Guest post. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and do not necessarily represent the views of Val Heart & Heart Communications Enterprises Inc.
Pets need as much love and attention as humans do. One of the best ways to care for them is by encouraging them, through various means and dedicated toys, to play and stay active as much as possible. Playing serves a vital role not only for it’s physical state but also for it’s mental and emotional health. Toys offer pets the chance to increase their stamina, flexibility and mental acuity while providing them with a sense of comfort and relaxation. There are many more reasons why toys are vital to the health of the pets, which we will further explain. Here is why pets need toys to grow healthy.
Why Do Animals Play?
Play is a vital component not only in the lives of domestic animals but also for the animals that live in the wild. Scientists, such as Carol Grant Gould and James L. Gould, describe the process of ‘’playing’’ as being any behavior that serves no adaptive, practical or survival purpose. We tend to think that animals, due to the fact that they are incapable of abstract thought, are driven solely by their survival instincts and act accordingly, performing tasks that serve this exact purpose.
But animals, just like us, feel the need to engage in ‘’purposeless activities’’ to pass the time. Herring gulls, for example, play by grabbing clams with their beaks, let them drop and try to catch them mid-air. As for domestic animals, dogs have an entire ritual when encountering other dogs. They inspect, sniff and walk in circles around each other, and then the play-fight begins. These, and other ‘’games’’ animals play, are both a way to maintain their mental acuity, and integrate themselves in same-species groups.
Therefore, toys, in the case of domestic pets, are sort of a miniature extension of the solitary and social plays that animals that roam the wildlands engage in. Toys simulate a personalized version of the wildlife while keeping pets happy and healthy in the process. There are many toys available, specially designed for every kind of pet, based on needs, personalities and way of play. Websites such as ToyPetReviews have comprehensive articles to help you choose the right toys for your pet.
Pets surely benefit tremendously from the domestic comfort of human households. However, one thing that they might lack is the constant physical activity from the wild. Pets such as dogs, for example – especially breeds like Huskies, who are biologically driven to run tens of kilometers per day in deep snow – can suffer the most from sedentarism. Even cats, who are more static than other pets, need the occasional physical activity to maintain a healthy weight and body.
For cats and dogs, obesity is one of the most serious health concerns. It exposes the pets to the risk of developing diabetes and other associated illnesses. Apart from this, by gaining excess weight, the joints are exposed to additional pressure, the lifespan of the pet is greatly reduced, and the digestive and breathing organs function at reduced capacity.
These reasons and several others presented in the following entries are why pet owners such invest in toys.
Intellectual stimulation and rigorous mental activity is as important to pets as maintaining a healthy weight. Sadly, the one thing that domestication has not ridden animals of is the ability to become easily bored when there is simply nothing to do.
When it comes to dogs, working breeds such as Border Collies and English Cocker Spaniels, are biologically wired to seek physical and intellectual activities to the point of exhaustion. Guinea pigs, despite being lazy and sedentary by nature, need intellectual stimulation because, like dogs and cats, they are prone to increased amounts of stress and anxiety.
While owners can maintain the pets at a healthy weight by exposing them to activities that provide social and physical enrichment, intellectual stimulation is provided by sensory enrichment. Sensory enrichment covers the five basic senses: tactile (touch), sight (visual), hearing (auditory), olfactory (smell) and taste. The pet’s auditory senses, for example, can be adequately stimulated by creating a diverse soundscape, either by giving them squeaky toys or turning on the TV.
Taste enrichment can be achieved by giving the pet food or toys with novel tastes. Olfactory enrichment is especially important for prey animals, such as cats. The best way to contribute to it is by offering objects and foods that smell like prey animals.
As an owner, it’s your duty to provide the pet the medium, atmosphere and tools to stimulate the pet’s senses. One of the best way to keep the pet’s senses active is by giving it toys designed for this purpose.
Like wild animals, domestic pets need constant physical, intellectual and emotional stimulation in order to remain healthy and lead a long, happy life. One of the best ways to contribute to your pets’ health and happiness is by providing the animals with specially designed toys that encourage them to engage in playtime and enrich their five senses in the process. Make sure to read through this article, and you will get all the information that you need about this subject.
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