Can Certain Dry Foods cause Anxiety

Hi, new to the site and seeking some help / advice. We have a 3 year old Yorker cross that we rehomed circa 2 years again. As she has some tummy issues, eg pancreatitis and ulcerative colitis she can only have certain foods. She has chicken every day which we supplement with a low fat diet kibble. She has always been a very anxious dog and we have noticed that her separation anxiety has got bad again and are wondering if a recent change to a Royal Canin kibble could have caused that increase in anxiety? She was previously on a Hiills prescription product.

Any and all diet / food recommendations would be much appreciated.



Hello and welcome to the forum. There has been lots of discussion about diet and its affect on behaviour. I haven’t heard the theory that food can cause anxiety. Generally the discussion revolves around whether or not high protein diets can lead to hyperactivity and the jury still seems to be out on this. It may be that some dogs may react in certain ways to certain ingredients but it would be quite hard to say for certain, Even if food changes seem to correlate with behaviour changes, it may be just coincidence.
You could have a browse through the pancreatitis thread for more information about diet.

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Hello and welcome to the forum. As Tinyplanets has said, it is a matter of opinion about the link between behaviour and food. Personally I think we shouldn’t rule it out.

I note that you have recently changed to Royal Canin. You don’t say which one (they have a lot) but if you take a look at the Dog Food Directory you will see that these products have low scores. This is because they contain red ingredients and the labelling is not clear. To put it simply, by looking at the ingredient list you cannot tell what you are feeding your dog. The first rule of selecting a food is that the ingredient list must be crystal clear so that you understand exactly what is going into your dog - this is even more important for a dog with pancreatitis and colitis. This thread might be helpful for you and as Tinyplanets has said, we have some useful advice on the forum regarding pancreatitis - you can use the search box to find them. If, after reading these threads you feel that you need help sourcing a better product for your dog, please post back and we will try to help.

Regarding the anxiety, it might be helpful to have a one to one session with a behaviourist. These problems are not easy to solve and sometimes dogs can never be totally cured so you need to have realistic expectations. I find that it is best to work on issues like this in very small steps and to try to accept the dog’s limitations. Sometimes you need to make compromises, meeting the dog half way so to speak.

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Hi Dottie, thank you for your welcome to the forum and for taking the time to reply.

On the Royal Canin, we have Ruby on the Gastrointestinal low fat as prescribed by our local vet. Prior to that she was on the Hills prescription low fat ID. I wasn’t aware that Royal Canin has such a low score and I think whatever else we do, we need to make a change at the earliest opportunity.

I recognise that the anxiety may have many sources and in fact may have always been there. Ruby was found wondering the streets and was taken to a local dog rehoming centre by the local dog warden. She was in a very poor state from what we hear but we have no other information other than that. We have always had rescue dogs and many have had issues but Ruby is a biggest challenge to date!!!

To your point about a dog behaviourist we have an appointment booked for early next week with someone who was
Recommended, so we are hoping that will certainly help us and more importantly Ruby.

As always, any and all help is greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards


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I’ve just had a look at RC gastrointestinal low fat and the fat is 7%. I wonder if the vet wants your dog to stay on this food because it is quite low for long term use. Very few commercial foods have such a low fat and that’s because dogs need fat in their diet. The low fat products tend to be light weight loss ones intended for short term use although sometimes dogs do stay on them long term. The protein in the RC is only 22% so topping up with chicken is a good thing.

If you feel that you would like to try your dog with a non prescription food we can help you source one using the Dog Food Directory. Your vet would need to tell you what percentage of fat and protein (dry weight) would be suitable. Digestibility is key as dogs find it easier to utilize animal protein. You therefore want to be looking at products with the protein (meat) source named and right at the top of the list. All the ingredients in the list need to be crystal clear. This thread might be useful for you.

I hope that the behaviourist can help your little dog and that she soon feels more comfortable with you. My friend adopted a little dog similar to Ruby and it has taken a long time for him to lose his nervousness but he has come good in the end. She had to be very patient with the little lad.

Edit: Prescription diets is an article written by David and which might be of interest to you. Prescription diets can be useful, mostly to help dogs get over a period of illness.

Royal Canin website mentions that the food you currently have is for acute and chronic pancreatitis. If your dog had a one off episode of pancreatitis it would be classed as the former and hopefully she will be ok as long as she has a suitable food. If this is the case, perhaps the vet would agree to a change of food as long as it has the correct fat/protein content. This food is said to be low in fibre and some dogs with colitis benefit by having good quality fibre in their diet as it promotes gut health. As mentioned, discuss with your vet and if you need help, please post back.

Imo lower quality foods i feel can contribute to it but only though secondary problems. Like food causing one problem and that causing anxiety.

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