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Veterinary Treatments Linked To Canine Behaviour Change

Unwanted behaviour in dogs, dog aggression, behaviour change in dogs

Unwanted behaviour in dogs is a major cause of rehoming and even euthanasia. An American vet specialising in animal behaviour, stress evaluation and canine aggression has reported some interesting findings. Carlo Siracusa from the Department of Clinical Studies at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania has noted that several medical and surgical treatments that are routinely prescribed by vets can affect the behaviour of dogs.

Links Between Veterinary Treatment and Behaviour Change

  • Dogs under corticosteroid treatment were reported to have several behavioural changes. These include being less active, less playful, more nervous, more fearful, more aggressive in the presence of food and when disturbed, more likely to bark.
  • Apoquel, a drug used to help dogs with itchy skin conditions has been linked to increased aggression.
  • A well-known and frequently used antihistamine called Diphenhydramine has been linked as the cause of unwanted excitement and nervousness in dogs.
  • A drug called Phenylpropanolamine which is commonly used for the treatment of urine leaking in dogs, can cause restlessness and increased irritability.
  • Medication used to control seizures may provoke anxiety and agitation.
  • Surgery can be incredibly stressful and consequently cause major behavioural changes.

Worth Considering….

So if your dog is experiencing changes in their behaviour and is receiving or recently received medication or has had surgery, it is worth having a chat to your vet. Likewise, it would be a good idea during any veterinary consultations to discuss the potential side effects of treatments, including the potential for behaviour changes.

Lots of things can affect behaviour, including the gut, brain, immune system and hormones. Siracusa advises that any medications that affect body systems linked to behaviour have the potential to cause noticeable behavioural changes. 

REFERENCE: Siracusa, C. (2016) Treatments affecting dog behaviour: something to be aware of. Veterinary Record 179, 460-461.

Natalie Bucklar, BSc (Hons), MSc is the owner of Pawsitive Thinking. We offer a tried and tested portfolio of products to help you with the training, care and enrichment of your much loved pets. SHOP HERE 

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Why Feed Chicken Grit?

Chicken enrichment

Chickens don’t have any teeth, you’ve probably heard of the expression ‘as rare as hen’s teeth’. Without teeth, they have a different way of grinding food and that’s where grit comes in.

Insoluble or Digestive Grit

When your hen eats pellets or corn, the food passes into her crop. Food is then stored in the crop for up to six hours, this is where it softens and starts the process of digestion.  During the course of the day the food leaves the crop and enters an organ called the Proventriculus,  which is the first part of the stomach. At this stage in the digestive process the food is mixed with enzymes, to break down protein and peptides and assist with absorption.

After the food has left the Proventriculus, it enters the second part of the stomach called the Gizzard. This is basically the grinding mill of the gut, to replace the lack of teeth. Grit is needed here to help grind up vegetation and break down the hard husks of grains and seeds that your hen might eat. This grinding enables the food to be processed into a form which allows the nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Without insoluble grit, your hen can’t digest her food properly and can become unwell. If there is insufficient grit in the diet, hens are more prone to impactions as the gut can’t deal with large lumps of food.

Soluble Grit

The other side to grit is soluble grit, which provides the calcium needed to produce egg shells. Without enough calcium in the diet, hens can’t produce healthy, strong shells. Thin, brittle shells are a sign that the hen may need more calcium. Eating their own eggs is another symptom that they may need more soluble grit in the diet.

The best chicken grit

Free Range Vs Coop Kept Diet

All chickens, however they are managed, should have access to a free supply of grit. Chickens kept on a large outside area are able to source some natural grit from their environment, so they generally eat less supplementary grit because of this. It is still necessary to supplement their diet though, to minimise the potential health problems found from insufficient grit in the diet. Chickens kept in a coop cannot obtain enough grit from their surroundings, so it is even more imperative that they have a readily available supply.

What’s The Best Chicken Grit?

Having tried several different brands and types over the years, we can confidently say the best chicken grit we have ever used is Gastro Grit. Whereas the other grits would often sit in their pots relatively untouched, Gastro Grit is far more palatable. This made a huge difference to the quality of our eggs, most notably the shells went from being paper thin and breaking when picked up, to needing a good hard crack to open them. Egg production increased and our ex-caged hens also stopped eating their own eggs.

Gastro Grit on the left, straight oyster shell on the right.

Gastro Grit contains soluble and insoluble grit, as well as other beneficial extras such as brewers yeast, seaweed and charcoal. The added herbs and aniseed contribute to the enhanced palatability.

You can get Gastro Grit in two sizes, 1kg pouches for a smaller flock and for those with more hens, 5kg bags are also available.

Gastro Grit put to the test.

Thank You For Reading

If you would like a FREE guide to chicken enrichment, CLICK HERE.

Natalie Bucklar, BSc (Hons), MSc is the owner of Pawsitive Thinking. We offer a tried and tested portfolio of products to help you with the training, care and enrichment of your much loved pets. SHOP HERE 

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