Can food help your anxious pet?
If you drink coffee or an energy drink, you’ll know that certain foods or drinks can make you feel energetic, while others have a calming effect on the body, like chamomile tea. Just as foods have an effect on us humans, they can also have a stimulating or calming effect on our canine and feline friends.
Food as medicine
“Changing your pets’ diet can help to decrease anxiety. Certain diets contain precursors for the hormones and neurotransmitters that decrease anxious behaviour. Only limited research is available about the effects of supplementation on behaviour. Omega-3 fatty acids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. Furthermore, they can modulate neurotransmitters. Research showed that fatty acids influence the same pathways that anti-anxiety medications do. Intestinal tract micro bacteria can have an influence on anxious behaviour. Giving probiotics containing the bacteria Bifidobacterium longum to your pet, can have an anxiolytic effect. Limited studies have been conducted onto the effect of nutrition on anxiety, however it is worth trying.” Explains Dr Tessa Brouwer from Family Vet Clinic.
What diets can assist anxious pets?
When feeding for health, a balanced meal is always the most important objective. The diet must include a variety of ingredients to provide the nutrients your pet needs for optimal health. Ask your vet for guidance, then choose the one that best suits your pet’s needs.
Raw food diet: “Biological appropriate raw diets made fromGMO-free and organic ingredients are gold when feeding to reduce anxiety,” says Dr Hartwigsen. “Look for meals containing serotonin-stimulating foods.” These include oatmeal, turkey and brassica vegetables.
Prescription diet: Your vet may suggest one of the specially formulated diets for pets with anxiety problems. Examples are Hill's Prescription Diet i/d Stress Canine, Hill's Prescription Diet c/d Feline Urinary Stress or Royal Canin Canine Calm or Feline Calm.These and other food are available from theFamily Vet Clinic at Family Pet Centre.
Commercial food diet: Purchase the best quality food you can afford, then you can add supplements containingL-tryptophan, L-Theanine to your pet’s diet to assist with the anxiety. Speak to your vet, or the pet assistant at Family Pet Centre.
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