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May 4, 2010 at 3:48 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Canine Behavioral Problems and Nutrition: How a Diet Change Can Help Your Dog Behave

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

With so many options in dog food, it can be difficult to find the right fit for your dog. For pet owners who experience pet behavior problems, the search is well worth it. Explore these different nutritional guidelines that can help promote a happy, healthy life for both you and your pet.

How do I choose a good dog food?

  • Dog's Activity Level. Consider your dog's activity level. If your dog doesn't get much exercise, don't choose a food with high fat content. If your dog goes on five mile walks daily, make sure his diet can keep up too.
  • Dog's Health. Pet must remain healthy while on the diet. If for some reason your pet has a change in weight, or starts getting dry skin, it might be time to change the diet.
  • Forget the Pretty Colors. Smell or taste is more important than appearance. Since dogs don't see in a full spectrum of color, your dog will rely on smell and taste rather than what color the food is.

What are the nutritional needs of dogs?

Dogs need several components in their diet for optimal health. These include:

  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Amino acids from proteins
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins
  • Water

Your dog will have specific nutritional needs based on its breed, size, and stage of life, among other factors. Bones have been a part of a dog's diet since the beginning of time, and are known to be rich in calcium phosphate.

What are the types of store-bought dog foods?

Dog food comes in three basic forms: semi-moist, dry and canned. Moisture levels are significantly different in all the types of food. (6-10% for dry, 15-30% for semi moist and 75% for canned). Canned food usually has fewer carbohydrates and more fat and protein. Canned food also contains more animal products.

What are different types of dog specialty diets?

  • Raw diet. Feeding strictly raw meats, eggs, vegetables, etc.
  • Homemade diets. Some owners opt for cooking at home for their pets, which allows for greater control over the quality of ingredients.
  • Low-calorie diet. Mainly for obesity, this diet reduces calories for weight loss. Avoid carbohydrates and focus on lean proteins and vegetables.

If you want a dog who behaves well, take these extra measures to make sure your dog eats well!

What is the link between diet and behavior?

Just like us, the abundance or deficiency of nutrient's in your dog's diet will affect the support of their entire body, and yes, even their brain and hormone levels. While diet is only one component of behavior, and thus, behavior problems should be addressed holistically  with efforts toward exercise, socialization AND diet,  it is certainly worthwhile to consider improvements in your dogs food.  Pay close attention to food labels, try out different types of diets on your pet, and see which one they respond to the best.

Photo Credit:

Tambako the Jaguar @flickr

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