Pacing, Restless Older Dog

Behavioral aging changes, called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction can be treated

 

Question:

Sometimes you’d think our 15-year-old schnauzer was a 6-month-old puppy, but she does sleep a lot and her teeth are in bad shape. The past several months when she is not sleeping, she is pacing. We would hate to think that it’s because she hurts.

 

Dr. Nichol:

We get mighty protective of these old timers, don’t we? Start with a thorough physical exam by your veterinarian. If your girl has pain, the doctor may recommend lab work to look for other possible problems or to confirm safety for the anesthesia necessary to fix her teeth and mouth.

 

Beyond pain issues her pacing may be due to a problem called Canine Cognitive Disorder-similar to senility in people. There are two possible remedies; either or both may work wonders. The first is a chewable supplement called Cholodin; the other is the drug Anipryl. About 50% of older dogs will improve noticeably with one of these.

 

Is it worth all this for an old dog? If she’s in good shape in most other ways I say give it a try. But I also know how hard it must be to watch her body go back to nature. Aging of a loved one is tough. It will take tremendous courage to let go of her when the time comes. Your veterinarian can make it as gentle as possible for both of you. In the meantime take every day as a gift