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Dog Food and Behavior

 Submitted by Michael Adams on December 21, 2009

Dogs, just like human beings, can be affected by the food they eat. In most cases, this causes physical discomfort or leads to either under- or over-nutrition. Since your dog is unable to communicate any distress, any problems with the food can lead to behavioral problems.

In nature, dogs eat both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. They also tend to instinctively eat only as many calories as required, based on the breed, environment, and metabolism. Unfortunately, we sometimes end up feeding our dogs the wrong kinds of food or incorrect quantities.

A healthy diet will make your dog energetic and playful, but certain imbalances in diet can lead to hyperactivity. Examples of these include complex sugars and certain preservatives, additives, and food colors in processed foods. On the other hand, a diet rich in carbohydrates can lead to a lethargic pet that may put on weight and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

As you may already know, there are certain foods that a dog should never eat. These include chocolate, processed sugars, raisins, and certain nuts. You should also avoid a grain-based diet since your dog’s digestive system in not used to this kind of food. Long-term digestive problems can make your dog irritable and lead to aggressive behavior. You should also be careful while feeding your dog with fish and poultry, since these contain tiny bones that can get stuck in the throat or cause abdominal ulcers. Dogs also have difficulty in digesting raw eggs and onions. Another behavioral problem linked with food is a tendency to beg. While this may appear to be harmless and cute, it can lead to a behavioral problem if your dog gets used to begging as a means of getting fed. Try to discipline your dog by sticking to regular feeding times and avoid pampering him with treats at odd hours. If required, you can keep some healthy treats like dog biscuits to reward him for good behavior.   

To safeguard your dog’s health and reduce the risk of behavioral problems, try to avoid processed foods and feed him natural, organic meals which are heavy in proteins. When you have to use mass-produced foods, read the labels carefully to recognize any ingredients that may be harmful to his health and behavior. For gas and minor digestive problems, you can use probiotic dog foods that provide a natural way to heal his gastrointestinal system. Also make sure he drinks enough water and exercises regularly to stay physically fit and mentally alert and happy.

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