By Linda Cole
When training for a marathon or any other sporting event, a human athlete won’t get very far if all he or she eats is junk food. Diet is so important to keep the body working smoothly, and what we feed our pets matters just as much as what we eat. A poor diet can seriously affect a pet’s health, and can also be a reason for your pet’s bad behavior. Dog training, housebreaking, hyperactivity and aggression issues are some of the things that may be affected by the food your pet eats.
If you don’t have your dog’s attention, you aren’t going to be able to teach him. Lower quality pet food makes training a puppy or dog harder if they are hungry all the time and have no energy. Training requires a dog to focus, and if he’s hungry or feels sluggish, learning a command is more difficult. Cheaper food may actually require a pet to eat more to feel full, and with lower quality nutrients, he may struggle with his learning. A dog that doesn’t understand basic commands can be harder to control.
It’s harder to housebreak a puppy or dog if they need to go more because they have to eat more. Fillers in lower quality pet foods are there to help fill pets up. In order for food to be effective, it needs to be absorbed into the body. Poorer quality foods aren’t absorbed as well, and the end result is that a puppy or dog needs to “go” more often. On average, adult dogs should only have one to two bowel movements each day, and puppies are old enough to control their bladder and bowels by the age of six months. If they are going more than that but have no health issues which could cause this, it’s wise to evaluate the food your pet is eating.
Cats eating a lower quality pet food may stop using the litter box if they are using it more often and you find it hard to keep it clean because of more frequent use. Like dogs, a healthy cat should have a bowel movement one or two times a day. Diet can affect a pet’s coat, skin, eyes, muscle development, overall health and energy level.
Pica is a compulsive eating disorder, and it can be due to a poor diet. A hungry pet may try to satisfy their hunger by eating non food items like rocks, socks, plastic bags, dirt or anything they can find to munch on. A pet that eats non food items should be checked out by a vet to make sure there are no medical problems.