Today is National Mental Health Day. For so long there has been a stigma surrounding mental health in our society. Thankfully in recent years that stigma has dwindled, and more people are paying attention to things like self care ,therapy, and mindfulness.
If you're a pet parent, you know better than anyone what a positive impact pets have on our mental health. Studies have shown that owning and caring for a pet can reduce anxiety, prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure, combat depression, and even improve symptoms of Alzheimer's, Autism, and ADHD.
But were you aware that your pet can also suffer from some of the same mental health challenges as we humans do? Being aware of your pets moods by paying attention to body language, eating habits, and energy levels can help you recognize if your pet may be struggling with his or her mental well being.
Studies have found that dogs and sometimes cats have been known to suffer from:
-Alzheimer's (Canine cognitive disorder)
All of these disorders can lead to severe behavioural issues if left untreated, so if you think your pet may be suffering from any of the above, consult your veterinarian ASAP and enlist the help of a qualified trainer who specializes in the disorder, a Behaviour Consultant or Veterinary Behaviourist.
Below are some ways you can improve, maintain and boost your dogs mental health-
~EXERCISE this is an obvious one, but it forces us to get out and move as well, win-win!
~MENTAL STIMULATION things like puzzles, and games like touch, tug, and go find the treat
~MASSAGE & BODY WORK encourages comfort with handling, creating body awareness
~SPACE & QUIET TIME most people don’t realize that one of the most powerful tools you have to train your dog is often silence, it's calming, it allows them to clear their head, think critically and utilize their brains
~MEDITATION yes, your dog can enjoy meditation with you! This is especially useful in anxious dogs & dogs who are overly excitable
So take some time out of your busy day to engage with your dog and try one of these Mental Health boosters, its an excellent way to bond with your pet & you may just learn something new about yourself and your dog!