It is no secret that the brain is one of the most complex conundrums known to man. Scientists have been known to capitulate that we know more about the universe beyond our planet than we do about the wonders of the brain. The same goes for the dog brain, the control centre for our loyal four-legged companions that has made them the loveable friends that have been by our sides for over a millennium. But what is my dog thinking about? What is my dog feeling? And how clever is my dog?
Much the same with humans, it is impossible to decipher exactly what our dogs are thinking, but what we can do, is take the necessary steps to help ensure that our dogs brains are healthy, to help reduce the likelihood of brain disease in dogs, and to even initiate some helpful brain training for dogs.
Dog Brain Size and Function
You might be surprised to know that the dog brain is strikingly similar to the human brain in terms of its composition, but a fair amount smaller. Think of the dog brain like a vast orchestra, with each section carrying out a specific purpose that is instrumental for a bodily function. Be that the essentials like breathing, moving, and keeping the heart and circulation working, or the more complicated tasks like problem-solving or understanding and producing emotion. All of these tasks are carried out by different sections of the brain, and the proportion of each relative to the size of the brain for dogs and humans shows an uncanny similarity. The one major difference being that the dog brain has a far larger brain proportion devoted to analysing smell, and this would explain why detectives themselves never have their nose to the ground sniffing for clues.
Is My Dog Smart?
The dog brain has been extensively studied to decipher how intelligent your pet pooch is, and it turns out they are a rather clever bunch. For an animal typically a fraction of our size, the average dog is said to possess the same mental capacity as a child between the ages of 3 and 5. This can help explain why we have such a good relationship with them because this mental power has been put to work. They can herd sheep, guide the blind, track criminals, and sense our distress. This phenomenon goes back hundreds of years too. When we as humans civilised ourselves, dogs understood that empathy for humans and helping with tasks would earn them shelter, food and companionship, and our amazing bond blossomed from there. Many have also hypothesised that our development as a species was aided massively by the bridges we formed with dogs. That is why it is important that we nourish the brains of our dogs as if they were our own.
Dogs and Their Emotions
It is already established that dogs are intelligent beings, but what about their feelings? It can be very difficult (due to the language barrier) to understand exactly what our dogs are feeling, but dogs do show some ‘tell tail’ signs. They have been known to show signs of excitement, jealousy, concern, sadness and many more. That is why it is important to grasp that in this sense, dogs are people too, and like people, they deserve to be treated with care and compassion so that they don’t experience distress as a result. Their ability to read emotions is also incredible, as their dog brain can react to stimuli and immediately detect whether someone is a friend or foe, and they can experience empathy and tell when a human is in need of comfort.
Brain Disease in Dogs
The dog brain is, unfortunately, due to the shared emotional qualities it has with the human brain, just as susceptible to developing issues such as anxiety, loneliness, and even depression. The aforementioned language barrier can also make this very problematic as these issues can be hard to detect by us, the owners. However, not to worry as there are certain preventative measures that we can pursue to ensure our furry friends healthy, happy and sound of mind. Firstly like mentioned before, it is important to treat our dogs with care and compassion, to nurture them and look after them whilst allowing them to experience the loving companionship that they give to us.
This nurture isn’t purely emotional too, the dog brain is the control centre of the dog body, and without a requirement by the dog body, this life-giving brain is functionally compromised. Like the teamwork in a sports team, the dog brain and body benefit from practice working together. That is why it is beneficial to give your dog plenty of exercises and fresh air. Lastly, there are also supplementary measures that you can take to help further nourish your dog’s brain and deliver it the best opportunity to achieve a premium level of functionality. The dog brain is a hive of different functions and uses, and each can be helped in terms of vitality by a specific supplement tailored to that need.
Brain Training for Dogs
Just like the body and how muscles get stronger, larger and more powerful with exercise and tasks to carry out, the brain too can benefit from stimulation. By delegating your dog tasks that require a bit of thought, you are actively helping them to form a deeper understanding of the world around them and their role in it. This not only could make them more useful when you’ve lost the remote for the TV, or need your slippers brought over to you, but it will also form a layer in the overall prevention of your dog’s brain developing disease. The brain is like a cognitive bicycle and if it doesn’t get ridden, it stays in the garage and gradually gathers rust.
The same can be said for supplementation, children are within the same mental bracket as dogs, and it is not uncommon to treat them to catered supplementary products for the purpose of helping aid their cognitive development. Why not do the same for our beloved canine companions? Brain supplementation for your dog could help them to develop cognitively and form an all-important step on the road to forging a happy and healthy life for your hound.
As a pet owner, it is also always of great importance to have a grasp on where supplements are coming from before you give them to your four-legged friends. It is always best to check the ingredients first because you don’t want to get a supplement that ends up causing more harm than good. You will also found that it is best to ensure that you are giving your dog supplements that have been naturally sourced. These means that they will have little to no additives or unwanted side-effects, and so, therefore, are typically are the best when it comes to dog brain health.