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Benefits of Proper Nutrition for Dogs: How a Dog's Diet Affects Their Mood and Behavior | Pupford

April 19th, 2024

Filed under Health + Wellness

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Good nutrition is essential for your canine companion to reach their full potential and enjoy a lifetime of physical and mental activities.

By providing your dog with a balanced, biologically appropriate diet, you can positively influence not only their health but also their behavior.

In addition, the right balance of nutrition helps reduce your pup's stress levels, making them more relaxed and less likely to display unwanted behaviors. It's also important to note that the quality of the ingredients is just as important as the nutrients themselves.

Therefore, only the best, high-quality ingredients should be included in your pup's diet, with no food coloring, by-products, or preservatives. Ensuring your pup has proper nutrition will help them lead a happy and healthy life!

In this article, we'll discuss the benefits of proper nutrition for your pups, what nutrients could benefit them in the long run, and how a dog's diet affects their mood and behavior.

Related Reading: Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?


Nutrition is a vital part of a dog's overall health and well-being. It is essential to ensure that your dog gets the right balance of nutrients for their age, breed, activity level, metabolism, and health needs.

Speak to your veterinarian for advice on what foods your dog should eat. Quality is always essential; higher-quality foods generally mean a healthier dog and fewer trips to the vet.


healthy dog that gets lots of vitamins and minerals

Protein is the building block of every cell in the body, including skin, muscle, organs, and other tissues. It helps animals (and humans) build and repair muscles, teeth, and bone and fight off infection. In addition, protein gives your dog energy, allowing them to be active and energetic.

For this reason, a protein source should be one of the first few ingredients in dog food.

When proteins are digested, they become smaller components called amino acids. A complete protein contains all the essential amino acids a dog needs for good health.

Complete proteins are animal-based, including meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. Therefore, when choosing a food, look for one with a primary source of protein, such as chicken or beef, rather than a general term, like poultry or meat.

Incomplete proteins are found in vegetables, cereals, and soy; although they are lower in essential amino acids, dogs can still benefit from them. However, as an opportunistic carnivore, a dog's body is best suited to animal-based proteins.


Carbohydrates are fibers and starches, providing the fuel that keeps a dog active.

When digested, they turn into glucose, a pure form of energy needed for energy metabolism.

However, too many carbs can turn into fat, and this is something that should be taken into consideration when feeding your dog.

There is much debate about the amount of carbohydrates a dog needs.

Although wild dogs eat a tiny percentage of carbs, domesticated dogs are usually fed manufactured foods containing energy grains. This can mean that dogs get far more carbs than their wild ancestors.

Carbs can add bulk, variety, and taste to a dog's diet, but some dogs cannot tolerate higher amounts of carbs or grains and can develop allergies or protein deficiency.


fruits and vegetables are full of fiber

It is important to note that fiber is not a nutrient but is essential to aid digestion.

Too much fiber can cause loose stools or diarrhea, while too little can lead to constipation or dry hard stools.

Fiber is derived from plants (fruits and vegetables) and grains. High-fiber foods may not be suitable for puppies and working dogs as too much can impede food absorption and not provide the correct nutrient balance for their activity and growth.


Fats provide more than twice the energy of proteins or carbohydrates derived from animal and vegetable sources.

Fats are essential for cell membrane structure, the production of some hormones, and the absorption and utilization of some vitamins.

They also promote healthy skin and coats and provide insulation and protection for internal organs.

Fats are made of smaller units called fatty acids, including specific omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. These are sometimes given as supplements to help prevent inflammation, arthritis, and dry skin. Your pup's skin and hair coat are indicators of their health. The right omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids balance will create a beautiful, glossy coat.

These essential fatty acids also have an anti-inflammatory effect, helping to reduce any itching or irritation from allergies or environmental conditions.


proteins are an important part of a dogs diet

Vitamins and minerals are nutrients every living body needs for normal growth and development.

They help reduce the damage done to body cells daily, promote the normal function of cells, and keep your dog healthy.

In addition, vitamins and minerals come from plant and animal sources, so ensure your pup gets a balanced diet.

As they cannot be synthesized in the body, they must be provided in a dog's diet.

Rotating the types of foods you feed your dog allows them to ingest a wider variety of nutrients.

Speak to your veterinarian to see if your dog needs a vitamin or mineral supplement for preventive health or to improve their current condition.

Learn more about your dog's overall health in our Advanced Nutrition Course in Pupford Academy+. 


exercise is so important for your dogs health

Ensuring your pup lives a long and healthy life requires providing them with essential nutrients. Here are three more things that you may want to consider.

  1. Water - Water is essential for life and is found in every cell, tissue, and organ of an adult dog's body. Therefore, it is crucial to keep your dog well-hydrated to ensure optimal health and proper urinary tract function. In addition, ensure that your pup always has access to clean, fresh water.
  2. Exercise - Exercise is important for your dog's physical, mental, and emotional health. Speak with your veterinarian about the best exercise program for your pet, suitable for their age, breed, size, etc. In addition, regular exercise helps ensure that your dog gets the most benefit from their diet.
  3. Love - Dogs are naturally social creatures and want to feel safe and secure. Once you understand and learn to "speak" your dog's language, you can enjoy many years of companionship and the joy of your dog's unconditional love.

