg per 10lbs daily. Our 95% curcumin is more bioavailable, being dosed at 250mg/50lbs daily at

MCT OIL. Efficacy of a Therapeutic Diet on Dogs With Signs of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS): A Prospective Double Blinded Placebo Controlled Clinical Study 'Dogs fed the 6.5% MCT diet showed significant improvement over baseline in all 6 categories of CDS signs including three categories related to brain cognitive functions' MCT oil doses: Start low at ½ teaspoon/10lbs day, slowly increasing the amount to 1 teaspoon/10lbs twice daily

CBD OIL. Using CBD (Cannabidiol) to Treat the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias 'According to researchers at California’s Salk Institute, their 2017 study has found evidence that cannabinoids such as CBD could help remove dementia from brain cells' CBD dose 1mg/10lbs twice daily, although some of the research shows doses at 10 times that amount. Our CBD has been getting some great reviews!

OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS. These miraculous healthy fats have shown remarkable benefits in supporting brain health and reducing cognitive decline in our dogs and cats. Studies have revealed that omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce brain inflammation, a common factor in cognitive dysfunction. Additionally, these essential fatty acids promote healthy neuronal communication, enhancing cognitive function and memory in pets. By incorporating omega-3 supplements into your furry friend's diet, you can potentially improve their cognitive abilities, increase their alertness, and even slow down the progression of cognitive decline.

Heal Your Pet At Home!

Best Wishes,

Dr Andrew

P.S  Krill Oil can be especially beneficial for cognitive decline as it is high in EPA and DHA, as well as containing the very effective antioxidant, Astaxanthin.

An easy way to potentially help the brain...

P.P.S. As a BONUS for signing up for our Free Dog Anxiety Webinar, you'll get a copy of the presentation, along with ALL the slides - this is ONLY available for those who sign up.

We only have 497 available spots left, and this email is going out to over 80,000 dog parents, so If you are interested, you should probably sign up!
DISCLAIMER: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. Dr Andrew Jones resigned from the College of Veterinarians of B.C. effective December 1 2010, meaning he cannot answer specific questions about your pet's medical issues or make specific medical recommendations for your pet.

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