Practicing a holistic approach for sound mental health

An integrated approach offers a more permanent solution, a happier dog,
and a more content family.

When it comes to taking care of our canine companions, diet is an integral piece of the complete care package.  Diet affects health – health affects behavior.  So it follows that Diet effects behavior.  (The same being true in humans.)  Healthy individuals follow a healthy-eating lifestyle.  Why would we give our pets anything less?

A nutritional audit is a part of every Behavioral Assessment.  Leaning to read labels in the Pet Food Supermarket is part of our complete education package.  Don’t be fooled by advertising.  Learn the facts!


Specific dietary changes for behavioral modification are standard practice in veterinary medicine today.  This practice is slowly filtering into the recommendations of behaviorists and knowledgeable obedience trainers worldwide.  Diet can affect overall heath as well as attitude.  As part of a behavioral modification approach, your learning coach at K-9 U may recommend a change in your dog’s diet. Therefore, finding the right diet for your dog’s activity level, personality and specific needs is never a waste of time. 

Will changing your dog’s diet modify your dog’s behavior?  It can - but it is not a guarantee for immediate results.  Rather, a dietary modification may be a part of a whole dog approach which will most likely include some level of obedience training as well as some level of environmental modification. 

Diet alone is rarely the answer.  However,several conditions can benefit from a dietary modification.  These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Hyperactivity,
  • some types of Aggression,
  • Increased stress,
  • Environmental stress resulting from a change of conditions,
  • Allergies (food or environmental),
  • General skin conditions,
  • Lethargy,
  • Destructiveness,
  • Coporophagia (ingestion of feces), and
  • Eating soil (pica ingestion). 

Based on your dog’s symptoms, your learning coach may focus on protein (amount, quality and/or source), salt content, fiber (amount and/or source), carbohydrates (amount and/or source) preservatives or other additives.

If there is any possibility that a food change can make a difference in your dog’s overall health or behavior, then a food change will be recommended.  We will discuss the reason for the proposed change as well as appropriate choices of different foods.  Whether or not you make the switch will ultimately be your decision. 

Many people, for one reason or another, have changed their dog’s diet and experienced an episode of “food-change diarrhea.”  Most of these frustrated dog owners immediately change back to the original dog food believing that the “new” food “did not agree with” their dog.  Unfortunately, the way owners change dog food types, or brands, is often the problem – not necessarily the food itself.

If you decide to change your puppy/dog’s food, it should be done graduallyAbruptly changing a protein source will cause diarrhea (gastrointestinal upset, or, gastroenteritis) in some dogs.  With this in mind we always recommend a change in diet that occurs over a period of time, usually over the course of three to ten days, with ten as the optimum.

Site Maintenance by Ivy House Studios - Mukilteo WA 98275 Last modified 5-25-2013 1300 PDT fct