Physical activity may reduce risk of dementia in dogs

Earlier this month, studies revealed that dogs can develop dementia just like humans. However, the scientific community has realized that a physically active lifestyle lowers the risk of dementia in both humans and their pets.

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One of the recent studies tracked the daily steps of 78,000 adults in the UK, and the other tracked the daily activities of 15,000 dogs. Both sets of data found that participating in daily activities, particularly walking, combats cognitive aging.

An article published in Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice found that 19% to 35% of senior dogs may have canine dementia or canine cognitive dysfunction. The signs and symptoms of the disease are the same as in humans.

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Dogs suffering from dementia are prone to getting lost in their own homes, staring at a wall, not responding to simple commands, for example. Pets with a history of neurological, auditory, or eye disorders are at increased risk for dementia.

Physical activity may reduce risk of dementia in dogs (Image: Chayantorn/envato)

Meanwhile, the Dog Aging Project initiated a study to investigate the link between cognitive decline and pet activity. Thousands of dog owners volunteered to participate in the study. In practice, they were asked to fill out a questionnaire with questions about their dogs’ lives, such as health and symptoms of dementia.

Of the dogs in the study, about 1.5% suffered from dementia, and the researchers found that inactive dogs were 6.5 times more likely to have dementia than highly active dogs. In another report, one group found that people with dogs are more likely to meet daily physical activity guidelines than people without dogs.

Read the article on Canaltech.

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