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How Can Serotonin Deficiency Cause Behavioral Disorders in Dogs?

Civilization diseases are often the result of malnutrition. If we lack nutrients, we get sick.

But nutrition is also closely related to our psyche. The ability to concentrate, depressive moods, or aggressiveness can be directly related to the foods we eat.

In humans, we know how important the right diet is for a living being. The same is true of our dogs.

Sudden behavioral problems may be due to a lack of serotonin, but can be corrected with the right feeding plan.

A dog that is unduly aggressive or fearful is not feeling well. As with us humans, behavioral problems in dogs can also be related to the fact that the serotonin balance is not in order.

What is serotonin

Serotonin, better known as the happiness hormone, is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain. Neurotransmitters are messenger substances that transmit information from one nerve cell to another cell.

For our darling to be balanced and happy, his brain must produce enough serotonin. A lack of this substance leads to aggressiveness, impulsiveness, attention disorders, or anxiety.

Hyperactive dogs can also suffer from serotonin deficiency. Most of these dogs are also very sensitive to pain and very emotional.

Tryptophan becomes serotonin

The dog’s body produces the happiness hormone from the amino acid L-tryptophan, as a precursor to serotonin. This amino acid is directed to the brain.

L-tryptophan is mainly found in protein-rich foods such as meat and nuts. Now you might think that a protein-rich diet is completely sufficient for the dog’s organism to produce enough serotonin. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Battle at the blood-brain barrier

With food, other essential amino acids are also ingested, which should also be channeled into the brain. There is real competition at the blood-brain barrier. It is therefore important to make it easier for the substance L-tryptophan to access the brain and to stop other amino acids.

This is where carbohydrates come into play. Carbohydrate intake triggers insulin production. This insulin affects the competing amino acids and they are diverted to the muscles.

This allows L-tryptophan to enter the brain more easily and eventually be converted to serotonin. The whole matter is a very complex chemical process.

Carbohydrates for dogs are essential

So carbohydrates are an important part of dog food. But not all carbohydrates are optimal.

In any case, do not eat corn if you have a dog with behavioral problems. Corn is very rich in the “wrong” amino acids that compete with L-tryptophan.

For dogs that are sensitive to serotonin deficiency, corn can therefore have a counterproductive effect. Use potatoescarrots, or rice instead.

Vitamin B6 is also of particular importance in the production of serotonin. It is mainly found in poultry, liver, fish, and many types of fruit and vegetables and should not be missing from the diet.

Physical causes of serotonin deficiency

In addition to stress and overstimulation, a lack of exercise, or the wrong diet, a lack of serotonin can also have physical causes. An underactive thyroid can also cause the dog to produce too little serotonin.

If your dog is behaving fearfully or aggressively, always try to find out what caused it first.

If your dog shows inexplicable behavioral problems, a visit to the vet is necessary. Then you can narrow down or rule out a serotonin deficiency as the cause.

A thorough examination and a blood count will provide information as to whether a lack of serotonin is the cause of the excessive behavior.

If the behavioral problems are related to the diet, a special diet plan with the right amount of food and suitable physical activity can ensure that the dog reacts more calmly again.

If necessary, the vet can also prescribe special preparations with L-tryptophan.

Recognize behavioral disorders

Always remember that a behavioral problem cannot simply be “fed away”. Try to include the animal’s environment.

A lot of exercises that are adapted to the dog and are fun help the dog to be balanced. In the case of serious abnormalities, the causes of which you cannot fathom, a dog psychologist is a good choice. Together you and your loved one can safely get the problems under control.

Frequently Asked Question

How do I know if my dog has behavioral problems?

A behavioral disorder in dogs is behavior that deviates significantly from normal behavior and restricts the dog, e.g. B. in self-preservation, reproduction, or the pursuit of normal needs.

What are dog behavior problems?

Common behavioral problems are:

Small discrepancies such as disobedience, lack of motivation, bad manners, or insufficient leash handling of the dog can be traced back to small educational mistakes or misunderstandings in human-dog communication.

Why is my dog acting so weird?

When dogs act strangely, it can be due to allergies, dementia, or injuries. In individual cases, hormone disorders, jealousy, inflammation, stress, abdominal pain, or even poisoning are possible causes.

Can a dog become mentally ill?

Of course, an originally healthy dog can become a mentally ill one. The reason for this is usually the attitude, which is not tailored to the needs of the animal,” says the veterinarian. Traumatic events such as separations or the death of close relatives can also trigger depression and the like.

Can you resocialize a dog?

Sometimes it takes more than general training to rehabilitate a dog. Attempts to treat dogs with strong behavioral problems fail because these dogs do not need a dog trainer but a resocialization trainer.

What is dog behavior therapy?

Behavior therapy aims to significantly reduce or even eliminate the occurrence of problem behavior or a behavioral disorder to achieve a better quality of life for the dog or cat and its owner.

What foods calm dogs?

Poultry and beef, for example, are unfavorable types of meat when it comes to rebuilding serotonin and quasi-de-stressing the dog. Turkey and lamb, for example, contain more tryptophan and can in turn promote the build-up of serotonin.

What does tryptophan do in dogs?

The increased supply of tryptophan is said to raise the serotonin level and in this way reduce anxiety and aggressiveness. In addition, tryptophan is said to have a calming effect, which would benefit dogs that are quickly stressed and in acutely stressful situations.

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