Could Pet Behavioural Issues Be Linked to Diet?

Could Pet Behavioural Issues Be Linked to Diet?

Is your dog or cat experiencing mood changes, acting aggressively, or picking up strange habits?  Pet behavioral issues can be challenging to overcome, and depending on your situation, correcting the problem can feel somewhat overwhelming.  It is said that roughly 30%-50% of dogs and cats are malnourished. Malnourishment increases the risk of disease and reduces the ability to overcome sickness, but did you know it can also cause behavioral issues? Read more below on the essential nutrients impacting pet behavior and hear from Professional Dog Trainers Kelly Gilbert and Ben Miller from Bark Busters, MD, on the importance of proper nutrition when curving destructive behaviors.


How to Detect Signs of  Malnourishment

In TQDF's most recent article, How is Your Pet’s Health and a Happy Environment Linked to Poo? They explain how pet stools paint a picture of pet health. The same can be said about pet skin – the largest organ in dogs and cats, equating to 10%-15% of their body weight. If food lacks nutrients, pets can experience hair loss, infection, or disease.

Malnourishment impacts behavior too! Ben explains, “behavioral issues and malnutrition go hand in hand.” Kelly and Ben provide at-home dog-training services throughout Maryland. Their work focuses on pinpointing the source of the behavioral issue, educating clients on pack leadership, and teaching them communication techniques. Hyperactivity, aggression, and eating earthy materials such as sticks, wood, furniture, and cardboard, are just a few examples of what they work to correct.

In their initial consultation, they educate their clients on the importance of nutrition. Kelly explains “Dog DNA is 99% wolf still to this day and we know that wolves are eating raw meats, organs, and bones in the wild. Dog DNA also requires these nutrients in their diet. Kibble ingredients are cooked at high temperatures, and then bonded together with carbohydrates and fillers causing a lot of waste in the dogs’ system.”

Kelly and Ben believe that at the root of many behavioral issues is inadequate nutrition. This is why they refer many of their clients to Top Quality Dog Food. Clients that have leaped to a raw diet have witnessed complete reversals in their pet’s behavior. Kelly describes many breakthroughs, such as: “a huge decrease in hyperactivity, no more digging holes in the backyard, no more picking up random earthy materials throughout their walks, no more allergy issues, a better coat, less defecating because there is less waste, and more!”

If you are interested in signing up for their at-home training service, please visit their website here or contact them at


What’s Going on Behind the Scenes

To better understand how nutrition impacts pet behavior, it is essential to review the biological processes working hard behind the scenes in your pet’s body.

Enzymes are essential for the digestion and absorption of food. Live enzymes are catalysts for biological processes and are beneficial in improving the breakdown and absorption of food and nutrients. Kibble undergoes high heat and processing; beneficial enzymes are lost. Symptoms of enzyme deficiencies can include chronic diarrhoea, weight loss, increased gas, stools, and an upset stomach.

Natural vitamins and minerals work synergistically in nature to offer animals the best-balanced nutrition. The truth is there are functional and chemical differences between synthetic and natural vitamins and minerals. The raw beef heart contains vitamin E, C, niacin, folate, vitamin B-12, pantothenic acid, and other supporting co-factors, while synthetic vitamin is isolated. Nutrient isolation alters the function in the body. In other words, it is unclear how well synthetic vitamins are digested and absorbed by the body.

Photo 1: Synthetic Ascorbic Acid VS. Natural Dehydroascorbic Acid.

Image showing cell structure and how synthetic v natural ascorbic acid is used by the body


Amino acids are the building blocks of the body. Two amino acids that impact your pet’s mood are tryptophan and taurine.

Tryptophan deficiencies have been proven to cause depression, anxiety, and aggression. The reason being is, tryptophan synthesizes melatonin, niacin, and serotonin in your pet’s body, encouraging a more balanced mood. Natural foods high in tryptophan include Eggs, Rabbit, Beef liver, Turkey, Pork

Taurine is another amino acid that is important for dogs, but especially cats. Plant protein does not offer sufficient levels of taurine, which makes supplementation necessary in a kibble diet. Symptoms of taurine deficiencies can include lethargy and skin/fur issues and have been linked to heart disease in cats and dogs. Natural foods that are high in taurine include Poultry, Fish, Liver, and Heart.

Water is essential to almost every bodily function. Electrolytes, otherwise known as, macro minerals include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sodium, and chloride.  Hydration is not possible without electrolytes, as they help the body hold onto water. Due to the difficulties with digesting kibble, synthetic electrolytes are often not absorbed by your pet’s body. Serving regular tap water with kibble may dehydrate your pet because their body lacks adequate electrolytes to retain the moisture. Symptoms of dehydration can include loss of skin elasticity, low energy, acute vomiting, diarrhea, or panting.

A healthy gut microbiome with beneficial flora impacts your pet’s behavior. The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health published a study that looked at dogs with historical behavioral issues, the gut microbiome structure, and their adrenocortical activity. Adrenocortical is a hormone that encourages the production and release of cortisol, which helps the body react better to stress. Their findings concluded that the gut microbiome structure should be considered when mitigating animal behavior disorders. Incorporate Green Tripe for a healthy dose of Lactobacillus or add in a scoop of Protect: Soil Based Probiotic as an easy alternative.


Good Nutrition Fuels Good Behavior

Whole, natural ingredients support a happy and healthy pet. Raw food offers enzymes, natural vitamins and minerals, synergistic processes, protein, and amino acids to support carnivores, water from fresh foods, and natural probiotics to support a healthy gut and brain. Start shopping today!


Disclaimer: This blog is intended for educational purposes only. You are responsible for your pet(s) health and safety. We encourage you to research topics further and consult with your Veterinarian or Pet Nutritionist before modifying your pet(s) diet.


Link to original article: 



“Can Raw Feeding Make My Pet Aggressive? Perfectly Rawsome Guidance.” Perfectly Rawsome, 3 Jan. 2020,

Chandler, Marjorie L., and Danielle A. Gunn-Moore. “Nutritional Status of Canine and Feline Patients Admitted to a Referral Veterinary Internal Medicine Service.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 1 Aug. 2004,

Gilbert, Kelly, and Ben Miller. “Re: Bark Busters.” Received by Haley Denton, 13 May. 2021.

Griffiths, Sarah. “Is Your Dog Missing Vital Nutrients?” Dogs Naturally, 29 Apr. 2021,

Hunter, Tammy, and Earnest Ward. “The Importance of Your Pet’s Skin and Coat and the Role of Diet.” vca_corporate,,the%20dermis%2C%20and%20the%20epidermis.

“Lack Of Digestive Enzymes in Dogs.” PetMD, PetMD, 15 Mar. 2016,

Mondo, E, et al. “Gut Microbiome Structure and Adrenocortical Activity in Dogs with Aggressive and Phobic Behavioral Disorders.” Heliyon, Elsevier, 29 Jan. 2020,

Griffiths, Sarah. “Is Your Dog Missing Vital Nutrients?” Dogs Naturally, 29 Apr. 2021,

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