DO DOGS EXPERIENCE MENOPAUSE
Bloggers have gone back and forth on the issue of do dogs experience menopause. According to veterinarians dogs cannot go through menopause because they don’t menstruate the same way as humans do. I found many posts of dog owner disagreeing with the professionals, for example these are from http://community.dog.com.
• Since dogs don’t menstruate, they can’t have PMS. However, they do go through an estrus cycle, and their hormones change, which is what causes PMS symptoms in people, so I see no reason why it can’t effect dogs. Morgan had horrible heat cycles – she would get diarrhea, vomiting, mood swings, hot and cold flashes ~ she would shiver one minute, and be panting the next ~ she would pee more often, she would just kinda look blah. Pretty much the same symptoms that can occur with PMS.
• Well, dogs have hormones just like we do. Although I don’t think we can compare the symptoms between humans and canines…I believe that they are affected by their hormonal changes, just like we are.
• My 14 month old GSD is showing signs of coming into her second heat. She shows symptoms ranging from clinginess (is that a word?) all the way to downright obnoxious (PMS? I dunno, maybe). Also, one minute, she doesn’t feel good at all, just wanting to lay down; and the next she is bouncing around like normal.
• They can from what I understand have mood swings and be somewhat unpredictable during that time though.
Then we have Simba who is 8 years old. As I stated in my last couple of posts, her behavior has gone through some changes. She has had a couple of pee accidents, has become overprotective of me in an aggressive manner, has become even more clingy (if that’s even possible with GSPs), her anxiety level has increased, does not eat when I’m not home, she’s lost some muscle even though she exercises every day, wimps and whines as she sits in front of me just staring, wakes up several times a time to get out of the covers because she’s hot and then gets cold, is fatigued during the day and can fall asleep standing up and rip out truck sized snores and has become disoriented on two occasions where she went around to the front of the house to come back in instead of the back.
Now speaking from experience (unfortunately) if I compare her symptoms to my menopausal symptoms I would say she’s right on cue. How about it ladies? I know I can’t be alone when I say I would like to strangle these young girls who say to me “I can’t wait to go through menopause and not have a period”. Who want to gain weight and lose muscle even when you’re killing yourself working out? Who wants to be driving and suddenly forget where you were going or worse where you are? Who like to get up in the middle of the night to change because you’re soaked? Who wants to be laughing hysterically and suddenly burst out in tears? Who wants to suddenly turn into the Tasmanian devil without any warning? To all those 20 year olds, I say, “Enjoy your periods, it only gets worse.”
I have lost track; back to dogs (blame menopause). My conclusions are that although they may not experience menopause or PMS in the human sense there are hormonal changes going on. I can attest that anything that hormones control can wreak havoc!
I found a great article on behavior changes in aging dogs http://pets.webmd.com. They specify that aging dogs show a decline in several different functions. They can be cognitive and physical functions but they all will have repercussions on their behavior. For example, a loss in senses and awareness can cause sleep disturbances. Also, loss of memory can cause forgetting learned commands. These can also cause their anxiety levels to increase which in turn can cause more aggressive behavior, clinginess, or becoming less affectionate. It recommends always taking you dog to the vet first to make sure there is nothing serious going on. They also mention there are medications available that can control some of the behavior like anxiety. They stress to keep your dog active with playful exercise and keep teaching him fun new tricks. For some ideas on new tricks you can go to www.trustingpaws.com. For more information on aging dogs the article I referenced above is full of great information.