The dog’s behavior can be influenced by diet. Although a dog with abnormal behavior does not immediately become a dear lap dog through a change in food, the influence of the food on dog behavior should by no means be underestimated. Some studies prove that.
Animal psychologist Roger Mugford was one of the first to research the relationship between behavior and nutrition in dogs. He came to the conclusion that a low protein content in dog food also leads to a reduction in aggressive behavior. If you have a particularly nervous, anxious or aggressive dog, you should avoid eating a diet that is very high in meat or protein. But how can the food influence the dog’s behavior?
Frightened dogs need special ingredients in their food. © stock.adobe.com/klavdiyav
The dog’s well-being is also largely related to its hormonal balance. The happiness hormone serotonin plays an important role in this. A high serotonin level in the dog leads to more calm and serenity – this also makes the dog less fearful or aggressive.
Serotonin is not absorbed through food, but is produced in the brain. For this, however, the dog’s brain needs the amino acid tryptophan. If the dog eats protein-rich food, tryptophan competes with the other ingested amino acids at the blood-brain barrier. If the rush of various amino acids is particularly high at this barrier, less tryptophan gets into the brain.
Carbohydrates in the feed help: They reduce the pressure of competition at the blood-brain barrier. More tryptophan then reaches the dog’s brain, where it is converted into serotonin and allows the dog to calm down.
Serotonin makes dogs happy. © stock.adobe.com/Lisa H
If the dog is stressed, this also increases its consumption of the happiness hormone serotonin. Carbohydrates help in the production of this hormone. So it is hardly surprising that dogs that do not consume carbohydrates are stressed faster.
If the need for serotonin increases due to stress, it can help to feed the dog a portion of carbohydrates on a regular basis. For the dog, for example, moments are stressful when he has to show a lot of self-control.
Without carbohydrates, dogs are more stressed. © stock.adobe.com/manushot
Not only the ingredients of the food, but also the way the dog is fed can affect the behavior of the dog. Dogs can also react more aggressively when they are hungry. To avoid this, the dog should be fed several times a day. So there is no hypoglycemia.
Instead of being influenced by food trends, it is best to feed your dog individually, depending on character, age, activity and health. Advice from a veterinary nutritionist is always advisable.