Does an Increase in Food Make a Dog More Hyper?

Too much food can cause hyperactivity, but it's not the only cause.
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Hyperactivity in dogs has a number of causes. Typically, hyperactivity is due to mental condition -- a dog may be bored, anxious or mirroring the behavior of his owner. Food, though, can also cause hyperactivity. Too much food, or the wrong formulation, gives a dog more energy than he can use up; in some cases this will lead to hyperactivity, especially if the dog is not getting sufficient exercise.

Too Many Carbs

Carbohydrates provide energy and are essential to any healthy canine diet. However, too many carbs can cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels, leading to mood swings and hyperactivity. If you’ve increased your dog’s food allowance generally, it may be that the carb intake has reached a saturation point. Try reducing the carbs, but feed the same amount of everything else. If his hyperactivity abates, it’s probable that the carbs were the problem.


An allergic reaction can cause hyperactivity in a dog. If you’ve changed the food -- for example, you’ve switched from a puppy formula to an adult formula or you’ve switched brands to get better value -- it might be that a new ingredient is causing the hyperactivity. To test this theory, switch back to the old brand of dog food but continue to feed the same amount that you were when the hyperactivity began. If switching back removes the hyperactivity problem, the quality, not quantity, is the problem. Alternatively, your dog may have an intolerance to a certain ingredient that was triggered only when his food intake increased. If he was able to tolerate that ingredient in small doses only, the uptake in consumption may have pushed him over the tipping point.

Other Causes

Your dog’s change in behavior may be associated with the food but not directly linked to it. For example, if the increase in food happened at the same time as a change in feeding routine, for example if you’re now feeding your dog at the same time as another dog, it may be that your dog is hyperactive because he’s anxious or excited.

Curbing Hyperactivity

If you can’t find a link between diet and hyperactivity in your dog, it may be a simple coincidence that his behavior changed when you upped his food intake. But that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause. You can tackle hyperactivity by providing lots of exercise and mental stimulation to reduce boredom. Also, ensure you aren’t accidentally reinforcing the hyper behavior. For example, if you fuss and worry over your dog when he’s skipping around like crazy, he may see this behavior as an easy way to get your attention. Ignore hyper behavior.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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