It should not be surprising to hear that like humans, dogs have basic nutritional needs, and that these nutritional needs are quite different from the nutritional needs of humans. But where an individual knows that regular trips to fast food joints and an abundance of ice-cream, cookies and sweets is not good for their health, they may not recognize how some dog foods can act like fast food, ice-cream, cookies and sweets to dogs. There are many wonderful, high-quality dog foods that may work to meet most canine nutritional needs well, as prescription dog foods for those dogs who have very specific, special nutritional needs.
Knowing When to Use Prescription Dog Food
Most healthy dogs can eat those dog foods that follow the Association of American Feed Control Officials guidelines and that are labeled nutritionally complete and balanced. This does normally mean that one will steer clear of those dog foods that are incredibly cheap and also usually full of empty calories. In order to properly nourish your dog one does not necessarily have to purchase the most expensive, fancy dog foods available, but you certainly should always exercise caution and judgment when selecting a dog food brand. However, if you dog is suffering from a specific disease, illness or physical condition, even the best over-the-counter dog foods may not be a workable option. This is where prescription dog foods come in.
Prescription dog foods are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of pets who are suffering from disease, illness or some other physical condition that can be influenced or affected by their diet. Prescription dog foods are only available through a veterinary prescription, which is obtained after a veterinarian performs a thorough physical examination of your pet. Some of the most common prescription dog foods are:
● Kidney supportive foods. Dogs that are suffering from weak kidneys or kidney failure need to eat a specific type of food that contains the highest possible quality protein in moderate amounts. This type of food will help reduce the formation of toxic metabolites and also support healthy muscles.
● Allergy-free foods. Like humans, some dogs can suffer from allergies to certain ingredients that are used in most dog food formulas. A prescription allergy-free food can provide the dog with relief from uncomfortable symptoms as they receive sufficient nourishment.
● Gastrointestinal supportive foods. Dogs that suffer from gastrointestinal conditions can benefit greatly from eating foods that are either low in fiber and fat, or high in fiber. A veterinarian can help determine which type of gastrointestinal supportive food will work best for a specific dog.
● Joint supportive foods. Dogs that are suffering from joint disease can benefit from foods that are especially high in omega 3 fatty acids, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and antioxidants. They may also have special, low-calorie formulations so that they do not encourage unhealthy weight gain.
● Weight loss foods. Dogs that are unhealthily overweight can benefit from a diet that is high in fiber, which makes the dog feel very full after eating small portions and without taking on a lot of calories. Some overweight dogs benefit more from a high protein and low carbohydrate diet. Again, your veterinarian can help you select the proper food for your dog.
● Age supportive foods. As a dog ages, there is the possibility of brain damage caused by free radicals, as well as general slowed mental functioning. An age supportive diet is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants to help protect the brain against aging.
● Urinary tract supportive foods. Dogs that suffer from urinary crystals or stones are best helped to prevent future problems through a diet that promotes optimal urinary pH and helps reduce the formation of crystals and stones.
There are many other prescription dog foods available for a wide range of physical diseases and conditions, including heart disease, cancer, skin problems, dental disease and much, much more. If you feel your dog would benefit from a prescription diet, talk with your veterinarian right away.