The Working Kelpie Council of Australia

Breed Society for the Australian Working Kelpie

Understanding How Dog Food Influence Behaviour - By: Andrew Dual

Whatever you feed your dog, keep in mind that dog food influences his behaviour. You can feed your dog an appropriate diet in several ways. However, age; breed and level of activity are the primary determinants of the right diet for your dog. How is behaviour influenced by your dog's diet?

Understanding Domesticated Dogs' Origin
The sense of taste and meal patterning of domestic dogs had been developed from more than 100,000 years of domesticating this Canis Familiaris specie with a rather specialised dentition and taste system that is relatively insensitive to salt. It is generally agreed that dogs are the first species of animal to be domesticated developing from the free-living wolf during the hunting-gathering lifestyle to being man's companion in the early stages of agriculture. Whatever the details of their beginnings, today's dogs are extraordinarily diverse in almost all aspects compared to all the other Canidae and dog food has a significant impact in all aspects of their behaviour.

Dog Food Selection and Feeding Behaviour
Several breeds of dogs have the reputation of consuming large amounts of diet, typical of its genus -- Canis and perhaps a legacy of competitive feeding practices in the wolf. Rapid feeding is a scavenging behaviour adapted in the early days of domestication. When such behaviour is allowed, dogs will rapidly become obese - a condition highly detrimental to your dog's health. Dog food should be given in right amounts at the right intervals.

Dog Food Selection
Food selection for dogs is a complex process and requires certain knowledge and understanding of the dog's breed, age, behaviour and levels of activities. Feral dogs manage to survive through scavenging rather than hunting. For most pet dogs, selection of puppy food and dog food is usually based upon the smell, appearance, flavour and texture. Beagles have very little appetite for sodium. Monovalent cations including sodium encourage dog's taste responses to sugar. It only shows that the right amount of sodium chloride content on dog food is still unclear.

Dog Food  and Behaviour Influence
High-carbohydrate diet, given in place of protein, can cause a high level aggression and mood swings in your dog while chemicals and additives can cause hyperactivity and allergy reaction. Though the personality of dogs has evolved through domestication, some of their requirements are still very much alike of their ancestors'. Natural diet such as butcher's scraps, meaty bones and animal carcasses are less taxing to the digestive system, thus, benefiting brain chemistry. Puppy training or dog training is more possible when dogs or puppies have lesser unpredictable behaviours than otherwise. Calcium should also be supplemented because lack thereof causes aggression, lethargy and disinclination to eat.

Commercial dog food or puppy food is quite convenient to feed, but it can get boring to dogs if they have to eat the same diet every day. Boredom causes monotony effect to dogs, a phenomenon where dogs refuse to eat even if they're extremely hungry. If such condition occurs, get help from your vet.

Studies suggest links between these compounds to the behaviour of dogs, but it is still unclear as to how information from the taste buds is integrated in the brain and translated into certain feeding behaviours and dog  food preferences.