Understanding the Role of Food in Helping Dogs with Anxiety - Wagr - The Smart Petcare Platform

Understanding the Role of Food in Helping Dogs with Anxiety

Anxiety, depression, and stress are all common issues that we deal with every day. But did you know that dogs are capable of these feelings as well? The issues of fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS) are quite common in the canine community.

This post will outline the correlation between diet and anxiety for dogs, help you understand the signs of anxiety in them, and the foods that can help ease it.

Are diet and anxiety correlated?

It’s no secret that a balanced diet is key to good health, and the same is true for our four-legged friends. And by health, we mean mental health, as well. Diet has a direct impact on hormone levels, mood, and other factors which affect their mental health. How does this happen?

Suppose your dog has been on a low-protein diet. The muscles built up in their body will break down to free up more protein for other bodily needs. This will result in weakness and fatigue, inhibiting their energy levels while playing or running, which makes them stressed.

The imbalance of carbs in your pet’s diet is equally problematic for their mental health, if not more. When dogs consume too many carbs, it leads to the rapid insurgence of sugar in their body, ultimately spiking their blood sugar levels. And just like us, dogs with high blood sugar levels are also prone to feeling stressed or anxious.

Is your dog anxious? Here’s how you can tell

Do you ever feel like your dog is stressed or anxious? Look out for these signs to make sure:

  • Intensified barking or whining

  • Excessive panting

  • Prolonged and intense yawning, licking, chewing, or drooling

  • Frequent tail tucking and rigidness in posture

  • Unwillingness to make eye contact

  • Restlessness

  • Defecating around the house

  • Unwillingness to eat

  • Shivering

  • Finding corners around the house to hide

Apart from these common signs, you should also keep an eye on their behavior. Are they being unnecessarily destructive? Or trying to fight things that are part of their normal routine? These behavioral changes can also point toward anxiety or stress.

Feed your dog these foods to help them with anxiety

Dealing with an anxious pet is not easy but there are some foods that can help ease it and improve their mental wellness to some extent. Take a look!

Avocado

While an avocado’s pit contains persin, which is lethal for dogs, the flesh of the fruit is both healthy and nutritious for them. It consists of all the stress-releasing B-vitamins, which not only maintain the luster of their fur but can also help them calm down.

 

Spinach

Spinach is called a ‘superfood’ for a reason. This leafy green vegetable has an abundance of magnesium, a mineral that’s not only used in hundreds of your pet’s enzymatic processes but also maintains the balance in their neurotransmitters, thereby helping them reduce their anxiety.

Sweet potatoes

Did you know that sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest foods in the world? They’re not only nutrient-dense but also contain complex carbs, which regulate your pet’s blood sugar levels and promote insulin resistance.

Salmon (and other oily/fatty fish)

Have you heard of L-tryptophan? It’s an amino acid that converts into serotonin, a hormone that can do wonders for your pet’s mood. Luckily for you, this amino acid is present in salmon, alongside the Omega-3 fatty acids that keep their cortisol levels in check. And since cortisols are stress hormones, controlling them can brighten your pet’s mood considerably.

Also, note that Omega-3 fatty acids are present only in most fatty fish, but L-tryptophan can only be found in salmon.

 
Pro-tip: We always recommend choosing organic to avoid fertilizers and pesticides that could harm your pet’s health.

Seeing your little furred friend struggling with stress and anxiety is never a welcome sight for a pet parent. However, with the right changes in their diet, you have a great chance of helping them fight FAS!

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