Does Food Impact My Dog’s Behaviour?

There are plenty of things that can contribute to the behavioural habits of your pooch.

Everything from exercise to training, socialisation to environmental enrichment, AND even the food you put in their bowl can have an impact.

So, what is it about food that impacts your dog’s behaviour?

Well, it is the ingredients in the food itself, but it also comes down to how and when you feed your pup too.

Let’s explore all things food and behaviour related for our canine friends.

Does Food Impact My Dog’s Behaviour?

The What

What you feed your doggo really can have an impact on how they behave. This is why:

Nutritional Quality

High quality natural dog foods like Real Dog Food are formulated to give your dog all the goodness it needs, aka balanced nutrition. As we all know, proper nutrition is essential for great overall health, and that overall health includes your pup’s cognitive function. If your pup’s diet lacks essential nutrients then it can lead to various health problems and potentially behavioural issues.

Food Sensitivities

Some dogs may have sensitivities to things like artificial additives, preservatives, or filler ingredients that are typically found in lower-quality foods. These sensitivities can cause discomfort or other reactions in your dog, unsettling them and even contributing towards behavioural issues. By choosing a high-quality natural blend instead, you can reduce the risk of reactions to these types of ingredients.

Digestive Health

When you feed your pup a good quality food, it will generally include natural ingredients. Natural ingredients are often easier for dogs to digest. That means it reduces the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort. Like humans, dogs behave better when they are feeling good! A comfy tummy gives you the best chance of good behaviour, whereas discomfort can create irritability or restlessness.

Long Term Health

Choosing a food with all the good ingredients can help your dog to have better long term health. That health will include their cognitive function - a major factor in their behaviour. Real Dog Food even includes the right antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids to support good brain health. This can positively influence your dog's behaviour as all those neural pathways are firing in the right way for obedience.

The When

Keep It Consistent

Dogs are creatures of habit. So, the timing of their meals can influence their behaviour. If you don’t feed your dogs at a set time, they can potentially become anxious or irritable due to the inconsistency. Establishing a regular feeding schedule can help to create an expected routine that will reduce your pup’s stress levels. A calm pup is a better behaved pup!

Energy Levels

Feeding your dog will obviously give them an energy boost. So, it’s not recommended to feed them at a time when you want them to be calm, like bedtime!

But, ensuring your pup has the right amount of energy at the right time of day is essential. High-quality dog foods contain great protein sources which give your pup the necessary energy for an active and healthy lifestyle. Proper energy levels can positively impact your dog’s behaviour by reducing restlessness and hyperactivity.

The How

Appropriate Amounts

Feeding your dog an appropriate amount for its size can help it to be better behaved. When you feed them too much or too little, it can result in hyperactivity or lethargy. These two states can negatively impact your pup’s behaviour. Feeding them the right amount will ensure they have enough energy to make it through the day feeling good, but not have energy left to burn!

For a simple reference, you should feed your pup 100g of Real Dog Food per 10kg of body weight.

Monitor Snacks and Treats

Be mindful of the number of snacks and treats your dog consumes in a day. It is perfectly fine to give them treats, especially when training, but be conscious of what you are giving them as it can impact their diet. Too many treats can disrupt their meal schedule and potentially impact their behaviour.

Feed Them In Their Space

We already mentioned that you should feed your pooch at a consistent time. You should also feed them in a consistent space. If you have multiple dogs, you may choose to feed them in separate spaces to prevent food aggression, competition, or someone scoffing everyone else’s meal!

Remember that dogs can become territorial around food. That’s why it is particularly important to feed them in their own space and never feed them from your dinner table at mealtime as this can create bad habits.

Meals Are A Training Opportunity

Mealtime is a great time to reinforce good behaviour. Firstly, you want to set up a routine. Using verbal cues like “time to eat” or something similar will signify that it is mealtime and that you are in control, highlighting your role as the pack leader.

You can also practice obedience commands like, “sit”, “stay” and “wait” for promoting self-control. By completing training exercises at mealtime, you can use a portion of your doggo’s allocated kibble as a training reward. It’s also a good opportunity to reinforce positive behaviours and helps to mentally stimulate your pup.

Need Some Real Good Dog Food?

As we’ve just mentioned, what you feed your dog can have an impact on their behaviour. Choosing a good quality food made from natural ingredients will give your dog the nutrition it needs to be happy and obedient.

Real Dog Food is the all-natural food to do that!

Specially formulated by pet nutritionists and made fresh weekly from human-quality ingredients right here in Aotearoa, it is the premium choice!

Shop our range of kibble now.