Specialized Dog Foods

by Sandy Vigil
Natural and breed-specific dog foods are also available.

Natural and breed-specific dog foods are also available.

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Many decades ago there were basically two types of dog food: puppy and adult. The pet food industry has responded to pet owners’ requests for foods that are as unique as the dogs they feed. Because dogs are as individualized as people, specialized foods are available to address everything from specific health issues and diseases to food allergies. Work with your vet to determine which food will ensure your pet’s nutritional needs are met.

Hypoallergenic

According to Dog Food Advisor, hypoallergenic dog foods are usually made with limited ingredients, "novel" ingredients or without ingredients that commonly cause reactions. Limited-ingredient foods are made with few ingredients to make it easier to identify what is causing your pet to react badly. Because allergic reactions are triggered by ingredients your dog has eaten before, novel foods are made with ingredients that your dog most likely has never been exposed to, like buffalo, millet or kangaroo. Hypoallergenic dog foods omit common trigger ingredients like beef, dairy, wheat, soy and corn.

Joint Health

Dogs don’t usually have to deal with joint problems until they get old. However, large breeds are far more prone to joint problems because they experience rapid growth spurts during puppyhood. Some breeds are more genetically predisposed to displacement of the hips or elbows. One way to minimize these problems is through nutrition and dog foods specifically designed for joints. VetInfo suggests that you look for foods containing glucosamine help your pet’s body create new cartilage, and chondroitin to defend his joints from enzymes that destroy cartilage. Some foods also include MSN and green-lipped mussels, which promote joint and cartilage health.

Dental Health

Dog foods that target canine oral and dental health are a response to the difficulties many pet owners face trying to brush their dogs' teeth. Dental health in dogs is important for the same reasons as in humans. Along with the easy-to-recognize symptoms of bad breath, cavities and loose or missing teeth, your dog’s organs can be affected by the waste byproducts of the bacteria that feed on plaque. VetInfo says dental or oral health dog food is made up of extra-crunchy kibble designed to scrape off the plaque as the food is chewed.

Disease-Specific

As pet parents are becoming more involved in the nutritional management of their pets’ health, the pet food industry is responding to the increased demand for foods that can help treat disorders or possibly prevent them from occurring. The Whole Dog Journal advocates working with your vet to determine what foods or ingredients work best to support his health. To treat dogs with kidney problems, specialty foods that contain large amounts of high-quality protein and have low phosphorus have been developed. High-fat, low-carb foods are designed to starve dogs' cancer cells.

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About the Author

Based in Las Vegas, Sandy Vigil has been a writer and educator since 1980. She taught high school and middle school English and drama for 11 years. Vigil holds a Master of Science in teaching from Nova Southeastern University and a Bachelor of Arts in secondary English education from the University of Central Oklahoma.

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