They are there to keep your pet healthy, and there to treat your pet in times of sickness and distress.
They go to school for 8 years to earn the 'Dr' in front of their name, so of course they know what they're talking about, right?
When it comes to nutrition, I disagree.
During their 4 years of veterinary school, they have one 1-unit course on Small Animal (Dog & Cat, primarily) nutrition.
Those college students/graduates/dropouts know how 'intensive' those 1-unit classes are, right?
I speak to countless veterinarians thanks to my day job, and know dozens of others around the country who tell me the same thing: The nutrition course is essentially a Science Diet brainwashing session. Which is my most veterinarian practices and animal clinics have a wall (or walls) that look like this:
Now, I'm not here to pick on the prescription diets per se. They're overused, overpriced and sometimes not necessary, but that's beside the point. I'm here to pick on the normal 'maintenance' diets you find in vet offices, PetSmart and pet stores around the nation.
In my opinion, shitty foods like this actually cause a lot of the problems these veterinarians eventually try to fix.
For example, gluten in foods have been linked to causing Leaky Gut Syndrome, Diabetes, Celiac (gluten intolerances) and obesity (which leads to heart disease, cancer, etc etc etc). Glutens are basically sugars and starches found in grains like corn and wheat (this is why your neighbor with celiac can't eat bread...).
So basically, gluten causes a lot of bad shit to go down. How does this relate to Science Diet? Let's look at the first few ingredients in their Adult Advanced Fitness formula:
- Chicken (OK, chicken's good, but this is a raw list. Once you cook this stuff all the moisture goes away and it actually drops a few pegs on the ingredient chart. But meh... another discussion...)
- Whole Grain Corn (Lots of sugar, lots of gluten, which could lead to lots of problems down the road. It's essentially like feeding your dog tortilla chips as a meal)
- Whole Grain Sorghum (Good carb source, gluten free. No beefs here)
- Whole Grain Wheat (Bread. More glutens. Yay, lets feed fido a loaf of bread to go with their nachos.)
- Chicken by-product meal (More meat, which is better for the dog, but by-products? These aren't hot dogs we're making...)
So... meat, grain, grain, grain, meat(ish). 2 of the 3 grains used are gluten heavy... Rice would have been a better option, since you get the carbs and the binding needed to make the food, but not all this gluten... (which is why SOOOO MANY pet foods are using rice, especially brown rice, in their diets these days...)
But even then... that's a ton of grain. Do you ever see a dog doing this?
|(Poor photoshopping, I know, but I couldn't stop laughing...)|
Nope. Why is that? What does a dog want? Oh yeah, MEAT.
There are a lot of good veterinarians that study nutrition on their own and advocate better foods like raw meat diets or grain/gluten-free diets. Or at least stray away from garbage like Science Diet. I have respect for those vets.
But alas, every vet in my town sells swill. Some are adamant that it's the best out there (remember the brainwashing reference??) and will go LA LA LA if you try to educate them otherwise.
In fact, one had a 'diabetes awareness' poster in their lobby. The argument between the vet and I got so heated I finally grabbed a bag of their food, went to the poster and said "My problem is THIS (points to the food) can very-well cause THAT (points to the sign) because of all the sugars and junk in it. You want to fix the problem, yet you could easily be the cause of the problem..."
...I'm not allowed in that store anymore. (totally worth it, though)
I am not a veterinarian. I will never neuter your dog, or help treat your cat's cancer. HOWEVER, I have been in the pet industry for over 10 years now and have studied nutrition heavily for 8 of those 10 years.
Do I have a 'Dr' title in front of my name? No.
Am I a DVM? More of a BSA...
Please wake up, veterinarian community. Talk to nutritionists, both with different pet food companies and independent nutritionists. Don't believe the brands that are owned by candy bar companies (Purina, Pedigree/Nutro), and don't believe the brands that are owned by toothpaste-and-soap manufacturers (Hills/Science Diet, and Iams/Eukanuba). Don't listen to the money, don't recommend garbage, and do the pets you serve some justice.
And PLEASE WAKE UP, pet owners. Veterinarians are smart people, but they don't know everything. Vets are like physicians. They know the basics. But if you have a spine issue, you go to a specialist. If you have a tooth issue, you go to a dentist. If you have nutritional issues, you go to a nutritionist.
Veterinarians (most of them, anyway) are not nutritionists, which is why the "Veterinarian Recommended" tag on every bag of Science Diet is nothing but a joke to me.