Diet food for dogs and cats
There are many different types of food for dogs and cats. These may include dry food or a carnivorous diet. In addition, there is a difference between crunchy kibbles and pressed kibbles as well as a difference based on the composition of the food. There are grain/gluten-free kibbles, high meat-based kibbles and kibbles that are composed in such a way that your pet gets exactly the amount of nutrients it needs.
All these diets basically have the same goal: to support your pet to live a healthy life for as long as possible.
What if, despite all the good care, your animal gets ill? In that case, special dietary foods have been developed that support your dog or cat with a certain disorder.
Dietary foods have been developed to support various organ systems. By supporting your pet with diet food, the amount of medication can often be reduced and in some cases, a diet food alone is sufficient to give your pet a good quality of life for a long time to come.
Below is an overview of the most common diet food for dogs and cats with the most important properties of these diets.
Unfortunately, impaired kidney function is very common in our dogs and cats. Often this occurs in older animals, but it can also occur as a result of genetic predisposition or other problems. There are many supportive diets that are made in such a way that they contain less, but higher quality proteins and more calories, so that the animals have to eat less. This results in less consumption of phosphate and salt. The addition of extra omega 3 fatty acids also helps to support the organs. This way, the kidneys are relieved and often the blood pressure is also being supported, with which these meals are often also suitable for animals with heart problems and high blood pressure.
As mentioned before, most kidney supportive diets are also suitable to support the heart. There are also a number of special heart support diets. These diets are based on a low salt (NaCl) and contain optimal potassium and phosphorus content. In addition, taurine and L-carnitine are often added and extra vitamin B to support normal heart muscle function.
Stomach, intestines and pancreas
Many animals have complaints of food intolerance or are prone to vomiting and diarrhoea. Inflammation of the pancreas is also a problem that we regularly see in dogs and cats. There is a large selection in different diet food which can be given to combat these problems. Easily digestible with high-quality ingredients and a high energy density. Possible additions of prebiotics such as FOS and MOS. Additional omega 3 fatty acids support a healthy gastrointestinal tract.
In the case of pancreatic/pancreas support, these diets have a low-fat content. In the case of food intolerance and food allergy, a diet based on 1 (unknown) protein source and 1 carbohydrate source or hydrolysed (i.e. chopped small) proteins is often used.
The liver plays an essential role in metabolism. Liver disorders are certainly common in dogs. For example, liver inflammation (hepatitis) or liver insufficiency, but also congenital abnormalities such as liver shunt and Wilson's disease. Most liver diets have a reduced copper content in combination with an increased zinc content to limit cell damage in the liver. In addition, antioxidants have been added to reduce liver damage. Low salt levels keep blood pressure under control. Because the body needs enough energy and because you want to prevent the body from breaking down body proteins, a liver diet often contains an increased amount of fat.
Skin and food allergy
Atopy and food allergy are very common problems in dogs and cats. In addition, animals can quickly suffer from a dry or greasy coat or other problems in the form of hair loss or baldness. Various nutrients have been developed that can support normal skin function. Often substances such as aloe vera, vitamin C, taurine and curcumin are added to these foods to support the skin. High levels of omega-3 fatty acids help inhibit inflammatory reactions in the skin and antioxidants (including vitamin A and vitamin E) protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals.
In addition, food allergy is very common. For this purpose, various diets have been developed on the basis of hydrolysed proteins but also diets based on only 1 protein and 1 carbohydrate source, which reduces the chance of an allergic reaction.
Dogs and cats can suffer from diabetes just like humans. Dogs usually have Diabetes Mellitus type 1 ('juvenile diabetes') and cats more often have Diabetes Mellitus type 2 ('old age sugar'). Insulin is often needed to treat these patients. However, a diet can help enormously to prevent blood sugar fluctuations. Diabetes support diets have a low sugar/starch content, which limits the increase in blood sugar after a meal. The specific carbohydrates in this diet are gradually absorbed by the body so that the blood sugar level remains as constant as possible. Extra dietary fibres slow down the absorption in the intestine and also improve the regulation of the blood sugar level.
Stress is very common in our pets. This can be the result of a changed home situation, loud noises or fireworks. Special diets have been developed that can reduce stress complaints. Substances such as alpha-casozepine, L-tryptophan and theanine are natural substances that have proven calming effects. Because stress is also a major cause of skin-related problems, urinary problems and gastrointestinal complaints, special combinations of amino acids, vitamins, dietary fibres and easily digestible proteins are often added to support these organ systems as well.
Unfortunately, obesity is one of the most common problems in our dogs and cats. It is often not possible to regain a normal weight with a standard diet. For this reason, specific diets have been developed that, in combination with an adapted lifestyle, can successfully help your pet lose weight. These foods often contain few calories, but do give a high feeling of satiety. In addition, appetite is kept under control. There are even diets that ensure that metabolism reactivates. Overweight animals often have a very slow metabolism, which means that all calories that come in are stored immediately. Metabolism can often be stimulated by exercise, but this is not always easy with overweight animals.
Joint problems and arthritis complaints are common and not limited to older animals. Congenital problems and trauma can also cause an animal to benefit from a joint supporting diet at an early age. Think of supplements such as turmeric, collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate and high content of omega 3 fatty acids in combination with a low-calorie content to limit the risk of obesity.
Age and dementia
An increased level of antioxidants such as vitamin E help to neutralise free radicals and limit cell damage. L-Carnitine supports the energy production of cells. Increased content of omega 3 fatty acids supports the cell membranes in the body and a reduced-sodium, phosphorus and protein content support the health of the heart and kidneys. The increased fibre content and easily digestible ingredients often help to support intestinal function.
Dental problems are common in dogs in cats. Not just in older animals. From the age of about 3 years, problems with the teeth can occur. Even earlier when it comes to specific problems such as gingivitis and stomatitis in cats. Special nutrition often helps in a number of ways. It often contains certain active ingredients, such as sodium polyphosphate, which reduces the conversion of plaque into tartar. It also provides mechanical cleaning of the teeth due to the adapted shape, size and structure of the kibbles. Chewing the kibble, therefore 'brushes' the teeth immediately, which helps to reduce plaque and tartar formation. Often there are also antibacterial ingredients, such as lysozyme and lactoferrin in the diet and active ingredients that provide fresh breath, such as eucalyptus oil. In addition, added substances with a so-called antioxidant effect, such as vitamin C, vitamin E and green tea extracts can help support oral health care.
Bladder and urinary tract
Many dogs and cats have symptoms of the lower urinary tract. This can be a true bladder infection, but also for example bladder stones and bladder grit. Various diet food has been developed that can help dissolve and prevent bladder grit and stones and help to keep the bladder environment healthy. A specific diet for dogs and cats with urinary tract problems is Royal Canin Urinary.
Recovery after exercise and disease
Finally, there are various selections of diet food which can help after extreme exertion and illness. These diets contain plenty and the right amount of nutrients needed for recovery, often in a liquid state, because a high moisture content contributes to a good rehydration of the recovering dog or cat.
What diet should I give to my pet?
Your veterinarian physician is often the person who makes a diagnosis of your pet and who can also give proper advice with regard to suitable diet food.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to find a diet that supports all the problems a pet can suffer from. For some problems, you want a diet high in fat, for other problems you want a diet low in fat. For example, pets that have a combination of a liver and a pancreas problem. Based on the animal's symptoms, it should then be determined which food is the best choice, possibly supplemented with medication or supplements.
Do you have any questions about the different dietary foods? Please contact our veterinarian by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.