Disease Preventive Nutrition in Dogs and Cats

Having set the stage in my previous post to help free my readers of commonly held pet food myths, in this week’s post, I endeavor to share with you the newest and most innovative form of pet nutrition: disease preventive nutrition.

The Hills Corporation has been at the forefront of pet food innovation for as long as I can remember in my long tenure in the veterinary industry.  In my early years of working as an eighteen year old veterinary assistant/kennel boy, I recall asking the doctors at the clinic I worked at about all of the different diets they stocked with letters on the labels.  From K/D to I/D to S/D to C/D to W/D, it seemed like an alphabet of diets, but I eventually learned that each diet represented ideal nutrition for different disease conditions.  What I was witnessing back then was the innovative advent of disease specific nutrition, that is, disease management through the ideal balance of nutrients for a given disease.  Since then, Hills has expanded their alphabet and associated diets to include dietary support for a large and growing number of diseases, while in the process improving and extended the lives of dogs and cats afflicted with many different chronic diseases.

Recently, Hills has taken nutrition to another height with the creation of a line of food that focuses on disease prevention, specifically, prevention for the five most common diseases that affect dogs and cats.  For dogs, the Hills Science Diet Healthy Advantage line of diet supports oral health to prevent periodontal disease, helps prevent obesity, is highly digestible to promote a healthy GI, has key nutrients to support skin and hair coat health, and is fortified with nutrients to support joint health to maintain mobility and slow the development of arthritis.  For cats, it is essentially similar disease prevention benefit, only instead of mobility; there is stronger focus on urinary tract health. 

Below is a list of disease benefits for the Hills Science Diet Healthy Advantage line of pet food with the nutrient fortifications that provide each given health benefit:

Oral Health: Kibble that cleans the teeth as the pet chews, with technology derived from vegetable fiber

Digestibility: High quality protein sources and species appropriate fiber.

Healthy skin and hair coat: Fortification with omega-3-fatty acids.

Weight Control: Species appropriate fiber enriched formula with L-carnitine.

Mobility/Joint Health (Dogs): High grade glucosamine and chondroitin.  Omega-3-fatty acids also contribute to reduction of joint inflammation.

Bladder Health (Cats): Low magnesium and phosphorus control, as well as a general mineral balance that promotes ideal feline urine pH promotes feline urinary tract health.

Many years of research and feeding trials went into the creation of this diet.  Hills Science Diet Healthy Advantage is such an innovation in support of pet health and disease prevention that the industry leading veterinary pet insurance company, Trupanion, offers a discount on the cost their premiums for dogs and cats fed the diet. 

Hills Science Diet Healthy Advantage is offered at veterinary clinics nationwide and has formulations for each life stage, puppy/kitten, adult, and mature. 

The time has come to let go of grocery or superstore brand foods, fad diets, and pet food myths that make for some entertaining chat forum threads, but have no real basis in science and what is really healthy for your pets to eat. 

Dr. Roger Welton is the President of Maybeck Animal Hospital and CEO/Chief Editor of the veterinary information and blog online community, Web-DVM. 

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