How to Mentally Stimulate Your Dog

Stimulate your dog can be a difficult task. Especially, because we all know the drag of an old routine.  The 9-to-5, interminable drives with rude commuters, having lunch at a specific place every Tuesday, etcetera…  Such routines can be comforting, but it’s still easy to find your mind bored after a certain span of time.  

For your dog, it can be even worse: they have no job, places to visit, and no internet to surf.  All they have for entertainment is you, which is why stimulating your best friend’s brain is so important.  Don’t let them fall into a routine of sleeping, eating, and sleeping some more.  Even with daily walks and varied games of fetch, life can get boring without anything new to try!  

 

The possibilities are endless. But here are four simple ways to make sure that a spark still finds its way into your pup’s day.

Ditch the food bowl to stimulate your dog!

Many pet stores and online shopping sites offer toys for dogs with hollow centers for food or treats.  Hide your pup’s food inside from time to time, don’t forget to change the toy often to keep things interesting. 

If you don’t want to use your best friend’s lunch for these games, treats work just as well.  Many toys are designed for corresponding goodies that can be bought in the same place, while others are meant for you to fill with snacks like peanut butter. 

Alternately, simply hiding food around the house for your dog to find will also do the trick, as will using it to teach some tricks!  Anything that your dog can learn or puzzle out will help stimulate their mind and keep them active.

As a side note, such toys work well for cats, too.  Mine in particular loves mint, and so has recently figured out how to open a (loosened) tin containing minty tidbits.  She’s since moved on to trying to open my tube of minty toothpaste, but that one thankfully requires opposable thumbs to open

It’s never late for training! 

Whoever said that old dogs can’t learn new tricks clearly never tried to train an old dog.  Don’t leave your friend’s skillset at just ‘sit,’ ‘stay,’ and ‘lie down!’ Signing your dog up for professional training will work just fine, but your pup will always prefer time with you. 

Personally, I’ve taught many dogs to balance a treat on their nose until I tell them to catch it, starting with my childhood four-legged friend.  Additionally, he knew how to jump through hoops and drag me around the house in a laundry basket. 

The possibilities are endless, from the basic, to the exotic, to the amazing, and even such useful things as teaching your scatterbrained friend to clean up his toys at the end of the day!  Best of all, every trick your dog learns keeps him stimulated and learning!

Play games to stimulate your BF!

On a similar note to teaching tricks, games of any kind are always fun for your dog.  I once met someone who trained his furry friend to play touch football, making that pooch into a Retriever Receiver. 

If something less intense is more your style, though, don’t worry; there are more than enough options!  It can be as simple as hiding one of your dog’s favorite toys and having him search for it, playing the shell game with some treats, or any other number of games or puzzles that are easy but still fun for a human. 

If you want something a little more stimulating for both you and your dog but don’t want to teach him professional sports, consider games such as hide-and-seek or tag.  Even setting up an indoor agility course with mops and pillows will do!

Get out there!

There are few things that many dogs love more than the great outdoors, so explore the world together!  At its simplest, choose new walking routes or destinations when you go out together, or even walk near a pet store or dog park to let him take in all of the new smells. 

Those dog parks or puppy playdates let him socialize, too, especially if you only have one dog.  If possible, the beach is also a perfect destination for some fun, even if it’s just for a leashed walk.  Lastly, if you really want to explore with your best friend, look for dog-friendly hiking or nature trails you can try.  Every time you go, your pup will likely find something new!

 

The possibilities for entertaining your dog truly are endless, just as they would be for you without a phone!  Don’t limit yourself to just this list, either!  Think of new games to play, places to visit, and things to do that your individual dog would love. 

They should be your best friend and a part of the family, after all!  Be sure to stimulate their minds just as much as their big, fluffy hearts! 

 

Mentally Stimulate Your Dog
“Your cat may have nine lives, but you shouldn’t gamble six of them on food from an unreliable brand.”

