How diet affects your dogs' brain development

As humans, we know all-too-well how nutrition affects our physical and mental state. We are taught from a young age that putting the right type of food into our bodies will keep us healthy and feeling good. At some stage we have all felt the effects of eating poorly, the food coma from devouring a greasy meal late at night or feeling the high from a caffeine or sugar hit.

The same concept is true for dogs, diet can affect dogs behaviour, as well as their intelligence. What’s more, there is scientific evidence to suggest that you can change the neurological and physical characteristics of a dog’s brain through diet and nutrition.

Growing bodies & growing brains

A study in Toronto led by Behavioural Neurologist Norton Milgram, demonstrated that dogs brains go through rapid development in the first 4 weeks after birth, it then slows down considerably until the puppy reaches adulthood. Within this time, it’s vital to include foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids in their diets to increase their learning ability and cognitive development. Professor of Psychology Dr. Coren says “Without balanced nutrition, the nerve cells of a dog’s brain will not mature properly; and the brain will be smaller in volume and weight and not function as well. Poorly nourished dogs act less intelligently throughout the rest of their lives”

How to choose the right foods

The primary nutrients required to achieve a balanced diet include protein, fats, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins, minerals and water. Here’s some tips of finding a balanced diet for your greyhound:

  • Ensure that you have read the ingredients contained within pre-packaged dog food you are feeding your dog. Processed food can contain nasties such as heavy metals, artificial colours and flavours, preservatives. Try and find foods that are made with high quality, easily digestible ingredients which are often found in more premium brands.
  • Supplement your dogs meals with nutrient rich food such as sweet potato, pumpkin, broccoli, carrots and bananas.
  • Introduce seafood into your dogs’ diet which are rich in fatty acids and protein
While getting the balance right for your pooch may require some trial and error (particularly if you’re dog if a fussy eater), it’s also important to understand what food may also harm your dog