If your veterinarian recommends a prescription diet for your dog, he is concerned about a disease or condition that threatens your dog's health. Reasons for recommending special diets can include such things as digestive problems, allergies and obesity. The recommended diet may contain special nutrients that your dog needs or may be low in substances that your dog cannot tolerate. Be sure to follow your veterinarian's recommendations, whether you purchase food or make it yourself.
Choosing Home-Prepared Pet Diets
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Pets can benefit from nutritional management, and they can be harmed by toxic foods. Commercial pet food companies offer a variety of special diets, however some pet owners prefer to prepare their own pet meals. Reasons for making pet food might include economics, concerns about packaged foods, and the ability to customize the meals you prepare. The special foods must meet specific needs, such as low-calorie diets for obese dogs, diets safe for dogs with diabetes or diets prepared for dogs with skin allergies.
Recipe for Success
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If you undertake the responsibility for making your dog's special food, make certain that you understand the importance of his specific dietary needs and formulate a dog food recipe that achieves that. Your veterinarian is your best consultant for determining what should be in your dog's bowl; considering the dog's medical history, his current diet and special needs. Your dog's breeder also might offer good suggestions, especially if your dog's relatives have experienced similar conditions requiring dietary intervention. When formulating your dog's meal plan, remember to include treats that follow the guidelines of the diet.
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There is no one perfect diet for all dogs. If your dog suffers from repeated urinary tract infections, her diet should be low in magnesium and phosphorus. The goal is to manage the formation of crystals and stones that can form in the bladder. A dog with joint problems, such as arthritis, might benefit from supplements in his food. The amounts of each nutrient recommended vary for the size and condition of each pet. Whether cooking for people or pets, practice good food storage. You can package or freeze portions, to use throughout the week.
Be Safe, Not Sorry
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Diets prepared for pets should have the same high-quality ingredients that you would consume in your own diet. Sources of protein, calcium and vitamins come in fresh and frozen options, for your convenience. Be careful to avoid foods that will harm your pet, such as "avocados, chocolate, fatty foods, macadamia nuts, moldy or spoiled foods, onions, raisins and grapes, salt and yeast dough," says the ASPCA. Be considerate of your dog's needs through various stages of life, and provide the best diet you can. After all, if you are what you eat, so is your dog.
Connie Jankowski began writing in 1987. She has published articles in "Dog Fancy" and "The Orange County Register," among others. Areas of expertise include education, health care and pets. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Pittsburgh.