We all know that pets need to get physical exercise, but do you know how important mental exercise is for your pet? Don’t underestimate your little animals. Some of them are blessed with large brains and very high intelligence, and they can understand a lot more than we give them credit for. Below are some ideas for mentally stimulating all different types of pets. Providing mental stimulation for your pet will keep them happy, active, healthy and sociable.
Mentally stimulating your dog will alleviate boredom and prevent them from getting up to mischief. Mental stimulation may also prevent excessive chewing or barking. Instead of just giving your dog his snacks in his food bowl have some fun and let your dog use all their senses to earn their treats. Use a food dispenser ball to stimulate your dog and watch as they try and get the snacks out, using all their skills to retrieve the treats. Another way to mentally stimulate your dog is by getting them a dog puzzle toy which will stimulate their natural problem-solving skills and release any pent-up mental energy.
Cats are very smart and intelligent animals that are prone to get up to mischief if they aren't stimulated in the right way. One way to challenge your cat's mind is to engage in interactive play sessions. Using Mylar balls or fake mouse toys, these will move almost like prey so your cat can get to use her naturally incredible hunting skills. Interactive play sessions with your cat can give her the chance to practice her stalking techniques and pounce on her prey.
Birds are very intelligent and are among the smartest creatures in the world. Giving them a stimulating environment is essential to their health and happiness. Take a few minutes each day to hold and stroke your bird. This will provide positive mental stimulation to your little-feathered friend. Bird toys will also entertain your bird both physically and mentally. If you want to keep the boredom away, rotate different toys in and out of your birds cage every couple of weeks. This way, your parrots, budgies or cockatiels will get to play with "new" toys every few weeks, keeping them excited and mentally stimulated. Try toys like rope bridges or swings to entertain and stimulate your budgies, parrots budgerigars cockatiels
Fish have very small brains and don’t require much in the way of mental stimulation. That being said it’s always nice to give your fish a pleasant aquascape that provides shelter, plants and other areas of interest. Try and set up your aquarium to match the natural habitat that your fish would usually have in the wild. A variety of aquarium plants, driftwood, small hideouts or caves will increase your fish's activity in the tank, as well as provide additional hiding and feeding areas. Plastic plants will also add interest and can do the trick almost as well as real plants can.
Fluffy rabbits are probably one of the cutest pets you can own, but bunny’s brain also needs some mental exercises. Here are a few ideas to keep bunnies boredom at bay: Try giving your bunny chew toys, wicker balls, ramps, or tubes to climb on. You can even try a rabbit harness and take your bunny rabbit out for a walk to get for some fresh air and fresh stimulation for all their senses. Rabbits are most active at dawn and dusk, so make sure to leave toys and other items of interest in their cage even when you’re not around to watch them. Again, remember to rotate toys so they seem new to the bunny and don’t overload bunny with too many toys at once.
Providing stimulation for all your pets is very important even for reptiles. A boring enclosure with no variety can cause very serious issues to your pet lizard. Without mental stimulation, they are known to eventually succumb to anorexia, become hyperactive or persistently attempt to escape their enclosure. If you take the time to create an interesting and stimulating environment, you can prevent many of these problems. Try creating different levels, surfaces, and hideouts in the terrarium by using rocks, caves or pieces of wood. Moving things around the enclosure every few weeks will also keep your lizard or reptile stimulated and active.