This year, World Mental Health Day took place on 10th October and it was a part of the larger Mental Illness Awareness Week.
What is mental health? We hear about it and talk about it, but how do we define mental health?
Mental health is psychological well-being and the absence of a mental disorder. And simply put, it’s the ability to enjoy life and create a balance between activities and efforts in order to achieve mental resilience. It also means the ability to express emotions and adapt to a range of demands.
These days we have more knowledge than ever before when it comes to the mental health of our four-legged friends.
Questions we can consider…
Are they enjoying life?
Are they able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult situations?
Can they adapt to different situations?
One of the causes of mental health issues is not receiving enough interaction. And these issues can demonstrate in destructive behaviour, obsessive-compulsive behaviour, anxiety, aggression, fear, and depression.
Talk to canine behaviourist.
If you observe this behaviour in your dog I would recommend talking to a dog behaviourist. Adam Dunn, Qualified to degree level (Adv.Dip.Canineprac) and an experienced Canine behaviourist and Psychologist is my go to guy!
He encourages using positive reinforcement methods by using the most up-to-date scientific studies. Adam is a member of ISCP and ICAN and working towards full INTO membership, he specializes in separation-related behaviours, fear and anxiety, aggression, phobias, canine body language, OCD-type behaviours, and improving wellbeing and self-confidence. He also focuses on how homeopathic remedies can improve your dog’s lifestyle and works with rescue dogs from across Europe to adjust to life in the UK.
I’ve hosted Adam’s seminar in my salon twice already and both times proved to be very interesting. Because of the success, I’m sure we’ll be planning one next year. Or alternatively, you can come to Vita Canis Style to Rescue on the 26th April 2020. Adam will be one of our speakers there.
Let’s look at…
Stress and Anxiety
To choose the right approach, we need to understand the difference between stress and anxiety.
Stress is a response to a specific stressor, like fireworks, a car journey, or a visit to the vet. Anxiety has no identifiable root. And sometimes we have to dig deep to find the cause (which is not always successful).
Stress typically goes away when the stressor disappears. However, anxiety tends to stick around for longer and is more difficult to treat. And in the case of anxiety, Comfort Blend works very well in many cases. This synergetic blend of essential oils can be used for dogs suffering from separation anxiety. And also the distress, sadness, homesickness, or having difficulty adjusting to unfamiliar circumstances.
There are many behavioural changes in older dogs that can be signs of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction or doggie Alzheimer’s such as…
· Getting lost in familiar places
· Sleeping more during the day and less at night
· Getting generally more fearful and anxious
· Performing repetitive behaviour
· Barking for no apparent reason
· Lost and confused
· Walking into corners
There’s no cure for dementia but the synergetic blend of essential oils in the Comfort Blend can help to alleviate the symptoms.
I was using it on my old Kerry Blue, Kimi who passed away about a year ago. The last year of her life saw her getting confused, barking for no reason (well I couldn’t see any reason but I’m sure she had one) at silly hours in the morning, and getting lost in the yard. Comfort Blend was a blessing!
This is what Jade Borrow had to say about our Vita Canis Comfort Blend and how it helped her and Disney…
“My Bichon, Disney, has recently been diagnosed with doggie dementia so has been really unsettled, hysterically barking and not wanting to be away from me. In January I spoke to Jitka and she recommended that the Comfort Blend may work but couldn’t guarantee it as it is new and hadn’t tried it on a dog with what Disney has. I bought a bottle and although I know nothing will cure it, it has most definitely settled him down a lot. He’ll go and relax by himself in a cage and I can now leave a room without him panicking on my whereabouts.
Obsessive compulsive behaviour
Obsessive compulsive behaviour in dogs often occurs because of the Canine Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This is an anxiety-related disorder in which dogs engage in repetitive and often self-destructive behaviour, for example, excessive licking. To calm themselves down, dogs often resort to repetitive behaviour. Licking (being sensory stimulation) can distract them from their internal stress.
These dogs may have recently experienced a great deal of stress, or may even have a history of abuse 😞.
What do you do to improve your dog’s mental health?