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petdrz, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7246
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience caring for dogs and cats
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My old dog has become hyper vigilant. He will be 16 in July

Customer Question

My old dog has become hyper vigilant. He will be 16 in July and physically he is in great shape. He does not let me out of his sight. He stands and stares at me all day. I wake up at night to find him standing next to my bed and staring at me. He is not left home alone ever, there is always someone there. He is not an only dog, we have a pack and as one of its senior members ( we have a chi that is also 16 as well as a number of other dogs) he commands respect that is his due from the rest. When I travel, he goes with me. He did not act this way when he was younger, he is an amazing guy I am at a loss
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  petdrz replied 5 months ago.
Hello. Welcome to JustAnswer. I am Dr Z. I'm reviewing your question now, and will post back with a reply ASAP.
Expert:  petdrz replied 5 months ago.
I would be suspicious that maybe he was starting to show signs of a condition called cognitive dysfunction. It is a condition that we see in older dogs with signs that vary from dog to dog, but changes in behavior, including anxiety, especially in regards ***** ***** owner can be one of them. For lack of a better comparison, it is similar to Alzheimer's disease in humans and can present in various ways. Here are some of the most common signs seen, but there are others as well: general confusion - your pet doesn't greet or seem to recognize you as before, your pet gets 'lost' in the yard or houseinappropriate vocalization - barking or meowing in the middle of the night, or for no 'good' reason? (I know, some dogs don't need a reason to bark.)getting day and night mixed up - sleeping all day, awake all night?confusing indoor and outdoor - a previously housebroken pet soiling in the house?personality changes - i.e. a formerly outgoing pet becoming timid or aggressive? I have seen a good number of dogs affected by this and all have exhibited different signs, especially in the early stages. I would have your veterinarian perform a thorough physical exam to make sure there is nothing else going on. Some dogs I have seen have responded to diet change alone. Hill's b/d diet is a good choice. LINK HERE If not, the medication called Anipryl® is very effective for many dogs. I generally start with supplementation first (+/- diet change to b/d if there are no other dietary restrictions needed). I usually recommend increasing the omega 3's in the diet as well. The active ingredient of fish oil is EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid). You just want to make sure you are seeing those on the label as an ingredient and not just the words "fish oil" as these are the important part of the fish oil and not all fish oil capsules have them in it, especially the cheaper ones. Aim for 180mg EPA and 120 mg DHA per 10 lbs body weight daily. There is a large range of safety and it doesn't have to be that amount exactly but this gives you some guidelines. There are various additional supplements on the market to help with brain health. The three most readily available are: Cholidin, Senilife and Novifit. As far as which supplement to try first, I do not think there is any general agreement on that. Between the cholidin, senilife, and novifit I would make my decisions on which to use based on cost, ease of administration and availability. I do not see a problem with using them all if cost is not an issue and you have a dog who doesn't mind taking oral supplements. There may be more benefit to starting with multiple approaches for a greater combined effect and backing off to a minimum effective combination if you get a favorable response. It is not always easy to track response as the symptoms can be variable and intermittent. I would add the Anipryl if needed for better effect or as the cognitive dysfunction progresses. Here is a link with more information about cognitive dysfunction and other therapies that may be of benefit:LINK HERE I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please reply so I can clarify for you. My posted replies are for general education only and not meant as a diagnosis. Only after a thorough veterinary examination can a diagnosis for your pet be made and specific treatments be advised or medications be prescribed.Dr Z