I once had a dog that was hyperactive beyond belief. She would be up at precisely five every morning (after a restless night) and run around like a mad rabbit until night. Then, she would take a short nap and resume her running around.
As cute as it was, it also got exhausting to keep up with her constant demands for attention and her constant need to play. We thought it was just a part of her personality, until we casually mentioned it to our vet, who suggested we make some modifications to her lifestyle.
A couple of weeks later, we had an active dog who managed to sleep through the night and was content to sit quietly in a corner for a couple of hours each day. Since then, we’ve come to understand just how big a role lifestyle can play in a dogs energy levels and hyper activism. Here are some pointers when it comes to diet.
Check The Sugar Content
If you’re feeding your dogs packaged or processed food, read the nutritional information on the back of the packet to see the sugar content. Try switching to a packet with less sugar content gradually and see if you notice an improvement.
Other Concerns With Packaged Foods
Other non-natural contents in packaged foods can also cause aggressive, hyperactive and restless behaviour. Check the packet contents for artificial colouring, a large amount of preservatives or additives and try to avoid such products.
Switch To A Natural Diet
In order to avoid preservatives and additives or a high sugar content that may be aggravating your dog’s behaviour, you could try switching it to a natural, organic diet.
With a home cooked diet, it’s much easier to identify specific ingredients that could be causing hyperactivity. Some dogs, for instance are sensitive to certain meats while certain vegetables may cause unusual; bursts of energy for others. Switch between a range of foods in your dog’s diet until you arrive at a diet that allows him to maintain normal energy levels. A vet can help with formulating a plan to pinpoint specific ingredients which cause hyper activity.
Lower Protein Levels
Excess intake of protein, which is a primary source of energy for dogs, can cause super active behaviour as the dog tries to use up the energy the protein gives him. Reduce a small amount of the protein you give him gradually and see whether there’s an improvement in his behaviour.
A change in diet alone may not go a long way in curbing active behaviour. Every dog (even toy breed ones) needs specific amounts of exercise. While dogs that are bred for herding, retrieving or transportation need to be taken on a very brisk walk – or allowed to run free – at least three times a day, smaller house pets also need to be walked routinely – albeit less strenuously – every day.
Giving your dog rawhide or real bones will also keep him entertained and expend energy as well as maintain dental hygiene.
If, after taking all these steps, your dog’s activity levels remain the same, maybe you can consult with your vet to get your dog tested for hyperkineses, a rare condition in which the dog suffers from the canine version of ADHD. There are various ways to deal with the medical condition such as supplements and special obedience classes; your vet will be able to guide you further.