As many of us know, mental health is an important part of overall well being for humans and our pets!

Just like humans, pets can experience stress, anxiety and depression, so caring for your fur-mily’s mental health is just as critical as caring for their physical health to ensure they live long, happy and healthy lives. Three ways that you can support your fur baby’s mental wellbeing is through exercise and playtime, mental enrichment, and bonding with them in order to establish trust. Let’s explore how you can ensure that you’re providing the best for your pet’s mental health!

Play + Exercise

Regular exercise and play are essential for maintaining your pet’s mental health and overall wellbeing. Pets that don’t spend enough time playing can exhibit behavioral problems because they don’t have a proper outlet for all their pent-up energy. One great way to incorporate play and exercise into your pet’s routine is by taking them on daily walks. Dogs, in particular, benefit from regular walks as it provides them with a chance to explore their surroundings and interact with other dogs and people. Make sure to choose a route that is safe and interesting for your pet. You can also mix things up by adventuring with your dog to a dog park or beach. For these outdoor activities, think about including items like sturdy leashes, collars, and harnesses to ensure your pets are safe and cannot unexpectedly run away. Check out our selection of outerwear items here!

For indoor pets, consider interactive toys that require problem-solving skills or hide treats for them to find to encourage natural hunting or foraging instincts. Cats are natural predators and love games and toys that simulate hunting and challenge their agility and coordination. Remember, the key is to keep things fun and engaging for your pet to reap the mental and physical benefits of play and exercise.

Mental Stimulation

Games and activities that are mentally stimulating help to prevent boredom and reduce stress. Without both mental and physical challenge, some animals can experience behavioral issues, have more mental health struggles or can just be lethargic and tired. Puzzles give your pet a chance to use some of their natural problem-solving abilities and can also help boost their confidence and tire them out mentally. One way to do this is letting your pet work for their food by using a slow feeder bowl, lick mats, or snuffle mats. Another way to keep them mentally stimulated is to switch up the toys to give their minds something new to engage with. Consider rotating their toys or try to regularly give them a new toy that will mentally enrich them.

For smaller pets that also have their own enclosure, the quickest and easiest thing you can do for mental enrichment is to rearrange items in your friend’s living space and change up their environment. Moving items to the opposite corner makes them think about its change of location; they may even try to move it around to place it where they want it. Introducing different “furniture pieces” such as branches and bedding can also create a different environment. Toys that allow animals to perform normal behaviours, such as digging, chewing, chin marking and jumping are also a great way to keep them mentally stimulated.

Bunny with enrichment toys

Giving your pet access to a window can also allow them to have fresh air, light and exposure to different sounds and smells. Clearing space for them by a window will allow them to watch and smell what’s going on outside – other animals, changes in the weather or traffic passing by – just like a 4D TV!

cat looking out the window

Bonding + Trust

As a pet parent, it’s crucial to establish a strong bond with your fur-child to provide them with a sense of security and guidance. Some effective ways to achieve this is by engaging in the playtime and puzzle-solving activities together that we talked about before. These activities have been proven to enhance the connection between pets and their owners, leading to better confidence and overall mental health. By nurturing this bond and building a foundation of trust, you can create a positive environment for your pet to continue to learn, grow, and explore!

puppy licking a persons face