Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome
Sometimes referred to as senility, cognitive dysfunction syndrome (or CDS) is defined as any age-related mental decline not caused by hearing or vision loss, organ failure, or a tumor. It doesn't appear to be common in pugs; they seem to be lucid late in life. If your pug does develop CDS, he may act disoriented or confused, wandering aimlessly, staring into space, or acting as if he's lost. Dogs with CDS interact less with family members or show changes in sleep and activity patterns. Sometimes they break housetraining. Signs of CDS can occur in dogs as young as eight years of age.
Choline supplements sometimes help to increase mental alertness. Look for Cholodin Canine at holistic veterinary clinics, pet supply stores, online pet supply sources, or health food stores.
If your pug shows signs of CDS, take him to the veterinarian. A definite diagnosis is essential, because other health problems such as kidney, thyroid, or adrenal gland disease can resemble CDS. Once other health problems are ruled out, CDS can be managed with medication. Watch for side effects that can include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, or restlessness.