One component of health that many people don’t take into consideration when it comes to their pet is mental health. By providing your pet with an outlet to be mentally stimulated and engaged, you’re helping to improve your pet’s overall health. This ultimately results in a happier, more well-adjusted pet. There are several ways to go about this, including:
Training. Teaching you dog a new trick has benefits beyond a better mannered pup. Working with your dog to teach them something new not only engages their brain but also keeps their daily routine fun and interesting. And that saying about old dogs can’t learn new tricks? Not true! Even if you’ve adopted a senior pet, they will definitely benefit (and enjoy!) frequent training sessions with you.
Take a leisurely walk. When you take you dog out on their walk, try not to be in a hurry. Part of what your dog enjoys so much about their daily walks is being able to take the time to smell new things. Since a dog’s sense of smell is so much greater than ours, scents allow him to “see” the world through an olfactory lens, which can keep him mentally stimulated.
Toys and puzzles-both dogs and cats benefit from toys. This can be anything from a laser pointer for your cat (which is great physical exercise, as well) to a fun treat puzzle toy for your dog (that forces them to work for their food). Many pets even enjoy interactive games like hide and seek with their owners. Or consider hiding treats for them to find throughout the house on a rainy day-they will love the challenge!
Consider a cattery-this is typically an enclosed area outside or perhaps built just off a windowsill that curious cats can cozy up in. It allows them to experience the outdoors but stay safe from predators or without getting lost. Being able to listen to birds and feel like they’re outside is a great way for them to enjoy themselves.
Socialization is key-enroll your pup in doggy daycare which is a wonderful way for them to make new friends and also learn proper social skills. This is a good way to keep them mentally stimulated and learn to be more tolerant of other dogs (and people).
As always, if you have any questions regarding your pet’s health, please contact Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic at 231-622-6363.