Alexandra Vets, Clevedon
It has long been accepted that diet can have a profound effect on behaviour. Some animals may have hypersensitivity to certain proteins in their diet and these can be virtually any protein which has been encountered before in the animals life. The immune response from the gut can affect the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain and therefore can manifest as changes in behaviour.
Some animals can be much more reactive or hyperactive when eating certain foods and so can benefit from being fed a restricted protein diet or a diet that has only one protein source to try and avoid proteins which cause problems. Others may be lacking in certain calming neurotransmitters and so can benefit from a supplement of certain Amino Acids to enhance their own internal production.
An exclusion diet is designed to be of a novel protein and carbohydrate source and contain no additives or preservatives. White fish and potato is generally recommended, as these are not generally present in commercial dog foods. Plain water only should be offered to drink and any treats should also be of fish, which can be cooked until it becomes a dry morsel.
Alternatively a prescription diet such as Pro Plan HA or Hills z/d Ultra can be used as these have hydrolysed proteins which cannot be recognised by the dog’s immune system.
The diet should be continued for 2 months before a dietary cause can be ruled out. Some dogs may respond dramatically within a few weeks. The importance of exclusion of all other foods can not be stressed enough. Any titbits or other deviations from the diet will negate all previous time on the trial and it must begin again from day 1.
There is a commercial diet available which has enhanced levels of Tryptophan. This is the Amino Acid used to build Serotonin which is the neurotransmitter involved in calm behaviour and feeling relaxed. Alternatively the diet can be supplemented with Tryptophan either directly of via carbohydrate rich foods.
To get some behaviour tips, or to make an appointment to have Rob spend some time with your pet, give us a call on
Hillyfields Vets, Winscombe
Monday-Friday: 9am – 6pm
Saturday : 9am to 11am
(Hillyfields Vets, Winscombe)
Consultations: 9am – 10.30am
Saturday:11am to 1:30pm
(Alexandra Vets, Clevedon)
Consultations: 12pm – 1.30pm