The Mediterranean diet and physical exercise lead to better mental health. Exercise improves mood and slows down cognitive decline, while ingredients in the Mediterranean diet support canine intellectual development.
Diets with a higher antioxidant content help stimulate the dog’s mind and fight the harmful effects of ageing on the canine brain. The key foods for the central nervous system are those that contain Omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, and B vitamins.
A balanced diet, i.e. rich in nutrients and moderate in fats like the Mediterranean diet, accompanied by moderate daily exercise will give our dog a longer and better life.
Exercise for body and mind
Apart from the animal doing its needs, moderate daily exercise improves both physical and mental health because it provides a space for socialisation and recreation.
Dog walks enhance the animal’s mental activity. This means that walks stimulate their cognitive system.
They can also vitalise their sense of smell and sight. If these senses are not bolstered, they will gradually fade away. The animal needs to smell other scents and see new things. What’s more, leaving the house enhances their attention to the surroundings. This will make the dog smarter and more astute.
It’s also important to remember that dogs can suffer from sadness and depression. Animals, just like people, need to socialise and enjoy themselves. Taking your dog for a walk every day makes them more sociable and happier.
Another benefit of going for a daily walk is that it fosters a good relationship between the dog and their human companion. An animal always appreciates everything that is done for them. They’ll enjoy going out to exercise with someone they love so much.
And let’s not forget how beneficial it is for us humans to take the dog for a walk:
Lowers blood pressure
Gives us energy.
Helps maintain weight.
Reduces stress and anxiety.
Improves the feeling of well-being.
Boosts interpersonal socialising.
Food for the mind
According to biochemist Tory Hagen, from the University of Oregon (USA), a balanced diet for the dog, which includes foods with certain nutrients and antioxidants, can improve learning processes.
Two antioxidants are particularly beneficial: acetyl-l-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid. These molecules, present in meats, certain vegetables (spinach, broccoli) and other ingredients, stimulate the dog’s mental activity. They can even delay the usual brain ageing process of more elderly dogs.
Dogs that eat a diet rich in antioxidants increase their ability to learn new things, even at advanced canine ages, according to results published in the scientific journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
Nutrition experts recommend:
• Having regular feeding times.
• Providing a high quality diet made with natural ingredients and processes properly selected so as not to lose their properties.
• Giving the appropriate amount to each animal.
• Not giving snacks between meals or whenever the dog asks for them.
A balanced diet like the Mediterranean one, combined with a non-sedentary life that includes exercise, games and love, is the best way to take care of your dog’s health and mind. And also yours.