BaxterBoo Blog
March 21, 2019

Why a Pet Needs Exercise for the Brain

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The last few decades of research have shown that animals are smart. Jane Goodall’s pioneering studies on chimpanzees revealed that they used tools, formed complicated alliances and were emotionally complex. More recent studies show that whales cooperate with one another, birds communicate on an advanced level and alligators engage in play.


Of course, this is nothing new to pet owners. They know that dogs and cats are among the smartest animals on the planet, and most pet owners believe their pet is probably way above average. Many pets have a large vocabulary and though they might not be able to verbalize words they often understand names, the faces of people and words that are repeated often. Because they have large brains and mental capacities, pets need to be stimulated on a regular basis. Failure to do so can result in emotional stress to the animal.


Great Ways To Stimulate a Pet


The good news is that it is not that difficult to entertain most pets. In fact, entertaining a pet is often big fun for both the pet owner and the pet. The following are good choices when it comes to stimulating an animal:

  • Talk the pet for a walk
  • Allow the dog or cat to explore new surroundings
  • Introduce the pet to new people
  • Take the animal to a place where it will encounter other cats and dogs
  • Play a game or two with the pet
  • Let the pet spend a few hours outdoors
  • Play some music

Most pets will respond to some or all of these options, though of course, each animal has its own favorites. A pet that is stimulated is more likely to be a happy pet.


Good Toys to Employ for Dogs


Just as a child should have a toy box full of bright and shiny toys, so should a pet. Not only will the right to keep a dog or cat exercised, but a good toy also stimulates the brain of the pet and keeps it from becoming bored. One good example of this is a mallard duck plush toy for dogs. Especially designed for hunting dogs, this plush toy will provide hours of entertainment for most dogs. Not only it is interesting visually, but it also produces a realistic squeaking sound, keeping any dog interested. The toy can be thrown to the dog so it can practice its retrieving skills.


It can also be fun to get something a little outlandish, with bright colors and interesting designs. A clever dog will enjoy looking at the toy and of course playing with it. Pet owners who wish to stimulate their dog would do well to consider a giggling carrot to entertain their pet. While the vivid orange and green vegetable might seem a little crazy, in a way that’s the point. The dog will love the visuals, as well as the giggling that comes from the sound chip, and the texture of the plush toy adds another dimension to the play.


Any toy that makes a dog solve a puzzle is an excellent way to get it thinking on a higher level. When food is involved, it’s likely the dog will be even more motivated. That’s why a hard rubber dental toy is such an excellent idea, especially because it works on several levels: 

  • When thrown, it bounces in crazy, unpredictable patterns
  • It can be offered as a reward for performing a trick
  • The dog must figure out where the snack is hidden
  • The toy also provides benefits for dental health


A little stimulation keeps dogs happy and healthy. It also wards off such things as boredom, separation anxiety and lack of physical exercise.


Smart Ways to Stimulate Cats


Cats need just as much stimulation as dogs. While it seems at times that they might be better at entertaining themselves, they still can stand some help from their owners. Whether a cat is an indoor pet or it likes to spend some time outdoors, paying attention to its mental health is a good practice and one supported by veterinarians. Since cats love catnip, it’s hard to go wrong with a plush toy filled with USA grade catnip. Whether the toy is in the shape of a turtle or a lobster or some other shape, most cats will enjoy getting to the bottom of that irresistible smell.


Since cats love to bat at strings and balls, and because this keeps their minds as agile as the feline body, smart pet owners keep a variety of this kind of toy around. An assortment of different colors and shapes is a great way to keep a cat on its toes. Something as simple as a ball with a tassel can entertain a cat for many hours, as it chases the ball around. It can be just as fun for the pet owner, too, watching the cat sneak up on the ball, then run and hide, and then ambush it from a different direction. While the cat is exercising, it is also keeping its brain active and sharp.


Any time the cat can be encouraged to play, and to solve a puzzle, this promotes brain health. A good way to do this, as with dogs, is to make a game or puzzle out of getting food. After all, cats in the wild have to outsmart and outmaneuver their prey, so why not make a pet do the same. A cat feeder toy rewards the pet with food by solving the riddle of how to get the food out of the toy. The cat can see and smell the food, but still has to find a way to get the food out and into its paws.


Brain Health Makes for a Happy Dog or Cat


Just as humans need to be stimulated, so too do dogs and cats. Their brains are remarkable organs, capable of emotions, problem-solving and their own brand of thought. If pet owners ignore this fact, their pets can suffer and will be unfulfilled. Fortunately, entertaining dogs and cats are just as much fun for owners as it is for the animals.




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This entry was posted by Rachel.

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