Senior Soiling, Confusion, & Barking

old dog

Dementia is Best Treated Early & Thoroughly
My sweet dog and best friend, Isaac, was diagnosed with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. I watched your video on CDS, and it meant so much!! Isaac is a 15 year old Kooikerhodje. I am heartbroken. His symptoms are barking, confusion, losing control of bowel movements and pacing at night. He has lost his hearing and is having eyesight problems. My veterinarian prescribed acepromazine, Xanax, Prozac and he has been on Tramadol for pain. In your video, you mentioned Purina Neuro Care diet, Fish Oil, SAMe and Melatonin (for restlessness at night). Can these supplements be added to the current medications? I walk Isaac at least 2 x a day. We play and he loves his food puzzles.

Dr. Nichol:
Isaac is mighty special to you. I’m that way with my dog. They are a part of us, which makes their aging really hard. There are more ways to help good Isaac.

A supplement called Senilife contains antioxidants that will protect the remaining nerve cells in Isaac’s brain. Adding Theracumin (curcumin) can increase memory in canine seniors. SAMe is a supplement that improves brain function. A veterinary brand called Denosyl is well-absorbed in dogs.

Anxiety is a common challenge for dogs with CDS. A longer acting antianxiety medication called clonazepam would be safer and more effective for Isaac than acepromazine, Prozac, or Xanax.

Tramadol, on the other hand, has come under recent scrutiny. We have learned that it may not be an effective pain reliever for dogs after all. And it can interact badly with SAMe. Gabapentin is safer and may be an effective alternative for Isaac.

CDS is a lot like Alzheimer’s of humans. We can help many affected dogs feel better but this is a degenerative disease that is ultimately fatal. You are already improving Isaac’s wellbeing and boosting his ability to think and make choices (cognitive function) by sharing a couple of brisk daily walks with him. Food puzzles have also been shown to improve mental function in senior dogs. Isaac’s treatment could be custom-tailored by a veterinary behavior specialist.
For help with behavior problems, you can sign-up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website,

Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in-person and in groups by Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week he shares a blog and a video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at Post pet behavioral or physical questions on or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.