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Homemade Dog Food: How Can It Affect Your Dog's Behavior?

Apr 26, 2008
Does your dog have behavior problems? I don't mean the ordinary things any dog owner can expect, such as a puppy who isn't yet housetrained, a dog who loves to jump up on you when you return home, or other things of this sort. But if your dog does things which appear to you to be abnormal, you may be concerned or even worried.

Perhaps the most common way to tackle a dog or puppy behavior problem that seems serious is to do some training targeted at the particular issue, and also some general dog training as well. You can learn how to do this from local classes or trainers, books, DVDs, or the internet. If you work at this and if you have some luck, you might solve the problem this way.

A good next step is a vet exam to rule out all sorts of common or obscure ailments that you might never think of yourself. And if the vet should find that your dog is experiencing pain somewhere in his body, taking care of that could solve the behavior problem.

Another factor which can improve your dog's behavior is getting him plenty of exercise. This could mean lots of long walks, for example, which would likely also be good for your health! Or use a dog walker if you don't have the time or capability to take the dog out yourself. You could be very pleasantly surprised at how much easier your dog is to live with when he gets good exercise.

But in many cases none of these approaches will solve the behavior problem.

I have blogged at length about one such case. A dog owner with whom I was in connection by email did everything she could to stop her large breed puppy from attacking her two children. It was biting them pretty severely, and the kids had become afraid of the dog. After trying everything else, she did a detailed examination of what was in the commercial dog foods she was feeding the pup. Luckily, she discovered that if the dog ate no beet pulp (often found in dog food), then the dog showed no attacks. Allergy was the culprit.

The point is not to avoid beet pulp, as most dogs are not allergic to it, but to realize that whatever a dog eats can be affecting how he behaves. The public is generally aware of this with regard to how sugar can make many children hyperactive, but it is much less common for people to even think about a dog reacting to his food.

In general, veterinarians are not particularly well informed about the pros and cons of feeding dog foods that contain additives and other questionable ingredients. They received little training back in vet school and most are far too busy to explore the topic now. Also, if they sell dog food in their clinics, their inclination is going to be to trust that they made a good choice of food to sell.

The good news for dogs is that some dog breeders and veterinarians have been experimenting and keeping records for many years. They have learned that dog health and behavior is enhanced by a homemade dog food diet, and you can follow their suggestions for what to do.

If you think about feeding a homemade diet to your dog, you may wonder if you will need to become an expert in nutrition. No, you won't... you can draw on the work done by these people. For example, one well-known breeder has seen the longevity and the behavior of her dogs improve over the thirty-plus years she has been feeding a more natural diet.

For any dog with behavior problems, it's an excellent idea to try a homemade dog food diet and observe any differences that may turn up over time!
About the Author
How can you give these benefits to your dog quickly and without too much work? See this page on homemade dog food and behavior for resources and suggestions.
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