Caring for a Pet with Special Dietary Needs

You might have a pet with special dietary needs. Some pets may need a little extra attention to overcome allergies and other physical limitations. Like humans, each animal has its own health history and genetic makeup that is the amazing pet you know and love. 

A pet’s genetics can mean they require a special diet. If your pet has special dietary needs, how do you ensure they’re getting the nutrition they need? The team at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital is here with tips: 

Recognize a Pet with Special Dietary Needs

Before you can figure out how to feed your pet, you will need to determine why they need a special diet. There are a variety of factors that could affect the way your pet digests food. Some of the most common are:

    • Regular upset stomachs: If you’re constantly flabbergasted by smells that come from your pet, this could be the reason. Many available pet foods are full of filler ingredients (like corn, barley, or wheat) that might not agree with your pet’s stomach.
    • Skin trouble: If your pet is consistently developing rashes or itchy skin, the food could be the culprit. Animals are just as susceptible to food allergies as humans are and tend to manifest allergies through their skin. There could be a specific ingredient (chicken is common) that is causing an allergic reaction for your pet. 
    • Life stage changes: As your pet ages, he or she will require different kinds of food to achieve optimal nutrition. It is crucial to keep senior pets from overeating and to make sure they are getting the right combination of nutrients to enjoy their golden years.

Learn About Different Diet Options

Once you recognize that have may have a pet with special dietary needs, it is time for a little research. There are a wide range of specialty foods on the market that can help your pet feel his or her best. Some of them include:

    • Low-fat diets
    • Diabetic diets
    • Grain-free diets
    • Diets for sensitive skin
    • Diets for sensitive stomachs
    • Diets for pets with kidney issues

It is important to figure out what kind of food your pet needs to thrive and it may involve a bit of trial and error. Note changes and improvements, or new problems.

Work with Your Veterinarian

Before you make any changes to your pet’s food, we recommend that you talk to your veterinarian. Make note of anything you notice when it comes to your pet and eating before your appointment. Does your dog vomit after eating certain treats? Is your cat avoiding his food bowl? Have you seen a change in the texture of your dog’s coat? 

You know your pet best, and your observations can help your veterinarian determine what kind of diet your pet might need. Whenever you change your pet’s food, pay close attention to his or her behavior and appearance. Alert your veterinarian if you notice any big changes that might indicate the new diet is not the best option. 

The caring team at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital is here to help you give your pet a happy and healthy life. From regular wellness checks to surgery and alternative medicine, we are here when you need us. To learn more about our veterinary services in Waterford, MI and the surrounding areas, please call (248) 363-1508.