Is There a Connection Between Dog Diet and Behaviour?

Updated on April 16, 2023

Of course the adage “you are what you eat” has been drummed into your head repeatedly. While it’s true that indulging in fast food, chocolate, and sweets once in a while won’t kill you, it won’t help you look or feel your best either.

Just imagine how hyperactive and misbehaved a youngster would be if they were fed a steady diet of fast food, sugary snacks, and meals with an abundance of unhealthy additives.

And yet, the possibility that this is also true of our dogs seems to be hardly discussed.

A poorly behaved dog may be a reflection of its breed, its upbringing, its environment, or its own inherent character, yet these explanations are often discounted. Due to a paucity of study, poor diet is rarely blamed as a cause of undesirable behaviour. In any case, it now seems that what you feed your dog can affect its demeanour. A dog’s happiness can be measured in part by how well their health is maintained.

In this article, we will investigate whether or not providing your dog with a healthy, high-quality diet will alter its mischievous behaviour.

WHAT IS NUTRITION?

The term “nutrition” refers to the practise of consuming food and drink in order to obtain all the nutrients necessary for health, growth, repair, and essentially just giving us with the energy we need to go about our daily lives. Just like humans, dogs need to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.

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The brain and, by extension, behaviour, are profoundly influenced by a person’s diet and the myriad biological elements that influence it.

WHAT SHOULD MY DOG’S FOOD INCLUDE?

The food we provide our pets is the first step toward ensuring their health and pleasure. Dog food should be full of healthy, natural components and made without using any harmful processing techniques. The extrusion used to manufacture kibble and other low-cost pet feeds greatly reduces the food’s nutritional value and makes it difficult to digest.

Look for foods that include the right proportions of protein, carbs, fats, water, and vitamins and minerals. Dogs benefit greatly from a diet that includes meat, fruits, vegetables, and functional components in a balanced, nutrient-rich whole food. If you’re not sure what kind of dog food your dog needs, we’ve produced a separate piece with lots of advice to help you out.

In a perfect world, words like “chicken” and “beef” would be used to describe the precise type of protein used. Animal by-products, such as those labelled as “animal derivatives,” “meat meal,” or simply “meat,” are dubious, low-quality sources of protein because they come from sections of the animal that aren’t suited for human consumption. These are used to increase the volume of the dog food, but they do not include the high levels of nutrients or hydration that your dog requires.

In addition, the dog food you feed them should be delicious, so that lunchtime is a time when their tail is always wagging.

WHAT BEHAVIOUR PROBLEMS CAN BE ASSOCIATED WITH POOR NUTRITION?

The connection between diet and behaviour is still a relatively new area of study, and researchers have a long way to go. The scientific investigation is ongoing, and more findings will be made as time passes. When owners, trainers, and behaviourists all switched to a healthier diet, they noticed a marked improvement.

Your puppy may be the epitome of bad behaviour in your eyes. They refuse to listen to you and are constantly active, which is exhausting. When people don’t pay attention to what they put into their bodies, it can have negative effects on their health and even their behaviour.

Examples of bad habits are:
Your dog is hyperactive and overexuberant, and he won’t calm down.
Disruptive behaviour during training, including inability to focus and general disruptiveness
Counter-surfing
Food-related aggression
Pica (eating unusual non-food objects such as grass, soil and debris) (eating strange non-food items such as grass, soil and rubbish)
Weakness, a lack of motivation to exercise, and a subsequent increase in body fat.
Flat-out refusing to eat what they serve

HOW CAN THE NUTRITIONAL VALUES AND INGREDIENTS IN MY DOG’S FOOD IMPACT THESE BEHAVIOURS?

HYPERACTIVITY

When your dog is genuinely joyful, loving life, and enjoying playing and cuddles, his or her excitability and giddiness can be very endearing. But there are moments when this vivacity borders on hyperactivity.

When it comes to the food we give our dogs, we tend to put aside many of the beliefs we hold about our own diets. Health, happiness, and wellbeing can be thought of as the “big three,” and they are all inextricably tied to eating well. The correct nutritional balance can help your dog produce the required “feel-good” hormones to help keep him or her cheerful, calm, and a joy to be around.

Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is essential for achieving nutritional equilibrium. Artificial flavourings, chemicals, and other dubious substances abound in commercial, low-cost dog diets, especially kibble. It’s unclear where these dyes and additives come from, and they don’t contribute any nutritional value to the food; they’re just there to make it appear prettier and stand out on the store shelf.

Your dog’s blood sugar will spike, which could result in a frenzied burst of activity followed by a devastating crash that makes the dog sluggish. This is quite similar to what happens when we consume large amounts of sugar and then quickly crash, but when we consume a more nutritionally balanced meal, our energy levels remain stable for longer.

Similarly, protein is an essential part of your dog’s diet because it serves as an energy source; yet, many dogs get far too much protein from the cheaper types of dog food. Many budget brands treat all dogs the same, yet this is clearly not the case with your dog’s nutrition. You can have too much of a good thing, it’s true.

Increases in crude protein content are not always indicative of improved food quality; rather, this is determined by the quality of the protein’s source. Inspect the ingredient list for your dog’s food to check whether it contains any components labelled as “animal derivatives” or “meat meal,” both of which you should avoid at all costs. The term “derivatives” is used to describe animal by-products, or the portions of an animal that aren’t often considered fit for human consumption. Visualize skeletons, beaks, hooves, and feet.

Meat meal, similarly, refers to the ground-up bones and other non-meat elements of an unidentified animal used as a simple and inexpensive filler. Meat meal and other animal byproducts are difficult to assess for their nutritional content.

The most concentrated protein sources are those specifically labelled as chicken, duck, beef, or something similar. So, just because a cheap brand of dog food has a high percentage of protein doesn’t imply it’s good for your pet. Your dog requires steady blood sugar levels to maintain a calm demeanour, and this will have the same effect as giving it something artificial.

Your dog’s individual character will develop due in large part to their genes and their upbringing, but they will mature into a more relaxed canine if their energy levels are kept more consistently high. Your dog should experience a greater sense of calm and serenity as a result of his or her blood sugar levels remaining steady.

If your dog’s energy levels are through the roof, try switching to a natural and healthful dog food like Pure, which is free of additives, preservatives, and questionable protein sources.

Your dog will benefit immensely from a high-quality, specialised dog chow like Pure. Dog food, as previously said, should not be manufactured with a “one size fits all” mentality. Recipes for dogs on the Pure diet are tailored to their specific dietary needs at every life stage, including the specific amounts of protein and fat they require.

Maintaining a healthy diet can reduce stress, which in turn may help your rambunctious puppy relax.

ALLERGIES AND HYPERACTIVE BEHAVIOUR

This may come as a surprise, as allergies are typically linked to irritating symptoms like scratching, licking, and redness that can lead to atopic dermatitis in your dog. Licking, hostility, lack of energy, and hyperactivity are just some of the strange behavioural changes that may signal an allergy.

This could be a reaction to anything in their food, so if you see this behaviour (which is likely to be accompanied by itchy skin) it’s crucial to investigate the cause.

If you can identify the offending substance, you can eliminate it from your dog’s food and perhaps put an end to the itching and other symptoms. Beef and chicken, as well as soy and gluten, are among the most often encountered food allergies. As a pet parent, your top priority should be providing your dog with a balanced, nutritious diet that will help them thrive physically and mentally without causing any adverse consequences.

Here’s where a special recipe may really shine. Share your dog’s allergy information with Pure, and we’ll customise a delicious food just for him. Pure’s natural ingredients and high nutrient content will make your dog eager for mealtimes and prevent any adverse reactions from occurring due to allergies.

CAN THE AMOUNT I FEED AFFECT HYPERACTIVITY?

Your dog’s extreme energy levels could be driving you crazy, but the amount you feed them could also be a contributing factor.

An overabundance of additives, too much protein, or just too many calories might cause your dog to become an uncontrollable ball of activity, leading to many manic moments. A dog’s desire to socialise may decrease as a result, and you may hear more barking as he or she attempts to get all that pent-up energy out.

Low-priced dry dog food isn’t going to provide your dog with the balanced nutrition it needs and may lead to erratic behaviour as your dog’s blood sugar levels rise and fall. Your dog will become hungry more quickly due to the lack of nutritional value, and you may end yourself feeding them more than they need.

