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dogBehaviour problems are more commonly seen in dogs rather than cats, and manifest as the dog being


Various surveys* show that between 20% and 80% of owners complain of problem behaviour of their dogs. This wide variation is probably due to differing perceptions of what constitutes acceptable or tolerable behaviour.

There are numerous reports of behaviour problems being directly linked to diet and the management of all behaviour problems should include attention to the diet.
It is likely that a significant proportion of these are related to adverse reactions to food ingredients. (See section on Dietary Intolerance.)

A basic principle of holistic medicine is that there is no division of our being into separate physical and mental compartments. Good physical health promotes good mental health and vice versa.

Traditional Oriental Medicine had a Five Element system of classification.

A weakness of the Water organs (Kidney and Urinary Bladder) would cause excessive fearfulness. Healthy Water organs would ensure healthy caution.

A weakness of the Wood organs (Liver and Gall Bladder) leads to anger and aggressiveness.

All behaviour problems should include consideration of diet. Stable mental and physical health are necessary aspects of eliminating undesirable behaviour and they depend on suitable nutrition.

Behaviour problems may be due to:

  • Genetic: breeders have a responsibility to avoid breeding from dogs with poor temperament
  • Early environment: young puppies need to socialise with humans and other dogs; diet of dam and of the growing puppy are vital.

    Owners should consider the following points:
  • Suitable breed: e.g. Border Collies need lots of exercise and stimulation
  • Buying a puppy: a puppy bred in a household may be better adjusted to family life than a puppy from a large kennel or dealer
  • Re-homing: dogs from rescue centres may have been abandoned because of problems.
  • Upbringing: correct rearing as regards diet, socialising, separation, training.

Many dogs are destroyed because of their behaviour. The quality of life of a family can be significantly impaired because of a troublesome dog; it may be impossible to have visitors; normal dog-walking may be impossible. Correct diet combined with a suitable emotional relationship plus re-training can help achieve a rewarding relationship between owner and pet.

"Since being on Burns my 5 year old bitch is losing her inhibitions; she will now go to other people, join in games with teh other dogs and will at last explore ahead of me rather than being glued to the back of my legs."
Mrs Williams, Deeside


* V. O’Farrell (1992). Manual of Canine Behaviour, BSAVA publication.

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©2006 Burns Pet Nutrition Ltd. No part of this website can be reproduced in any form without the express permission of Burns Pet Nutrition Ltd. The advice of Burns Pet Nutrition or a qualified veterinary surgeon should always be sought before changes are made to the diet in the nutritional management of health problems.

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