Many of us know the basic requirements needed in a dog food to keep our pets alive and well. However, have we ever stopped to consider how a dog’s diet affects their brain — and therefore their ability to train?
To find out, we have proposed to answer the question “Do we need to feed the brain to train?” in this article.
Many of us know how some of the ingredients can improve things such as coat, growth, energy levels and even fertility, but not many of us give that consideration to the brain, the most complex and integral part of our, and our dogs’, anatomy.
When we go training with our dogs, many of us don’t realise that we are putting the dog under mental pressure. While it’s easy to see when a dog becomes physically tired, the early signs of a dog becoming mentally tired are not as easily spotted.
Much has been in the media about how children can improve their learning with diet, such as fish oil or how having a breakfast can help maintain concentration in the classroom. These simple principles can also be applied to our canine companion.
The brain needs to be hydrated and oxygenated to function. This is supplied via the blood cells that are pumped from the heart, and cleansed or filtered by other organs such as the liver and the kidneys.
So, why is it so important to look at diet during training? The right diet ensures that our dog’s organs are doing their intended job. Therefore, the dog will have a better concentration span so that we can train (and enjoy the training) for longer periods of time. We see progress and we — the dog included — are happy.
Failing to feed your dog the right diet during training can cause frustration and confusion from the dog. As a result, progress can be stunted. This could be the case when dogs are pushed and the pressure of training is increased to fit a timetable.
So, even though a dog’s digestive system has some differences to ours, their basic requirements are the same: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, not forgetting oxygen and water. With the correct source and balance of these, your dog’s body and brain will function better — leading to a happier, healthier trained dog.
Salt and taurine will have a significant impact on your dog’s attention span. Salt makes your dog thirsty, meaning it will have an effect on the dog’s kidneys, liver and blood, thus having an impact on the supply of oxygen to the brain.
Some dog foods use taurine as a protein source. An essential amino acid for a cat, dogs and humans are fine without it. It is the stimulant used in many energy drinks. Basically, it has the same effect as giving kids coloured sweets.
Clearly, diet plays a key part in the successful training of your dog. Get it right and enjoy the benefits for years to come. Ensure your beloved canine is ready to train in the best spirits then by purchasing some of our grain free dog food — natural food that contains higher amounts of meat, protein and simple-to-digest animal fats than standard wet or kibble food.