Nutrition, care, exercise, training, and love are part of a holistic approach to animal wellness. As a dog parent, it's important to understand the connection between nutrition and behavior to ensure your pup is getting the best care possible.


Studies show nutrition has an enormous impact on the health and well-being of our beloved pups. But have you considered how it may also influence their behavior? Here are three ways diet can directly affect your pet's behavior.


feed your dog two times a day as part of a routine

Your pet's eating schedule can have a dramatic effect on their behavior.

Experts suggest that feeding adult dogs 2-3 times a day is often more beneficial than leaving food out all day or only feeding once a day.

This helps provide them with a more consistent energy source, leading to improved overall demeanor. Of course, if your pet has any specific medical needs, always consult your veterinarian.


The ingredients in your pet's food can also play a significant role in their behavior. For instance, fatty acids like DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) have been found to increase mental acuity in puppies and kittens.

Studies have also shown that feeding older pets an antioxidant-enriched diet can improve their ability to learn complex tasks, recognize family members, and even increase their agility.


a dog with problem behaviors can be a result of an unbalanced diet

When it comes to your dog's behavior, the type and quality of its nutrition play a critical role. Animal nutritionists recognize that an imbalance in a pet's diet can be a key factor in any behavior problems they may be having. Poor nutrition can lead to poor health leading to poor behavior.

Many dog behavioral therapists have identified the following diet-related behaviors or conditions in the pets they've worked with:

  • Underweight or overweight appearance
  • Dry, brittle coat
  • Dental problems
  • Foul breath
  • Gastrointestinal issues like gas and diarrhea
  • Signs of separation anxiety
  • Pain

A deficient diet can also lead to several unwanted behaviors. Some of them are:

  • Counter-surfing (stealing food from tables or counters)
  • Aggression over food, treats, or toys
  • Digging or escaping to search for better nutrition
  • Eating soil (often linked to a mineral deficiency)
  • Getting into the garbage
  • Coprophagia (eating feces)
  • Chewing on wood, rocks, and other objects
  • Devouring and then vomiting up meals


Good nutrition is essential for every living creature, and for dogs, the food you feed them can significantly influence their behavior. Healthy dogs benefit from key nutrients, including fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Let's explore how these nutrients can support your pup's well-being and how deficiencies can manifest as behavioral issues.

  • Fatty acids: DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that can help puppies learn more quickly and be more alert. It can also benefit older dogs, helping reduce age-related cognitive decline.
  • Antioxidants: An antioxidant-enriched diet can help senior dogs to learn more complicated tasks.
  • Vitamins: Vitamin B1 (or thiamine) is important for metabolism and the health of your dog's brain. Deficiencies can cause stomach upset, neurological problems, and even heart issues.
  • Minerals: Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce anxiety and maintain a dog's mood.


Underfeeding your dog can have significant consequences on their behavior.

For example, dogs who don't get enough to eat are more likely to become disruptive and start scavenging for non-food items around the house, such as plants and soil.

In extreme cases, they may even eat feces.

It's recommended to feed your dog scheduled meals tailored to their size, age, health status, and exercise level to avoid this. You should also ensure they have access to food throughout the day unless advised otherwise by your vet.


a dog with allergies

Research shows food allergies and sensitivities can significantly impact the health and well-being of dogs.

Common allergens that cause canine reactions include:

  • Wheat
  • Dairy
  • Beef
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Lamb

Symptoms of food intolerance may range from mild to severe, including stomach upset, skin reactions, and in some cases, anaphylactic shock. It is important to note that food allergies or sensitivities can cause several health and behavioral issues in dogs.

Therefore, knowing the potential effects of food allergies and intolerances is crucial to ensure our canine companions live their best lives.


If you are concerned about your dog's behavior, it's important to consult your veterinarian before making any changes to their diet.

Various factors can impact behavior, including nutrition, age, environment, mental and physical stimulation, and health status.

It's important to remember that changing your pet's diet should never be done as a quick fix. Your veterinarian can help you identify and manage the underlying cause of any behavioral issues.

You can see remarkable improvements when you switch them to a biologically appropriate diet and a sensible training program. A biologically appropriate diet considers the pet's size, activity level, current health status, and age.

It is our privilege and pleasure to provide our beloved pups with the highest care.

Ensuring our canine companions receive a healthy and balanced diet is essential to their well-being and happiness.

Working with a veterinary professional to make informed decisions based on the latest evidence is the best way to ensure our furry friends receive all the nourishment they need to live a long and happy life.

It's important to remember that they rely on us for their well-being, so ensuring their nutritional needs is a small but significant way to show them how much we care.

What nutrients do you include in your pup's diet to bring out the best in them? Let us know in the comments section.

Learn more about your dog's overall health in our Advanced Nutrition Course in Pupford Academy+.


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