We all know that to live a balanced lifestyle we have to keep up with our mental and physical health. Certain things can cause us stress and finding the motivation to exercise consistently can be a difficult task for some. The same goes for our pets. Only the responsibility falls upon us to keep them engaged and offer time to make sure they’re getting in enough exercise.
How You Effect Your Pet’s Mental State
A dog’s mental health can be drastically affected by our emotions. They feed off of our feelings. If we’re upset or stressed out, it can cause stress and anxiety in our pets. So I always tell my clients, let your pup take the worries away. Just relax and bring positive vibes when interacting with your pet. Aging pets may be more affected and need to be mentally challenged a bit more to keep that brain function up.
Canine Brain Games
A simple and fun way to work out their brain is to play brain games with them. “Find It” is one of my favorite games. You play by placing treats under objects that can be flipped over or moved with your pet’s nose. I like to use small orange cones which have holes in them allowing the treat scent to come through. Then you encourage your pet to sniff each object and find the cone. It usually takes a little time and praise for them to get the hang of it. But once they do, you’ll have a hard time keeping cones up. They’ll be knocking them over looking for treats before you get everything set up.
Other games to try out: You can also use tennis balls placed in a muffin tin. You would hide the treats under the tennis balls in the tin and encourage your pet to move the ball and find the treat. However, if your pet gets too distracted by tennis balls, this may not be the game for you.
Keeping your pet mentally stimulated promotes better awareness and cognitive function. It plays an important role in your pet’s aging process. So, get creative and play some brain games!
Active Bodies Lead to Active Minds
Physical health equals well-being and life longevity in dogs. You can extend your pet’s life expectancy through consistent, structured exercise. We also know that aging pets can suffer from weakness which may affect their daily routines more than before. Everyday activities such as trouble getting up, trouble with stairs, tiring out sooner during walks can be improved with daily exercises.
Your Veterinary Rehab professional can really offer guidance here and teach you how to work with your pet at home. Especially if your pet is happy and healthy, just a little slow to get up. Put the work in and help your pet get back on their paws. It’s possible!
Renee Mills, VT, CCRP
Renee Mills is a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner and Veterinary product specialist.