Prescription Diets for Dogs Explained

Prescription Diets for Dogs Explained

Health & Safety

If you share your home with a dog that suffers from some form of digestive disorder, allergy or other illness, the chances are you have spent many an hour at the veterinary surgery making sure your pet is made to feel as comfortable as possible while being treated for their condition. The vet may well have recommended that your dog be put on a prescription diet until they find out what is wrong with them or they may have to stay on a special diet for the rest of their lives. But what is a prescription diet and how do you go about organising one for your pet?

The best nutrition is crucial to your dog's well-being

All dogs need to be fed a nutritious diet to suit their age and breed. It's crucial for their well-being and if a diet is incorrect, the results can be disastrous, especially when a puppy is still growing and developing. Dogs need to be fed the right amount of protein, they need to have the correct levels of vitamins and minerals in their food as well as many other nutrients in order for them to remain healthy. A dog that does not receive the right balance of these nutrients could be weaker, their immune systems may be compromised and they would have a real problem fighting off illnesses and diseases.

When a dog is unwell, they may not to be able to metabolise their food intake as they should. Many of these diets are only prescribed by a vet as a short-term measure to help dog's through their recovery, although if a dog is found to be suffering from some form of health disorder or allergy, they may well have to stay on a prescription diet for the remainder of their lives.

Prescription diets typically contain extra things a dog might need and this includes higher levels of nutrients and lower levels of other things like minerals and vitamins, depending on a dog's condition or illness. As such, you would not want to put a healthy dog on this type of diet because it could prove extremely harmful to them. In short, the diet would have been prescribed for a specific dog and that dog only.

Why Dogs are Put on Prescription Diets

Vets would typically put a dog on a prescription diet when they are found to be suffering from any of the following health disorders and conditions:

  • Allergies to food
  • Diabetes
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Diseases that impact a dog's kidney function
  • Heart disease
  • Diseases that impact a dog's liver function
  • Urinary tract issues
  • Certain forms of cancer

Very often by regulating and changing nutrients found in a dog's diet, this can help speed up their recovery time and could even slow down the progress of a specific disorder. Should the vet find a dog suffers from some form of heart disease, they would recommend they be fed a diet that's much lower in protein and sodium. On the other hand, if a dog is known to suffer from allergies to food, the vet could well recommend they be given very different sources of protein like duck, venison or even potato, which are the sort they have not be exposed to in the past.

Dogs where diabetes has been diagnosed would benefit from a diet that's higher in fibre and maybe a higher level of protein than is normally recommended for an adult, mature dog that's in good health.

The good news is that many of the larger and well-established pet food manufacturers now sell specifically formulated prescription diets, so if the vet does recommend a dog be put on one, it is much easier to find the right one at an affordable price.


It is always a worrying time when a much loved dog is under the weather or suffering from a condition that vets find harder to diagnose like certain allergies. You may find that your vet recommends your dog be fed specific food and they would advise putting them on a prescription diet. The diet may contain higher or lower levels of certain nutrients depending on your dog's condition. Prescription diets can help speed up a dog's recovery time and could help discover what could be triggering a food allergy. Well-known pet food manufacturers now produce prescription diets for dogs which makes it that much easier to organise feeding a sickly pet a specific diet.



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