In honor of mental health awareness month, we're getting down to the root of your dog’s health and happiness and discovering what makes them tick. From anxious to overjoyed, pups experience a wide range of emotions. As their parents, it’s essential to know how they’re feeling and how we can help them cope. Here are five fast facts you probably didn’t know about your furry friend's mental health.
1. It’s all in their body language.
Your pup tells you exactly how they’re feeling through their body. You can tell a dog is happy if they have a high and waggy tail, floppy ears, and a relaxed body. Alternatively, if they’re not feeling their best, they might have a low or tucked tail, ears back, and will turn away from you and avoid eye contact.
2. Chewing can ease an anxious dog.
Ever wonder why your dog with separation anxiety chews up the whole house when you leave? Whether it’s to help them deal with stress or boredom, chewing can often be a coping mechanism. Luckily, if you know about this tendency, you can save your couch by giving your anxious dog their favorite bully stick to gnaw on instead.
3. Music therapy isn’t just for humans.
Our canine friends are just as susceptible to the calming powers of music as we are. Throwing on some tunes can also aid with noise sensitivity by blocking out loud street noises can cause anxiety in pups. Fun fact: Studies show that most dogs prefer classical music, specifically harp music, to help them chill out.
4. Dogs boost your mental health too.
You may want to help your pup with their mental health, but they naturally help you with yours every day. Multiple studies show that being around dogs reduces stress, anxiety, and depression; eases loneliness; encourages an active lifestyle, and improves overall health. In fact, when you and your dog look into the eyes of each other, oxytocin, a happiness hormone, is automatically released in both of your brains. (Cue the swoons!)
5. Exercise is key to maintaining good mental health.
Just like humans, getting outside is vital to a dog’s happiness. Exercise can act as an antidote for anxiety, stress, and boredom. Going on daily walks will leave both you and your pup happier, healthier, and feeling your best.