Nutritional management of canine brain aging - DVM
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Nutritional management of canine brain aging
With pets living longer comes increased prevalence of age-related behavioral and cognitive problems; diets rich in antioxidants, mitochondrial cofactors benefit

DVM InFocus

The study evaluated 125 pet dogs 7 years of age or older that were recognized by the owner as exhibiting at least two behavioral characteristics of age-related cognitive decline.

The mean enrollment age of the dogs was 12 years (range 7-20 years). During the 60-day feeding period, significant improvement occurred in 14 of 16 (88 percent) individual behavioral attributes for the Canine b/d (Hill's Pet Nutrition) group and four of 16 (25 percent) for the control group.

In addition, a significant advantage existed in favor of the enriched food compared to the control food at day 60 for individual attributes of agility, recognition of family members and recognition of other animals.

Dogs in the Canine b/d group also showed significant improvement for compulsive behaviors. These findings are consistent with the premise that dogs with age-related cognitive decline benefit significantly from the nutritional management offered by feeding a food enriched in antioxidants and mitochondrial cofactors.

  • Conclusion

Dogs develop age-related neuropathologic changes which are associated with impaired cognitive function and behavioral changes.

These changes parallel many of the alterations seen in aged people with memory deficits, cognitive impairment and dementia.

Suggested reading
Oxidative damage and behavioral changes associated with brain aging in dogs can be mitigated, in part, by nutritional management with food enriched with antioxidants and mitochondrial cofactors. Veterinarians should therefore be proactive in screening for behavioral changes in senior pets, to ensure that dietary and behavioral intervention can be implemented as soon as clinical signs begin to emerge.

Dr. Landsberg is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and is the incoming president. He is partner in two companion animal practices in Thornhill, Ontario, as well as his behavior referral practice. Dr. Landsberg is a consultant on VIN, is on the advisory board of a number of veterinary journals and is co-author of the Handbook of Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat (Saunders 2003), a set of client handouts from AAHA and a CD of client behavior handouts from Lifelearn. In 2000 he received the AAHA companion animal behavior award. For more info go to

Disclosure: None

Dr. Roudebush received his DVM degree from Purdue University in 1975 and did a medical residency at the University of Missouri. He has been in private practice, a faculty member at Mississippi State University and joined Hill's Pet Nutrition in 1989. He is the veterinary fellow in the technical information services department. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and is an adjunct professor at Kansas State University in the department of clinical sciences.


Employed by Hill's Pet Nutrition.


Source: DVM InFocus,
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