If you've had or currently have a senior pet, you've probably noticed physical and mental signs that he is losing that wonderful sharp edge he always had. Pets, like people, can suffer from cognitive dysfunction as they age, and their symptoms can be very similar to those of humans with Alzheimer's disease. Not a happy thought, is it? But there are ways you can prevent or, at least, delay pet 'dementia.'
Just like humans, dogs and cats need lots of exercise, mental stimulation, and socializing to remain vibrant. Start proper care when they are young and that will keep them young for a long time.
Playing fetch, running, and agility training are great physical exercises for a dog...
... just as chasing a hand-held red laser beam up
and down the walls (All laser toys are not the same: read Cats, Dogs, and Laser Toys.), or chasing just about anything makes a cat more
Daily exercise must be a regimen for every pet, just as
it needs to be for us.
Keeping a pet's mind stimulated is just as important. Ethical Pet and Nina Ottosson dog puzzle toys are mentally stimulating for dogs, and treats hidden in these puzzles keep a dog's interest. Nina Ottosson has an Interactive Puzzle Toy for Dogs And Cats, although this puzzle game should be played one at a time, not one on one. Always make sure you are nearby when your pets are playing with puzzles; any toy can be a hazard to a pet or a child.
Look for the most mentally stimulating toys when shopping for your dogs and cats, or invent different hide-and-seek games for them to play.
Of course, diet is very important. You want to make sure that your pets are eating foods that are balanced to the natural proportions of protein, fat, and carbohydrates that they would eat in the wild. Treats should not include junk food; yours or theirs. Dr. Pitcairn covers diet issues in the book I cite below.
And socializing with other pets is great fun and great companionship for dogs and cats. If you train them properly, your dogs and cats will enjoy members of their species and even each other. (Read How Many Dogs? Using Positive Reinforcement Training To Manage A Multiple Dog Household and Cat Vs. Cat: Keeping Peace When You Have More Than One Cat, or this article about "creating a harmonious multi-species household.")
Very clearly, cats and dogs need the same elements in their lives as humans do to protect them from dementia: exercise, mental stimulation, healthy diet, and socialization.
I have a favorite book on healthy living for dogs and cats, now in its third edition. It's called Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for
Dogs and Cats. I think you will find it very readable and informative.
For more mentally and physically stimulating toys for several kinds of pets, check out 19+ Best Interactive Pet Gifts: Toys For Cats, Dogs, Horses, Birds, Ferrets and Fish!
That's the buzz for today!