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Everything You Need To Know About Prescription Dog Food

Everything You Need To Know About Prescription Dog Food

If your dog is suffering from a severe chronic illness or has recently had surgery, your veterinarian may prescribe a prescription dog food specifically formulated to support your dog’s health during recovery. Prescription dog foods are made by a variety of manufacturers and address different illnesses. They are only available to consumers through a prescription. If your veterinarian has prescribed your dog a prescription formula, you may have many questions. So we have put together a guide that will help address all your questions.

What Is Prescription Dog Food?

Prescription dog foods, also known as veterinarian dog foods, are food scientifically formulated to meet the health needs of your dog. Prescription dog foods are only available to dog food consumers with a prescription from a veterinarian. They are different from over the counter dog foods that are formulated to support certain health problems like arthritis, obesity, and food allergies.

Where Do You Purchase Prescription Dog Foods?

Typically you will buy a prescription dog food through your veterinarian. However, you can also buy them direct from the manufacturer, online, or at a specialty pet food store. Though you cannot purchase prescription dog food without a prescription from your veterinarian.

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How Much Prescription Food Should I Feed My Dog?

How much prescription dog food you feed your dog depends entirely on your dog’s specific needs. Larger, younger dogs are going to eat more than older, smaller dogs. So you want to make sure you follow your veterinarian’s recommendations. Also, do not feed your dog prescription food past the recommended period. Prescription foods offer targeted nutrition but do not offer everything a healthy dog needs. So if you feed your dog prescription food for too long, you may find they develop a deficiency. Only feed during the veterinarian-recommended time period.

What Illnesses Are Prescription Dog Food Available For?

Prescription dog food is available for a wide range of illnesses, from mild to chronic, including:

  • Gastrointestinal Issues
  • Kidney Issues
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Skin Issues
  • Renal Issues
  • Weight Management
  • Post Surgery
  • Heart Disease
  • Dental Issues

Each prescription dog food is specifically formulated to meet the dietary needs for each illness. They include both extra nutritional support and exclude nutrients that can inflame or exacerbate the medical issue.

What Are The Best Brands Of Prescription Dog Food?

There are only a couple of prescription dog food brands on the market. Here are the most popular:

Hill’s Prescription Diet

Hills’ manufacturers the very popular Science Diet that focuses on dietary needs. Their Prescription Diet line is a more advanced form of their Science Diet that addresses very specific health needs. In the case of minor illnesses, Science Diet can be used as a substitute for a Prescription Diet food. You just need to consult with your veterinarian.

Royal Canin Veterinarian

Royal Canin focuses on scientifically-formulated dog foods for different stages of life, activity levels, and size. They also make breed-specific dry dog food. Royal Canin Vet is no different. It is formulated to meet the very specific needs of your sick or injured dog. They create a range of therapeutic diets available in wet and dry dog food.

Purina Pro Plan Veterinarian

Purina is the number one dog food manufacturer in the world. Their Pro Plan health food line is specifically formulated to maximize the nutritional value of the food and their Pro Plan Veterinarian line is no different. They offer a line of prescription dog foods, as well as conferences and research grants for veterinarians to learn more about veterinary nutrition.


Wysong is a boutique manufacturer that specializes in dehydrated raw prescription foods. Wysong foods were designed by a veterinarian to meet the health needs of dogs recovering from surgery or experiencing a chronic illness. The food is a dehydrated dog food, it can be used either as a kibble or reconstituted as a wet food for easier consumption.

Is Prescription Dog Food Really Necessary?

Prescription dog foods can be very expensive and with competing over the counter health-focused dog foods, many people wonder if they are really necessary. Some veterinary nutritionists argue that prescription dog food may not be the best option and you may be better off feeding your dog a raw dog food diet because prescription foods don’t always have a great range of nutritional value. Pet owners also have issues with prescription dog foods because they are extremely expensive but have low nutritional value. Some pet owners are also very wary of some of the ingredients like ethoxyquin which has shown to be toxic for dogs. So if you are worried about a prescription diet, you should talk to your veterinarian about alternatives.

What Are The Alternatives To Prescription Dog Food?

There are a couple of alternatives to prescription dog food. The first is a raw foods diet. Raw foods diets are easier to digest than other dog food diets and provide very concentrated nutrition for your dog. Another option is to get an over-the-counter dog food that meets all the nutritional needs of your dog. For example if your dog is having bladder or urinary tract issues, you can get a food that support urinary tract health. Finally there’s also limited ingredient foods. Limited ingredient dog foods are made with just a few superfood ingredients that provide your dog a dense nutritional profile while the food is extremely easy to digest. However, if your dog is prescribed a prescription dog food, you should not take this suggestion lightly. Before deciding what food will be a good alternative, you need to consult with your veterinarian. Prescription diets are not only formulated to help support the nutrition of your dog but they are also easy to digest and contain things like chelated minerals for maximum absorption. So it’s a good idea to work with your veterinarian on your dog’s diet plan.

If your dog has been diagnosed with a chronic or short-term illness or is recovering from surgery, your veterinarian may prescribe them a prescription dog food. Prescription dog foods offer targeted nutrition for a range of illnesses. Though they can be expensive, they are formulated to be therapeutic. There are some alternatives to prescription formulas, but you should only consider these on recommendations from your veterinarian.

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