9 Ways to Improve Your Dog’s Mental Health
If you’re reading this, your pup is probably one of your best friends. And just like our human friends, our pupper companions need to be both mentally and physically healthy to live their best lives. If you feed your dog a healthy diet, you know what it takes to make sure he’s physically healthy – but do you know how to boost pupper’s mental health and wellbeing?
As a pet owner, you make every single one of your furry friend’s health decisions. Here are 9 easy ways to improve your dog’s mental health.
Foods that can improve your dog’s mental health
One of the easiest ways to boost your dog’s overall health, including their mental health, is by incorporating certain foods into their diet. Whether it’s a small snack or a part of their daily dinner, the following foods are great for both humans and pups. Lyka uses many of the below ingredients in their bowls, providing for a well-rounded meal. Be sure to speak with a trusted veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet and/or introducing new foods.
1. Mackerel and sardines
We know these tinned, fatty fish are chock-full of omega-3s. You may have even heard your doctor recommend incorporating them into your own diet! Good news–you can feed them topupper, too. Fatty acids (AKA omega-3s) work hard to help prevent cancer, reduce inflammation, and aid in healthy brain development. This reason, along with their naturally small size, make these fish an ideal snack for puppies. But be careful when buying them–there are many different options at the supermarket. Choose fish that are wild-caught, NOT farm-raised, and packed in water, NOT oil or sauce.
2. Beef liver
Beef liver is a surprisingly nutritious choice for pupper’s mental health. It’s an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, iron, and fatty acids. B vitamins are especially important when it comes to mental health, for both humans and dogs. They help to activate neural tissue and regulate energy levels throughout the day, helping to ensure a happy yet energized pup.
3. Sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse. An especially important nutrient in the sweet potato is vitamin B6, which is incredibly helpful for dogs in more ways than one. It regulates theirhormones, immune system response, and overall nervous system function. The smooth functioning of all these bodily systems help guarantee a mentally healthy pup.
Blueberries are one of the best food sources of antioxidants, which are important in eliminating free radicals from the body, slowing the ageing process, and helping to prevent cancer. This also goes for pups! Some animal studies even suggest that blueberries may support areas of the brain that are essential for intelligence.
It might be worth considering feeding pupper kale, especially if he is the anxious type. Some fresh vegetables act as a remedy or preventative measure for anxiety and stress – and kale is one of them! Experts say that it’s the antioxidant properties in kale that make it such a wonderful stress-reducer. But be careful – the high fibre might upset your dog’s stomach. Start with extremely small amounts to make sure he is comfortable.
6. Pumpkin seeds
You might’ve heard from your veterinarian that pumpkin itself can help boost pupper’s digestion, but don’t throw those seeds away! Just like the sardines and beef liver that we discussed earlier, pumpkin seeds are full of brain-boosting omega-3s. Omega-3s help support healthy cognition in both humans and dogs alike!
Other ways to improve pupper’s mental health
Now that you’ve read about a handful of the many mentally-healthy snacks for pup, we’ll introduce a few other simple ways that you can maximize pupper’s overall wellbeing.
1. Puzzle treat dispenser/feeder
The one thing pupper might love more than playing fetch is having a job to do. That’s right – completing tasks makes dogs happy. And happiness is a key factor in your pup’s mental health. Especially for dogs who get bored easily and resort to chewing furniture, shoes, and remote controls, puzzles and other mental stimulants are a great way to keep them both distracted and satisfied. Today, there are many different puzzle options out there for your dog. Try starting him off on an easy, lower-level puzzle before you introduce something too difficult.
2. Obedience training
Obedience training isn’t only for overly excitable dogs. It can help any pup–especially when it comes to mental health! To be healthy overall, any dog needs mental stimulation, and obedience training is a great way to do this on a daily basis. Again, your dog will be at his happiest when he feels like he’s completing a job, and what better way to reward him than through simple, learned behaviour? Remember, all dogs can learn, but some might take longer than others. Don’t give up – obedience training is the perfect opportunity to form an even stronger bond with pupper.
3. Anxiety clothing
For your pup, being stress-free is the first step to positive mental health. It’s natural for many dogs to feel frightened in unknown situations, like during a storm or when a car alarm goes off, for example. Even something as simple as you leaving the house may trigger anxiety in your dog. Fortunately, there are a few ways to combat your dog’s stress and anxiety. An anxiety vest might be just what pupper needs to remain calm and feel secure during a scary situation. There are hundreds of anxiety vest brands available today, so speak with a trusted veterinarian to see if they have a go-to.
Improving your dog’s mental health is easy!
Keeping pupper mentally healthy is just as important as keeping him physically healthy. All it takes is introducing new foods into his diet, in addition to some mentally stimulating activity. Lyka’s complete meal bowls are tailored to your dog’s unique needs, and they’re full of nutrients that will make sure pupper is properly enriched and thriving! Try out our Starter Box today.