Giving omega-3 fatty acid, magnesium and zinc supplements to dogs with behavior problems reduced the severity of the pets’ unwanted activities as reported by the dogs’ owners. Scientists at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran observed reduction in reported fearfulness, destructiveness and inappropriate elimination in a group of dogs after daily doses of supplements.

Experiment using supplements to influence dog behaviors

In the experiment, scientists studied 48 dogs. The owners of 42 of the dogs reported at least one behavioral issue in the animals. These behavioral problems included excessive activity, aggression towards other dogs or people, fearfulness, destructiveness and inappropriate elimination. Six dogs without reported behavioral issues were included as a control.

All 48 dogs received gelatin capsules of fish oil supplements. The fish oil contained 330 milligrams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 480 milligrams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). All dogs also received 12 to 15 milligrams per kilogram of magnesium citrate and 5 milligrams per kilogram of zinc sulfate.

The dogs’ owners were given four questionnaires about the dogs’ behaviors. Owners answered two questionnaires before the supplementation at 42 and zero days before the study began. They then answered another two questionnaires at 84 and 126 days after supplementation began.

For the control group, owners did not report any changes in behavior. However, owners of dogs with behavior problems reported a decrease in fearfulness, destructiveness and inappropriate elimination. However, owners did not report a decrease in excessive activity or aggression towards other dogs and people.

The journal Topics in Companion Animal Medicine published the study “Effect of supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and zinc on canine behavioral disorders: Results of a pilot study.”