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When it comes to the dietary needs of pets, there are seemingly endless options on the market that all claim to be the "best" choice. Unfortunately, pet parents often get lost in a sea of dry and wet dog food options, making it difficult to select the right choice for the pet.
Choosing a vet-recommended dog food can ensure pets receive a diet with balanced nutrition. Here is some helpful information when considering a vet-recommended diet.
While the term "vet-recommended" is commonly seen on all sorts of pet products, pet parents are often left wondering what vet-recommended dog food is and what this endorsement means. For pet food to label itself as vet-recommended, it has to be compliant with Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) requirements.
These requirements state that dog food with "vet-recommended" labels must have the approval of many veterinarians surveyed. This differs from foods labeled "veterinarian formulated" or "veterinarian approved," which have much looser requirements.
Consider the following advantages of selecting vet-recommended dog food:
Finding the right dog food is just one contributing factor to their long term and overall health. Still, a balanced diet can affect everything from a dog's weight to their joint health. The easiest way to ensure their food has all the necessary ingredients is by taking the recommendations of vets.
Some dogs are picky eaters, while others are overeaters. Selecting a vet-recommended dog food can ensure that every pet receives the correct balance of nutrients for their specific requirements.
While several nonspecific vet-recommended diets are on the market, some dogs may have food sensitivities. Most dogs with food sensitivities respond negatively to specific protein sources, such as chicken, beef, or fish.
While dogs, on occasion, will need more specialized diets, selecting a dog food formulated for sensitive skin or digestive support can help alleviate adverse side effects from food sensitivities.
Sensitivity to certain foods can cause anything from irritated skin to gastrointestinal upset and is typically remedied by elimination diets. However, some dogs may have such extreme dietary restrictions that they will need to be placed on a novel or hydrolyzed protein diet for life.
What we feed our pets can drastically impact their overall health and quality of life. Fifty-six percent of dogs in the United States are overweight, and vet-recommended dog foods are often formulated to help dogs maintain their ideal weight, not gain or lose weight.
While pet parents may be tempted to give in to pet's begging, obesity in pets is very detrimental to their long term health and is a contributing factor in severe health conditions such as:
In addition, obesity can shorten the life span of our beloved pets by up to two years. Vet-recommended dog food for weight loss may be beneficial for overweight pets.
Vet-recommended formulas make it easy to ensure pet parents are feeding their dogs a diet that includes the necessary vitamins and nutrients. Dogs are omnivores, and their diets typically consist of one or more animal-derived proteins mixed with other ingredients such as grains, fruits, and vegetables to deliver a complete diet.
Complete diets include ingredients that are natural sources of essential nutrients like fiber, magnesium, iron, and omega-three fatty acids. While all dogs need these nutrients throughout their lifetime, their diets vary by life stage and activity levels:
Puppies require more frequent feedings of small amounts of high-calorie food to help them grow. Additionally, puppy food tends to be high in nutrients like phosphorus and calcium, essential to skeletal health.
Adult dogs need moderate levels of calories, fat, minerals, and other nutrients to optimally support their fully-grown bodies. In addition, their diet should reflect their breed-specific needs and activity levels at this life stage.
Senior dogs require food with increased levels of antioxidants for their immune system, skin, and joints. In addition, vet-recommended senior dog foods will have more fatty acids for joint health and decreased calories from easily digestible food sources to accommodate their lowered activity levels and declining metabolism.
Selecting vet-recommended dog food ensures the food is formulated with pet nutrition in mind.
Dogs have different dietary requirements, and every dog should have food formulated for their specific needs. While some dogs have medical issues or food sensitivities that require them to be on specific diets, all dogs need a diet consistent with their life stages and activity levels.
Evidence suggests that dogs can benefit from breed-specific diets that reflect the foods available to them in their areas of origin. Vet-recommended dog foods consider specific dietary requirements and offer less generalized formulas to benefit dogs' specific needs.
Pet parents considering switching their dogs to a vet-recommended food should be very aware of the language used on the dog food packaging. While some foods may say "vet formulated" or "vet-approved" on their packaging, foods can only label themselves as "vet-recommended" if they follow AAFCO guidelines.
Below are some of the most popular vet-recommended dog food brands:
Royal Canin is one of the leading brands in pet prescription diets and also has diets formulated for different life stages, breeds, and other dietary needs.
Hill's has a wide selection of prescription and nonprescription diets tailored to pets' specific needs.
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets has formulas for urinary needs, gastrointestinal issues, weight management, and more.
Just Food For Dogs is the leading vet-recommended fresh dog food brand.
If pet parents see "vet-recommended" on a dog food brand other than these four brands, they can trust that it has undergone the necessary surveying by vets.
Dog parents have a lot to consider when choosing food for their pups. If feeling overwhelmed by choices, or to discuss a pet's specific dietary needs, consider chatting with the Fuzzy Vet Team. All members of Fuzzy Veterinary Support are nutrition certified and Fuzzy has specific veterinary nutritionists on-staff to help.
With Fuzzy's 24/7 Live Vet Chat, pet parents can find a vet nutritionist-recommended dog food that will help improve their pet's overall health and bring peace of mind for their aging.