Brain health and cognitive support for dogs

Cognitive support for dogs is critical at all life stages, but it’s particularly important when they reach senior status. 

As we know, ageing can have a significant effect on canine brain health. However, there’s a bright side. Like us, the diets dogs consume have a huge impact on their long-term mental and physical wellbeing. 

It’s never too late to make a difference to your dog’s quality of life. By feeding them a natural, whole food diet, you can better fortify their faculties and cultivate a lively, balanced mind from puppyhood on.

We’re here to guide you every step of the way.

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Why is cognitive support for dogs so crucial?

It’s clear: time takes a toll on a hound’s brain health. Studies have shown that issues such as memory impairment and reduced object permanence (understanding that items continue existing, even when they can’t be observed, heard, or sensed in any other way) have been associated with ageing in canines. But why?

One factor can be age-induced changes in the blood-brain barrier (BBB). All things being well, the BBB allows select, immune-boosting nutrients to pass into the brain from the bloodstream. However, over time, this barrier can lose control of its permeability, allowing in ‘inappropriate’ food particles and other unwanted visitors, affecting the brain’s performance.

Age-related oxidative stress – caused by free radicals – is seen as a major factor in reduced cognitive function. Free radicals are produced as part of normal metabolic function, but these accumulate over time. This accumulation leads to cell damage, impacting the mind.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. While the ageing process cannot be stopped, feeding a diet that delivers the best possible cognitive support for dogs – from puppyhood into their senior years – can help prolong and protect brain health, making for happier, calmer hounds.


Symptoms of cognitive issues in dogs

If you spot any of the symptoms listed below, please consult your vet. While these may simply be age-related behaviours, they could be signs of more complex conditions.

•  Agitation or anxiety  •  House soiling  •  Phobias  •  Waking at night  •  Excessive vocalisation (howling or barking, for example)  •  Confusion  •  Impaired awareness/spatial orientation  •  A change in social behaviour  •  Increased, reduced or repetitive activity  •  A change in appetite  •  Decreased responsiveness to stimuli  •  A lack of self-care


Brain food for senior dogs, adults, and pups

So, how do you choose the right dog food for brain health? It’s all about going for high-quality, whole food ingredients that are rich in the nutrients your pooch evolved to thrive on.

First off, you want recipes that are packed with antioxidants. Vitamins C and E help protect cells from oxidative damage inflicted by free radicals, while L Carnitine,  in its acetyl form, has been shown to prevent age-related mental decline and improve learning.

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We’ve talked a lot about krill as a powerhouse ingredient – especially when it comes to providing superior cognitive support for dogs.  It contains a potent antioxidant called Astaxanthin, which has been shown to help slow oxidative damage, in addition to the right essential fatty acids, which reduce inflammation in the brain and increase your canine’s ability to concentrate.  

Natural supplement S-Adenosyl methionine – which can be found in muscle meat – has been proven to slow cognitive dysfunction in people. Coenzyme Q 10 – located in heart and organ meat – increases mitochondria function, boosting oxygen levels in the brain. Last but not least, green veggies contain Glutathione, which is essential for cell detoxification.

Hug’s premium cognitive support for dogs

The best diets provide cognitive support for dogs on an ongoing basis – not a one-off. Our whole food recipes lay the groundwork for optimal physical and mental health in dogs, from the early stages of life right through to old age.


Hug’s fresh puppy, adult, and senior ranges are carefully formulated to ensure your pooch is enjoying a science-led, balanced diet packed with all the essential nutrients they need to thrive at each life stage.  They can be served raw or cooked, which is ideal for fussy eaters.


Each meal contains top-notch, ethically sourced protein, seasonal veggies, prebiotics, and antioxidants such as vitamin E, alongside Antarctic krill. They’re also species-appropriate, so they’re easy to digest and support the development of a robust microbiome – vital for a lively mind and body.

In comparison, typical processed dog food is high in low-grade fillers such as corn and maize, along with preservatives – none of which canines’ bodies are built to handle. These ingredients actively interfere with the absorption of those essential nutrients your dog needs, doing little good for their long-term brain health.

Food that supports orthopaedic problems in dogs and cats

Need help choosing?

All of our tasty, eco-friendly options put to work the most nourishing, natural goodies – ones that truly care for your pal.

If Hug’s raw or cooked meals aren’t for you, we also offer an excellent cold pressed range for dogs. This includes recipes specifically designed for puppies, adults, and seniors, made from brain health-boosting ingredients such as krill, grade-A protein, veggies, and more.

Need advice on the ideal recipe for a specific health concern? Please get in touch – we’re here to offer expert guidance you can trust.