Humans are keenly aware of our ability to concentrate and think clearly. When we’re experiencing brain fog or poor memory, we know right away. What we don’t always consider is that our dogs experience very similar things, especially as they age.
Our dogs’ brains need to be taken care of just as much as ours do. This holiday season, instead of giving your pup treats and toys, consider giving them the gift of brain-enhancing supplements and puzzles! These things will help your dog maintain healthy cognition and a quick wit, so it can remember things more easily, learn new tricks faster and maintain healthy, stable behavior for years to come.
A healthy brain is a gift
Proper cognition tends to be something pet owners take for granted in their dog’s early years. Puppies are often energetic and curious, eager to learn about the world around them and excited to learn new tricks and commands. However, this tends to change as dogs grow older.
Without constant stimulation of the brain and proper nutrition, a dog’s cognitive abilities can begin to decline. By the time they are seniors, dogs may experience severe cognitive dysfunction that may not only leave them confused and disoriented—and even scared—in their own home, but also may cause problematic behaviors like house soiling.
In order to help maintain your beloved pup’s active and agile mind, it’s important to give them brain-boosting nutrients and mental challenges to exercise their cognitive abilities. Doing these things throughout their lives can help prevent damage in the brain and allow them to enjoy a strong mind much later in life. By providing your furry friend with cognitive supplements, you’re truly giving them the gift of a healthy brain!
Top supplements for cognition
Pet owners can help protect and strengthen their dogs’ brains in many of the same ways as we protect our own. Various nutritional supplements and herbs provide the ingredients the brain needs to protect itself from damage and stay sharp.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E are useful in the brain because they help prevent oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals. Free radical damage can affect your dog’s entire body, but particularly their brain tissues. Antioxidants can also bolster the immune system, which helps fight off disease and reduce inflammation.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important to your dog’s brain health because the brain itself is largely composed of fats. Supplementing with these fatty acids can help reduce inflammation in the body and brain. Omega-3s are also critical for proper brain development in puppies and may even help young dogs learn faster during training! Supplementing with omega-3s may help your dog from the time they are a puppy well into their senior years.
- Adaptogenic herbs: Many supplements for cognitive function blend a number of nutrients, roots and herbs called adaptogens together for a powerful, synergistic effect. For example, American Ginseng, is known for improving cognitive functions and memory, while Eleuthero root can help support brain function, energy and stress response.
Many dogs will get an adequate dose of vitamins and minerals through their daily diet, but older dogs may require added supplements or adaptogenic herbs for an extra cognitive boost. Ask your vet if cognitive supplements are a good idea for your pet based on their diet and age.
Pair supplements with daily challenges
While nutritional supplements can help support your dog’s brain from the inside, there are other ways you can make your dog smarter and help them maintain a quick wit through all stages of life.
Providing your pup with mental exercise is crucial, whether they are a puppy or a senior. Puzzle toys that deliver treats and search-and-find games and toys can help your dog leverage their senses and brain power to earn a reward. Paired with brain-boosting supplements, these make excellent holiday gifts!
Additionally, dogs can benefit immensely from mentally stimulating experiences. These can be as simple as switching up the route you take on your daily walk or as complex as visiting new places and giving your dog challenges to solve there while surrounded by new sights, sounds and scents.
As we approach the holidays, remember that gift giving is not all about fun and games—it can and should also be about health and longevity! Share with your pup the gift of a healthy mind and enjoyable life by giving them cognition supplements and mental challenges that will help keep their mind young for years to come.