What is Nutritional Therapy for Dogs?
Food is an essential part of life for all living beings and what we put in our bodies can have a dramatic effect on how we function and our health. Nutritional therapy for dogs takes a look at what dogs are eating and is changed based on their health conditions and what needs to be resolved. This comes in the form of prescription diets and has been around for a few decades. A prescription, or therapeutic diet, is one that is formulated specifically for your dog to either combat or prevent certain conditions or diseases.
Who Makes a Prescription Diet for Dogs?
The diet is very carefully put together by a pet nutritionist with balanced vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, carbohydrates and other nutritional components. Cell architectures and components are analyzed, as opposed to loosely conducted scientific trials conducted by pet food producers, which are typically focused primarily on taste and digestibility of the meal.
A vet must be the one to put together a prescription diet since 1) food and supplement manufacturers are not allowed to make claims that their products can treat, prevent or cure an illness. And feeding a dog a prescription diet that they don’t need can actually lead to other health problems. One example is that diets meant for kidney disease contain low amounts of phosphorus and aren’t healthy for dogs who do not have kidney disease.
What Does Nutritional Therapy Treat?
Prescription diets can be prescribed for a number of conditions which include (but are not limited to):
- Kidney disease
- Endocrine disease
- Weight control
- Liver disease
- Skin and coat health
- Orthopedic conditions
- Dental care
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Cystitis/urinary tract disease
A common treatment for orthopedic issues involves weight loss so a prescription diet based on orthopedic conditions might include both weight loss and joint health.
What Does a Prescription Diet for Dogs Look Like?
A prescription diet can come in either the form of wet or dry food but can also be a raw diet. Raw diets are much more comprehensive and when it comes to a prescription raw diet, this must be done very closely with your veterinary nutritionist. They are usually more expensive than standard commercial pet foods due to containing better, higher quality ingredients with more extensive quality control.
If you think your pet would benefit from nutritional therapy and a prescription diet, please speak with your vet who may refer you to a nutrition specialist.