As a result, your dog’s blood sugar levels will spike again, resulting in hyperactivity, and he or she will consume a lot of calories, an abundance of protein, and numerous noxious chemicals. Pure dog food is loaded with healthy, natural ingredients and loads of nutrients, making your dog lick their bowl clean and reducing the frequency with which you need to feed them.

PUPPIES, ADULT DOGS AND HYPERACTIVITY

At certain points in their lives, dogs have specific nutritional needs. Because of their rapid development, high metabolic rate, and boundless energy, puppies require special diets that are higher in protein, fat, and calorie content.

Adult dogs who consume puppy food may exhibit the same hyperactive behaviour as puppies who consume excessive amounts of chemically-fortified kibble.

If your dog is prone to outbursts of craziness, it’s better to feed them a dog food that has been properly formulated for their breed, age, and size.

SNAFFLING A SNACK – GREED, COUNTER SURFING AND FOOD STEALING

Now we know that eating too much can cause hyperactivity as well as fat.

Currently, more than 51 percent of dogs in the United Kingdom are overweight, which can have serious consequences for their physical and mental health. The strange thing is that while eating too much might create hyperactivity, it can also cause laziness, resistance to exercise, and even despair.

An overfed dog is a sign of a gluttonous pooch. Dogs with a voracious appetite are more likely to sneak food from the table, your plate, or the trash. The primary objective is to steal food from any source possible. Too much food at dinner makes them greedy and drives them to look for more to eat.

Find a balanced diet for your dog that includes appropriate portions of all of his or her favourite foods to put an end to this behaviour once and for all. Dog owners may be tempted to overfeed their pets if they rely on kibble, which leaves them constantly hungry.

Labradors rank first when it comes to being gluttonous swine. One of the most popular types of dogs, Labrador retrievers are also known for being among the greediest. It’s not uncommon for these sweet Labs to steal food; they’ll do almost anything for a snack. This is due to the fact that Labradors have an enhanced hunger as a result of their presence of the pro-opiomelanocortin gene. When it comes to food, Labs will eat anything you put in front of them, so watch their portions.

It’s possible that your dog won’t respond as well to treat training if they eat everything in sight. If they know they can munch on the reward whenever they want, it loses its allure as a special pleasure. If your dog is resistant to training, it may be because the prizes you offer are no longer motivating enough.

If you are the overfeeder, this is true even if your dog isn’t a food thief. There’s no point in training your dog to respond for a food incentive if it’s not hungry, and that could happen if you feed it too much.

NOT ENOUGH NUTRIENTS – FOOD STEALING, BEGGING AND PICA

On the other side, a dog that is not getting all the nutrients they need and are feeling continually hungry might demonstrate similar tendencies, food snatching, begging and a bizarre need to devour anything they can sniff out.

Pica is the habit of eating things that aren’t supposed to be eaten, such as dirt, sticks, and trash. We’ll examine pica and how it ties to nutrition more in depth later on, but for now, your dog might be performing this weird activity due to being legitimately hungry.

They might even become coprophagic, which is the behaviour of ingesting excrement, due to being peckish. Our dogs have their gross moments…

Your pooch needs dog food adapted to their individual needs, such as Pure. Inexpensive dog foods, predominantly kibble, can leave your dog with a fast burst of outrageous energy but they’ll be left feeling hungry in a couple of minutes owing to the absence of real, nutritional components.

Pure is packed full of natural proteins, carbs and vegetables, all things that you would know and buy for yourself. As a result, this diet will help your pup feel satisfied for longer. It may look and feel like you’re actually feeding your dog substantially less than you were previously with dry food. However, this is because dry foods require you to feed your dog a significantly bigger volume and top their bowl up more to complete their daily nutritional requirements, but with Pure, your dog is getting all they need with every bite.

Pure recipes are densely loaded with nutrients and real components that’ll balance and sustain their energy requirements much better than a chemical-fuelled kibble that’ll leave them operating on an empty system following an extreme energy surge.

RESOURCE GUARDING AND AGGRESSION

Most dogs love their food and will probably be pretty unhappy if you take it away from them mid-meal. Lots more people would undoubtedly feel the same way too!

