Q&A: Is food making him hyperactive?

  • Expert advice from Bailey’s director of nutrition on feeding a high-spirited Fox Terrier

    Q: I own a three-year-old smooth-coated Fox Terrier, who tends to become rather hyperactive on occasions. Just recently, he has become increasingly possessive over his food and toys and appears to be permanently hungry, in spite of the fact that he is fed on a good quality tinned food with mixer.

    What kind of diet can you suggest thatmight help curb his hunger and do you think that food can have an effect on behaviour?

    A: Unfortunately, your dog’s tendency to become hyperactive on occasions and possessive over his toys is likely to be related to his breed.

    The breed originally were used to hunt out foxes which had gone to earth, and are excellent catchers of vermin, (the name terrier comes from terra the Latin name for earth), because of their breeding they occasionally can start treating toys as their substitute catch.

    As a breed, terriers are generally active dogs that will exercise themselves if given the space such as running round stable yards and fields. Alternatively, they love going on long country walks, so do try and ensure that your dog is getting as much exercise as possible to reduce his hyperactive tendencies.

    As you mention that he is permanently hungry then I would suggest worming your dog to ensure that he is not suffering from an underlying worm burden.

    I would also suggest switching from tinned food and mixers to a complete dry food ration. The dry foods are generally more concentrated in terms of nutrients and if your dog is hungry because of his high level of activity then providing more nutrients in a similar volume of food per day can be beneficial.

    Muesli mixes, such as Baileys Working Dog or Chudleys Original, tend to have a little more bulk than the premium extruded feeds, therefore providing your dog with these types of feed should give him the volume to satisfy his hunger without exceeding his calorie requirements.

    Secondly dry food tends to encourage a dog to drink more, and drinking after a meal again can create the sensation of being full. Avoid feeding high protein, high fat diets; because if you feed more energy than is required this can result in excess weight gain, and in some breeds increased activity.