Have recent lockdowns and restrictions made you feel a bit anxious, bored or stressed out? You’re not alone. Sure, there are some positives, like ordering in Uber Eats, sleeping in and staying in pajamas all day. But it also has its challenges.
Like us, many of our furry friends are likely to find this change in daily routine difficult. They may be napping, eating, and walking at different times or spending more time indoors due to lockdown. These changes can cause stress and boredom, so it’s important to establish new routines to keep them entertained and ease any anxiety they may feel.
Why does my dog need mental stimulation?
When we think of maintaining pet health, we may think about diet, dental work and maintaining your pet’s weight. But mental stimulation is a BIG part of the mix as well. Dogs were originally bred for jobs that require high intelligence. Therefore, activities that stimulate your four-legged friend allows them to express these natural behaviors and exercise their brains by challenging their initiative. Stimulating your pet mentally plays a key role in their welfare, confidence and happiness.
Signs your dog needs mental stimulation
Here’s some signs you should look out for:
- Restlessness - Is your dog constantly getting up from their resting position like they can’t seem to get comfortable?
- Chewing - If your dog is destroying everything in the house, this may not simply be because he’s cheeky or naughty. Instead, this may be a sign your dog is driving himself insane from boredom.
- Chasing his tail - again, this may be a sign of boredom.
- Excessive barking - it’s normal for dogs to bark at the mailman or someone passing by, but if your dog is barking for seemingly no reason, it may be a sign of boredom.
- Digging holes - This is a very obvious sign of pure boredom and your dog could potentially just need some more attention and play time
- Whining - whining indicates discomfort, whether physical or mental. If you notice an increase in whining, visit your vet to rule out any physical issues. If their not physically injured or unwell, this may be a sign they’re not being mentally stimulated
How to help your dog feel more comfortable
Give them some space
Dogs love socializing and being around their family. However, sometimes, their social battery dies just like us. In fact, you may have noticed your dog hiding behind furniture, under beds, and other nooks and crannies. Therefore, it’s important for your dog to have some private space for themselves.
It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just a comfy dog bed with some blankets if it's cold, some comforting toys, or anything your pet turns to when they're playing on their own or not feeling their best.
Make sure they’re well rested
While it’s important to ensure your dog is getting enough play time and mental stimulation, it’s also essential for your dog to get some quality sleep. With us being home more than usual, your dog’s usual nap times may get a little disrupted.
Make sure your dog is getting enough sleep by encouraging your dog to rest on their own bed and make sure you give them enough time to catch up on some z’s.
Make the most of your walkies!
Your dog’s daily walk is probably one of the highlights of his day (and getting belly rubs and treats of course!). Going for a walkie is not just a bathroom break, it’s a chance for them to get both physical exercise and mental stimulation. Here’s some tips when walking your dog:
- Change up the usual route - exposure to new sounds, sights and smells improves your dog’s mood and lowers stress levels.
- Don’t rush it - allow them to sniff and explore the surroundings. Your dog wants to explore and understand more of the world around him and they do a lot of this with their nose.
- Interact with other dogs - meeting a new friend is a great way to relieve stress!
Learn some new tricks
A great way to mentally stimulate your dog is through continuous training. After all, the saying you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is completely untrue! You can start off with simple tricks like sit, down, wait, etc. and then start teaching your dog more complex tricks like rolling over, shutting doors, giving a paw and so on.
Make sure to reward your dog during training with treats! We recommend Pet Drs Novel Protein Treats.Novel proteins are ingredients your pet’s body has most likely never been exposed to. This would include kangaroo, wild boar and goat. Because your dog’s body is unfamiliar with these ingredients, they are unlikely to solicit an allergic response. Therefore, including these less mainstream animals into your dog’s diet may help alleviate food allergy symptoms.
Pet Drs know that treats are an important part of a dog's life, which is why we have carefully crafted these novel protein treats specifically for sensitive tummies and skin that cannot cause irritations to your furry friends! Our novel protein treats come in three flavours: goat heart, kangaroo kidney and wild boar liver. Click here to check them out!
Get prepared for post lockdown!
For most dogs, extra time spent with the family during lockdown has been a silver lining. However, when it’s time to go back to the office, many dogs experience separation anxiety. For tips on how to deal with your dog’s separation anxiety,click here.
One thing you should start feeding your dog now isPet Drs Mega Oil. Studies of 24 Labrador Retrievers in 2016 have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may be the key to reducing dog anxiety by reducing cortisol levels and lowering heart rate in situations designed to induce anxiety. This study also showed omega-3 also acted on the same pathways that many anxiety reducing drugs use. This is great news for pet owners looking for an effective and natural alternative to reducing their dog’s anxiety with little to not side effects!
Including omega-3 into your dog’s diet is easy with Pet Drs Mega Oil - a supreme blend of Omega 3,6 & 9 oils that are mixed with only the finest ingredients. Not only will this oil reduce anxiety, it will also naturally enhance your pet’s health targeting specifically their coats, skin, joints, digestion as well as heart and brain support. Unlike our competitors, Mega oil doesn’t contain copious amounts of cod liver oil, soya bean or canola oil. Instead, Pet Drs prefers the natural goodness of Omega 3,6 and 9.