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Prescription Dog Food – When is it a Good Idea?

Most dogs can eat any of a number of over the counter foods and thrive. Dog foods that follow AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) regulations and are labeled as being nutritionally complete and balanced will meet the needs of “typical” pets… as long as they are healthy.

But when disease strikes, over the counter foods may no longer be a dog’s best option. Pet food manufacturers produce a wide range of what are often called prescription diets. These foods are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of sick or injured pets.

Here’s a sampling of some of the most commonly recommended prescription diets for dogs.

Foods for Kidney Failure

Dogs suffering from kidney failure need to eat a food that contains moderate amounts of protein that is of the highest possible quality to reduce the formation of toxic metabolites and support muscle maintenance. Reduced phosphorous and sodium levels are also important.

Foods for Food Allergy/Intolerance

Dogs with an allergy or intolerance to certain ingredients commonly used in pet food will experience relief from their symptoms when they eat an appropriate prescription food. Options include novel protein formulations (e.g., venison and green pea) or hydrolyzed diets.

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