What Is Prescription Dog Food?

A prescription dog food diet may be just what the vet ordered if your pet's health is poor or he's been ill recently, or he has a stubborn allergy. The prescription diet replaces your dog's normal food and will help to nurse him back to full health. 

Health Giving Prescription Dog Food

At some point in his lifetime your Cocker Spaniel may become ill and need medication and a little tender loving care.

Black cocker spaniel lying on wooden floor, wearing red collarThis little Cocker is on a prescription diet and looks healthy

In many cases, your vet may treat your dog's illness by using drugs, but there are many instances where his condition may be treated simply by moving your pet onto a special diet to make sure he receives the correct nutrition and medication his body needs to restore him to good health.

Prescription dog food (sometimes known as veterinary dog food) is often a little more expensive than normal dog food but this expense is well worth paying to see the improvement in your dog's health.

Although prescription foods are widely available in good quality pet stores, I strongly recommend you visit your vet for an accurate diagnosis before changing your Cocker Spaniel's diet.

All dogs are different and have different levels of resistance to health problems, which is why it's so important that your vet makes the diagnosis, not the owner!

Once your vet has confirmed the problem and recommended a particular prescription diet, you may want to shop around for the best price as these foods are often overpriced and can be found cheaper elsewhere.

Types Of Prescription Dog Food

Prescription food for dogs is available in both dry and wet forms and can be formulated for:

  • Senior Dogs:  this has fewer calories and contains ingredients which are easily digested for the more sedate senior dog;

  • Arthritis: high in omega oils to help with arthritis, bone and joint functionality;

  • Canine Diabetes: low in sugar, high in fibre to help combat diabetes;
A blue roan cocker spaniel jumping up in the air, on moorland.Yippee!
  • Canine Allergies: specially formulated without allergy-causing 'fillers' such as wheat-based foods, and they're usually gluten free too! Great for pets that suffer from food allergies.

    Most good pet stores will stock a variety of reasonably priced hypo-allergenic foods;

  • Obese Dogs: low in fat and slightly reduced in protein to help overweight dogs lose those extra pounds!  Most pet food retailers offer food that is low in calories and not too heavy on the pocket!

    Obesity is often caused by a poor diet and/or lack of exercise so it's important to feed your dog well and ensure he has plenty of long brisk walks;

  • Boost your dog's immune system: prescription diets can improve your pet's immune system;

  • Weight gain: if your dog needs a little boost prescription food can give him those extra calories he needs to help him put on a few pounds;

  • Kidney Disease: can be specially formulated to provide a high quality, low protein diet to help fight kidney disease;

  • Urinary Tract Infections: if your dog has a urinary tract infection he may need to follow a prescription diet for a while, but as symptoms recede, you should be able to move your pet onto a high quality dog food. 

    Urinary tract infections are often caused by a poor diet; feeding your Cocker a good quality, nutritious diet will help to keep your pet health;

  • Dental problems: yes, there's even a prescription pet food to combat bad teeth!
  • If your vet suggests a prescription dog food for your Cocker Spaniel, portions must be carefully controlled. Follow your vet's instructions to the letter and according to your pet's weight.

    If your Cocker is prone to weight gain (aren't they all?)  keep the treats to a minimum and don't give him any table scraps.

    Unfortunately, prescription food isn't always as tasty as normal dog food which sometimes makes it a challenge to get our dogs to eat it. Perseverance is the key here!

Elevated Dog Food Bowls

Elevated dog food bowls  can also help to keep your pet healthy as it is believed that they reduce stress on arthritic pets and help improve their posture and digestion.

Not only that, but they can be quite stylish too. 

Two elevated dog food bowls in a stand, stainless steel for extra hygieneElevated dog food bowls aid digestion

Raised Dog Food Bowls Can Aid Your Pet's Digestion

Raised dog feeders are raised feeders which are designed to improve your pet's posture and aid digestion.

This type of feeder is also said to relieve stress on your pet's joints by lifting their head above ground level when eating, helping to relieve any strain on the dog's neck and joints.

There are many different styles of elevated food bowls available; some are simply practical (like the one in the picture on the right) and others are more stylish in their design. (See below)

The more stylish bowls can be made from beautiful woods, slate, or stone, and are often designed to look more like a piece of furniture.

They certainly wouldn't look out of place in a trendy kitchen or stylish hallway!

Stainless steel dog bowls, elevated and housed in a wooden casingRaised dog bowls can help your pet's digestion

Advantages Of Using Elevated Dog Feeders

Aside from looking rather stylish, there are many advantages of using raised dog food bowls. They can:

  • help to maintain a healthy posture;

  • make it more comfortable at feeding time and reduce the amount of stress placed on the neck and back muscles, particularly useful if your dog is arthritic;

  • aid digestion by eating from a raised food bowl;

  • help to reduce air swallowed whilst eating, which in turn helps to reduce wind. Now that's got to be good!

  • Many elevated feeders come with very sturdy stands, making them less likely to be tipped over than ordinary floor-level food and water bowls.

However, there is one small (potential) disadvantage to using elevated dog bowls which I feel I should mention.

Dog food or water bowl, stainless steel, seated in a sturdy pot lifted slightly off the ground.This is a rather lovely dog food bowl!

How To Get The Right Size Feeder For Your Dog

If you decide to invest in elevated dog food bowls for your pet, it's important to make sure you order the right size for your pet.

You can do this by measuring your Cocker's wither height (the distance from the ground to the top of his shoulder) then subtract 15 cm (6 inches) to give you the correct height of elevated dog feeder for him.

A Word of Warning!

I feel it's important to give you (but particularly larger breed owners) a word of warning about elevated dog food bowls.

They have been said to pose a small risk factor for dog bloat. Now, not all dogs are susceptible to bloat, but some are quite prone to this condition.

That's why I don't recommend using raised dog feeding stations for breeds prone to bloat as these type of feeders could increase the risk.

Luckily for us, however, Cocker Spaniels don't tend to suffer from dog bloat (although it's not unheard of) so if you think these stylish bowls would look good in your home, go ahead and try them.

If you'd like to learn more about dog bloat simply follow the link.

How Long Will My Cocker Need A Prescription Diet?

If your dog suffers from diabetes your Cocker Spaniel may need to follow a special diet for the rest of his life.

However, not all prescription foods are meant to be fed to pets for their lifetime.

Some are only prescribed for a short time, for example, to help your dog recover from an illness by including certain foods to help build up his strength, others can be prescribed for years, depending upon the problem.

Your vet will always advise you on what kind of prescription dog food to feed your pet and for how long.

If you prefer to feed your pet homemade dog food, this may still be possible.

Speak to your vet, he will give you the best advice and may perhaps offer you recipes to help you duplicate your dog's special diet.

Prescription Dog Food Diet: Summary

If you feed your Cocker Spaniel on good quality human grade food and exercise him regularly you may never need to put him on a prescription diet.

However, dog's do become ill and a specially formulated prescription diet will meet all your dog's nutritional needs.

It can also help to treat most health problems in dogs of all ages and at some point in his life, a prescription dog food may just be the ticket to get your Cocker Spaniel back to his normal self!

Beautiful cocker spaniel looking in the best of health!Health problems in dogs

Photo Credits: Prescription Dog Food
1. John Amato at Flickr.com
2. Barnaby Kerr at Flickr.com - https://www.flickr.com/photos/34878285@N06/5123769432