Author Topic: Do you trust your vet to provide sound, unbiased nutritional advice?  (Read 11613 times)

Dottie

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From this thread and the comments on the AADF Facebook page, it seems that an awful lot of owners are not satisfied with their vet's advice regarding nutrition.  I find it a bit depressing really.  My view is that the vet has the degree and the experience and that is what I am paying for so I am usually minded to follow any advice that is given be it diet, medication or anything else. 

I know from reading this thread and the FB page that what irritates people is vets who try to sell their products.  I had reason to be reminded of this yesterday when I took one of my dogs to see the vet.  A change of diet was recommended and I will be following her advice.  She told me what to look for in terms of protein and fat levels and left it to me to find something suitable.  She doesn't sell food so there was no suggestion or pushing of one particular product.  I came home and used the Dog Food Directory of this website to find something that would fit the bill.

I like the approach of my own vet and possibly it is something that owners can use when faced with a vet who is trying to sell them a product from their shelves. Put simply, rather than succumb to the hard sell, the owner needs to ask the vet for the specifics of the food that the dog needs, starting with the analysis - protein/fat/fibre etc.  Once they have this information use of the Dog Food Directory filters on this website should help to narrow the choice down.
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Supawpetfoods

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Where vets and food are concerned, I don't trust any. I personally feel that they are either clueless or care more about their profit margin than anything else.

The big makers of dog food produce some pretty atrocious foods, the vets sell them at a huge mark up and then get paid again to resolve any issues that the food caused.

My vet is a lovely old boy but when I first met him he tried to convince me that Purina Proplan was the best food for my dog. It is one of the worst and is hideously expensive as well. I simply nodded, smiled and didn't tell him that I was feeding my dog Orijen. His assistant hadn't even heard of it when I mentioned it.  Utterly appalling.

Do your own research and use allaboutdogfood as a benchmark, I say!
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PJ

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I have a lot of respect for my vet - but not when it comes to feeding ! when my pup had probs -itchy skin, hives in his tummy etc he told me he was fed a too high and varied protein diet....I agreed a plain white fish, rice, potato, carrot diet for two weeks - when I went back for f/up I wanted advice on what to feed him - I walked out of there with a bag of hills science plan which as soon as I introduced to pup his stools loosened and his scratching started...
I would love to see independent nutritionists attached to surgeries - vets are brilliant but cannot be master of all surely?

Dottie

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Yes, I would like to see independent nutritionists, attached to a surgery or not.  Where are they?  There are a number of relevant courses advertised on the Internet so it is clear that there are people studying for qualifications in canine/animal nutrition; I wonder what they are doing with their qualification?   ???
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Meggie

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Do I trust my vet on nutritional advice?
A categorical no.

I tend to shut them up by picking up a bag of what they sell and reading the ingredients to them and pointing out that I feed a far better food at a lower cost, or raw. And my raw fed dogs haven't ever had a dental... And as greyhounds fed high protein they aren't dead or fat.

I really do think the shame of the vet industry is food. We have given our oncology vet a good talking too and he is going to stock and recommend raw or high protein dried.

Dobermum86

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It's not fair to tar all vets with the same brush in regards to pet nutrition. You can't say you don't trust ALL vets when it comes to the subject, that's just being arrogant. The simple answer is to ask your vet what qualifications they have in regards to nutrition. Yes, they will lean towards the veterinary specific brands because it is a brand they are familiar with and are educated on the contents. I agree that today, vets needs to be educated more on the importance of nutrition, it's only touched upon in the qualification, but I feel it should be explored more as many conditions are a direct result of poor diet.

Heather_D

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I would say the majority of vets seem to lack an in depth knowledge of nutrition but that certainly doesn't mean all vets do. Many will only make recommendations based published studies and feel it would be inappropriate to give a professional recommendation for anything that is lacking in hard evidence such as raw or home-cooked diets. Unfortunately, the amount of manufacturer funded studies far outweighs the amount of independent studies. I can't say I blame them really. If they advocate diets that are not backed by solid research they could jeopardize their reputation and/or practice if something happens as a direct result of such a recommendation. My vet is pro raw but will not recommend it to clients for the simple fact that she doesn't want them to fail the dog by not doing the proper research and end up feeding an unbalanced diet. She much rather offer advice on what to look for or avoid and encourage her clients to read labels and do a little research to understand better what it is that they are actually feeding.



Fluffcat

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Not at all I'm afraid....

TheDogsChoice

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In my experience, vets don't often seem to recommend raw food, even though the health benefits are obvious.
I think it's because a lot of vets are trained with the backing of dry food companies and are influenced by their biased views.

COASTER

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I don't feel need to ask my current vet practice for dog food advice but would trust them to give it.

I actually changed to current practice for various reasons...not least due to my old practice having views on dog food  that were far from aligned to my own.

I am lucky as current independent vet practice has an integrated approach to healthcare & offers homeopathic options when appropriate.....They don't encourage clients to feed rubbish food either.



Tinyplanets

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I am inclined to think that most vets err on the side of caution as raw feeding is not completely without risk. Even though there may be health implications associated with feeding different dried foods, they are harder to directly implicate should problem arise. A bone causing issues, is not. My vet does not exactly advocate feeding raw but they don't discourage it either.

COASTER

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........Raw bones can cause some dental fracture & choke risks but so can antlers & rawhide bones. Raw complete mince does not present these risks.




Meg

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I'd really like to hear your thoughts on this. Have you talked about your dog's diet with your vet?

Yes I have talked with my one of my favourite vets about dogs diets when we were discussing a number of subjects including the differences between what is the 'modern' trend to immunise and neuter dogs vs the ways of the 'old days'...


 
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What were their thoughts?

 The vet agreed that it was helpful to keep abreast of changing times, including how dogs diets have altered and I agreed to continue to do so.


 
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Do you think they know their stuff when it comes to nutrition?

This is not really a straight forward Yes or No as I know that that vet is extremely open minded enough to research further and openly discuss with a large referrals veterinary centre about anything limiting in her knowledge. She really is an extremely motivated and competent vet in my opinion - I guess that's why she is one of my favourites  8)

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And do you think their advice is truly impartial?

Yes, and she knows I'd know if her advice is not impartial, so we have a respectful understanding..... will say no more .... :)

Dottie

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I think it depends on why you need to talk to your vet about diet. If the dog is ill and needs a special diet then they might suggest a prescription diet because it is easier for the owner and for the vet.  A better approach is to talk to the vet about the dog's nutritional needs then do your own research but some pet owners are not in a position to do this.   

I firmly believe that the pet owner does not necessarily need the advice of a vet if the dog is healthy and they are willing to learn a bit about a dog's nutritional needs. There will always be some controversy about what is the right diet for a dog, probably because they are all so different in their needs.

As for BARF diets I suspect that vets largely don't push them because their governing body has a policy of not doing so. Also, as has been said it is not without risks. I suspect that vets are kept quite busy removing teeth and foreign bodies from dogs who are fed like this. Also, perhaps to a lesser degree treating infections. I wish there were figures for this as it would help people to make decisions.
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