Is your Dog’s Food Responsible For His Behavior?

Most dog owners probably choose their pet’s food based on price, what advertising they see and what they think their dog would like to eat. However, many more dog owners are becoming conscious to the quality of their pet’s food and seeking specialized diets. New studies are showing that the poor behaviors of dogs can sometimes be linked to what they are eating. If a dog has behavior and obedience problems, he or she may just need to have their diet evaluated.

Like humans’ bodies, the quality of food put in them is equal to the quality output (energy, general well-being and health). When your dog is feeling stressed from physical or social conditions, it’s imperative that it be fed a high-quality diet. In order to improve your dog’s behavior, you’ll want to consider his diet, as well as how you are training and responding to him. Perhaps a dog training class, reading a book on dog obedience, or getting advice from other owners of your same breed of dog will also help.

If your dog has had a recent surgery, pregnancy or some type of sickness, he is physically stressed. If he does not get enough social contact, has not gotten enough exercise or has had inconsistent treatment by people, he will also be stressed. Canine nutrition experts say that you should feed your stressed dog food that has high protein in it. There should also be moderate amounts of fat and high-quality carbohydrates in its nutritional content. Read your dog food label carefully. If you have questions, ask your veterinarian about the label.

Certain diets have calmed high-energy dogs, just by making dietary adjustments. It’s thought that having an increase in potassium can make a dog less excitable. Deficiencies in thiamine and niacin are often revealed in poor conditioned reflex formation before they become clinically apparent. You might also want to provide supplements to your dog’s diet. Giving them a high quality multi-vitamin/mineral/amino acid/enzyme product will benefit your dog, no matter his behavior.

Be aware, however, that it takes several weeks after making dietary changes before you would notice a distinct change in the behavior of your dog. And because the dog’s external environment can be changeable from day to day, it’s difficult to accurately assess if the dietary changes are making an acute difference. You’ll also want to make sure that your discipline of the dog is remaining constant during this time, so that you’re able to see if the change in his diet is indeed causing your dog to act differently.

Hopefully you’ll see that your dog - upon having a higher protein and lower carbohydrate diet - will react to commands more quickly, he will be less hyper-reactive to unexpected stimuli, and will interact with people better.

Before making any dramatic changes to your dog’s diet, I think it’s advisable to have a discussion with your dog’s veterinarian. He or she will know the overall health of your pet and be able to make suggestions based on his knowledge.

(c) Kelly Marshall, Oh My Dog Supplies

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