Feeding

There is a direct link between food and behaviour. High street brands often contain additives, ethoxyquins, colourants and preservatives, some of which affect our pets dramatically. We recommend you feed your dog a 'clean' or as 'natural' food as possible.

The most common problem is that the decision of what a dog eats is affected by the owner's perception of what they like and not necessarily what would be best for them. Food sold in supermarkets is attractive due to the marketing of the brand and not necessarily nutritional content. Avoid brightly coloured foods; they appeal to us, as primates we are attracted to the colour of ripe fruits. However the colourings and preservatives in feeds such as these are likely to make any dog hyperactive. Make your decision based on raw ingredients then you can be confident that you are giving your dog the best nutritional start.

Owners have the choice between feeding a dry kibble, a tinned/pouched wet food or making the meal from raw ingredients. Depending on your dog's preferences and your time any of these are acceptable if the ingredients are a high quality. Palatability of food is based on odour and not taste for dogs as they have approximately one fifth of our taste buds, 1800 to our 9000. If you are feeding a dry kibble we recommend brands such as Burns complete foods, Royal Canin, Arden Grange and Science Plan. Superior wet foods include Nature Diet and Bozita. Brands that provide the best quality raw food ingredients (frozen meats) are Prize Choice and Natures Menu.

Keep these ideas in mind for treats as well. The best treats are raw vegetables, carrots especially. Also cooked pieces of meat such as chicken or liver are ideal. Cheese is often a real favourite, but should not be used in dogs that are on a dietary restriction. Never feed a dog chocolate or gravy made for human consumption, as these are highly poisonous to them. It is also advisable not to leave food down all day as this can create fussy eaters or encourage dominant behaviour.

Our basic advice is not to let clever marketing affect your dog's nutritional welfare!

Find out about Best Behaviour School for Dogs' puppy classes in Sevenoaks.