Too much energy

Our pointer dog of 12 months has been on Celtic Connections lamb and goat ( 28% crude protein) and has thrived on it , but he has become too hyperactive, really too much, and he poos such a lot. This may just be his youth/adolescence, but the vet suggested we should try a lower protein food. Can you recommend what to change to. I have tried Beko for a week ( 22%) and that does seem to have quietened him but his poos are even more, so that won’t work. Also it doesn’t get great nutritional value rating .
I don’t really understand the relevance of crude protein / meat content, how it might affect hyperactivity, and what I should be looking for in food which will help calm him and hopefully reduce the amount he poos. He is a skinny , high energy breed so a higher fat content may be important too.

Hello and welcome to the forum. I can only find Celtic Connection Chicken and Turkey on the Dog food Directory - link. It seems to be a good quality product, having a nutritional rating of 90%. The dry weight nutrients are protein 35.9% and fat 19.6%. Fibre is above average so that could be contributing to the copious poos.

I checked the company website for the food you mention and I cannot find the protein and fat dry weights so I can’t comment on that.

Beco dry dog food is reviewed here and has a nutritional rating of 78%. As you say, the protein dry weight is lower at 23.9%

The link between high protein and behaviour is, as far as I know not proven but it is anecdotally mentioned by some dog owners. If you wish to trial a lower protein food, use the filters on the Dog Food Directory and set the protein slider to 0%-30% protein. Choose clearly labelled and no red/yellow ingredients.

Dogs that have dry food do tend to have larger stools because of the carbohydrate that is needed to form the biscuit. Conversely, raw fed dogs have much smaller ones.

You are right about the fat content - dogs need fat and it does tend to sate the appetite. Foods that are higher in fat usually have higher protein too.

As the Celtic Connections food seems to suit your dog you could continue with that and try feeding about 10% less to see if the stool improves. It’s important to weigh the food to make sure you are not over feeding because that can cause large stools. The main thing is that they are firm and easy to pick up. If you would like to give some variety along with the dry food, have a look at this thread.

Behaviour wise, you have a young, active breed of dog. Are you in touch with any other Pointer owners? I ask because it can be very useful to speak to experienced owners who may be able to give you advice. It could be that your dog behaviour is typical of the breed and can be managed by training.


Great reply Dottie!

The key point here is that gun dogs like Pointers are designed to have enormous amounts of energy. You didn’t mention your exercise routine but if he’s getting less than 1-2 hours of vigorous exercise each day, that is probably your problem.

If, on the other hand, your boy is still showing signs of hyperactivity even after a couple of hours of off-lead exercise, then it is possible that diet is playing a part. As Dottie mentioned, you should steer clear of any foods and treats containing artificial additives, especially preservatives and colourings, as well as those with added sugars.

The connection between protein and hyperactivity has not been proven but if the above measures don’t do the trick, a lower protein food may be worth a try.

Good luck and do please let us know how you get on!

Might I add too that the many pointers I’ve known are intelligent dogs and without exception are keen to be ‘doing’.

And as an addition to walking, another way to help use up his energy is to exercise your young, bright, gundog’s brain by interacting with him through play and in short - not necessarily repetitive - training sessions.

You might try an interactive dog toy from the Nina Ottosson range for example. And too, if he likes water, swimming is also helpful for doggy energy.

1 Like

I would endorse Meg’s suggestion of swimming. My two have been swimming in a hydrotherapy pool regularly for the last two to three years (minus lockdowns) and they love it. One of them is 12 years old. Both of them have great movement. IMHO there is no better exercise for dogs.

1 Like