07/10/2018

the benefits of wet prescription diets

It might not be essential to offer our pets variety but of course most of us want to be able to do so. While many people make the choice to buy a vet recommended dry food, some pet parents buy a wet food that was not recommended to top up their pet’s meal.

If your pet has an established medical condition and is on a Prescription Diet™ recommended by your vet, it is even more important to feed this diet exclusively. We’ve asked the experts at Hill’s about why it’s so important to evaluate how you’re feeding your pet their prescription diet.

dog check-up at the vet

Kidney foods can improve a pet’s quality and length of life

The best management for pets with kidney disease is to feed these pets a kidney food such as Hill’s™ Prescription Diet™ k/d™. The nutrition in Hill’s™ k/d™ has been shown to increase the length and quality of life in both cats and dogs with kidney disease. The controlled level of protein in Hill’s™ k/d™ minimises the accumulation of harmful waste products in the blood, thereby decreasing the workload of the compromised kidneys. Hill’s™ k/d™ also has controlled levels of minerals such as phosphorus and sodium to promote good kidney health, which at high levels can make kidney disease worse. In addition, Hill’s™ k/d™ contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants to help reduce inflammation and help support your pet’s immune system, while L-carnitine levels are higher to help to maintain lean muscle mass.

But what if my pet won’t eat the kidney food?

Hill’s has studied cats and dogs with naturally occurring kidney disease to see which flavours, aromas and textures they prefer. We used this information to help us to create the most palatable formulations ever for Hill’s™ k/d™, so you can trust even the fussiest pets will love it.

We know cats and dogs with kidney disease will sometimes go off a particular food temporarily. That’s why we have kibble, as well as three can flavours for both dogs and cats! Hill’s have now also launched Hill’s™ Prescription Diet™ k/d™ pouch, which comes in salmon and also chicken flavours. Please note: If your kidney disease pet’s appetite is consistently poor, it is important that you go back to visit the veterinarian who recommended the food for further advice.

Urinary foods can help pets suffering from lower urinary tract disease (LUTD) have more pain free days

Blood tinged urine, straining, and urinating outside the litter box are common signs of urinary tract diseases, and diet can play a role in their development. It is imperative to seek the advice of your veterinarian on the appropriate treatment if your cat is showing any of these symptoms, because different types of urinary tract disease that require different modes of treatment can look very similar and need to be properly investigated and professionally diagnosed.

Therapeutic urinary diets, such as Hill’s™ Prescription Diet™ c/d™ Multicare, contain controlled levels of the dietary minerals that can lead to bladder stone formation. It can be difficult to tell from reading the label what the mineral levels are in over the counter wet foods, so it’s important that you don’t risk undoing the good of the therapeutic kibble recommended by your vet by top dressing it with a non-therapeutic wet food. As well as controlled mineral levels, Hill’s™ c/d™ Multicare has high levels of omega 3 fatty acids which can help to reduce bladder inflammation. This food has been clinically tested to reduce the recurrence of painful episodes of a common, stress-induced cystitis in cats by 89%!

The bottom line is that, whilst no diet can guarantee your pet won’t experience a recurrence of its urinary disease, feeding other foods potentially reduces the efficacy of the urinary diet.

cat eating from a bowl

Did you know these are some additional benefits of feeding wet food?

Helps increase water consumption:
This is particularly important in cats. Many cats do not have a high drive for drinking water and wet food can help them increase their water consumption. This is particularly important for cats (and dogs) that may be at risk for urinary or kidney disease.
Helps pets feel full:
Wet food contains a high percentage of moisture which means calories are ‘diluted’ out. The water in the food helps pets to feel more satisfied after a meal and can help with weight loss.
Soft texture:
Many pets will have different textural preferences, some preferring chunks in gravy, others stews or loaf. Pets with poor mouth structure or those missing teeth will often find the wet forms easier to eat.
Stronger aroma:
It’s probably no surprise that our dogs and cats have a much better sense of smell than us. Did you know that there is so much more to a food’s palatability than simply the flavour? Aroma and texture are also very important. Wet foods often have a more pronounced aroma which can appeal to our pets. Dogs and cats with a compromised sense of smell (shorter nosed breeds eg. Persians, Pugs and Bulldogs) may also benefit from the enhanced aroma that wet food can offer.

References:

  • Ross SJ, Osborne CA, Kirk CA et al. Clinical evaluation of dietary modification for treatment of spontaneous chronic kidney disease in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2006;229:949–957.
  • Jacob F, Polzin DJ, Osborne CA et al. Clinical evaluation of dietary modification for treatment of spontaneous chronic kidney disease in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:1163-1170.
  • Kruger JM, et al. Comparison of foods with differing nutritional profiles for long-term management of acute nonobstructive idiopathic cystitis in cats. JAVMA 2015;247:508-517.

By Dr Annabel Robertson, BVSc (Hons) MANZCVS (small animal medicine) MBA Hill’s Professional Consulting Veterinarian.

Annabel graduated from the University of Melbourne with honours in 2008. Since then she has worked as a small animal veterinarian in private practice in Australia and the UK. She also completed an internship in small animal medicine during this time, sat her membership in small animal internal medicine in 2012, and finished her MBA in 2015. Annabel joined the Hill’s team in 2015 as a Professional Consulting Veterinarian in Melbourne.

Posted by Annabel Robertson