Hyperactive dogs: Foods to avoid with ADHD

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Generally, the nutrition of any dog is of the utmost importance. It is why there is language coined to explain the best way to feed your animal, ‘if you cannot pronounce it, don’t feed it.’ Ideally, the man-made foods have complex names, and hence the phrase. This phrase is simply to imply that the processed and very synthetic foods are not right for your pet. Not that there is anything against man-made foods, but that most of them have a lot of chemicals pumped into them.

Other than that, there is the importance of going for fresh foods only. Even though that is basic knowledge, still, not all pet owners understand the nutrition basics for their animals. More importantly, if your dog has ADHD, you must be particularly cautious with their nutritional health. There are numerous studies that point out the proper foods to feed your pet, but there isn’t quite enough emphasis on the food items that are appropriate for a hyperactive dog. As a matter of fact, there are certain foods can make ADHD symptoms worse. For all hyperactive dogs, here are some foods to avoid:

High Sugar

Like you would do with a child that has ADHD, avoid pumping loads of sugar in your hyperactive dog. Medically, a high level of sugar has been proven to worsen ADHD symptoms, for both humans and animals. Sugar is one of those food elements that are quickly broken down by the body, therefore spiking the insulin levels along with the blood levels in both human beings and animals. Excess sugar causes dogs to feel very unfocused on one task because their bodies become hyper. The hyper-reactivity at the time of eating too much sugar is only a short-term effect. With the time of consistent habits as these, your dog may start suffering from obesity and diabetes. 

If you are concerned with keeping your dog energetic, you do not need raw sugar content to do so. You can opt for healthy fructose that is in fruits and vegetables. This is not only healthy in the sense that it is in fruits, but that it is not chemically altered, and therefore has a controlled sugar level that is just right for your dog. Remember to stay away from food items like candy, gum, baked goodies, and some types of toothpaste that are sweetened with Xylitol, which is indeed a harmful sweetener in your dog. Do the best you can to reduce the overall amount of sugar intake for your dog.

High Carbohydrates

Something about carbs triggers pet owners to overdoing it with their dogs. Ideally, they are a great source of energy in a sluggish dog, but that does not mean they are entirely healthy. Notice that for every of the packaged dog foods today, they contain up to 74% of carbohydrate in them. Now, this may not strike you as a high percentage until you compare it to the dog food in the historical times, which contained around 14% of carbohydrates. By far, dog food manufacturers have increased the number of carbs in dog food in the form of grain or corn, mostly because such ingredients are readily available, not to mention, cheap.

That is not to bad-mouth all dog foods, but simply to show you the importance of checking out the labels on food packages before procuring them for your animals. Indeed, studies by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006 even stated that a dog’s diet does not necessarily require carbohydrates. Even though your dog has a sweet tooth for carbs, it is upon you to control the amounts of intake, particularly for one with ADHD. Remember that even though dogs are omnivorous, they can be sustained tremendously with a good combination of healthy fats and proteins.

Too Much Protein

While a balanced combination of healthy fats and proteins will keep your dog in check, for a hyperactive, you may want to unpack the high protein consumption. Obviously, protein is a major source of energy in both humans and animals, which is why it makes a part of a healthy diet. The proteins provide all the building blocks for the happy chemicals in the body, for instance, dopamine. If the body is well packed with these building blocks, then there is sufficiency of serotonin and dopamine, which is how dogs, and even human beings, end up having a happy and very active day.

However, with ADHD hyperactivity is something you want to keep in check. With high protein intakes, your dog may become too fueled, and this will not help with the symptoms of ADHD, but instead increase the behavioral issues of your pet.

However, you cannot entirely deprive your dog of healthy proteins because they are such a big part of them leading a healthy lifestyle. Instead, consider gradually reducing the intakes of protein, whilst observing the behavioral changes of your pet. With time, you will notice that their activity is not too dormant, or again, too active to render the Extra small dog harness vest useless.

Packaged Foods

As life gets busy with making money, dog food manufacturers have resulted in packaged food as a solution for the time gap. Dog owners are in fact very smitten with the convenience of packaged food to sort out the dieting needs of their pets, forgetting that it is always consequential as regards their health, both long-term and short-term. In packaged dog foods, the concern is more than just too many proteins, sugar and carbs as earlier mentioned.

Most pet owners do not appreciate that packaged dog food comes with too many chemicals in them, in terms of coloring, preservatives, flavors, among others. These chemicals may be appealing to the eyes, say the coloring, and tasteful to the dogs, that is the flavoring, but they may not be helpful when it comes to the health of your hyperactive dog. Some additives like salt and fat that are contained in packaged foods increase the symptoms of ADHD.

If you still must consider packaged foods for your pet, be careful with what the labels read. Be especially keen to avoid ingredients as high-allergenic potential glutens, additives (particularly the various types of sugar), coatings, flavors, rendered animal by-products, among others. At the least of things, avoid colorful food items. If you are shaky about your understanding of such ingredients, consult your vet for recommendations on which the most favorable packaged foods would be for your pet.


It is not surprising that a treat from the table gets your dog very excited about dinner time for the family. However, you must be cautious about the kinds of treats you toss over to your dog. When it comes to caffeine products like coffee and tea, the more you can abstain from these substances for your dog, the better for their health. Overall, caffeine brings about hyperactivity in both people and animals for a dog with ADHD the results can be worse.

As regards caffeine watch out for the amounts of beans and peanut that your dog consumes also make sure he/she doesn’t come close to tea and coffee, cocoa, chocolate, and colas. As for the dog treats, if they have to contain chocolate, keep the percentages to a minimal, while cutting down on the number of times you throw in a treat for your dog. Further, be keen with the medication that is given to your canine friend because some medicine like cold medicine and painkillers have caffeine content, some more than others.

Note that, if you are not careful with the caffeine your dog takes, the effects can be fatal. Your dog may run out of breath and require you to rush to your vet, even in the middle of the night. If all you want is for your dog to be perky, give him/her toys instead of caffeine.


Allergen Stimulating Foods

Ever thought that maybe your dog is hyperactive due to an allergic trigger? Well, allergies can be the reason behind most of your dog’s behavioral issues. For this reason, you must be very particular with the food items you pick out for your dog. For one, you can be observant in the behaviors of your dog after certain feeds. You can also pick an easier route of letting a vet screen and examine your pet to determine whether or not he/she has allergies to certain food items or ingredients. Still, there are common food items that are allergen stimulating, that is, gluten, corn, soy, and wheat. Like in human beings, especially children, these items increase hyperactivity along with loss of focus. Since these items are commonly found in dog food products, take it upon yourself to check out the labels of food items before buying them. Generally, behavioral issues in dogs can be for any pet owner. However, once you ascertain that your dog has ADHD, you must be gentle in handling him/her particularly by watching out for their nutrition. The overall goal is to ensure they are healthy and active but at a controlled rate. Remember, you are not only watching out for the hyperactivity issues at one moment but rather the long-term effects that poor nutrition may result in along with the ADHD symptoms.