Do you trust your vet to provide sound, unbiased nutritional advice?

I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this. Have you talked about your dog’s diet with your vet? What were their thoughts? Do you think they know their stuff when it comes to nutrition? And do you think their advice is truly impartial?

In all the years I have had dogs I have only discussed diet once and that was a very long time ago when one of them had colitis which went on to be a chronic condition. I didn’t get far with that, other than he reckoned that he had never come across a dog that was gluten intolerant. I’ve had a couple of brief incidents with prescription diets and that’s it. As for trusting the vet’s nutrition advice, I suppose it is an individual thing and depends upon their interest and knowledge of the subject.

I have spoken about nutrition with two vets in our practice. I don’t feed ‘raw’ but incorporate raw foods within the boys diet. The older vet was quite pro using raw food, saying that dogs have a lot of natural resistance to infection, while the younger one was anti and warned me against all the dangers.

Regarding whether I trust them, I’m not at all sure that I do. I think that they have limited time for studying nutrition during their training and need to understand the differing requirements of a wide range of animals. They can’t know everything about everything yet some speak as if they do. I would feel more inclined to trust one who said ‘these are the options and these are the pros and cons of each, as I see them’. Of course with dogs with very specific dietary requirements they have to be more prescriptive but perhaps they should be referring for advice from a canine nutritionist in these cases as they would refer to a behaviourist for behavioural problems.

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When I was feeding Applaws: That it would be much better to feed a “super premium food like Royal Canin”.

After I started feeding Nutriment: That it was nutritionally incomplete and that his teeth would need scaling every 6 months if I didn’t feed kibble. Like, er, Royal Canin.

I can’t say NO with sufficient emphasis.

Anyone’s guess, but I do know they’re terrific salespeople. Whenever I’m in the waiting room I see at least one pet owner come in to pick up a bag of Royal Canin, and I want to weep thinking that all these people are buying it in the sincere belief that they’re doing their best for their pets, because the vet said so.


Re: Do you trust your vet to provide sound, unbiased nutritional advice? - No and yes.
If a vet only sells RCanin or Hills, they will have probably only had nutritional ‘training’ from these companies and will only ‘prescribe’ the respective foods. I can only answer for retail, but the training from Canin is very good and does give a thorough insight in to a dog’s nutritional needs and what to seek out in a dog food - my conclusion was not to feed Canin under any circumstances! If a vet sells a wide range of foods that appear with high scores on this website, then yes, I would seek their advice on nutrition - alternatively if a vet sells no food whatsoever, I would probably seek their advice.

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The question was ‘do you trust your vet…’.

I know there are some vets out there who do know what they’re talking about - though they are sadly a minority in my experience - but I answered the question as asked.

Im a NO and Yes

I think my vets ok, but bias yes!

Mine wanted ingredients of my food choice as he was “interested” but then again I had paid for allergy tests and spent a fortune over past few months, he didnt say try something else

I guess if they do some extra research and get involved they may be more informed ?

more of the opinion they could be bias :slight_smile:

lou xxx

My vet? A categorical No. They sell Canin and now advise Decra as a food (ingredients score 1.1 on the site generator 15kg rrp £118.64 - not a typo)

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I filled out a pledge of actions I would take on mypetonline , yesterday, Sensible actions to help ensure your pet does not end up with diabetes. The only pledge I didn’t tick was ‘to follow the advice of a vet for feeding my dog’

I have never asked for advice and if I had any particular issues, I would most probably do some research myself and try to find a solution. I would try and get as much information about something as possible , which is why I wouldn’t just blindly follow the advice of one person.

That said, I do value my vets opinion and I do trust her. I have not mentioned that I feed raw but did take my dog once when I thought she had hurt her mouth on a bone. She told me that feeding raw bones should be fine so I don’t think she would have a problem with Muffins diet unless she was showing signs of malnutrition or was overweight. I would possibly ask for her input if we had an issue.

I am not sure if I would have confidence in all vets advice. Just like Doctors, I differ in my opinion of them. I am not sure about advice being deliberately biased or just reflective of training and culture in some cases.

I’ve only had 2 conversations with 2 vets about food.

The first was when I was feeding raw at his 6 mth health check. It was a vet in his 20s who told me categorically never feed chicken wings or any bones of any type they puncture the intestines and always need emergency ops. Bit dramatic I thought and took no notice.

The second was when he pulled through 4 days of intensive care after being told we may loose him due to critical kidney failure. He didn’t like the prescription renal tinned. It was the vet that said he will do far better on a home cooked diet if I was prepared to make it for him and gave me the basics of what to do.
So yes, in the case of this vet it was sound as you wouldn’t know my dog has kidney issues now and totally unbiased as I wouldn’t be buying food from the vet.
I think he’s a rare breed of vet though ;D

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The short answer to this question is no!

A couple of months ago my dog was diagnosed with pancreatitis - a potentially life threatening illness. The best way to manage this disease is by feeding your dog a low fat diet. Given the seriousness of the illness I really hoped that the vet would be able to advise me on the best way to feed my dog with his condition. But no, all the vet could do was to try and sell me Royal Canin GI low fat. Fortunately I found this website and got the advice I needed.

This is not the first time the vets have tried to tell me that the food they sell is what’s best for my dog. A few years ago I had a dog that was diagnosed with arthritis, and the young vet we saw tried giving us the hard sell on Hills JD. Even back then I was sceptical about the vets motives for wanting us to feed our dog the food that they sold, and I did not take their advice.

I know vets can’t know everything, but a good diet is so fundmental to a dogs health and well being so I think vets should have a better knowledge of nutrition than they do, or at least know of an independent nutritionist that an owner can speak to. I would be more inclined to trust their advice if they did not sell dog food.

My 8 month old black lab is currently at the vets as he has suspected pancreatitis. The vet has already mentioned low fat diets - it will be interesting to see what he tries to get me to try. A friend has recommended this site and I have learnt a lot already! Thank you! Baxter was on collards and was happy and healthy on it until last night and an all night vomiting episode, so now I need to start thinking about what the best food is for him going forward. It’s difficult when there are so many foods out there and it’s almost instinct to trust a vets advice, especially if the animal you love is unwell and you just want them better.

To be honest ive never really discussed diets with my vet.I feed what i think is best for my dogs.
Ive been with my vet for many years right from him leaving vet college.
However last time i was in his practise i did notice more dog food in shiney packaging with scientific looking blurb on the front amassing on the shelves,that was some time ago though.
They are paid to sell the stuff just like they push flea treatments,neutering etc.
To answer the question I would listen to what my vet thinks but also do my own research and do what i think best.

probably not as I dont believe they are trained to give nutritional advice other than the basics & obviously quite a few are sponsored by certain pet food manufacturers

I read on a forum very recently that someone’s dog had been to the vet and the vet had told them they would “ask the rep next time they are here”

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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.

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!

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?

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? ???

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.