Mental health is a big topic these days, but many people aren’t aware that it’s just as important for our pets’ wellbeing as it is for ours. Just like humans, pets can suffer from issues such as stress, anxiety, boredom and depression – so it’s up to us as their caregivers to do the best we can to ensure they stay happy and healthy. We already know that they need regular physical exercise, however, mental stimulation is also key. As well as being good for your pet’s wellbeing, it can also reduce the occurrence of undesirable or destructive behaviors. Here’s an overview of what you need to know.
The benefits of mental stimulation for your pet
Just as physical activity is good for the body, mental activity is good for the mind. This is true for both humans and animals, and mental stimulation is essential for your pet’s happiness. If they don’t get enough brain-boosting activity, they may start to exhibit signs of boredom or frustration. These can include unwanted or attention-seeking behaviors such as excessive barking in dogs or furniture scratching in cats.
Day-to-day life can be monotonous for animals stuck at home. By keeping your pet’s mind active, you can help them to burn off excess energy, lower their stress levels, boost their mood, and improve their mental stamina. All of which leads to happier and healthier companion animals. Check out this great article from Diamond Pet to learn more.
Ideas for keeping your pet mentally stimulated
There are lots of different ways you can make sure your pet is mentally stimulated, both when you’re around and when you’re at work. Here are some suggestions:
- Play together! Lots of toys, such as laser pointers and those stuffed animals on strings, are designed for humans and kitties to play with together. As well as relieving stress and boredom in your cat, it’s a great way for the two of you to bond.
- Use a food puzzle when giving treats or dry food. These help keep your cat’s brain occupied during meal times.
- Set up a space where your cat can sit up high by a window and watch what’s going on outside – they’ll especially love keeping an eye on the birds in your garden!
- Leave toys out for your cat to play with by themselves when you’re not around, but mix up which ones they are to keep things interesting.
- Take the time to play with your dog regularly, and ensure that you are walking them often. Varying the route you take can be a nice way of stimulating your dog with new sights and smells.
- Teach your dog new tricks and commands, or even try agility training. This perfectly combines physical exercise with mental activity to keep your dog’s brain working, plus is a great way to bond with your pup.
- Use a food-dispensing toy for treats or dry food to make mealtimes more mentally stimulating and fun.