Science-based Trends in Pet Food

Pete Wedderburn
11th January 2021 - 3 min read

The science-based trends in pet nutrition are exciting. Apart from the nutritional science about creating complete diets for healthy pets, there are now specially formulated diets that use nutrition as an extra form of complementing conventional medical treatments.

Prescription Diets

Examples include the design of specific diets to address health issues using nutrition. So-called “prescription diets” have been available for decades, and the range of these is expanding as we learn more about the difference that nutrition can make to illnesses. Examples include:

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Low protein diets for pets with renal failure: these can significantly extend the life span of affected cats.

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Customised diets for liver disease

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High fibre, high glycaemic index diets for diabetic pets to help to stabalise blood glucose levels

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Diets to treat hyperthyroidism in cats: these are formulated with ultra-low iodine levels, with the only proviso that cats cannot eat or drink anything other than this product and water, for the diet to be effective

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Hypoallergenic diets with non-allergenic hydrolysed protein for pets that suffer from allergies. These can be used to do a dietary trial to make a diagnosis of food allergy, as well as in some cases being used as a long term diet for a pet that is very allergic. Food allergy can present as skin disease or as gastrointestinal disturbance.

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Diets designed to enhance brain function, for pets with senility and cognitive disorders

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Diets to dissolve, and to prevent urine crystals and stones. The right diet needs to be used for the right type of urine crystal for this to be effective.

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Diets to make it easier for obese pets to lose weight. There are different types, with some based on high fibre diets making pets feel full, and others based on a metabolic principle, with higher protein diets creating a higher sense of “fullness”

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Large breed puppy diets, formulated to help bigger animals grow more slowly, leading to fewer joint problems as they grow older

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Great Dane – Large Breed Puppy
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Diets to assist in the treatment of certain types of cancer such as lymphoma

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Diets for pets with arthritis, high in fish oils and other helpful ingredients

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The latest, and most remarkable, science based diet is the Purina Liveclear diet, which is designed to reduce the allergenicity of cats, so that people who are allergic to cats are able to live beside them without having their usual allergic reaction. The science behind this involves including an anti-FelD1 antibody in the food, so that the antigen in cat saliva that provokes a human allergy is neutralised when the cat eats the food.

Use of science-based Diets

All of the above diets are best used under veterinary supervision, as they are used in the treatment of medical disorders. This is why they are primarily sold through vet clinics: if they are given to an animal that does not have the particular issue, complications are possible, so professional advice is important.

Where can I get science-based diets?

A range of this type of diets, the Purina Pro Plan Veterinary diets for cats and dogs are available in the Petfix Club store: we offer these in conjunction with back up advice via the Ask A Vet service. So if you are unsure about any aspect, at any time, you can message us and we can make sure that you are using the right product, at the right time, for your pet.

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