However, some pups can feel a little overly possessive over many things, such as their food, a high-value toy and even their bed, leading to them lunging, biting and growling at the dog or person who interrupted them while they were eating, playing or on their bed.

Your dog could even demonstrate this weird conduct if you unintentionally brushed past them while they’re eating or playing with a favourite toy, or even if you just tried to pet them. This is called resource guarding.

It can be a natural instinct for dogs to be protective over items they value, however, it could also even be down to the fact your dog is actually really hungry, so they get rather possessive over their food. Discouraging this behaviour will mostly need devoted and lengthy training, but maybe you need to evaluate if your dog is getting the proper amount of food for their breed, size, age and activity levels.

Aggressive actions can also come about if your dog is in pain. Sometimes, dogs who are suffering from age-related disorders such as arthritis can be in considerable discomfort, and even the most gentle-natured canines can lash out because of this. For instance, you might go to stroke your dog and you mistakenly touch the place causing them pain, so they snap at you as a reflexive, quick reaction.

Providing your pooch with the optimum nourishment is vital anyway in giving your pup the best quality of life. This is even more crucial when picking a diet for a dog with an affliction, you need to be looking for one that is full of functional components to soothe their unique sickness. For conditions such as arthritis, whether your dog is already suffering from it or you just want to help prevent it, nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids, glucosamine and chondroitin are all fantastic additions to your dog’s diet.

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is an omega 3 fatty acid and has anti-inflammatory effects to reduce pain and lubricate the joints, increasing your dog’s movement. Alongside this, glucosamine and chondroitin operate simultaneously beside one another to further minimise the discomfort of joint injury and assist keep the cartilage in the joints from being damaged.

These vital, functional ingredients are sourced naturally and incorporated into Pure to minimise the pain produced by joint issues, and in turn, should lessen your dog’s aggressive reaction to their condition. If your dog is healthy, they’ll be substantially happier and in consequence, they should demonstrate greater behavioural qualities.

UNFOCUSED AND DIFFICULT TO TRAIN

We want to keep our clever canines on the ball, every owner wants a dog trained to perfection and it’s up to us as pooch parents to keep their minds sharp. We all know when we eat unhealthy food, it makes us tired, unfocused and unable to concentrate, and it’s conceivable that a similar thing probably happens with our dogs.

Puppyhood is the time where you’ll be focusing the most on training as this is the time where their brain is the most pliable and they encounter everything for the first time.

A nutritional food tailored to their lifestage is crucial, as pups need increased quantities of protein and fat to support their growth and development so they can grow into strong, healthy adult canines. Alongside growing physically, your pup’s brain will be continuously whirling to take in all these new information, so maintaining the mind healthy is crucial.

Functional nutrients such as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) from omega 3 are a terrific addition to any dog’s diet, but a puppy will benefit from this ingredient especially. DHA is proven to promote alertness and aid cognitive development which will consequently benefit your pup with their learning ability, so they become a better pup to train into a well-behaved adult dog.

As we know, omega 3 fatty acids are fantastic at promoting cognitive growth, but they also help to keep the brain and its functions maintained as your dog grows older. Dogs can genuinely suffer from canine cognitive disease, or doggy dementia, as it’s more generally termed, which stimulates weird actions from your dog, such as disorientation, amnesia, aggression and naughtiness.

This is why your dog requires a diet with all the proper elements to maintain their mind fresh and stay focused, trainable and attentive.

Dietary intervention is crucial to keeping your dog focused, well behaved and maybe decrease the consequences of ageing. Studies have suggested that antioxidants and DHA help in some way lessen the impacts, and in turn any unusual behaviour that doggie dementia causes.

Antioxidants and DHA from omega 3 are important elements in Pure’s formulations, helping keep both the physical and mental health of all dogs healthy.

PICA

As was previously indicated, dogs with pica have an insatiable appetite for inedible objects. They might treat themselves to grass, mud, rocks, toys and even rubbish from the bin! Some even eat their own faeces, which is actually characterised as coprophagia rather than pica. Our dogs can absolutely be pretty filthy.

