Is anxiety making your dog antsy?
We have all been there. Watching our dog chew on its feet, pull its hair out, pace back and forth. It is heart breaking to watch your dog panting, not from exertion, but from being so stressed out. We have discovered foods that can aid in physical and mental recovery. These foods are often referred to as "power foods". These power foods help manage the impact of stress on a dog's body, while supporting the immune system so your dog will regain its strength and eventually their confidence. Some foods act as stimulants while others have a calming influence. If you select these foods to add to your dog’s diet, you will be helping to alleviate stress and anxiety.
A whole foods diet that includes fresh blueberries can be a great way to provide your dog with mini-powerhouses of vitamins, minerals andantioxidants, which help protect him from the effects of stress. Wild blueberries have even more valuable polyphenols than cultivated blueberries. Add a few to food before serving.
Leafy greens. Greens like kale, as well as spinach and Swiss chard, are packed with nutrients, including vitamins A, B6, C and k, along with calcium, manganese, copper, potassium and iron. Kale is a great source of fiber, and is loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients and carotenoids. The beta carotene and lutein in kale help protect against oxidative stress, chronic inflammation and even cancer. Isothiocyanates made from the glucosinolates in kale play an important role in these preventive, stress-protective qualities.
Loaded withantioxidants and a terrific source of vitamin E. Sweet potatoes also contain many other important nutrients, including vitamins A, B6 and C, calcium, iron, folate, potassium, copper, thiamine and iron. They are rich in beta carotene, which may be a significant factor in reducing the risk of certain cancers. They offer complex carbohydrates to help regulate blood sugar levels and even insulin resistance. The potassium in sweet potatoes helps maintain fluid and electrolyte balance, which is good news for maintaining healthy heart function and reducing anxiety. sweet potatoes are also a good source of dietary fiber, helping to support a healthy gastrointestinal system.
Beef. The B vitamins it contains can regulate stress levels. beef is very rich in folic acid, and also contains pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, which is great for anxiety. This vitamin enables the production of anti-stress hormones in the adrenal gland that controls the release of cortisol. And increased presence of pantothenic acid reduces blood cortisol and dulls the body’s response to stress. Beef liver is a great source of pantothenic acid.
If your dog seems overly anxious in the evening hours, you may want to consider adding turkey to his diet. It’s a good source of L-tryptophan, an amino acid often associated with the regulation of sleep. Tryptophan also produces what researchers call “feel good chemicals”; it is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps both humans and dogs feel cool, calm and collected.
We have all heard about the “fight or flight” response. Research has demonstrated that consuming Omega-3 fatty acids can help suppress the production of adrenaline that leads people and dogs to “fight or flight”. Too much adrenaline can cause anxiety and even aggression. That adrenaline rush can be slowed down simply by eating whole foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in wild salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna. Fatty fish have something else in common. They all contain vitamins A and D, which help battle stress. Salmon is extra special because it also contains L-tryptophan.
Hemp seed oil. Hemp is a super food that eases joint pain and inflammation, supports cardiovascular health, conditions the skin and coat, and acts as a digestive aid. Hemp seed oil has been recognized as the most balanced vegetable oil in the marketplace. Not only does it contain Omega-3, it also contains Omega-6 and 9. Its fatty acid profile is closer to fish oil than any other vegetable oil. It is also a valuable source of gluten-free protein, contains vitamin C and E and chlorophyll, and has an excellent amino acid profile.
Whole oats/whole brown rice
Fiber rich complex carbohydrates slow down the rate of digestion and enhance the absorption of tryptophan, which in turn is used to manufacture serotonin. Keeping serotonin production nice and steady helps prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. Serotonin is known as nature’s very own antidepressant. The Mayo Clinic and other universities have conducted studies using complex carbohydrates in place of medications containing serotonin re-uptake inhibitors.Whole oats are a great choice for dogs because they don’t overwhelm the blood with sugars, causing a surge in insulin. Whole brown rice is another great choice.
Quinoa is considered a pseudo-grain, because it is technically not a member of the Poaceae botanical family. Even so, most people consider it a true cereal grain simply because its nutritional value, preparation and use are very similar. Quinoa contains stress-reducing B vitamins, calcium, iron, fiber, potassium and zinc, and because it contains eight essential amino acids, it is considered a whole protein.
Almonds contain vitamin E, B vitamins, magnesium and zinc. Magnesium supports healthy nervous system function and the production of “happy” chemicals in the brain, helping the body become more resilient during bouts of stress because nerves and muscles are more relaxed.
Pumpkin seeds contain L-tryptophan as well as glutamate, which is required in the synthesis of GAGA, an anti-stress neuro chemical. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of vitamin E, which protects tissue cells from free radicals, and they also contain selenium, an antioxidant that helps support the immune system. A deficiency in selenium has been linked to increased anxiety, depression and fatigue.