Cats have complicated dietary needs, while high-quality ingredients are very important you also have to take into consideration your cat’s age and any health conditions that it may have such as kidney stones or renal health issues.  Cats are obligate carnivores that in the wild rarely drink water, which is why the food you feed your cat with must provide the right amount of moisture.

Low-quality ingredients lead to health problems.

Processed ingredients and additives don’t have the same nutrients as whole meats and fish, and may be contaminated with bacteria and other harmful agents.  Rendered fat is an ingredient in pet foods because it easily increases the necessary fat content. However, it is full of bacteria and mold growth so it can be unsafe for your pet to eat.  In addition, it doesn’t offer the same health benefits as the whole fats that come from real fish and meat.

It is very hard to tell which is the best type of food for cats since there are multiple opinions between veterinarians, researchers and cat owners…

  • Raw Food –  Nutrients will be in the purest form, all ingredients are fresh and unprocessed.  BUT raw food can be harder to digest, must be constantly bought or kept frozen, not convenient and expensive

  • Dehydrated Food – Nutrients are fresh and unprocessed but they make dehydrated food by removing moisture from ingredients which means that your cat’s hydration may become a concern.

  • Wet Food – Cats crucial hydration comes from wet food, less proceed and more optimal balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates.  BUT it’s more expensive than dry food and less convenient.

  • Dry Food –  Better for dental health than wet food, less expensive and more convenient.  BUT these tend to be more proceed and contain less water, which may lead to dehydration.

Best Cat Foods

These are the best food you can feed your cat with.

  1. Addiction Grain Free Herbed Duck Confit and Sweet Potatoes Entree
  2. Blackwood Chicken Meal and Field Pea Recipe Grain Free Dry Cat Food
  3. Earthborn Holistic Wild Sea Catch Grain Free Natural Dry Cat & Kitten Food
  4. Fromm Gold Holistic Adult Dry Cat Food
  5. Lotus Just Juicy Pork Stew Grain Free Canned Cat Food
  6. Now Fresh Grain Free Adult Recipe Dry Cat Food
  7. Redbarn Naturals Salmon and Delilah Grain Free Canned Cat Food
  8. Wysong Optimal Vitality Dry Cat Food
  9. ZiwiPeak Daily Cat Cuisine Venison and Fish Canned Cat Food
  10. Spring Naturals Grain Free Chicken Dinner with a Medley of Garden Greens and Berries Dry Cat Food

Other Cat Food Brands To Consider…

  • Acana
  • Adirondack
  • Annamaet
  • By Nature
  • Dr. Tim’s
  • Eagle Pack
  • Evolve
  • Feline Caviar
  • Feline Natural
  • First Mate
  • Grandma Lucy’s
  • Great Life
  • Horizon
  • Hound and Gatos
  • Natural Planet Organics
  • Nature’s Logic
  • NutriSource
  • Orijen
  • Precise
  • Primal
  • PureVita
  • The Honest Kitchen
  • The Real Meat Company
  • Triumph

 

 

 

However, the best food for your cat is not always the one you find at the vet or the one you see the most commercials on, that’s just the brand that has the most NEED to spend it’s money on marketing and advertising so that uninformed individuals buy it without asking any questions or looking at the ingredients.  Here’s why I’m saying this.  You’ve probably heard of Science Diet or Purina, right?  Please keep reading…

What Should I Avoid In My Cat’s Food Ingredients?

We’ve reviewed a list of cat’s food to consider. However, there are some ingredientes that can damage your cat’s nutrition.

