Food for thought

A frequent question I’m asked is ‘are there foods that will improve my dog’s behaviour’ or ‘are there foods that will make my dog’s behaviour worse?’.

That might seem a simple enough question but the answer certainly isn’t straightforward.

Food does affect behaviour (anyone who’s attempted to look after small children who are full of sugar at a party will tell you it’s like the velociraptor scene in Jurassic Park!) and there are plenty of studies on how certain foods can cause hyperactivity in children.

There are diet modifications that can have a positive effect on a dog’s brain’s neurochemistry, but for most owners, as long as they make sure they’re feeding the best quality food they can from a company that invests in research and development, that is designed for their dog’s age and type, with the nutrients they need, like, they’re not going to see any dramatic behaviour changes by changing their food (unless their diet was truly shocking before!).

They might have to try a few different options to find a food that suits their dog, and most importantly, that their dog enjoys. This is as important as the quality of the food. It doesn’t matter how good it is if your dog won’t eat it – and always remember that mealtimes are one of the highlights of your dog’s day, so you owe it to them to make it as enjoyable as possible.

It’s not what you do, it’s the way you do it

So, while choice of food is important, owners are more likely to be able to produce some marked behaviour changes by how they feed that food rather than what they feed!

For many of us, our dog’s dinner is a pretty rushed affair. A portion of food, provided in a bowl, a couple of times a day, which is gulped down in about 30 seconds.

The dog doesn’t have to think about how to get it, there is no challenge in eating it, no opportunity to gnaw, and chew and tear in the way that dogs were designed to eat and that they find so rewarding, and no brain power put into the securing of that meal.



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