Is There A Link Between High Protein Diets and Behaviour?

We know that in humans, our diets effect our bodies and minds greatly. A healthy diet provides the nutrition for a healthy immune system, balanced mindset and overall give us the best chance of good health – as it is with dogs also…

There are so many varieties of dog foods out there, from dry kibble to raw. Most of these foods also have varying contents, with high and low protein, carbs, fat, fibre and so on. However there have been studies on the effect high protein diets may have on a dog’s behaviour.

There is an amino acid called tryptophan, that is found within a dog’s diet. Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps form serotonin, which has a vital role in regulating a dog’s mood – the same as us humans. From research carried out, it was found that because protein also produces amino acids, it results in tryptophan having to compete with the proteins amino acids. Therefore high protein will produce larger quantities of amino acids that makes it statistically less likely that the dog will get its required amount of tryptophan, which may adversely effect the dog’s production of serotonin.

A lack of serotonin may manifest itself in behaviours such as, anxiousness, fearfulness, poor sleep and even heightened levels of reactivity/aggression. I guess this is the same for us humans, which is why many anti-depressants help us humans with our serotonin levels – to help with overall mood etc.

I personally have always fed my dogs high protein diets and have not seen any changes in behaviour, but it is an interesting study and will be interesting to see if any further research is carried out on the subject!

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