Why is mental stimulation so important for dogs?

Picture this:

You haven’t been outside all day. The curtains are still drawn. You’ve been scrolling on your phone for hours.

Imagine how much this is impacting your mood.

What if we told you the same thing happens to your precious pooch?

Yep, you heard us.

Just like humans, dogs suffer the consequences of a lack of mental stimulation, and they need enrichment to support their overall health and wellbeing.

Many dog owners think a walk or two a day does the trick, and whilst daily walks are incredibly important for your pup, mental exercise is, arguably, much more important.

But why? And how can you provide mental stimulation for your dog at home?

In this post, our experts at Pet Shop Online reveal all you need to know and provide some of our top tips and recommendations.


So, why do dogs need mental stimulation?

There are many other reasons – besides boosting their overall health and wellbeing – why mental stimulation is so important for your pooch.

If you provide plenty of mental stimulation for your pooch, the first thing you’ll notice is an improvement in their behaviour.

When dogs are bored, they look for anything to keep themselves entertained – often turning to your favourite pair of shoes and chewing them to pieces, scratching up your expensive furniture or annoying the neighbours with excessive barking.

Some sort of mental stimulation will help keep them entertained, so they’ll no longer feel the need to take their boredom out on your home and can also lower their aggression and hyperactivity levels.

As well as this, mental stimulation prevents premature ageing and reduces the risk of older dogs developing dementia, anxiety and depression.


How can I provide mental stimulation for my dog at home?

Luckily, there are plenty of easy ways you can mentally stimulate your four-legged friend at home.

Make them work for their food

There’s no harm in switching up your dog’s mealtime routine to provide a bit of mental stimulation.

Rather than just placing their bowl down on the floor, treat dispenser toys are an incredible way to decrease boredom, stress and destructiveness, and will keep your dog entertained for a while whilst they lean into their natural foraging instincts. 

Teach them some new tricks

The saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ couldn’t be further from the truth.

Regardless of how old they are, dogs love to learn. And teaching your fur baby a new trick or two is great for mental stimulation.

Doing this is also particularly helpful for shy or fearful dogs, and will help strengthen the bond the two of you share.

If you need advice on how to train an older dog, check out our previous blog post ‘Is my dog too old for train’ for our expert tips!

Engage in interactive play

This is one of the easiest ways you can keep your pup mentally stimulated at home.

Our dogs love playing with us, and whilst incredibly simple, studies have found that the more playtime your dog has, the less likely they are to suffer from behavioural issues.

A simple game of tug of war or fetch works tremendously, and will, again, help strengthen your bond.


Shop high-quality dog supplies at Pet Shop Online

Here at Pet Shop Online, we stock a huge selection of some of the best dog toys and treats, that are sure to keep tails wagging.

So, if you’re looking for some new toys or treats to surprise your pup with, you’re definitely in the right place!

Browse our selection online today or, if you’re local, bring your pup along to our shop in Swinton, Manchester to pick out their own goodies. Get your directions here!

Alternatively, if you have any questions or need more expert tips on how to keep your furry friend mentally stimulated, give us a call or email us at shop@pet-shop-online.co.uk and we’ll get back to you with more information shortly.