Scents and sensibility

A recently published paper investigated links between depression and olfactory function in people. The researchers found that their data supported the hypothesis that an increase in olfactory function was associated with a decrease in depression severity. Persistent pain can impact on many different domains of life, including mobility, social and feeding behaviour, sleep, and mood. Diagnosing mood problems in pets may be challenging, and there are few licensed medications available for treatment, but encouraging dogs to use their sense of smell might contribute to improved mood. Depending on the degree of mobility of the pet, simply using part of their daily food ration to scatter around a non-slip area, with a few simple areas to investigate such empty boxes, can provide mental stimulation. More mobile dogs can be taught a degree of scent training – the target scent such as cloves or gun oil is associated with a food reward, and ultimately the dog can be taught to search for the target scent. This activity is excellent as it provides low- to moderate-intensity physical exercise and engages the olfactory portion of the dog’s brain. Finding toys by scent is another option for toy-centric canines.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: