Let’s discuss the What, Who, How, Where, Whys of dog cognitive care! We have to admit that we overlook the importance of improving cognitive health. Maybe it’s because we are aware that it’s a part of the aging process. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Let’s first explain what cognitive health is.
Cognitive health is the ability of our brain to perform different abilities successfully, such as:
· Ability to think
· To learn
· Motor skills
· Sensory responses
Environmental and lifestyle factors are the reasons for a decrease in ability performance. The decrease of the cognitive and neurological well-being of a dog is known as Canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD). CCD is analogous to what we know in humans as Dementia.
Studies suggest canine cognitive dysfunction is associated with reduced cerebral glucose metabolism, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) deficiency, chronic oxidative stress, and chronic inflammation. All from which can be targeted with nutritional solutions!
Why is canine cognitive health so important?
It is as simple as keeping the brain healthy! Caring for our dog's well-being results in a longer life span! We want to provide our best friends with the longest and happiest life we can give them. Besides, a dog who cannot perform natural behaviors is quite sad. Watching your best friend struggle is not fun, especially when you are aware of the frustration it may cause. We can help our furry friends to improve their cognitive health and provide the brain alternative ways to get the job done. But how?
How to improve canine cognitive health?
People say: “you are what you eat” and this is true for dogs! If we feed a bowl full of carbs, by-products, and fillers, dogs will not receive a healthy amount of nutrients and probably cause long-term problems, like heart disease. Nutrition is the solution when trying to improve cognitive health. Healthy foods provide the necessary nutritional value to improve organ functions.
As we know, CCD is associated with reduced cerebral glucose metabolism, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) deficiency, chronic oxidative stress, and chronic inflammation. Alternative foods may reduce significantly damages caused by CCD. For example, coconut oil contains almost 15% of MCT oils; this is an alternative ketone that serves as energy for the body, which in returns improves memory performance, learning, and executive function.
Starting early is the key! Don’t wait until your friend is too old to start a better way of eating. When you have a puppy, it's crucial to provide the best nutrition you can give to help them grow efficiently and protect them for diseases. Choose a diet that:
· Is high with antioxidant
· Contains DHA
· B vitamins
· Omega-3 fatty acids
What kind of foods provide these benefits?
· Coconut oil is high on MCT oils which is great to improve memory, sensory responses and reflexes.
· Salmon and salmon oil is packed with omega 3. Omega 3 protects the brain and it boosts overall performance!
· Cranberries have lots of antioxidants! Antioxidant protect your cells against free radicals that may cause some diseases.
· Peas are an excellent source of vitamin E, C and some antioxidants
· Carrots keep the eyes sharp but it also reduces inflation in the brain. Carrots contain luteolin, which possesses antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects.
Remember the keys to a better and longer life:
· Introduce a better diet when the pet is still young
· Keep and active lifestyle with your dog. Incorporate walks, play time and introduce dog puzzles to keep the brain busy
Prevention is always the best plan. Make sure your puppy is receiving what it needs and you will enjoy your fellow companion for many years to come! Stay safe, stay PAWSOME!