Give Your Dog Gingko

What matters for your older dog isn’t so much how it works, according to Messonnier, but that it can be used safely and can make a difference to your dog’s quality of life. Messonnier concedes that hard scientific research directly substantiating gingko’s effectiveness in dogs is very limited. "Sure, I wish we had better science," he says. "But I also know from what people tell me, ginkgo certainly makes a difference."

The best favor you can do for your dog is to be alert for the most subtle signs of forgetfulness or confusion. Pay attention to any changes in your dog’s sleep-wake cycle, as well. Instead of just saying, "Well, he’s getting old," Messonnier says, "begin the ginkgo at that point. It’s much better to catch those cognitive changes early rather than waiting."

Messonnier also encourages games to improve memory and taking your dog through basic obedience drills. It’s all about exercising your dog’s brain. Have a good time, and make sure to be upbeat to encourage your dog.