Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) in Pets

A senior Golden Labrador being pet.
Senior pets, just like their human counterparts, can experience both physical and cognitive decline as they age. A disorder similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans, Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) is a degenerative disease diagnosed in some dogs and cats. CDS causes a decline in brain function in aging pets, resulting in behavioral changes. This decline is not the result of normal aging – instead, pets with CDS have been shown to accumulate beta-amyloid plaques in the brain, which block normal communication between neurons (brain cells). This leads to various changes in behavior such as disorientation, changes in sleep patterns, memory loss, personality changes, and loss of housetraining. While there is no cure for CDS, early intervention can slow the progress of this disease and improve your pet’s quality of life throughout their senior years.

Body Language of Dogs

Black and white dog doing play bow.
While dogs do use sounds to communicate, many of the messages they send are non-verbal. Observing your dog’s body language, especially their facial expressions and body postures, can help you understand when your dog may be nervous about what’s going on around him, or if your dog is upset and might snap at another dog or a person. It’s important to consider the context of the situation, but here are some common body postures and what they may mean.