Our guide to clinical diets for specific health conditions

 

Clinical Diets

Pet food is more or less the same isn’t it? Actually it’s not. Good nutrition can help your pet to lead a longer and healthier life and clinical diets can help manage or support certain health conditions too.

Your vet may have recommended a “special” (or clinical) diet for your pet but does it really make a difference and can you swap diets around? We tell you more about clinical diets, other advanced nutrition foods and introduce you to some of our current ranges for both.

Q: My vet recommended a “clinical diet” what does this mean?

A: At a recent visit, your vet may have been talking to you about your pet’s specific health condition. This could be anything from kidney (renal) or urinary issues, liver problems and digestive conditions, sensitivities or allergies, dental, or even if your pet is overweight or obese – there’s quite a long list!

Because cats and dogs tend to be susceptible to certain health conditions, either due to their age or sometimes breed, pet food manufacturers have produced a wide range of clinical diets over many years of research and development. Your vet may have recommended one of these diets to help support your pet’s condition.

Q: What are the benefits of a clinical diet?

A: Each clinical diet is different, with manufacturers spending millions in the refinement of the mix, tweaking ingredients to give our pets the best nutrients to support their particular health condition.

For example, a diet for weight loss or obesity tends to have less fat and calories than standard diets, yet contain ingredients which help your pet feel fuller for longer (aiding their weight loss).

Diet for pets with renal issues tend to have lower levels of good quality protein to help ease kidney function, whereas pets requiring support for their liver (hepatic diets) will be different again, with increased levels of antioxidants.

By giving your pet a recommended clinical diet, you’re ensuring they receive the best possible nutrition for their individual condition.

Q: Do clinical diets replace medication?

A: Each pet and case is different. Your vet may recommend that you’ll need to give your pet prescribed medication AND a clinical diet, or they may suggest that a clinical diet alone may do the trick – it really is very individual to each pet. You should follow the guidance and treatment your vet discusses with you.

NOTE: You should only ever medicate or feed clinical diets as per your vet’s recommendation, and ensure you have regular reviews of both.

Q: Are these clinical diets only available via prescription via the vets?

A: No diet is a”prescription” diet. Your veterinary surgeon does not write a prescription for diets, only for certain licensed medicines.

Is can be a little confusing as pet food manufacturers often have ranges with the words “Prescription” or “Veterinary” in the name, but this is so that customers realise that these are clinical diets and should only be given to pets following a recommendation from a vet, for example “Hills Prescription Diet“, “Royal Canin Veterinary Diet” or “Eukanuba Veterinary Diets“. Once you know the diet that’s been recommend by your vet, you’re free to buy it from where ever you choose. Online stores are often cheaper and deliver food directly to your door too, so there are no issues with transporting big bags or large cases of food around a store or home.

Q: Can my pet start a clinical diet immediately?

A: Your vet will advise how to introduce a new diet to your pet. Usually it’s recommended that you switch diets gradually over a few days to prevent sudden tummy upsets. Your vet will explain what’s best for your pet’s situation.

Q: Does it matter if my other pets eat some of it?

A: Yes it does matter. If you have a pet on a clinical diet, you must ensure that other pets in the household do not eat it.  A quick grab or occasional nibble won’t harm them but longer-term, regular eating of a specialist diet when there’s no need, can result in other pets becoming either deficient in certain minerals and calories or having too many (as the clinical diet will be supporting an individual condition).  Either way it could harm their health.

Try to give the pet on a bespoke diet somewhere private to eat and clear away uneaten food or invest in an automatic feeder which recognises individual pets and only opens and exposes the food when the correct animal approaches the bowl. SureFeed is one example and can easily cater for up to 32 different pets in the household.

Q: How long should my pet stay on a clinical diet?

A: Again – talk to your vet as it’s all very individual. They may recommend your pet stays on a clinical diet forever, or it may be that your pet has improved and could possibly switch to a different maintenance diet. Do not change your pet’s clinical diet without consulting your vet first.

Q: Can I mix wet and dry diets?

A: Yes you can but be careful. There’s no point in investing in a tried and tested clinical dry diet for example, then giving a generally available wet diet to mix up meal time variety for them.

A “normal” food, wet or dry, won’t be tailored to your pet’s health condition so all the good work of the bespoke dietary support starts to come undone.

Most brands offer both dry and wet choices of clinical diets, so if your pet prefers a mix, it’s recommended you keep to the same brand and diet, as they’ll have been developed to work together in the same way. If you’re not sure how to mix them up, talk to your vet for advice. We stock a large range of Hills Prescription wet diets and Royal Canin Veterinary wet diets.

Q: My pet doesn’t have a health condition so does it matter what food I give them?

A: If your pet doesn’t have a health condition, it’s worth looking at the other ranges of specific diets. Leading manufacturers offer a range of”advanced nutrition” diets which provide nutritional support for common cat/dog types, issues and life stages. For example, there are diets for;

  • Neutered pets  – usually lower calorie to help prevent weight gain after hormone changes
  • Life stages – young/junior, adult, pregnant, mature and senior pets (containing different mixes of nutrients to support rapid growth, or stiffening joints for example)
  • Size or breed of animal  – different sized pets and specific breeds have different average lifespans reaching “adult” or “senior” at different times or have particular needs due to their overall body size. Some cats may suffer from hairballs for example so diets have been developed to help them cope with ingesting hair.
  • Lifestyle – pets could be active or maybe live indoors – both requiring different levels of calories to remain healthy.
  • Common conditions – Sensitivity, dental, digestion, skin – there are many readily available diets for pets needing a little extra support in these areas, but without the need of veterinary recommendation.

