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Is Your Dog's Food Affecting its Behaviour and IQ?

03 December 2015

UK - Many pet owners worry about their animal’s behaviour and training, often struggling for reasons why their cat or dog doesn’t seem to understand simple commands. While some blame their own inability to train, others question their pet’s IQ. Now vets and scientists at Nutravet, a British pet healthcare company, say that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that when it comes to pet intelligence it’s not all in the mind – it could be down to the food bowl.

Nutravet experts say recent studies show that specific nutrients sustain mental function in pets and low levels could even be linked with serious problems such as dog aggression.

Matthew Shaw, the company’s MD, stated: “Poor quality and unbalanced diets can be deficient in some of the nutrients that are critical to learning and cognitive function.”

Supporting brain health through nutrients is increasingly recognised as important in puppy training.

Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils have been proven to improve a puppy’s learning ability. If a puppy’s diet is not specifically enriched with these important nutrients there might not be enough to support the natural neurological development that continues after birth.

Many pet owners notice that their older pets seem to be befuddled, confused and unresponsive, often apparently failing to recognise their owners, or act on simple commands.

Matthew says this isn’t a condition that pet owners should just accept. “We know the omega-3s are important in old pets too as they support the membranes of brain cells and are important in the transmission of messages throughout the brain.”

Studies have also shown that low blood omega-3 can be linked with dog aggression, a finding that should cause significant concern for families with pets.

The company’s vets have now formulated a high strength product they have dubbed Nutramind® to help boost a pet’s brain power and it will only be available from veterinary practices. It complements an existing Nutravet natural healthcare product called Nutracalm® that is a tried and trusted solution recommended by vets to manage stress and anxiety in pets.

Nutramind® contains highly refined high strength omega-3s from sustainably sourced ocean sardines, phosphatidylserine an amino acid derivative found in high levels in the brain, E and B vitamins – both of which are important at all ages but especially for older pets – and the herb Gingko biloba which aids the brain’s ability to withstand low oxygen levels that occur in ageing and affect memory.

The researchers at Nutravet believe that the role of nutrition may not yet be fully appreciated in the development of behavioural change in pets. Matthew Shaw, Nutravet MD says, “As well as being suitable for young animals and older animals with cognitive decline, there is evidence that ensuring pets receive these extra nutrients may benefit their mental function throughout life.”

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