High Protein Diet and Behaviour — Balance Behaviour

Does your dog’s diet contribute to behavior problems?

A high-protein diet can certainly affect the behavior of some dogs. dogs fed a complete commercial diet that contains too much protein may experience anxiety, aggression, restlessness, light sleep and depression. too much protein in the diet can also exacerbate existing mental health/nervous system problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. this is due to a lack of serotonin in the brain which regulates mood. Serotonin production is highly dependent on the amino acid tryptophan which is found in many ingredients such as fish, eggs and chicken. Unfortunately, in a diet that is excessively high in protein, this essential amino acid, tryptophan, has to compete with other amino acids that are also found in protein. competing in this way can result in low tryptophan levels and therefore difficulty producing serotonin, and in turn causing mood instability. Most dogs are quite happy on a high protein diet, but some dogs may have insufficient serotonin production as a starting point and it is these individuals that may benefit from trying a low protein diet.

Reading: Too much protein for dogs

The average protein content of a “one size fits all” dog food marketed as a maintenance food for an adult dog is typically around 25% protein. the average protein requirement of an adult dog to maintain weight is about 18%, most working dogs require about 25%, and a working sled racing dog requires about 35%. So for a dog in a pet home, the available maintenance diets would seem to be only suitable for the athletic working dog due to the high protein content, would they not? Unfortunately, pet food manufacturers are profit-driven, so the ingredient list can be very misleading. There are great differences in the qualities of the different protein sources, some proteins being generically called difficult or impossible for the dog to metabolize. any protein labeled ‘animal’, ‘meat’ or ‘poultry’, generally speaking, is likely to be of very low quality, look instead for specifics such as ‘chicken’, ‘beef’ or ‘lamb’. Although the large proportion of complete pet foods available appear to be too high in protein, this is not always true and may actually have a very low “useful protein” value, contrary to industry marketing insinuations. business. careful analysis of food labeling is required to make sense of confusing terms; Unfortunately, a full breakdown of ingredients on the packaging is often not available; however, details are usually available on the manufacturer’s website or upon request.

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There is a wide variety of whole foods to choose from, but there seems to be a huge gap in the market, as I have discovered to my irritation. Most foods that contain high-quality, easily absorbed protein tend to be very expensive and excessively high in protein, making them totally suitable for very active, full-time working dogs, while cheaper, lower-priced foods available proteins, while initially appearing ideal, are virtually all composed exclusively of low-grade protein, meaning that the already low protein content is much lower than initial analysis would suggest. the only way I have found to comfortably meet the protein requirements of my particular pack has been to find a food with 23% chicken protein and keep the dog’s exercise on the vigorous end of the scale! in the summer, when this level of exercise isn’t really practical due to the dog’s thick double coat, I reduce the protein content by going back to the same brand “mature” food, which is nearly identical in all respects but includes fewer calories and only 19% chicken protein, this way I allow for the quieter period without changing the composition of the meal too much. this works for me, but finding a solution took a lot of research to get through the different terms and marketing jargon.

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Since tryptophan is found in abundance in poultry and eggs, a good way to ensure your dog gets enough is to feed him a chicken-based food with adequate protein content in general instead of of one based on red meat, or complement a standard food. with egg white. Egg white is an excellent source of protein, containing more than 40 different proteins, including all 20 proteogenic amino acids required for protein synthesis. is the best source of tryptophan ‘suitable for dogs’ and as it is low in calories it is a good solution to adjust intake of tryptophan and other amino acids without the need to adjust calorie intake/quantity of food, this is one way of introducing a good balance of amino acids without increasing calorie intake/exercise requirements. There are also some great supplements available that maximize serotonin production.

b6 is required for the conversion of tryptophan and supports the nervous system. Other B vitamins are required for efficient absorption of B6, so the addition of a B complex vitamin to the diet may help when the dog continues to show symptoms despite appropriate adjustments in dietary protein content. In addition to this, some disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, can severely reduce serotonin levels, in a nutshell, due to dogs perceiving a high and frequent need for a fight or flight response. In cases where dogs experience anxiety at the level of dry, flaky skin (this can be a side effect of stress), a good alternative to albumin is oily fish such as sardines, which are good for replacing oils. on the fur and skin during periods of stress as well as being a good source of tryptophan, if sardines are canned in oil and oil is to be fed as well, the addition of sardines should be limited to once or twice a week to avoid problems digestives. inconvenience.

It should be noted that very low protein diets can stunt growth in younger dogs and compromise everyone’s immune system. A total of 22 essential amino acids are required for a healthy diet, and severely reducing the protein content of the diet is not. recommended, a diet with 18% good quality protein is ideal to try if serotonin production is thought to be a factor, as a maintenance diet for an adult dog that is not working.

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Reducing protein in the diet is unlikely to completely eliminate aggressive or anxious behavior, but in some cases it will allow the dog to achieve the correct brain chemistry and allow for a more successful outcome of any behavior modification program.

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