Diet and behaviour: even if it can’t be seen, it’s still there

Diet and behaviour: even if it can’t be seen, it’s still there

This enigmatic title has a very simple explanation: the behaviour of our furry friends essentially depends on their emotional state because emotions come first, and then behaviour. Let me explain at bit more:

  • Nobody gets into a fight and then gets angry.
  • Nobody jumps out of a burning building and then starts to panic.

The examples are very clear-cut:

  • First, we get angry and then we fight.
  • First, we start to panic and then we jump out of the burning building.

Each puppy’s individual reaction has a significant genetic component, but environmental influences can also modify the response threshold towards a stimulus. And then there’s a third factor that can also have a decisive influence: diet. Yes, you read right, the specific diets that we choose for our four-legged friends can influence both their reactions and their degree of response. You might be wondering how this is possible, yet the answer is actually very simple: some nutrients have a major effect on our dog’s behaviour. Let’s have a look at some examples:

  • Certain essential amino acids (which make up proteins, but which a dog’s organism cannot synthesise) are precursors of neurotransmitters related to the sensation of well-being and have a major influence on the processes of emotional relaxation and sleep-wake cycles.
  • Some B vitamins are absolutely essential for the correct functioning of the central nervous system.

This snippet of information already shows that the diet we feed to our furry friends can decisively influence their emotional state and, therefore, their behaviour. This is, as we pointed out at the start of this article, because emotion comes firsts and then leads to behaviour.

As always, the key lies in the prepared food that we choose to give to our beloved dogs. It must contain the most appropriate nutritional ingredients and in an optimal proportion, as otherwise this may lead to problems such as:

  • A deficiency in zinc (Zn) intake can trigger growth problems, weakness of the immune system, dermatosis, etc.
  • Magnesium deficiency can also lead to serious problems such as weakness, tremors, muscle cramps and pains, etc.
  • An imbalance in calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P) intake can lead to joint problems and also adversely affect bone density.
  • A diet that doesn’t contain essential amino acids will negatively influence the production of serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of well-being and also has a major influence on the production of melatonin. This, in turn, is very effective in combating emotional states of anxiety and is also responsible for sleep-wake cycles.

As we can see, the prepared food that we choose to feed our dogs can have a decisive influence on anything that is there even if it can’t be seen. In other words, we’re talking about emotions, which are precursors of our four-legged friend’s behaviour. It goes without saying that nobody wants to see our canine companions in a state of anxiety and/or jittery behaviour that prevents them from feeling emotionally calm or sleeping properly.

A state of emotional acceleration will result in a jittery and erratic behaviour in which our furry friends will show signs of not feeling comfortable anywhere, will move around incessantly, will not rest properly, etc. This situation, if we fail to tackle it in time, can lead to a condition that behavioural specialists call ‘nervous energy’. Of course, this may be due to genetic and/or environmental factors, but providing our doggies with an optimal diet will be a major step towards helping them.

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