Behavior problems and anxieties in dogs can make them more vulnerable to disease and can decrease their quality of life. While satisfaction with a dog’s behavior can facilitate attachment between dogs and their owners, problematic behaviors, especially aggressiveness, fearfulness, and destructiveness are the common reasons dog owners relinquish their furry friends to shelters.
Do you think your dog is presently experiencing food anxiety? One of the easiest ways to tell is by identifying the cause behind their anxiety. Dogs experiencing food anxiety will show behavioral changes. They turn aggressive or destructive, and these behaviors may pose a level of threat to you and people around you. Therefore, you need to learn how to help your dog overcome this before it runs out of control.
In this post, we will be showing you some common things that cause food anxiety in dogs and how you can fix it.
Common Causes of Food Anxiety in Dogs
Anxiety is becoming increasingly common among dogs, so you are not alone if your pup is also showing some symptoms. But do you know what could cause this in the first place?
Many factors cause food anxiety and some of them include:
The breed of the dog
This is likely the most common reason for food anxiety in dogs. Some breeds are more likely to suffer from anxiety than others. Breeds such as Bichon Frise, German Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers have a higher chance of experiencing anxiety. For instance, Labradors are known to be voracious eaters that tend to be always hungry and lose self-control when it’s time to eat.
The environment in which your dog eats has a way of impacting its mental health. Noise, disturbance, and competition in the environment can cause anxiety in the dog. Having many people or other dogs around can mean competition to the dog which can lead him or her to want to eat up quickly and not relax. A noisy environment can also make your dog stop eating or tends to finish its food immediately.
Inconsistent feeding times
How often do you feed your dog? If you do it just once a day, you may be exposing your furry friend to anxiety. It causes a long waiting time that makes them feel anxious. If you also don’t have a regular feeding routine for your dogs, it can cause anxiety in the dog because they don’t know when the next food is coming.
How Can You Fix Food Anxiety In Dogs?
#1: Create a feeding routine for your dog
Like earlier said, a long waiting time between meals can stimulate anxiety in your dog. Feeding your dog just once a day can cause your dog to want to eat too fast and sometimes too much because they will have to wait another long time for another meal. They stock up for the next mealtime.
However, to help your dog fight food anxiety, consider dividing their daily ration into two or three parts. Instead of feeding them a big serving once a day, it will be better to feed them smaller portions a number of times daily.
We can help you determine how much food is right for your dog based on some information about the dog. You can then, create a routine for the dog and give him or her at least 30 minutes to eat before emptying their food trays. Nevertheless, trying to keep their food tray full at all times is not recommended, especially for overweight dogs.
#2: Feed your dogs well-balanced meals
This is very important when it comes to fixing food anxiety. Like humans, dogs also need to feed on a healthy and balanced diet to stay healthy. Make sure your dog’s food is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. That is why our dog foods at Vondis come highly recommended for dog owners.
The Vondi’s foods are natural, wholesome, and free of preservatives which make them really great for any type of dog. Our natural foods are rich in antioxidants that help ease the effects of anxiety and have enough B vitamins in them to help control stress levels in dogs.
#3: Feed your dogs in separate areas
If you have more than one dog, you may need to consider feeding them in separate areas. Feeding them together may increase food anxiety in the dogs because of an increased rate of competition. To avoid this, you may need to create separate corners to feed each dog or feed each in their kennel.
This will also help the dog have a balanced meal – not overfeeding because they will only eat what’s present on their trays and feeding bowls.
#4: Make sure the environment is calm enough during mealtime
A noisy or distracting environment increases anxiety in dogs when feeding. So, ensure a calm environment during mealtime. Plus, it will improve their appetite. Give them about 30 minutes to eat before coming around. Your presence sometimes also can mean mealtime is over and they will want to quickly eat up, increasing their anxiety.
#5: Reduce protein intake
Several studies have shown that having too much protein in a dog’s diet can increase anxiety, aggression, and even obesity in the dog. If you have been noticing some symptoms of anxiety in your dog, you might want to check the amount of protein present in the diet.
When you work into our stores, let us know what kind of dog you own to help recommend the best diet for your dog. Dogs have a daily protein requirement of 18%. If you have a more active dog, it might increase to about 25%. Whereas if you own a sled or racer dog, you might need to increase the protein daily requirement to 35%.
We can only help determine how much protein should be included in your dog diet when you tell us about the dog.
Final Note on Helping Your Dog Combat Food Anxiety
Food anxiety is common among dogs and can lead to some unpleasant behavioral changes. These behaviors can be harmful to you, the dog, and the public. But you can help your dog fix this by scheduling feeding time for the dogs, feeding them separately, and creating a calm environment for them while feeding. You will also need to feed such dogs well-balanced meals while also reducing their protein intake. Doing all of these will help to reduce stress and anxiety in your digs.