How to deal with a 'hyper' dog

Tuesday 11th August 2020

Is your dog really hyperactive?

True hyperactivity (hyperkinesis) is relatively rare in dogs. Dogs suffering from this condition will usually exhibit periods of frenetic behaviour which ceases only when they are too exhausted to continue. However, to the pet owner, it can still be difficult to differentiate between an affected dog and one who is simply unruly.  Your vet and a qualified behaviourist will be able to help you make the distinction.

Is your dog’s diet affecting their behaviour?

Food allergies can occasionally manifest in bizarre behaviours and some sensitive dogs may react to artificial additives. It is therefore sensible to review the diet of a dog with behavioural problems and avoid foods that contain the common dietary allergens and/or artificial colourings, flavourings and preservatives.

Should you switch an exuberant dog a low protein diet?

One of the most common pet food myths or misconceptions is that foods high in protein cause hyperactivity in dogs. In fact, we are frequently asked whether we manufacture a low protein diet, by customers believing that high protein foods cause hyperactivity. Hyperactivity in dogs has numerous potential motivators but a link between high levels of good quality, highly digestible protein in a dog’s diet and true hyperactivity has not been proven.

Your vet may suggest a lower protein diet – such as Arden Grange light - if your dog has been prescribed a tryptophan supplement (because certain other amino acids compete with tryptophan to cross the blood brain barrier). However, for most dogs, it is not normally necessary to reduce protein. Look for diets with plenty of “brain food” – Arden Grange adult salmon & rice for example has a higher level of Omega-3 EPA and DHA, and also more tryptophan (a precursor of serotonin – your dog’s happy hormone). All of the Arden Grange products are designed to promote stable blood sugar levels and slow, steady energy release throughout the day.

Is your dog hungry, bored or in need of stimulation?

A dog with a particularly voracious appetite may also engage in unwanted behaviours. Read our tips on how to keep your dog’s hunger at bay here.  

So, if you have chosen a high quality, nutritionally balanced diet for your pet, have established a beneficial exercise and feeding routine (which further helps promote stable blood sugar and good serotonin levels), consider consulting a qualified behaviourist before assuming that food is the cause for your zany best friend.


Sometimes medical problems can result in unusual behaviour so do seek veterinary advice if you see a sudden change in your dog.

Excerpts from ‘Canine diet and behaviour’ by Ness Bird – Arden Grange Nutrition Adviser and RVN CertCFVHNut ©

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