There are various reasons as to why your dog may be demonstrating this weird, and obviously undesired habit (who wants a kiss from a dog who has just been tucking into something disgusting in the garden) (nobody wants a kiss from a dog who has just been tucking into something gross in the garden). Explanations include that your dog could truly still be hungry or that they have a nutritional imbalance, so they’re seeking the nutrients they’re lacking through non-food sources.

A mineral deficit, for instance, may explain why some people regularly resort to eating soil. Grass is another prominent non-food item that several dogs eat, which is symptomatic of your dog not getting enough fibre in their diet. Surprisingly, grass is really particularly high in fibre which is a vital element of a dog’s diet to aid digestion, therefore switching to a meal with a high fibre intake might help to put this activity to a halt.

A 2007 case study tracked a Poodle that had been eating grass and plants for 11 years, but after a switch to a diet with increased levels of fibre, the grass-eating habit stopped.

Switching your dog’s food to one that is fully, nutritionally balanced and has a limited ingredient list will be a great benefit, maybe helping stop your furry buddy from eating whatever they can get their paws on outside.

Pure is built of natural, recognised elements that will improve your pup’s digestive health so they shouldn’t need to tuck into your wonderful garden outdoors for a source of fibre. High fibre vegetables such as peas and carrots and healthy carbohydrates such as brown rice and potatoes are properly balanced in our Pure recipes and will be adjusted to your pooch to ensure they get the right quantity of everything for their own individual needs. Pure is delicious, wholesome dog chow that your dog deserves.

REFUSAL TO EAT

Many dogs, maybe unexpectedly, are quite picky eaters, often rejecting their food.

Many pet owners would be concerned if their dog refused to eat their prepared meal. Will they be able to eat? Should I bring them in for veterinary care? Asking because I’m worried they’re too thin.

If you’re ripping out your hair trying to entice your dog to eat, you might be inclined to spoil him or her with goodies and a gourmet home-cooked supper. Your dog’s fasting will be reinforced by this, and this is the one behaviour you want to discourage. In addition, the ingredients in a homemade food may not provide enough of the necessary nutrients for the dog to grow up strong and healthy.

Your dog requires a nutritionally full and balanced diet that can satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Nothing to sneeze at: pure is delicious, healthy, and satisfying. If your dog is exhibiting the frustrating behaviour of not eating, the problem can be remedied by providing them with food they truly appreciate.

However, most dogs enjoy their meals and look forward to them every day. However, your dog may suddenly stop eating one day. Your dog may just be bored for no good reason. Rarely do we hear anyone stress the significance of diversity when it comes to dog food.

While many canines may get by just fine on one diet for their entire lives, spoiled pups often have more sophisticated tastes and like variety in their meals. Dogs are naturally curious creatures, so giving them a taste of something new in their diet can be a great way to keep them interested.

Tell us about your dog, and we’ll come up with a variety of Pure recipes that will be just right for him or her. In addition to being balanced nutritionally and full of natural ingredients to keep your dog healthy, you can easily switch up which recipes your dog eats each month to keep things interesting. After all, a little spice never hurt anyone.

SO, WHAT IS THE BEST FOOD FOR MY DOG?

Every pet parent hopes to provide the best for their canine companion. Choosing the best dog food that is nutritionally balanced and will fill all your dog’s needs is tough and can feel daunting due to the vast number of options available.

Tell us about your dog’s breed, age, size, allergies, and ailments, and we will formulate a custom dog food plan just for them using Pure’s high-quality ingredients.

Maintaining the proper ratio of these elements is crucial for the health and well-being of a dog that is stubborn and resistant to obedience. You can do wonders for your dog’s physical health and mental vitality by feeding them the best food possible with a natural, nutritional ingredient list. Not only will it make you feel better, but there’s a chance it’ll also improve your dog’s behaviour.

RECAP

There is a strong correlation between how dog food and nutrition can have a significant impact on your dog’s behaviour, and yet the study into this area is still in its infancy. If you’re having problems with your dog’s behavior—whether they’re too hyperactive, too distracted, too tired, or just won’t eat—consider switching up their diet.

Changing your dog’s diet to something healthier is necessary even if he or she is well-behaved. Good, nutritious food is the first step toward ensuring a long, healthy, and happy life for your dog.

 

 

 

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