The Impact of Nutrition on Your Dog’s Behavior

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What we provide our dogs and puppies to eat has a direct impact on their health. However, did you know that it can affect their behavior as well? In today’s blog, Specialized K9 Services wants to explain how your pet’s diet can help or hinder their activity.

Unbalanced Diet for Your Dog

Many health issues can arise from feeding your dog a poorly balanced diet. Your dog’s behavior comes from their central nervous system, and if they are not eating healthily, they risk becoming lethargic, suffering from an inadequate immune system and may even become cranky as they have trouble focusing on tasks at hand.

Your pet’s body is complex, just like ours, and chemical reactions are happening all the time.  In both humans and dogs, our systems are regulated by neurotransmitters and hormones.

Let’s consider the role of insulin within the body. If your pet is fed a diet that is high in grain and low in protein, your pup will become sluggish after mealtimes and need a nap. That is because the grain in food will induce the release of insulin which then triggers a release of cortisol. These two chemicals combined equate the need for a snooze.

You may not think you are giving your beloved pal much grain, but it may surprise you to find out that you are. The next time you are in a big-box store take the time to read the ingredients in many of the cheaper, fewer quality brands of dog food. Many of the brands that are commercially available use corn as a cheap filler product which is not healthy for dogs.

Dogs are carnivores by nature and need protein in their diets. When a dog ingests protein, they are less likely to get sluggish after meals and alternatively are fueled and ready to play, exercise and be healthy instead. The quality of the protein source can make a huge difference in your dog’s ability to effectively process and make use of the nutrients.

Inadequate Amount of Food

Think of how you feel if you do not get enough food and are hungry. We bet that you get tired and frequently you get testy and cranky. When your dog does not have the correct amount of food, they can feel the same way. Many dogs can even develop acid reflux types of symptoms, just as humans do.

People assume that pets only need to be fed once a day, but depending on their size, age and activity levels, they may need to be fed adequately balanced meals two to three times a day.

When your pet does not get enough nutrition, it may result in negative behaviors such as scavenging or eating feces. Some dogs will also resort to eating plants, dirt or other undesirable items if they lack certain nutrients in their diet.

Say No to Free Feeding

On the flip side, leaving food out for your pet all of the time is not healthy either. Just as humans do, dogs can develop the habit of eating out of boredom. If your dog has the opportunity of eating whenever they want to, it can quickly lead to obesity and diabetes in your pet.

Also, monitoring how often your pet eats is a clear indicator of what their health is like. If they are left to graze and nibble throughout the day, you may miss the early indicators of when your dog is not feeling well. A lack of appetite is usually the first sign that your dog is getting sick. Free feeding also takes away powerful opportunities for relationship building and training with your dog.  In multi-dog households, free-feeding often leads to resource guarding behaviors between dogs.

Balance and Exercise

Of course, diet is only part of the equation of what your dog’s behavior will be and to staying healthy. Proper feeding routines, paired with adequate exercise, will improve the behavior of your canine. 

Exercising your pet prevents digestive issues while improving their mental state. Dogs love to run and be active, and they cannot help it because it is in their DNA. If your pet does not get adequate exercise, it can result in other destructive behaviors such as chewing, biting, digging, hyperactivity, and more.

Besides, exercising and one-on-one play with your pet is an excellent bonding time!

Overall, our goal here at Specialized K9 Services is to help you and your dog enjoy a lifetime of happiness and health together. One of the critical ingredients in prolonging the life of your pet is for them to have a well-balanced diet. We offer a variety of behavior and training services so you and your pup can create happy memories together, for more information contact us today.

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