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By Leslie Kuczynski, VMD, DACVIM

Does my pet really need this special food?

An important part of medical management of many diseases can be dietary therapy; however, special prescription diets are higher in cost and can be less convenient to obtain that over the counter pet foods. Because of that, the question of how necessary is this special diet, often comes up. Depending on the medical condition of the pet in question, special diets are prescribed for different reasons.

Diets to prevent urinary tract stone formation

There are several types of urinary tract stones that can cause problems in cats and dogs. The most important dietary consideration when trying to prevent urinary tract stone formation is increased water consumption. Increasing your pets’ water consumption can be accomplished in several ways. Increasing the number of water bowls around the house, ensuring that water bowls are clean and refilled daily to several times daily, adding water to their dry or canned food, or trying a free circulating fountain are all some options. Diet change to a prescription diet to help prevent stone formation can also help. Many of these diets are created so that they increase your pet’s thirst and encourage them to drink more. These diets also have controlled levels of several elements – magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium – which are the building blocks of some of the more common stone types in cats and dogs. These diets often are supplemented with dietary acidifiers to help regulate urine pH, antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids to help reduce oxidative stress and decrease inflammation. Depending on the type of stone that your pet has a propensity towards forming these diets can be both preventative and sometimes therapeutic. Please talk to your veterinarian about specific recommendations for your pet’s specific problem.


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