I have always believed that the foundation for animal health originates with a pet’s diet. I routinely advise my clients to feed the best pet food they can afford, and I address proper food amounts and appropriate snacks at every visit. I also believe if a pet looks good on the outside, it most likely is healthy on the inside. I make this assumption based on skin being the largest “organ” of the body, and therefore, a great representative of general health.
If diet plays such a large role in animal health, it seems natural to use nutrition to provide veterinary care. When ailing pets are diagnosed, veterinarians will commonly make dietary recommendations for the patient. Or, in the case of chronic conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, or food hypersensitivities, pet owners may be advised to make a permanent change in their pet’s diet to a specifically formulated pet food.
Many pet food companies, including Hill’s Science Diet, Purina, and Iams, have veterinary food lines that require you to purchase the food directly from your veterinarian. Some examples of these veterinary diets include low sodium diets for heart failure, high fiber diets for diabetes, and low protein diets for chronic kidney disease. Because these foods have scientifically determined formulations, they must be used only for their prescribed health reasons, and the pet needs to be under the care and supervision of a veterinarian. Similar to pets on long-term medications, periodic wellness testing should be performed for pets consuming these special diets so adjustments may be made as needed.
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