Pet Foods and Prescription Diets, Does my Pet need to be on one?
We are what we eat, as the saying goes. The pet food industry is booming, with new foods and supplements coming out all the time. Our pets are our family, so we want to feed them “all natural” and “organic” and “holistic” and “non GMO.” The pet food industry has responded to that demand. There are so many different pet foods out there now and it can get very confusing and very expensive. You may be wondering what really is best for your pet.
More expensive does not always mean better. Don’t be tricked into thinking that an expensive pet food is better for your pet. The older brands (Iams, Nutro, Purina, Science Diet) are solid, good companies that have been around a long time and have put plenty of money into nutritional research, not advertising. On the contrary, some newer brands spend a lot of money on advertising. They cost a lot more and they justify it by using marketing terms like “all natural” and “holistic.” In reality there is no legal definition of “holistic” in terms of pet foods; so any pet food can label its food as such. You have to remember they are marketing themselves to you who will be reading or listening to their advertisement, not to your pet who doesn’t read.
Of course, not all pet foods are the same. So how do you choose? If your dog or cat has no health issues to address (like gastrointestinal sensitivity or pancreatitis, allergies, bladder stone tendencies, Diabetes, etc), then I would recommend a food from a major pet food company that is convenient and cost affordable. All major pet food companies have been AAFCO tested to provide a complete and balanced diet. There are many brands that would satisfy your dog or cat and you shouldn’t have to spend your entire paycheck or have to drive an hour to get. If you are going to switch foods, gradually mix together over the course of 7 to 10 days until you are on only the new food.
If your dog or cat has a particular health issue, then speak to your veterinarian about diet. There are specific prescription diets for various health ailments that are key to management of the disease. For instance, dogs with intestinal sensitivity (those prone to diarrhea and colitis) are well managed on Hills I/D or Purina EN. Cats with Diabetes or Diabetic tendency are kept under control with low carbohydrate food like Purina DM. Cats and dogs with bladder stone tendencies are managed with Royal Canine S/O, Hills C/D or Purina UR. Cats with constipation issues do very well on Royal Canine fiber response. Allergic pets can be managed with hypoallergenic foods like Hills Z/D, Royal Canine Ultamino, and Purina HA.
We carry all major prescription pet foods at Camelot Animal Hospital and Boarding Kennel. If your pet has a health issue that might benefit from a prescription diet, give us a call and we can help you. At the same time, if your pet has no health issues and is doing well, don’t get lured by marketing ads or a salesman at the pet store to switch to a more expensive brand. More expensive does not always mean better.