When we discuss mental health, we usually do so in the context of human psychology. But just as we can get mental health issues, our dogs can also become afflicted with psychological problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression. As pet parents, we are responsible for addressing such concerns and helping our fur babies manage their overall wellness when these issues manifest.
Certain pup behaviors are telltale signs that something is up with your fur baby. Signs of distress can range from excessive barking to frequently isolating themselves from you and other pups. It’s important for you to know how to address these concerns to help your dog stay well. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the ways you can optimize your pup’s mental health so that they can readily face the days ahead and keep on living their best life.
Invest in Anxiety-Easing Pet Products
No matter how much our pups love us, sometimes our company is not enough to ease their mental burdens. If your pup is easily agitated by situations such as thunderstorms or being left alone in the house, it may be necessary to buy products designed to soothe their strong emotions.
Humans, especially children, often find it comforting to wrap themselves in a weighted blanket. In the same way, your pup may get a sense of safety and security when they have their stress blanket or favorite plushy with them. If your pup doesn’t already have these kinds of items, consider investing in pet products such as pet blankets, plush dog toys, dog beds, and anxiety vests that are meant to provide comfort to your pup when stressors start to take a toll on them.
That said, it’s best to purchase these kinds of products from reliable sources to ensure that they’re pet-safe. For example, you can’t go wrong with the personalized blankets, dog toys, and custom dog beds at PrideBites, as they’re made with high-quality materials and expert construction.
Learn How to Spot the Signs
To properly gauge your pup’s thoughts and feelings, you need to be cognizant of their behavior and body language. While there are behaviors that seem typical of pups, there are times when they occur more frequently to the point of becoming a serious concern.
For instance, destroying furniture can be a sign of separation anxiety, while exhibiting restlessness, vomiting frequently, adopting compulsive behavior (e.g., periodic mouth licking), and howling and barking excessively can be signs of stress. Other common signs of disrupted mental health in pups are antisocial tendencies, possessiveness, and aggression, all of which can stem from deep-seated fear and anxiety. Additionally, a lack of enthusiasm for food, toys, and exercise is a strong indicator that your pup is stressed or depressed.
Once you get a sense that there’s something wrong with your pup, you should schedule a visit to your vet as soon as possible. A professional can confirm if your pup needs medical attention and recommend medications as well as tips for managing your fur baby’s condition.
Visit the Vet Regularly
While it’s crucial that you make an appointment at the first sign of mental health and behavioral problems in your pup, making a habit of visiting the vet regularly can help you catch these issues early on and mitigate emergency expenses. Your pup’s physical and mental conditions are often interrelated, and a medical expert can help you immediately address the possible physical causes of your pet’s mental health issues.
Pay Attention to Your Pup’s Diet
The food your dog eats can also have an impact on their mood and mental well-being. Before choosing your pet’s long-term food or switching pet food brands, then, you should consult with your vet to make sure that these foods are safe for your fur baby to eat.
One example of an ingredient that’s good for your pup’s mental health is beef liver. This ingredient is packed with protein, fatty acids, iron, and B vitamins that aid in boosting mental wellness for both pups and humans. Pet foods that contain this ingredient are also great for regulating energy levels and activating neural tissues.
Another ingredient that can aid in your pup’s mental well-being is sweet potato. This ingredient is rich in vitamin B6, which regulates your pup’s hormones and boosts their immune response as well as their nervous system functions.
Other healthy foods to consider are blueberries, which are rich in antioxidants, and pumpkin seeds, which are filled with omega-3 and can, in turn, aid in digestion and cognition.
Encourage Them to Exercise Physically and Mentally
Exercising can help improve physical and mental health for both pups and humans. In addition to boosting overall fitness, exercising allows you and your dog to bond and potentially address your pet’s abandonment and anxiety issues. Getting exercise outside the house is also a great way to give your pup a refreshing change of environment and resolve their loneliness. So, spend some time with your fur baby by doing a physical activity that both of you enjoy, be it running, playing fetch, hiking, or walking around the park.
Beyond physical activities, you can also exercise your pup’s brain through challenging toys and puzzles. Invest in items such as puzzle-type toys that dispense your pup’s favorite treats to keep them entertained while giving them some mental stimulation at the same time.
Healthy Minds, Healthy Pups
Just as humans strive to change their lifestyles and take the necessary medications to address their issues, our fur babies also require a lot of time and effort to keep their mental health in check. Given that having a fur baby has been proven to improve mental health in humans, it’s time we returned the favor and helped our pups stay just as mentally healthy.