Oct 13

Is Breakfast the Meal of Champions for Dogs?

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but does it also hold true for dogs? According to recent research, it is. I’ve always fed my Min Pins two meals a day because if I don’t, their tummies get upset. It seems that I may have been helping their brains, too.

In a recent article in BBC Nature (Oct 10, 2012), reporter Jeremy Coles describes research done by Dr Holly Miller and colleague Charlotte Bender at the University of Kentucky that shows search dogs’ performance is enhanced 30 minutes after a meal vs. after fasting 12 hours. The dogs that had recently eaten were better able to find a treat hidden in one of six containers.

Why the difference? I think it is likely that since there is more energy available to the brain after a meal, the brain is better able to perform processes that require a high level of cognitive function.

Dr. Miller has also found that self-control is correlated with energy levels of dogs.This, too, in my opinion likely requires a large amount of brain power. The article quotes Dr. Miller: “When hungry, they become less able to control their behaviour and this might be why, when hungry, they are so much more dangerous and unpredictable.”

Take home messages: Your dog’s breakfast is as important as your own, and don’t mess with a hungry animal.

“Dogs’ breakfasts boost search performance, says study” by¬†Jeremy Coles Reporter, BBC Nature. www.bbc.co.uk/nature/19869425. Accessed 10/12/2012.

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