Whether  it’s a clinical diet recommended via a vet or other advanced diets, it’s a well-known fact that giving pets the best nutrition you can afford, which is suitable for their individual needs or life stage/style will keep them as healthy as possible for as long as possible. The little bit extra you may have to pay vs general “dog/cat food” from the supermarket may help delay or prevent more expensive health conditions from developing and keep your pet healthier for longer.

Always discuss changes in clinical diets with your vet before altering your pet’s food and remember to book regular reviews to keep their dietary needs relevant.

Below are just a few of our best-selling clinical diets. The following links will take you to our full range of clinical diets from Hills, Royal Canin and Eukanuba.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Sensitivity Control with Chicken & Rice Wet 12x420g Can on Animed Direct

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Sensitivity Control With Chicken & Rice Wet 12x420g Can

Royal Canin Sensitivity Control is a complete dietetic feed for dogs formulated to reduce ...

Our Price: £25.36

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Anallergenic Dry (AN 18) 8kg on Animed Direct

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Anallergenic Dry (AN 18) 8kg

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Anallergenic Dry (AN 18) is a complete a...

Our Price: £47.03

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Diabetic Dry (DS 37) 7kg on Animed Direct

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Diabetic Dry (DS 37) 7kg

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Diabetic Dry (DS 37) is a complete dietetic feed for do...

Our Price: £36.16

Hills Prescription Diet j/d Joint Care Dog Food Dry with Chicken 12kg on Animed Direct

Hills Prescription Diet J/d Joint Care Dog Food Dry With Chicken 12kg

Hills Prescription Diet J/D Joint Care Canine with Chicken Dry is clinically p...

Our Price: £50.95

Hills Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Dog Food Dry - Original 12kg on Animed Direct

Hills Prescription Diet K/d Kidney Care Dog Food Dry - Original 12kg

Hills Prescription Diet K/D Kidney Care Canine Dry Food is formulated by veter...

Our Price: £47.50

Hills Prescription Diet Metabolic - Weight Management Chicken Stew Dog Food 12x354g Can on Animed Direct

Hills Prescription Diet Metabolic - Weight Management Chicken Stew Dog Food 12x354g Can

Hills Prescription Diet Metabolic Stew Flavoured with Chicken & Vegetables is clinical nutrit...

Our Price: £27.27

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Renal Dry (RF 23) 4kg on Animed Direct

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Renal Dry (RF 23) 4kg

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Renal Dry (RF 23) is a complete dietetic feed for cats ...

Our Price: £28.33

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Hypoallergenic Dry (DR 25) 4.5kg on Animed Direct

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Hypoallergenic Dry (DR 25) 4.5kg

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Hypoallergenic Dry (DR 25) is a complete dietetic feed ...

Our Price: £35.32

Royal Canin Urinary S/O Adult Cat Food Wet Morsels in Gravy 48x85g Pouch on Animed Direct

Royal Canin Urinary S/O Adult Cat Food Wet Morsels In Gravy 48x85g Pouch

Royal Canin Feline Urinary S/O Morsels in Gravy Adult Wet Food is a complete die...

Our Price: £32.99

Hills Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Cat Food Dry with Chicken 5kg on Animed Direct

Hills Prescription Diet K/d Kidney Care Cat Food Dry With Chicken 5kg

Hills Prescription Diet K/D Kidney Care Feline with Chicken Dry Food helps pro...

Our Price: £32.45

Hills Prescription Diet m/d Diabetes/Weight Management Cat Food Wet Original 24x156g Can on Animed Direct

Hills Prescription Diet M/d Diabetes/Weight Management Cat Food Wet Original 24x156g Can

Hills Prescription Diet Feline M/D Wet is a nutritional diet to help manage overweight cat...

Our Price: £30.25

Hills Prescription Diet y/d Thyroid Care Cat Food Dry Original 5kg on Animed Direct

Hills Prescription Diet Y/d Thyroid Care Cat Food Dry Original 5kg

Hills Prescription Diet Thyroid Care Y/D Feline Original Dry is the safe, effective and ea...

Our Price: £33.59

Eukanuba Veterinary Diets Intestinal Dog Food Wet 6x400g Can on Animed Direct

Eukanuba Veterinary Diets Intestinal Dog Food Wet 6x400g Can

Eukanuba Veterinary Diets Intestinal Formulation Wet Dog Food is a complete and ...

Our Price: £9.45

Eukanuba Veterinary Diets Restricted Calorie Dog Food Wet 6x400g Can on Animed Direct

Eukanuba Veterinary Diets Restricted Calorie Dog Food Wet 6x400g Can

Eukanuba Restricted Calorie Dog Wet Food is a complete and balanced food to enco...

Our Price: £9.45

Eukanuba Veterinary Diets Dermatosis FP Adult Dog with Fish & Potato Dry 12kg on Animed Direct

Eukanuba Veterinary Diets Dermatosis FP Adult Dog With Fish & Potato Dry 12kg

Eukanuba Veterinary Diets Dermatosis FP Adult Dog with Fish & Potato Dry is formulated...

Our Price: £47.29