Pet Food Nutrition–Do Veterinarians Know What to Recommend?

Do veterinarians know enough about pet food nutrition to be able to recommend pet food?

I have had questions about this for a long time.  This is certainly nothing against veterinarians.  They have an extremely difficult job.  They are expected to know just about everything about our pets. 

When we got our first dog many years ago, we asked our veterinarian what pet food he recommended.  He was a good friend of ours and we respected our opinion.

Many years have passed since then.  For the past 9 years, I have studied pet food nutrition. 

The pet food that the vet recommended for our first dog was extremely poor in nutrition.  In fact, it probably led to her early death.

I don’t necessarily hold our vet’s recommendation against him.  But it made me question whether we can trust our veterinarian’s advice on such matters. 

My wife and I have moved to various areas of the country over the last 35 years.  In just about every location, the veterinarian seems to recommend the same line of food for our dogs.

I later discovered that this food recommended by the vets was really not that great.  It actually provided poor nutrition.

I recently read an article written on this topic.  It was written a couple of weeks ago by Debbie Phillips-Donaldson.  The title of the article was, “Disconnect between veterinary care and nutrition.” 

This article confirmed the information I had already discovered.  The veterinary training through formal education is extremely limited.  Again I don’t blame veterinarians.  They must go through extensive education on health issues for many types of pets.

But I feel there is a need to question any recommendation made by our veterinarian regarding pet food nutrition.  We can make our own decision on this topic by research on the internet, receiving referrals from other well-informed pet owners, and finding a pet food vendor that we trust.

I have found that the healthiest pet food is produced by smaller vendors.  Large companies have more interest in their profits than what is best for our pet.  This is despite what they may say on television advertisements.  This was very evident in the pet food recall of 2007.

Here is the quote from a part of the article:

There seems to be a huge disconnect between veterinary care and nutrition. Most US veterinarians would admit their formal education on companion animal nutrition consisted of one basic course that, in some cases, had to be taught by a professor from another program because no veterinary faculty had the knowledge or expertise to teach it.

Any information on nutrition received after veterinary school usually comes via a handful of petfood manufacturers that sell through the veterinary channel. Of course, their products and information are all fine, but let’s face it: That information is by its very nature prone to be limited and biased.

Among the dozens and dozens of continuing education sessions offered at this year’s AVMA conference, I could count the number of nutrition-related sessions on one hand. Among the 25-30 veterinary groups and associations meeting as part of the conference or contributing to the educational program, two devoted specifically to nutrition—the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition and the American College of Veterinary Nutrition—were noticeably absent. (It was encouraging to see a new group, the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians, as part of the program.)

The complete article can be found here.

I suggest that you read the entire article.  You will find it very interesting.

This could be a controversial subject for my readers.  So what do you think?  Am I off base here?  Does Debbie Phillips-Donaldson, the author of the article I quoted, have it wrong?  Please let me know you comments.  Thanks.

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2 Responses to Pet Food Nutrition–Do Veterinarians Know What to Recommend?

  1. paula says:

    I want to know who writes this blog, who is admin? I don’t see anything about the author. Thank you.

    • admin says:

      Hi Paula. You can click on “About me” at the top of the page. Don’t think you are going crazy. That link was not there this morning. For some reason, it has not been showing for the last few days. How is the pet sitting business going? I talk with a lot of pet sitters. It’s a great profession.

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