The Study

The authors state that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms (ADHD) and seizure frequency have been successfully reduced in humans and rodents using a ketogenic diet (KD). One chief aim of the study was to examine the effect of a ketogenic medium chain triglyceride diet (MCTD) on the behavioral profile of dogs with idiopathic epilepsy (IE) compared with the standardized placebo control diet, including ADHD-like behaviors.


A 6-month prospective, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover dietary trial comparing the effects of the MCTD with a standardized placebo diet on canine behavior was carried out. Dogs diagnosed with IE, with a seizure frequency of at least 3 seizures in the past 3months (n=21), were fed the MCTD or placebo diet for 3months and were then switched to the alternative diet for 3months. Owners completed a validated behavioral questionnaire to measure 11 defined behavioral factors at the end of each diet period to report their dogs’ behavior, with three specific behaviors hypothesized to be related to ADHD: excitability, chasing, and trainability.


The study states that “MCTD resulted in a significant improvement in the ADHD-related behavioral factor chasing and a reduction in stranger-directed fear (p<0.05) compared with the placebo diet. The latter effect may be attributed to previously described anxiolytic effects of a KD.”


Dogs with “IE may exhibit behaviors that resemble ADHD symptoms seen in humans and rodent models of epilepsy and that a MCTD may be able to improve some of these behaviors, along with potentially anxiolytic effects.”


Epilepsy Behav. 2016 Jan 7;55:62-68. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2015.11.014