In this article, Dr Kathy Cornack from Frontier Pets explores the ways in which diet can affect your dog’s mood. To learn more about Frontier Pets, visit their website!
If your dog is cranky, old, or just looks like it’s fed up with its lot in life, taking a look at their diet may be a good idea.
Understanding the workings of the gut biome of dogs is an area still in its infancy. However, we know the health of the digestive tract and micro-organisms in the gut affect the moods of people. Given all we know about dogs, we can assume to same will be true for them.
“What should my dog avoid to improve their mood?”
The most obvious things to avoid are sugars and preservatives. These can have the same effect as adding them to a child’s diet – bloating, ‘come-downs’ and irritation. In other words, you should avoid them at all costs.
For a sweet and crunchy treat, it is quite suitable to feed pups some fruit as part of their diet. Fruit contains complex carbohydrates and fibre, which add a healthy gut microbiome.
For that same reason, ground vegetables are also a healthy addition to the diet.
Most people don’t realise this – they think that dogs are straight carnivores, but they’re not. In fact, dogs need plant matter in their diet. Not as much as meat, but definitely some.
My dogs love whole carrots and sliced apple and just devour a slice of watermelon on a hot day!
“What else should I add to their diet?”
Just as avoiding heavily processed and preserved foods is a good first step, there are also some foods that could make your pup feel better and certainly less grumpy.
Much like for us when we are sick or ageing, eating fresh, whole foods will supply maximum nutrition. Anything fresh is good. It really is that simple.
“Will their weight affect their mood?”
Having an optimal body weight helps to contribute to a positive mood. This is because a normal-sized pooch can move about more easily, with less stress on the body. Having a healthy daily routine of activities helps your dog be happier whilst contributing to overall positive mental health.
“Okay, I’m ready to get technical. Let’s talk vitamins.”
If your dog is skittish or nervous, then feeding some turkey, chicken or eggs could assist in calming. This is due to levels of the calming amino acid tryptophan.
Foods containing adequate levels of B vitamins and magnesium are also helpful. Nuts, seeds, fish, and green leafy vegetables are all high in magnesium. Leafy greens, offal, eggs, and meats are all high in B vitamins.
In traditional Chinese medicine, practitioners believe that feeding certain types of foods can help to calm or cool the emotions. White fish is an excellent example of such a cooling food.
Chewing on bones and hard objects helps to relieve stress for dogs. It does this through the chewing action itself, and also by keeping their minds occupied in a positive way. I recommend that you consider adding these items into your pups’ feeding regime, if it is safe to do so.
If your pup is old or seems to be sick, it is very important to make sure they are checked by a vet to make sure they are not in pain. Needless to say, pain is a major contributor to grumpiness in old or sick dogs.
While you’re there, check with the vet as to the optimum weight for your pet. You may actually be killing them with kindness and a new diet may be in order.
Like always, just be sensible. Feed fresh and avoid preservative rich food and treats.
For the month of April 2019, Frontier Pets are giving Mad Paws clients a 5% off their total range. This is an exclusive offer for us, so get in quick.