Hospital for Small Animals

Nutrition Advice Service

A guide to the free nutrition advice service available to clients.

Importance of nutrition for your pets health

A healthy pet is a happy pet and nothing is more important than food, providing fuel and nutrients so that your best friend can grow and enjoy life. Your pet’s nutritional requirements will continue to change during their life stages and if your pet has been diagnosed with a particular condition by one of our veterinary surgeons there may be some specific nutritional requirements to aid in recovery, slow disease progression or prevent recurrence. In some cases it is possible to completely control a disease condition using dietary management alone without the addition of prescription medication.

Specific conditions that can be aided by dietary changes
nutrition teaching
Specific diets are calculated for your pet's individual needs.

Kidney disease - a low phosphorus, low protein diet may slow progression of the irreversible damage to kidneys which can lead to chronic renal failure of pets.

Diabetes - there is a big difference between how diabetic cats and dogs digest and absorb calories. Therefore diets have become specifically developed, increasing a dog’s fibre level within the diet will enable them to maintain their energy levels throughout each day yet the same effect is had by reducing a cat’s carbohydrate level. This will keep their condition stable so they can enjoy their normal routine with you at home.

Bladder stones- bladder stones can be formed in the urine of both dogs and cats and can take many different forms. Some are so severe that they have to be surgically removed and pets will be at risk of re-forming them unless appropriate dietary management is provided. Other stones can be dissolved within the pet’s bladder to allow safe passage through  the urine simply by feeding a specialist diet which ensures urine is always produced of a certain pH .

Pancreatitis - this is a very painful condition and often requires pets to be hospitalised for supportive care and painkillers, reducing the fat content within a dog’s diet will reduce the work required by the pancreas during digestion therefore allowing it to rest and recover, this in turn aids to reduce inflammation and pain. Continuing to feed dogs of certain types that are known to be prone to developing pancreatitis with a low fat diet can reduce flare up of this disease and reduce requirement for repeated veterinary treatments.

Gastrointestinal problems - many scientific studies have investigated the microbiome or gut flora of our pet’s intestinal tract and we are striving to determine the role of diets designed to nutritionally manage pets suffering from gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, dietary indiscretion, adverse food reaction and colitis. These diets vary greatly in their protein biological value (how easily the body can absorb, break down and use this energy source), type (animal or vegetable) and particle size (hydrolysed).

Post surgical - pets who have undergone surgery have a higher demand for calories during their recovery to allow tissues to heal and there are particular requirements for minerals during bone healing. The provision of a high biological value protein source to allow for easy digestion, absorption and utilisation for energy is essential especially when muscle repair is required. This is particularly important when muscle growth is required around a joint to aid stabilisation and comfort to allow your pet to exercise.

A nutritional management plan will aid to reduce clinical signs and associated complications of disease therefore not only increasing life expectancy but improving the quality of your pet’s life.


Treats are an extremely important part of your bond with your pet, giving a reward for good behaviour will reinforce this during training. Again analysing your pet’s preferred treats including human foods used as treats will allow the optimum selection to ensure they are correct for your best friend.

Bespoke Nutrition Advice

With the huge selection available to you on the pet food retail market choosing the ideal food for your pet can be challenging. Making sense of the ingredient labels to ensure the product is correct for your individual pet is often a complex process. Advancements in science relating to nutrition has led to a variety of prescription veterinary diets each with a fixed formula proven to complement the treatment of a specific disease in dogs and cats.

As a client who has been referred to one of our specialist veterinary surgeons you have privileged access to our nutrition advice service once your pet has been assessed by one of our veterinary surgeons.

Here at the Dick Vet we have a dedicated nutrition veterinary nurse, Susan Campbell, who will meet with you and your pet and together formulate a nutrition plan to ensure you pet is Fit For Life.

Susan is registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and has gained several qualifications in addition to being a veterinary nurse including a diploma in advanced medical veterinary nursing.

Consultations are free of charge and are available to book at reception 0131 650 7650. Often additional time can be booked to discuss nutrition at the time your pet is discharged from the  hospital by one of our specialist services or discussed at your consultation appointment.

Susan can also be contacted by email:

The provision of the nutritional advice service is made free to clients through sponsorship of nutrition nurse post from Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc.