The quality of dog food is a hot topic right now and for good reason. For a long time, little attention has been paid to what actually goes into our pets’ food. However, owners are now waking up to the realisation that what we feed our four-legged friends has a direct impact not just on their health and well-being but on their behaviour too. We humans seem to be obsessed with reading our food packaging labels and our dogs rely on us to read theirs!
Hyperactive or aggressive?
In recent weeks and months, several TV programmes and articles have been published that demonstrate the link between what we feed our dogs and their behaviour. For years, dog behaviourists and nutritionists have made an association between food and behaviour – including hyperactivity (most common), excessive nipping, jumping and aggression. In many cases, when assessing behaviour problems, professionals will establish what food the dog is eating before anything else.
If you are struggling with undesirable behaviour from your pet, a change in diet may be the first step to improvement. The link between food and behaviour is one that we at Little Chompers whole-heartedly support and why we work so hard to offer only the most nutritionally balanced, high quality ingredients in our complete range of dog foods.
So what are the problems with ‘normal’ dog foods?
It is widely accepted that just as artificial additives in human foods can cause conditions such as hyperactivity or a short attention span, so too can these cause problems in dogs – it’s just that the symptoms will manifest themselves differently!
Our supermarket shelves are stacked high with a baffling array of choices and every manufacturer aims to convince us that theirs is the best. What many have in common, though, is the addition of artificial additives including flavourings, colourants and preservatives. Many contain low-grade ingredients and cheap ‘fillers’ to keep the cost down. These will not satisfy your dog’s appetite and may leave him feeling hungry or scavenging for more. In some cases, it may extend to negative behaviours including over-excitement and jumping or aggression.
How do I know if food is causing bad behaviour?
Naturally, it will not be possible to know overnight whether your food choices are the cause of behaviour problems. Changing your dog’s food should be a gradual process and it may be necessary to seek professional advice to be sure you are taking the right action.
So what should I be looking for?
It is always worth paying close attention to the ingredients list on the food you buy. Check for artificial additives and find out how much meat and cereal content there is. Foods that are free of artificial ingredients and are easily digestible will provide the best in terms of nutrition and bring out the best in your dog’s behaviour.
Little Chompers’ hypoallergenic dog food only uses premium ingredients including human-grade meats, carefully sourced grains (no GM), oils and fish, and contains no ingredients such as wheat gluten – a common cause of allergy. You can see an A to Z list of ingredients here.
If you decide to change your dog’s diet, do it gradually. Ensure you feed the correct amount for their weight and activity levels, and consider your pet’s age. Looking for ingredients that are easily digested and are unlikely to provoke allergies are all useful tips. Just remember, it is not a ‘quick fix’ and professional advice should always be sought if you are unsure.
Tell us about your experiences – have you seen a difference in your dog’s behaviour since changing their food? We would love to hear your stories.