Feeding Your Dog to Lower His Stress

Daina Beckman

Dog Behavior Specialist
Happy Tails Dog Behavior & Training

There has been a lot of studies on the canine diet as it relates to all areas of growth, dog breed and dog behavior. It is important that you check with your veterinarian before you change your dogs diet.
Once you have the okay from your veterinarian here is what I recommend based on my education, research studies and experience I have had with canine diet and changing behavior.

Things to avoid
Red Food Dye, BHA, BHT, Propylene Glycol, corn, avoid wheat and soy in your dog food also. Protein treats such as cheese, peanut butter, meat. Avoid anything on the poison food list. ALL Table scraps.

Things to include:
Low protein, for adult dogs 16%-22%
For puppies the kibble should include DHA as this will help with brain development and learning.
Fruits and Vegetables for training treats. Things such as carrots, peas, green beans, apple, strawberry.

I recommend Blue Seal By Nature either Adult or puppy. These are very good diets, and are not as expensive as some of the designer foods you find at pet stores.

Where to feed your dog:
Your dog should be able to eat his meal in peace. He should be fed in a low traffic area where he can relax and take his time. If your dog is very quickly gobbling his food, or carrying it away from his dish to another place he is not comfortable where you are feeding him. If you have more than one dog, separate them for feeding so that they don’t feel like the other dog may take their food if they don’t eat fast enough.

When to feed your dog:
You should feed your dog right after your eat, or 1 or more hours before you eat. Pack leaders always eat first. It will add to stress and confusion for your dog if you feed him at the same time you eat or shortly before you eat.

Puppy’s up to 6 months old need to be fed tree times a day.
Adult dogs should be fed twice a day.

How much to feed your dog. As a rule of thumb, you should feed your dog as much as he can eat in about 5 minutes. If your dog is overweight, talk to your veterinarian about a diet and exercise plan to reduce weight. (I have a hand our on how to properly exercise your dog) If your dog is under weight, talk to your veterinarian about a weight gain diet plan. Stress can cause both under weight and over weight in dogs just as in can in humans. I can provide you with in home behavior modification to lower your dogs stress and anxiety.

Pet food companies what to sell more food, and also are liable for the amount of food they recommend you feed your dog. Many dog food manufacturers take into consideration that you may be feeding a sled dog. This is how couch potato dogs get over weight being fed the recommended amount on dog food bags.

How to change your dogs diet; You need to go slowly, it should take about 10 days to change the diet. You are going to start on day one with 90% of the old food and 10% of the new food. Day two you will feed 80% of the old food and 20% of the new food. Continue decreasing the old food by 10% and increasing the new food by 10% daily until you are feeding 100% of the new food. This will prevent gastric problems that can be caused by a sudden change in diet.


Your dog is experiencing a lot of stress if he has symptoms such as circling, excessive barking, aggression, self licking or mutilation, forced bowel movements that look like wet sand, what many people think is marking in the house, separation anxiety, fly snapping, thunderstorm phobia, fear of people or objects, hiding, reactivity, barks at things with his hair standing up and his tail straight up with a very narrow wag, urinates when greeting people, seems depressed, or under active, can’t seem to quiet down and relax, can’t seem to get going. These are just a few of the signs of stress in your dog.
If you are not sure, get in touch with me and I will help you figure out if your dog is stressed.
Most dog owners miss stress or anxiety or just pass it off to “that is how he is or that is how this breed is”. Living with stress, anxiety and fear is a horrible way to live and will cause belly and bowel problems and other medical problems. It will shorten the life of your dog. It is not normal. Please don’t let your dog continue to live suffering with anxiety when there is something that can be done to correct it.
If your dog is having any anxiety related problems, we can try a diet to increase serotonin and dopamine in his brain. It takes about 6 weeks to begin to see a change with this diet. I need to work with you privately with this diet. There are minor variations depending on the dogs weight, medical history, allergies, and behavior symptoms. I did want all of you to know that this is available. Changing diet alone however will not eliminate stress and anxiety. You will also have to use behavior modification at home.

** update** I am now offering quality dog food at a guarenteed lowest price in my pet store.  My store is open Mon.- Wed. 9:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m.


Leave a reply