Behavior and Nutrition
Summer heralds the return of leafy greens,tasty fruits and raw diets for your canines.Adding apples,asparagus, sweet fruits and plenty of summer vegetables can benefit your dogs.These contain more nutrients when bought fresh from a Farmers Market and locally grown.
Scientists believe that it is possible to alter neurological and physical aspects of a dog’s brain and thus directly affect the dog’s behavior and intelligence.
In this blog, I would like to discuss the affects of nutrition on behavior by discussing the following:
For the first year of a dog’s life, balanced nutrition is vital. Without balanced nutrition –
- the nerve cells of a dog’s brain will not mature properly
- and the brain will be smaller in volume and weight and not function as well.
- Research indicates that poorly nourished dogs act less intelligently throughout the rest of their lives.
- Most people have had no control over the nutrition of the female that had their puppies, however the diet and dog’s health during the first year of life is important. Feeding table scraps to a puppy does not provide for adequate nutrition , and may only provide an adult dog with adequate nutrition to barely survive- but not for optimal health.
- Dogs should be fed a balanced diet- commercial dog foods- organic and non-organic kibbles and dog foods/ and or raw foods and homemade meals.A veterinary nutritionist should always be consulted to help formulate a new balanced diet for your dog.
- Many people find it easy to accept that nutritional factors can influence brain function in dogs, however research indicates that the combination of that dog’s experiences combined with nutritional factors, also affect brain growth and efficiency.
- Omega 3,6,9’s are very important for your canine’s mental health.Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are beneficial and should be part of a dog’s daily diet.Omega 3 fatty acids can help a dog’s body fight the growth of cancer cells in the body. Fish oil is the preferred source.
- Supplements high in B-vitamins, vitamin –Resveratrol-antioxidant and phosphatidylserine- a key chemical in the maintenance of brain cell function , can help support and protect susceptible brain cells.
- Dietary considerations such as feeding organic, cooking fresh foods-meat, chicken and vegetables are of paramount importance in avoiding many of the behavioral complications linked to unhealthy canine diets, such as cognitive dysfunctions.
- Natural diets are also great and keep your dog healthy, intelligent and well fed. Raw food diets are becoming increasingly popular today and many dog parents are making sure that their canines are getting plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Personality, intelligence and brain health are closely linked to nutrition.
Studies that were conducted at the University of Toronto by a team of researchers and psychologist, Norton Milgram have shown that older dogs supplemented with a diet rich in antioxidants, especially vitamin C and E and carotenoids, certain minerals-selenium and fatty acids- DHA and EPA, were less likely to develop amyloids-protein deposits- memory loss- problems learning new material-less able to do more complex thinking and problem solving.
Studies indicate that changing to a healthy diet and combining this with “cognitive enrichment” reverses brain decline in dogs.