Should your pet be on a special diet?
The following is based on an article by Khalil Ullah Khan
First things first: Does your pet really need a special diet? Does it have health issues that dictate which diet it should be on?
There are different kinds of specialty diets:
- Veterinary Formulas: used for specific health issues i.e kidney disease, diabetes, obesity.
- Cautionary formulas:These aren’t necessary to keep your pet healthy. But some pet owners like to buy them to be on the safe side. Cautionary formulas include grain free food. This formula is helpful if your pet is allergic to grain. Many pet owners like to play it safe and only buy grain free food.
There are also breed-specific formulas available. They target health issues specific to the breed.
If you are considering a switch in food consult your vet or a food specialist before making the change. This is even more important for you if you’re considering to switch to a veterinary formula.
Types of Special Diets for Pets:
- Low fat
- Kidney problems
Pets that suffer from kidney problems have a hard time with regular pet foods. If that’s your pet, then you’d certainly want to consult the vet.
Your vet would probably prescribe a special food for your canine or feline and that’s what you should go with. These special foods usually have lesser protein and more water.
- Grain and Gluten-Free Diets
Many pet owners that grain should not be part of pet food.
Generally, pets face no problems digesting grains or gluten. The only reason why you should be considering such a diet is if your pet is allergic to these ingredients.
- Special Foods for Diabetes
Pets with diabetes can’t regulate their blood sugar.
Low glycemic diets are used for diabetic pets. These specific pet foods contain lesser carbs (20–25% dry matter) as well as higher fats. It’s best to consult your vet for a pet food recommendation for a diabetic dog or cat.
- Sensitive Stomach in Dogs
There’s usually no such thing as a sensitive stomach for dogs. The only reason why your pooch might be having runny poops is that he’s sensitive or allergic to an ingredient its diet. This could be a type of protein or a specific grain.
It’s best for you to get your dog checked at the vet so he can point out what ingredients you need to avoid in your dog’s food.
Cats might have issues with hairballs and there are special diets available to help.
- Skin sensitivities
Does your pet excessively itch, lick or bite his skin? If yes, then it might have skin allergies that require a special diet. Foods for pets with sensitive skin have limited ingredients. In these diets, manufacturers also avoid the most common food allergens for mutts.
How to Care for a Pet with a Special Diet?
Just knowing the type of special food your pet needs isn’t enough. In fact, there’s a lot of care required for such pets..
Firstly, make sure you consult your vet before making any sort of dietary changes. Only a pet food specialist can say for sure what your companion really needs.
When it comes to dog sensitivities and allergies, special dog diets tend to be hit-and-miss.
You need to observe how your pet reacts to his new diet. Specifically, you’d want to notice the consistency and timing of its’ stool and notice the amount of food it’s actually eating.
With that said, transitioning to a specific food isn’t an overnight process. You’ll need to be really patient as the pet transitions to a new diet. If your pet absolutely despises it, discuss that with your vet.
Special diets for pets aren’t easy to manage. But if you make an informed decision, the process can be a bit easier for you and your companion. Make sure you take your buddy to the vet before deciding on a diet and give him the time required to make this transition.