  • ANIMAL DIGEST: Unspecified parts of unspecified animals which are cooked to a goopy broth (rendered) and used as a spray-on or added directly to the food. This is unsuitable for human consumption. The grease that rises to the top is used as a source of fat and the rest of the mash is dried and used as “meat meal”.  No quality control is used and this can be a varied mix of dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter, goats, pigs, horses, rats or road kill “By Products” – Means the internal remains of an animal not including the muscle meat, often times including diseased tissues, organs and tumors.
  • Ethoxyquin – Used as a ‘preservative’ but it’s really a herbicide, which means it’s a toxic substance used to kill unwanted vegetation.  Has been associated with cancer, liver and kidney damage, blindness and leukemia in dogs.
  • Prophylene Glycol – Found in “anti-freeze.” Reduces moisture and prevents bacteria growth, killing both bad and good bacteria needed for digestion.
  • BHT/BHA – Dangerous preservatives used to reduce food spoiling.  Responsible for kidney damage and has been linked with cancer in both dogs and humans.

Other ingredients you should avoid feeding your cat with:

  • Corn/Corn Syrup – Used as a sweetener, leads to weight gain and diabetes.  Corn has no nutritional value, used to make production cheaper and overtime develops mold and fungus which can be fatal.
  • Salt: Causes bloat in dogs if consumed in high doses.
  • Beet Pulp: Pure sugar filler — leads to weight gain, hyperactivity and feeds arthritis.
  • WHEAT FLOUR: Wheat is the leading cause of dog allergies. No nutritional value comes from wheat flour. Companies manufacture the fine particles of wheat bran, wheat germ, and the offal from the “tail of the mill.” “Tail of the mill” means the floor sweepings of leftovers in the mill after everything has been processed from the wheat!.
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup: A sweetener made from corn starch that has been processed by glucose isomerase to convert some of its glucose into fructose.

You should also consider avoiding:

  • Caramel Coloring: An artificial Coloring…some varieties of caramel color contain 4-Methylimidazole, a chemical used to make pharmaceuticals that has been proven to increase lung cancer in mice. Plus, it offers no nutritional benefits whatsoever.
  • Sodium Nitrite – When cooked, meats that have been processed with sodium nitrites form carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds.
  • Vitamin K3 (Menadione) – A synthetic Vitamin…Menadione is a water-soluble, synthetic version of Vitamin K that is toxic to the liver and other organs after prolonged exposure.

Controversial foods your cat should not eat

  • Brewers Rice – Controversial Ingredient, low-quality by-product of the milling process that is often used as a filler. Rice may deplete the amount of taurine in the cat’s body which can lead to deficiency.
  • Garlic – Ingesting garlic can lead to hemolytic anemia, a condition that causes the red blood cells in a cat’s body to burst.
  • Ocean Fish – Perhaps surprisingly, fish is one of the top cat food allergens and it can contain mercury and other toxins.
  • Rendered Fat. This is controversial because it can come from any number of animals, including diseased or disabled animals and roadkill.

These foods are in no special order, in our opinion they are just as bad for any cat.

Dog Owner? Find out more in our post !

 All About Dog Food – What Are You Really Feeding Your Dog?

Worse Dog Foods

  1. Meow – Contains ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, beef tallow, animal digest and turkey by-product.
  2. Whiskas – Contains ground yellow corn, chicken by-product, corn gluten meal and animal fat preserved with BHA.
  3. Kit N’ Kaboodle (By Purina) – Contains ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal and added colors
  4. Friskies – Contains ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, poultry by-product and added colors.
  5. IAMS – Contains by-product poultry, corn meal and corn gluten.
  6. Royal Canin – Contains corn, corn gluten and meal
  7. Purina One – Contains corn gluten, by-products and wheat flour
  8. Fancy Beast – Contains ground yellow corn, corn gluten and poultry by-product
  9. 9 Lives – Contains corn, by-product poultry, corn gluten, animal digest and BHA.
  10. Science Diet – Contains corn and corn gluten as one on of their top ingredients.
  11. Special Kitty – Contains poultry by-product, ground whole corn, animal fat and color added.

Keep in mind your cat’s only need is for nutritional food and water if this is not provided it will be reflected in poor health.  

IMPORTANT: We are not being sponsored or paid by any of these companies, we are informing you.  You make the ultimate decision. We hope this post has been helpful, if you have any questions please feel free to contact us

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