This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Gesunde 4 Pfoten - Ernährungsberatung

There’s a saying that, the way to a man´s (dog´s) heart is through his stomach. To feed healthy  and to spoil your dog properly, is for many dog owners a matter of the heart.  Good quality with good digestibility is important in nutrition. Because the food administered not only has an effect on the body, but also on emotions and behavior. Especially with stressed dogs it is definitely worthwhile to take a closer look at the food. What is the connection between the behavior of our dogs and the food in their bowl? Is there a dog food against stress and how can behavior be influenced by food?

Influence of food on feelings and behaviour

So-called neurotransmitters and hormones control emotions, like anger or joy, among our beloved friends. Even feelings of jealousy may be replaced by these substances be reinforced or inhibited. Through unhealthy and qualitative inferior dog food, but also stress, can cause an imbalance in the neurotransmitter balance. Symptoms such as anxiety, impulsiveness, lack of sleep and hyperactivity can occur. Which substances are beneficial?

Dog food against stress?

Serotonin, the so-called „happiness hormone“, provides for positive feelings and works stress-relieving. The mood-lifting neurotransmitter also positively influences your best friend’s ability to learn. The body produces serotonin from the amino acid tryptophan. The body does not produce the basic building block itself it happens over the food your dog eats.

Tyrosine on the other hand promotes stress. At the blood-brain barrier the amino acids are located in front of the entrance. In order to absorb tryptophan, some help is needed.  What does this mean for the nutrition of your dog?

Meaning for the nutrition

In feeding practice this means a week or two to slowly reduce of the protein content, with a parallel increase of the carbs. Dogs that are fed a lower protein diet, show less territorial aggression due to various studies. Also a feeding of carbohydrates separated in time about 2 hours after a protein meal provides for allowing tryptophane to enter the brain and cause is synthesized into serotonin.

Among other things, the following are particularly suitable for this:
white fish, lamb, goat, duck, tofu, bananas, brown rice, oatmeal, potatoes, quinoa, cashew nuts, blueberries, linseed oil/thistle oil (Omega 3+6), and the administration of magnesium, vitamin B6 and folic acid. 

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What else makes a healthy diet?

In general, it can be said that fruit and vegetables should be in your dogs daily food.
A myth of the dog food is, that he does not digest carbohydrates can. Your darling is quite capable of it. But which foods are harmful for your estimated friend, you can read about it here: Harmful food for dogs

Influence behaviour positively

Which materials also provide a positive influence on behaviour? Magnesium or the “salt of inner peace” as it is called, acts here as muscle fuel, but also as nerve food. High-quality oils are also an important component in the balanced dog food, because they provide essential fatty acids and can inhibit aggressive and impulsive behavior. Also vitamin B, which for example is found in brewer’s yeast has a positive effect on the nervous system.  Always hungry dogs benefit from complex carbohydrates with a high fibre content. Because constant hunger between meals can be responsible for stereotypes, impulsive behaviour and reduced rest periods.

It takes as long as it takes

At this point, you may wonder how quickly a change in behavior is happening as you change the food!? With some animals there is already an improvement of the mood in some days, with others it can be weeks. Nutrition has a weighty part in the health of our dogs, but also by their behavior.

However, you should also always think about the fact, that the state of mind is not exclusively dependent on the food. Because just as you can promote well-being with food it matters not to let stress arise in the first place. Behavioural disorders have different causes.
Also physical influence complaints, hormonal status, daily form and experiences our pets. A stress-free everyday life, adequate employment- and rest periods should, in addition to a balanced diet, of course be.

Verhalten durch Futter beeinflussen


A healthy, balanced diet is important for our valued pets. Not only the physical health can be improved with the right food, also the mental health of our pets profits from it. Certain behaviours can be influenced by the appropriate nutrition can be positively influenced.