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Every dog owner knows how having a dog can make one’s life so much better and more fun. Such creatures have long been considered man’s best friend due to their nature of being affectionate and loyal to their owners. Thus, as a dog owner, you must provide the same level and amount of love and care that your furry friend has given you. But aside from looking after their physical health and rewarding them with nutritious treats from time to time, you must also pay attention to their mental health.
Like humans, dogs have complex mental processes. They can experience stress, depression, and similar issues. Unfortunately, unlike humans, dogs can’t tell their owners whenever their mental health is declining or that they need help. Therefore, it’s vital for you to be able to tell whether your four-legged buddy is suffering from a mental issue so you can take the necessary steps to help them recover.
Below are five tips you should follow to keep your canine best friend’s mental health in check.
1. Learn To Identify Signs Of Mental Health Issues In Dogs
The first step toward maintaining your dog’s mental health is by knowing the signs of distress your pet might display. You can detect these by watching out for any sudden changes in their behavior. For instance, if your dog suddenly loses their appetite, avoids going outside, compulsively licks their mouth, or becomes constantly restless, that could be a huge sign that they’re suffering from a mental health issue.
Thus, when you notice one or more of those actions, schedule a vet appointment right away. Your dog’s doctor can tell whether your pet is suffering from depression or anxiety or check for warning signs of dementia in dogs. Once the root cause of your dog’s behavioral changes is found, the vet can recommend certain medications or give you tips on how to care for your furry friend depending on their condition.
Mental Health for Paralyzed Dogs
Canine mobility issues impact more than just a dog’s physical health. The emotional struggles, depression, and mental health issues are major concerns for paralyzed dogs. Dogs like to be in motion, when they struggle to stand and walk their life is very limited. Being unable to follow their human best friend from room to room can leave an elderly dog depressed and lonely. It’s critical that handicapped dogs and cats use mobility aids in order to maintain their independence and keep their spirits up.
Your best partner in promoting your dog’s physical and mental health is no other than their vet. Most of the time, your dog’s physical and mental health issues are closely linked to each other. So if you want to ensure that they’re physically healthy and emotionally well, a regular trip to the veterinarian would be helpful.
Doing so will allow you to stay updated on your dog’s mental and physical health status. It’s also essential that you consider purchasing pet insurance for dogs so you can save on your pet’s medical expenses.
3. Limit Your Dog’s Alone Time
If dogs could tell you the worst thing you can do to them, they’d likely say it’d be leaving them alone for a day or longer. You see, dogs are pack animals, which means they need companionship in order to survive. It’s brutal to leave them all by themselves, especially if they’re in a cage or tied up somewhere dark and cold. Leaving a dog constantly left alone will soon become bored, depressed, and resort to destructive behavior.
Thus, make sure to limit your dog’s alone time as much as possible. If you plan to work for more than eight hours, it’s a good idea to leave your dog to a pet sitter or a trusted friend or relative. If you’re going out or traveling, you may consider bringing your dog with you, especially if you don’t know anyone who can take care of them for a day or two.
4. Exercise With Your Dog
One of the most overlooked needs of dogs is exercise. Some pet owners are so focused on getting the most expensive food of the highest quality for their dogs that they forget how essential physical activity is. Exercise will not only keep your dog’s body in great condition but also do wonders for their mental health.
Any physical activity will benefit your pet, be it walking, hiking, running, or playing games. Aside from exercise, it’s a good idea to let your dog step outside and immerse themselves in nature as doing so can provide mental health benefits. Being in new places allows your dog to explore and use their senses, stimulates their brains, and reduces stress levels.
Best of all, the time you spend playing or exercising with them can strengthen the bond between the two of you. Establishing a close relationship with your dog is essential for their mental well-being.
5. Provide Challenging Toys
Apart from setting aside time to bond with your dog, it’s ideal to provide them with challenging toys. Keep in mind that it won’t be possible for you to play with them the entire time they’re awake. So while doing your own tasks, you can supply your dog with toys that’ll mentally challenge them and keep them busy.
Instead of ropes or balls that they can only enjoy most with a playmate, try giving them puzzle toys with food inside. This’ll challenge them to figure out how to retrieve the treats. Toys that are meant to exercise your dog’s mind will make them feel happier and healthier and behave better.
Similar to a person’s mental health, a dog’s mental health is incredibly important to their wellness. So if you want your canine friend to live their best life, you must start practicing these tips and work on improving their mental health every day.