What’s So Special About “Specialty” Pet Food?

What’s So Special About “Specialty” Pet Food?

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If you don’t know what you want, the choices of pet food products seem endless. You might ask yourself – Does your pet have this particular problem or will he have this problem if you do not get this particular food item to prevent it? But there is no food that covers all the bases. So how do we choose? Many of the foods are functional foods, or specialty products, that have at least one ingredient which is designed to moderate or prevent a medical condition. The most common specialty products are geared towards:

  • Oral/dental health
  • Food allergies
  • Urinary tract health
  • Joint health
Dental healthFoods formulated to increase the health of the teeth

are indicated for pets prone to develop a serious dental disease. This is often related to age or breed, but might also be linked to the diet. These foods are designed to clean the teeth of dogs as they chew on their food, and some of the formulas have extra ingredients that are designed to prevent the buildup of tartar. These foods are beneficial for pets that cannot sit through a daily dental care regimen and for pets that are already going through tooth decay.

Food allergies

Since each body is different, what is right for one dog might not be right for another. This is true even for siblings or animals that grow up in the same household. Animals can have allergic responses to the most benign ingredients and it is possible to characterize them by their symptoms – diarrhea, vomiting and itchy skin are the most prominent. If your dog has a food allergy, you need to put him on a special diet that does not have the ingredient that caused the allergic reaction to begin with. Such foods are made from protein sources that the animal does not have an allergy to, like


or duck. A lot of these special diets also contained omega-3 fatty acids, like the ones found in flax-seed and fish oils, for strengthening the organs and the immune system.

Joint care

If your pet has trouble getting around, you need to talk to the vet about supplements and foods that are beneficial for his joint health. The most common ingredients are

chondroitin and glucosamine

– both of which work with the cartilage and tendons of the joints. Additional ingredients to look for include methylsulfonylmethane and green-lipped mussel. These can be incorporated into your pet’s kibble diets so that they can ingest them with their meals. You can also give it to them in smaller doses in the form of treats. The aforementioned ingredients have been shown to be extremely helpful in rebuilding the damaged cartilage and reducing joint inflammation in animals.

Urinary tract health

Excessive magnesium, calcium, oxalate and phosphorous levels lead to the development of stones and crystals in the urinary tract. For pets that suffer from these issues, your vet will recommend a diet that has is carefully measured, with the right balance of nutrients and minerals.

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