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How Your Dog's Food Affects His Mood

How Your Dog's Food Affects His Mood

Nutrition has an enormous impact on the health of our dogs, but have you considered how it may affect his behavior as well? Here are three ways nutrition can directly impact your dog’s behavior.

1. Feeding Times
It's no longer considered standard regimen to feed your dog once a day or leave dog food out all day — also known as free feeding — unless recommended by your veterinarian due to a medical reason. "Just think about how you would feel (and look) if you were only able to eat once every 24 hours, or kept nibbling on a high-calorie food all day long," says Nan Arthur, dog behavior expert and owner of Whole Dog Training. Arthur recommends asking your veterinarian if feeding your adult dog 2-3 times per day would be better for his regimen. Often combining exercise with slight feeding routine adjustments can help improve the overall demeanor of a dog.

2. Dog Food Ingredients
Dog food ingredients can also affect your dog’s behavior in various ways. Take the fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is sometimes added to puppy food. DHA has been shown to increase mental acuity in puppies, says Dr. Lorie Huston. In fact, according to the results of some studies puppies eating dog food which contain DHA have been found to be more trainable. Certain antioxidants are also considered a great "brain food" for senior dogs. For example, a series of studies conducted on dogs1 found that older dogs provided with an antioxidant-enriched dog food were able to learn complex tasks with more success than those on a control dog food. This, researchers hypothesized, was consistent with the assumption that oxidative damage contributes to brain aging in dogs.

For the complete article on How Your Dog’s Food Affects His Mood, visit petMD!

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