Homemade dog food: How can it affect your dog's behavior?
Do take your dog to your vet for an exam, to be sure there aren't any health problems the veterinarian will find. For example, a dog with an abscessed tooth could suddenly became very grouchy.
Plenty of exercise can also improve your dog's behavior. Does your dog really get a lot of exercise? Dogs are meant to be active a lot of the time, yet their modern lifestyles in our homes rarely provide this. Make sure your dog gets abundant exercise and you may be quite amazed at the changes in his behavior.
Well, that's all very well, but what if none of it stops the unwanted dog behaviors?
One puppy I know about had been trained, examined, and exercised thoroughly, yet he continued to attack and even bite the human members of his family. The mother, who emailed me that she was at her wits ends, after some months did figure out what was going on: if there was beet pulp in whatever commercial dog food the puppy ate, he would attack. When she fed a dog food without this fairly common ingredient, his attacks ended completely. They had been caused by an allergy.
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.
Don't rely on your veterinarian to have the best information about dog food and behavior. Veterinary school doesn't teach it, and the dog foods that they sell are not necessarily the best.
Fortunately for all of us, there are veterinarians, dog breeders, and others who have been paying close attention to these questions for many years. They agree on recommending homemade dog food over the standard commercial choices, and they tell you how to do it.
By feeding a homemade diet to your dogs, you may well be enhancing not only their behavior but also their health. One breeder has seen the longevity of her dogs increase gradually over the more than thirty years that she has been developing a natural diet which she shares freely on her website.
Especially if your dog is showing any behavioral problems, it's well worth your while to try out homemade dog food!