Ever wonder what your pet’s thinking? What is going on in his noggin? If you’re like many pet parents, you consider your pet and his cognition all the time! Especially if you have a senior pet. While it’s true your pet will experience mental decline with age, there are plenty of things you can do to support your dog’s brain. With the proper diet and some lifestyle changes, you can help keep your pet stay sharp and focused for years to come!
Why Your Pet’s Mental Health Matters
It’s obvious when there’s a physical issue with your pet. You’ll notice him limping. You’ll see him scratching. He’ll have a change to his stool. But, cognitive changes, on the other hand, are much tougher to spot! They’re far more subtle. But, that doesn’t mean they don’t play a crucial role in his overall wellness. On the contrary, his dog brain is what puts him in a happy-go-lucky mood. It’s what keeps him sharp. And, it’s what enables him to make memories. And that’s exactly why it’s important to support your dog’s brain!
Here are some things to watch out for when it comes to mental wellness and your pet—that might suggest it’s time to address his cognitive health:
Forgetfulness: If Fido walks into a room and seems to be a bit confused, or has a tough time recalling a command, his aging brain might be to blame. Forgetfulness and memory loss are signs that your pet’s experiencing cognitive decline.
Disorientation: Lackluster movements that look to you a bit dazed and confused can also be a sign that your pet is having a tough time getting his bearings straight. He might start aimlessly wandering or pacing a space.
- Disinterest: If your dog’s no longer interested in activities or toys he once couldn’t get enough of, it could mean that his dog brain is aging.
Choose The Right Diet For Dog Brain Health
You know the saying, you hear it all the time: you are what you eat. But the thing is, there’s a reason the phrase is so popular because there’s some truth behind the sentiment. Diet is so important to overall health! It affects your dog’s whole-body wellness. And adding certain ingredients to his daily intake can help support his cognitive function. So, if you’ve noticed some of the symptoms mentioned above, address your dog’s diet to support his mental wellness.
Start With Healthy, Balanced Food
Your pet has very specific nutritional requirements, and he’ll thrive when eating a diet that meets those needs! While every pet’s unique and has his own dietary needs, in general, it’s best to look for a diet that’s well balanced. One that includes plenty of animal protein. One that contains plenty of nutritious fats and fiber. And one that’s made with quality ingredients you feel good about feeding your dog.
Plus Vitamins & Minerals To Support Your Pet’s Cognitive Wellness
When you’re choosing brain-boosting food for your pet, there are some key nutrients to look for. Certain vitamins and minerals can affect your pet’s mental wellness, and make for a great addition to his diet. Here are some you should consider:
- Vitamin D: This vitamin is crucial for strong, healthy bones. But, it plays a big role in mental wellness, as well! It helps enable some serious brain functions and adding it to your pet’s diet supports overall cognitive health.
- Vitamin B12: This vitamin is especially helpful when it comes to memory and adding plenty of Vitamin B12 to your dog’s diet benefits his brain. It supports his ability to focus and has been shown to help prevent age-related issues that can cause mental decline.
- Calcium: Sure, you know your dog needs Calcium. But, did you know that it can benefit his dog brain? That’s right! When your pet eats a diet that’s Calcium-rich, it supports his mental wellness and his mood.
Add Antioxidants To Nourish Your Dog’s Brain
Ever heard of free radicals? They’re compounds that can seriously stress out your pet’s body. If left unchecked, they can cause premature aging, also known as oxidative stress. While some oxidative stress is par for the course, too much of it can cause issues for Fido.
And that’s where antioxidants come in! They’re healthy compounds that actually neutralize free radicals. They support your pet and strengthen his defense against age-related issues. And that’s key for mental wellness! Here are some antioxidants to include in your dog’s diet that add cognitive support:
- Blueberries: Those tasty, tiny berries aren’t just delicious. They’re also jam-packed with antioxidants. They help your pet have a healthy immune system and they’re so beneficial to his brain! Freeze them, feed them fresh, or add them to your dog’s diet as a powdered add-on.
- Turmeric: There’s a reason many people and pet supplements contain Turmeric. And it’s in large part due to the impressive antioxidant properties inside. Turmeric is absolutely loaded with free-radical fighting compounds that can support your pet and his cognitive health.
- Pumpkin: Make this a staple in your dog’s diet, and not just in the fall. It’s a healthy food that’s fiber-filled to support healthy digestion and a great source of antioxidants to promote mental wellness in your pet.
- Green Tea: Whether you choose a Green Tea infused treat or a dietary aid that contains the soothing ingredient, there’s no denying its impressive benefits. Green Tea is teeming with antioxidants that help promote healthy cognitive function.
And Omega Fatty Acids!
Oh my, Omega Fatty Acids are seriously impressive when it comes to their brain-boosting, cognitive support! Adding them to your pet’s diet helps Fido in a host of ways. First, they can help with memory and focus. They’re also mood-supportive and help your pet feel his best. And, if that weren’t enough, adding Omega Fatty Acids to your dog’s diet has been shown to help protect your pet’s brain from cognitive decline as he ages. Here are some ways to add these healthy fats to your dog’s diet:
- Nuts & Seeds: While you should absolutely exercise caution when it comes to feeding your pet any legumes, seeds or nuts, some nuts or seeds can be beneficial! Always discuss diet with your Vet before adding new foods to your dog’s bowl. But, if you get the go-ahead, most nuts and seeds are full of Omega Fatty Acids that will support Fido’s brain!
- Fatty Fish: If you feed a raw diet, consider adding fatty fish to your dog’s dish. Sure, it might be stinky, but it’s an excellent source of Omega Fatty Acids that promote mental wellness.
- Fish Oil: Of course, if you prefer to add Omega Fatty Acids to your dog’s diet without picking up fish from the market, fish oil and fish oil supplements offer an alternative! They’re full of brain-supportive Omega’s and are easy to feed in a treat or to squirt on top of your pet’s meal.
Other Ways To Care For Your Dog’s Mental Wellness
Of course, diet is the most important factor when talking about mental wellness. But, there are additional lifestyle changes you can make to help your pet and his dog brain even more. Here are some changes to make that’ll help keep your dog thinking on his toes:
- Exercise: It’s key when it comes to mental wellness! Why? Because when your pet exercises, it tires him out enough to get better rest. It boosts his mood. And it promotes overall mental clarity. So, get out there and go for a walk, toss him the ball and run around outside with Fido!
- Dog Training: Challenge your pet to keep his wits about him by teaching him new tricks. You shouldn’t stop training your dog when he’s a puppy. Instead, it’s beneficial for his brain if you continue teaching him new tricks, behaviors, and talents as he ages.
- Love and Affection: This one shouldn’t be too tough, since you obviously love your dog more than anything! But, don’t take physical affection for granted! Your pet needs to feel the love from you to support his mental wellness. Set aside time each day to dedicate to petting, cuddling, and enjoying quality time with your dog. Bonus, it’s good for your mental health, as well!
With the proper diet, one that’s balanced and includes a brain-supporting blend of vitamins, minerals, and Omega Fatty Acids, you can help keep your pet thinking and feeling his best. And while it can be disheartening to notice signs of mental decline in your pet as he enters his golden years, know that you can provide him a little extra support with changes to his diet and lifestyle.