Essential Balance for our dog’s health depends on several things. Like us, to truly be healthy we must consider all three levels of health: mental, physical, and emotional. Maintaining our health requires multiple support systems including healthful eating; mental stimulation; physical outlet; and emotional support.
When one or more of these elements are out of balance, either due to environmental exposure or genetic disposition, we then develop outward signs of illness. Keeping your pet’s body, mind, and spirit healthy enables them to enjoy life to the fullest and live a long happy life.
Unfortunately, too many people take their pet’s mental and emotional health for granted, focusing on it only when they develop problems.
Just as it requires effort to build or maintain physical health, so it is with mental and emotional health. The good news is that there are many things you can do to boost your pet’s mood, build resilience, and get more enjoyment out of life.
Mental or emotional health refers to overall psychological well-being.
Emotionally healthy pets are in control of their emotions and their behavior. They are able to handle life’s inevitable challenges, build strong relationships, and lead productive, fulfilling lives.
Good mental health isn’t just the absence of mental health problems.
Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental and emotional health refers to the presence of positive characteristics.
Pets that are mentally and emotionally healthy have:
- A sense of contentment.
- A zest for living and the ability to laugh and have fun.
- The ability to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity.
- A sense of meaning and purpose, in both their activities and their relationships.
- The flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change.
- A balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc.
- The ability to build and maintain fulfilling relationships.
- Self-confidence and high self-esteem.
These positive characteristics of mental and emotional health allow your pet to participate in life to the fullest extent possible through productive, meaningful activities and strong relationships. They also help them cope when faced with life’s challenges and stresses.
Physical health is connected to mental and emotional health
Taking care of your pet’s body is a powerful first step towards mental and emotional health. The mind and the body are linked. When you improve their physical health, they’ll automatically experience greater mental and emotional well-being. For example, exercise not only strengthens their heart and lungs, but also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that energize us and lift their mood.
The activities you engage in and the daily choices you make affect the way you both feel physically and emotionally.
- Learn about good nutrition and practice it. Just being on A Naturally Balanced Dog Blog, you will find great recipes and learn how super foods can benefit your dogs over all health. The subject of nutrition is complicated and not always easy to put into practice. But the more you learn about what your pet eats and how it affects his/her energy and mood, the better you all will feel.
- Exercise to relieve stress and lift your pet’s mood. Exercise is a powerful antidote to stress, anxiety, and depression. Look for small ways to add activity to their day, like going on a walk or use a treadmill on bad weather days. Enroll in an agility, fly ball or trick training class.
- Appeal to their senses. Everyone can stay calm and energized by appealing to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. A nice evening massage can up lift their mood, utilizing essential oils to help balance the sense. A nature walk in the woods provides gentle stimulation for all five senses.
- Engage them in meaningful, creative work. Giving your dog a job, for example, teach him or her to retrieve the newspaper. Join an organization to become a therapy or reading dog. Do things that challenge them to make them feel productive.
Everyone and every dog is different. Not all things will be equally beneficial to all pets. Some feel better relaxing and slowing down while others need more stimulation to feel better. The important thing is to find activities that s/he enjoys and that will give him or her a boost.