Taking care of a dog is a reliable source of motivation and comfort. In many ways, they can help you live happier and boost your mental health. Their companionship alone can help reduce anxiety symptoms and make you feel more confident.
It’s only fitting that we care for our mental health. But are we extending the same courtesy to our own furry companions?
Mental health matters to our pets, too. And just like us, they have days when they feel upset or let down. There are assorted reasons why your dog may feel depressed, like if they’re left alone at home for a long time or are recovering from a TPLO surgery. So, make sure you know how to spot the signs of canine mental health issues to prevent the issue from getting worse.
Learn how you can uplift your dog’s spirits with these simple dog mental health care tips:
Doing activities that your dog loves make them happy. They’ll have fun when they spend time with you, even if it’s just taking a walk or cuddling in bed. At times, it can be challenging to identify what activities your dog enjoys, so might want to pay attention to body language or consult an expert to make it easier for you.
Exercising is an excellent way for pet owners and their furry friends to bond. Even a few minutes of working out can calm your dog down for several hours. It doesn’t have to be complicated: simple activities such as running, playing fetch, and climbing up and down a flight of stairs can work wonders and improve your dog’s overall mood.
Veterinarians highly advise going on daily walks because it lets dogs use their noses, see various places, and work out their legs. Walking is a low-impact activity great for dogs recovering from a TPLO surgery. It can also stimulate and relax their mind.
Like humans, dogs experience boredom. An idle lifestyle can cause your pet to feel anxious and display destructive behavior. For example, pet owners may notice their pup chewing on shoes or tearing pieces of furniture. This type of behavior indicates that they need an outlet for their energy.
Get your pet’s nose to work by encouraging them to play with puzzles. For example, turn mealtime into a fun game by testing their sense of smell. Consider hiding your dog’s food then encourage them to sniff out the meal and locate it themselves.
Sometimes, a pet owner’s instinct whenever they see their lethargic dog is to smother them with love, take them out of the house, or encourage them to play with other dogs. But even though this approach can work for most dogs, others need a less hands-on approach.
Helicopter parenting can make some dogs feel more anxious. For example, bringing them to busy places can make them feel overwhelmed. Try to observe your dog’s body language. If they seem uncomfortable, try taking them to non-crowded areas where there aren’t too many people or dogs.
Dogs that struggle with territorial aggression can quickly get stressed out when other dogs step onto their premises. Meanwhile, other older dogs may prefer not to be around young, playful children. Dogs need their own space and privacy from time to time. So, you can consider introducing your pet to crate training to train them to associate crates with their own safe space.
Some physical issues are linked to your dog’s mental health. Routine checkups can help identify any concerns with your dog’s well-being. A happy dog is a healthy dog.
Apart from exercise, maintaining a healthy diet also plays a vital role in your dog’s mental health. Healthy food can provide them with the nutrients their body needs. And don’t worry: It’s perfectly fine to feed them “people food” if it’s done in moderation.
Maintaining your dog’s health ensures striking a balance between its physical well-being and mental health. If you want to keep your furry companion happy and healthy, make sure you don’t neglect their mental health needs. And shower them with TLC!
Written by: Marceline Gray.