Pets are some of the greatest things in life. They listen to you without hesitation, they love you unconditionally and they only want to help you. This doesn’t mean they don’t need some love in return. In fact, their mental health is a huge factor that owners will often overlook, so we’ve gathered a few experts who can help you improve and maintain your fur baby’s mental health and wellbeing.
Dr Joanne Righetti | Pet Problems Solved
Keep Your Pets Busy
“Pets need companionship, which can sometimes be difficult in our busy, working lives. Ensure your pet has adequate stimulation before being left alone and where possible, try to offer some suitable companionship (a dog walker, a cat sitter) when you cannot be around. Leaving your pet with a job to do when alone can assist in their mental health and well-being. Pets need stimulation and in the absence of your companionship often seek their own occupation. Instead of chewing or scratching your furniture, leave your cat or dog with a food-releasing toy and rotate toys around over the week, to keep them interested.” Find out more about Pet Problems Solved by following them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
MyDeal Pro Tip:
Switch up your pet’s routine. If you find yourself taking your dog for a walk at 6pm every day, take them for a walk in the morning once in a while. This will give them an unexpected surprise and really make their day! Anything new is a great way to boost their mental health.
Sharon Moore | PetCarers
Pay Attention To Your Pet’s Needs
“While cats can sleep up to 18 hours a day, during those few waking hours they benefit enormously from interacting with us. Play especially toys on a string to encourage them to run and jump and pounce, exhibiting all of the natural physical behaviours can keep them fit and keep their weight in a healthy range. Cuddles are great for cats and us, lowering blood pressure and releasing feel good hormones. A brush will keep their coat in good condition and prevent matting. Some outdoor time for a run in the sun and fresh air is great for them. Hutch animals need to get out for a run too. An enclosure where they can run and be safe from predators. Rabbits especially need space to exercise so their muscles don’t atrophy. During my time with the RSPCA, I would let them take it in turns to have a run outside in a secure space, and they would run and leap and kick their hind legs out, strengthening their muscles. They would run and play with such joy, it was a delight to watch. Of course stopping to eat the occasional dandelion was an added bonus.” Find out more about PetCarers by following them on Facebook.
MyDeal Pro Tip:
Cats need scratching posts to stay healthy. A fun and good quality cat scratching post can help your feline sharpen their claws. Cats have scent glands in their paws, so when they scratch, they’re leaving behind odour cues that other cats can smell. So, give them a scratching post to keep them occupied and maintain a healthy set of claws.
Catherine Tucker | PetCloud
Keep Your Pet Fit Mentally
“Mental exercise through enrichment activities will keep your best friend happy, healthy and on their best behaviour. Mental exercise will enable your pet to be calmer, cope readily with stressful situations and enjoy life more.”
Enrichment activities don't need to be complex or expensive, here are some ideas:
Exercise outside the yard: beach, park or at another house (Doggy daycare or playdates)
Dog toys: Have a toy box for each day so your dog feels like they’re getting new toys every day.
Use food to entertain: Ditch the food bowl and use food as rewards, hid it around the house, make dog popsicles with treats frozen in ice or use it in puzzle toys like kongs.
Make a treat bottle: Use an old 2Ltr plastic bottle with lid, plastic ring and labels off, clean the bottle, cut a few holes in the sides and place treats or dog biscuits inside.
Make an ice treat: Place dog treats in an ice cream container, fill with water, freeze overnight and once frozen tip the ice treat out of its container.
Amusement areas at home: Make a sand pit or water pit that your dog can freely dig and play in.”
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Your pet offers you love and undiluted friendship (except cats; cats only show love when they want to), so why not return the favour and shower them with some love in return? They’ll end up happier than ever before!