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Your Aging Dog: Hearing Loss May Increase Risk of Dementia

Dogs are known for their keen sense of hearing, but did you know that hearing loss is a common problem among aging dogs? As dogs get older, they may experience a decline in cognitive function and quality of life, which can be directly linked to hearing loss. Understanding the relationship between hearing, cognitive function, and quality of life in aging companion dogs is important for pet owners to ensure the well-being of their furry friends.

A recent study by researchers from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine and University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine evaluated the relationship between cognitive function, quality of life, and hearing loss in aging companion dogs. Although studies have shown that elderly people with hearing loss are at a higher risk of dementia and depression than the general population, the researchers noted that there was no information regarding the consequences of hearing loss in dogs.

Thirty-nine elderly companion dogs were evaluated, and these dogs were grouped by hearing ability. The researchers performed cognitive testing. Additionally, the owners completed the canine dementia scale (CADES) and canine-owner reported quality of life (CORQ) questionnaire. Cognitive testing, CADES and CORQ scores and age were compared between hearing groups.

The researchers discovered that vitality and companionship CORQ scores were significantly lower as hearing deteriorated. They concluded that hearing loss “negatively alters owner-pet interactions and is associated with poor executive performance and owner-assessed dementia severity.” The authors noted that hearing loss intervention may slow the progress of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome.

Closing Message

This study has significant implications for our beloved dogs as they age. The research outcomes highlight the importance of your dog’s hearing on their overall well-being. Just as humans, it appears as if hearing loss can impact a dog’s risk of dementia. As shown by this study, taking care of your dog’s hearing is essential for their long-term health and function.

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