'Brain foods' that could improve your dog's IQ

A study by tails.com identified certain superfoods such as salmon, sweet potato and peas, which can improve a dogs IQ and ability to keep learning, turning the phrase 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks' on its head.

The nutrients found in some of these foods have shown to improve memory and response to commands. The data shows that a canine's long-term memory does not decrease with age, and their ability to continue learning can be traced back to their diet.

Top five brain foods for dogs

  • Salmon and salmon oil (omega 3’s DHA and EPA)
  • Sweet potato (beta carotene and chlorogenic acid)
  • Rosemary extract (vitamin E and other antioxidants)
  • Peas (vitamin C, E and some specific pea antioxidants)
  • Maize (antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin)

The findings also showed that nearly half of owners (48 percent) think their dogs have a higher than average IQ, 55 percent think their dog gets brainer with age and two-thirds (67 percent) say their dog understands them better than anyone else.

One in six pet parents (17 percent) say they feed their dogs specific foods to help make them more intelligent and two in five (40 percent) think their dog is more intelligent than some of their friends.

Tails.com, which tailor-makes food to a dog’s unique nutritional and dietary needs, published the figures after questioning 2,000 dog owners, and analysed data from industry and trade bodies, including PFMA and the Messerli Research Institute. Its lead nutritionist Dr Samantha Ware, identified salmon, sweet potato, rosemary extract, peas and maize as the top five ‘brain foods’ for dogs.

Dr. Ware said, "Feeding your dog a healthy diet made up of foods such as salmon, peas and sweet potato will ensure they are getting good levels of nutrients like vitamins, fatty acids and antioxidants, which have been shown to improve intelligence, memory and cognitive abilities. It’s important to remember that all dogs are individual and their diet should be tailored to meet all of their needs. In addition to their diet, giving your dog behavioural enrichment including a combination of attention, regular outings, toy time and socialising with other dogs will help improve their overall brain function."

For more information on canine superfoods see the Tails blog.