Has your mischievous, playful pooch suddenly become quiet? Does he appear withdrawn or sullen, so unlike his old cheerful self?
If you’re wondering about your dog’s behavior, one of the first things you should examine is the food he eats, especially if you have recently switched his regular food for something new. Low-quality pet foods often contain more filler grain products which are the main causes of allergies. So if you know your pup suffers from food allergies, a change in his diet can definitely affect his mood.
Aggression and hyperactivity are usually associated with the quality and ingredients of dog food. Keep in mind that the better quality food your pup canine pal is eating, the better his mental and physical health will be.
A Dubai pet food delivery service shares what you need to know about high-quality pet food and how it can affect your dog’s mood.
Behavioral Changes Due to Diet
Just like humans, a canine eating an unbalanced meal may become aggressive or irritable. When a dog’s diet is high in filler ingredients, he can experience discomfort and health problems which may translate into aggression.
For dogs with dominance aggression, low protein food or tryptophan supplementation to high protein food is ideal. More important than the amount of protein a dog consumes is the amount of tryptophan he gets. Tryptophan is a vital amino acid found in protein necessary for the production of serotonin which, in turn, alleviates your dog’s mood.
Protein is a crucial element in every dog’s diet. However, when protein levels aren’t balanced, it can create problems regarding behavior as protein is directly linked to serotonin production.
Many vitamins and nutrients are supplied to the body by protein. So when there are too few amounts of protein in your dog’s diet, tryptophan will compete for absorption. This will result in the difficulty of producing serotonin, low levels of tryptophan, and unstable moods like aggression or depression.
Is your dog too active that he ends up chewing on furniture or damaging your other belongings? Although certain breeds are prone to have more energy, your dog could be suffering from hyperactivity if he’s showing the following symptoms.
- Frenetic activity
- Abnormally short attention span
- Being overbearing
- High level of impulsiveness
- Attention-seeking behavior
A dog’s diet containing an abundance of sugar could be the one causing or enhancing the characteristics stated above.
How to Read Nutrition Labels on Dog Food
If you want to help your dog modify and improve his behavior, there are some ingredients you should be on the lookout for when reading dog food nutrition labels.
The first three to five ingredients on the list are usually the most significant as those comprise what the majority of the kibble is made from. At the same time, you will also be able to figure out the amounts and types of fats, grains, proteins, and preservatives used.
Use the information you see on labels along with your veterinarian’s recommendations to determine what is the best food for your dog. This will not only help in changing your dog’s behavior but also ensure his optimal health.
How Many Times a Day Should You Feed?
It’s no longer a standard regimen to feed your dog once a day or leave food all day unless recommended by your vet. The number of times you feed your pup in a day has a great impact on his overall demeanor. A common practice is to feed your adult dog twice or thrice a day.
Proper dog feeding times vary depending on your dog’s age, activities, and breed. Here’s a sample feeding schedule customized to a canine’s needs:
- Adult dogs – Most adult dogs should get fed twice a day. This aids digestion and keeps their metabolism stable. You can give breakfast at around 7 am and dinner when you get back from work at 6 pm.
- Puppies – Since a puppy is still growing, he should get fed at least three times a day. Make sure to schedule a feeding around morning, noon, and evening. You may also refer to this guide in feeding a new puppy.
- Senior dogs – Just like adult dogs, senior dogs need to get fed twice a day. However, senior dogs should have smaller amounts of food since they have limited activities.
- Active breeds – Breeds like terriers and border collies are usually fond of running around. It helps to feed these kinds of breeds three times a day as their metabolisms and activity levels tend to be higher.
- Sedentary breeds – Large breeds like the Great Dane and mastiff tend to sleep more than average dogs. If your huge dog isn’t burning many calories, you can feed him once a day.
Each dog is unique so you may have to change your dog’s food and feeding schedule depending on his activity level. If you notice sudden changes in your dog’s mood, consult your veterinarian first before making any alterations to his diet.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a BSC in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz
NOTE: ALWAYS TALK TO YOUR VET BEFORE ANY FOOD CHANGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE TO YOUR DOG’S DIET.