Although a number of factors can contribute to your dog’s negative behaviour, what you’re feeding them is likely to be one of them. In this article, we explore how diet can influence your dog’s temperament and how the food that they eat can sometimes lead to unruly behaviour.
What’s the link between diet and behaviour in dogs?
As well as impacting the general health of puppies, diet can also help to manage a range of conditions in dogs. For example, feeding your dog a regulated MCT diet can help to manage seizures, while it can even benefit those with a range of other conditions like liver or heart disease. In other words, the food your dog eats has a big influence on their physical health. But what about their mental wellbeing and behaviour?
Think of it like this – if you were to feed your child nothing but sweets, they would be bouncing off the walls one minute and would crash another. The same is true if you feed them nothing but junk food. While there’s limited research out there about the relationship between food and mood in dogs, it is likely that a dog’s behaviour is influenced by their diet. Specifically, a poor diet is likely to lead to a range of mental complications in your pup, so it’s important to regulate what you feed them.
How diet can affect your puppy’s temper
The key thing to remember is that nutritious food can improve your dog’s temperament. For instance, omega-3 is ideal for joints, but it’s also a healthy brain food. DHA is a fatty acid that is known to help brains develop, and the prevalence of this naturally occurring fatty acid is known to help dogs’ brains mature more quickly.
In senior dogs, food that contains antioxidants has been shown to prevent oxidative damage and cognitive decline, which is sometimes referred to as doggy dementia. This keeps your dog’s temperament consistent as they move into old age. It also ensures you are able to teach your old dog new tricks, as it reduces the onset of certain behaviours that are usually linked to cognitive decline.
One study from 1997 found that tailoring a dog’s diet had a remarkable impact on their mental wellbeing. Specifically, 98% of owners discovered significant improvements in their dog’s aggression after putting them on a tailored diet.
The importance of balancing food
Dogs require carbohydrates to provide energy and glucose, just like humans do. However, they also need protein, which is also broken down into glucose, but at a much slower rate. Feeding your dog food that contains excessive carbohydrates can lead to problems like hyperactivity, which is similar to kids gorging on sweets. On the other hand, protein is essential for your dog’s health, and studies have found that when puppies follow a high protein diet, they’re less aggressive. Therefore, striking a balance in your dog’s diet is important, as it has also been found to reduce the level of anxiety that some dogs experience.
Foods that can negatively influence your dog’s behaviour
Artificial additives that are included in your dog’s food can lead to inflammation and even intolerances. Inflammation can cause pain for your pup, which can lead to them being generally more irritable from day to day. It’s common for animals that are in pain to showcase problem behaviours, as we know from multiple studies. It’s also not surprising that highly processed foods can contribute to the destruction of certain neurotransmitters, which affects your dog’s ability to produce dopamine and serotonin. Again, this can affect their overall mood.
Consider how you feed your dogs
It’s not just what you feed your dog that can influence their behaviour, but how you feed them is also crucial. Ideally, you should feed a dog across 2-3 meals per day, meaning they don’t suffer significant dips in energy. You should also avoid giving your dog constant access to food, as they often eat anything they can find instead of moderating their intake. Dogs that have access to food throughout the day will overindulge, which can lead to issues like obesity. So, get into the habit of feeding your dog at regular intervals throughout the day to help them stay fit and healthy.
If you want to improve your puppy’s behaviour, consider Pure Pet Foods personalised puppy plans. A personalised plan is the best way of ensuring your puppy gets all the nutrients they need to thrive and rules out the likelihood of them developing certain problem behaviours that occur in dogs that follow poor diets.