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Canines and humans experience many of the same aging patterns - graying hair, aches, pains and stiffness, sleeping more and slowing down. Thanks to modern technology and specifically Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), we now have scientific proof as to just how similar the canine brain is to our own.
Both humans and pups suffer cortical atrophy (brain shrinkage), but exposing your senior dog to new experiences, scents, sights, and sounds can alter the brains physiology.
Keep reading as we discuss 4 ways you can mentally stimulate your senior dog.
Fire those neurons and spend quality time with your senior by exercising your senior dog’s mind. Just as some humans do the morning crossword or Sudoku puzzle, get your dog using her nose, paws, and mind. Below are a few games you can play with your pup to exercise your senior dog’s mind:
Sometimes getting a canine pal can breathe life into an aging dog. The duo will keep each other company, and it just might give your older pal something to do by mentoring a younger pup.
The newcomer does NOT need to be a puppy! Know your dog. Children of any species can be trying to an elder’s patience, so maybe just a few years difference. Regardless, supervise and make sure your senior has a place to get away for a little quiet from time to time.
Exercise helps well-oxygenated blood flow to tissues and removes toxins from the body.
Activity keeps nutrients like glucose at optimum levels in the brain so that it can function properly. As in any training or exercise program, pay attention to your dog and note if he or she is enjoying it. Break the activity into small achievable steps and always end on a positive note.
Walk your normal walk in reverse or choose a totally different path. As you stroll, stop and take your senior through his “sit,” “stay” and “come,” but also toss in something he never learned before. Be patient and keep it fun. If your best pal is having a little trouble keeping up, get him a wagon or stroller, so that he can still sniff and see the sights by your side. Check out more tips for keeping your older dog in shape.
Talk to your veterinarian about supplements that may improve cognitive function as well as protect your dogs brain.
Vitamins E and C play a big role in protecting both the brain and nervous system. In combination with sufficient exercise, they have been shown to slow the impacts of aging. Whatever you and your older fella or lady do together, do it together, and remember that variety is the spice of life.
By offering new and different challenges, you just may ward off cognitive decline, for you and your senior pet!
Consider Investing in Dog Insurance
Looking for more ways to keep your pup happy and healthy? Consider investing in a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1 Our dog insurance policies can provide the coverage and care your furry family member deserves. Get your free quote today.
Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.
1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.