Pet Food

A Guide to Pet Nutrition

Besides a walk, your pet’s most exciting part of the day is when the food hits the bottom of their bowl. Your pet may not realize this but feeding time is so important! Not only does this time help develop deep connections between you and your pet, but the food your pet eats directly affects their health. That’s why pet parent’s often find themselves asking, “What should I feed my pet?”

Since you have direct control of what your pets eat, your veterinary support team wants to make sure you are completely educated on what to feed your pet to help them live a long, healthy and happy life.

It is so easy to hop online, type in a few key words and get some information. Is this information accurate? Unfortunately, information that is put out on the internet can sometimes mislead us into unknowingly feed unhealthy choices for our pets. Deciphering between which sites are better than others can sometimes leave pet owners in the dark.

But don’t worry! The best person you should go to is your veterinarian. Your veterinarian not only knows about pet nutrition but they also know about your specific pet’s health and needs.

There is a lot of information out there about veterinarians and pet nutrition. Let’s discuss what are some myths and truths that are out there and what you, as pet owners, need to know.

🚫 Veterinarians don’t learn about nutrition

This statement is bold and inaccurate. Veterinarians are taught about pet nutrition in veterinary school. Whether it is taking a course on animal nutrition, or even discussing nutrition throughout their schooling in regards to different diseases and stages of life. On top of veterinary school, veterinarians must complete a certain number of hours of continuing education every year. While they can choose from many different topics of advanced education, there are so many opportunities to focus on the newest and latest science and technology in pet nutrition.

🚫 Veterinarians make money off brands of pet foods

Once again this is an inaccurate statement.

Veterinarians practice medicine and give recommendations based on scientific evidence and the needs of their patients. Therefore, the pet foods they recommend have gone through rigorous testing, research, and feeding trials. When they recommend something for your pet, it is based on your pet’s health and needs. Whereas they may recommend a different diet for a different pet since no pet is alike.

You may notice that your veterinarian is keeping less pet foods for sale in the hospital or that your veterinarian is sending you to purchase food from online pharmacies. This is not to drive certain sales of a specific food (or to make money off of a certain brand). This is simply because there is an increase in online shopping, especially in this last year. Most pet owners are less likely to travel to their pet store or veterinary hospital to buy food and would rather purchase a food on auto-ship through an online pharmacy. It is less hassle and more convenient!

🚫Trendy diets are good for my pet

Humans have been changing our eating habits for years through fad diets and while it may or may not be healthy for us, we tend to feel our pets have the same needs. We are seeing more grain free diets, plant based diets and superfoods that are out there for humans. What about for our pets?

Unfortunately, by changing your pets diet to accommodate one of these fads, even if you feel it is better for you, you may be inadvertently hurting your pet. A lot of these diets are not healthy for your pet because it does not meet their nutritional needs.

As a profession, we have seen the shift in types of pet foods on the market. There are so many boutique brands and foods that promote different fads or supplements. At the end of the day though, your veterinarian understand what these buzzwords truly mean and still base their recommendations for your pet on science and your pet’s health condition.

✅ Veterinarians Care About You and Your Pet

Veterinarians empathize with you, the pet owner, when the discussion of food comes up. We understand how daunting it can be when you have to browse through hundreds of websites  or  go down multiple aisles to pick one food. They are just too many choices!

Veterinarians understand that the pet food industry has gotten so flooded with options that picking a food can be hard and confusing. This is why it is so important to open the discussion with your vet so that you both can work together to make the best decision for your what to feed your pet!

✅ Your Veterinarian Understands your Pets’ Medical Needs

Your veterinarian is currently taking care of your pet’s unique medical needs. They understand the complexity of any diseases your pet is facing, the type of lifestyle your pet leads and know what nutrients are best to help them.

If you head to other sources to get this information, those sources likely do not know all the particular information about your pet which can lead to a recommendation that is not best for your pet.

✅Understanding What to Feed My Pet from Your Veterinarian

Making an appointment with your veterinarian is the first step. Appointments are looking different these days because of COVID protocols, but don’t be nervous to talk to your vet and their support team! Veterinarians know that nutrition is important to every client but they also need to know you are interested in learning about it.

You should bring any current medical history for your pet to the appointment and be prepared to answer any questions on what your pet is currently eating. Remember, the current food your pet is eating is important to know in addition to any treats, supplements, and medications.

If you have researched certain foods too, bring the names of those diets and options to your visit. Your veterinarian will want to make sure that they have answered your questions but that you also feel prepared when you leave the hospital on what decisions you are going to make.

Remember, at the end of the day, your veterinarian has the same goal that you do. To provide the best care for your pet to live a long, healthy and happy life, and this includes nutritional support. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to make an appointment with your vet to discuss you and your pet’s needs. They will be there when you ask, “What should I feed my pet?”!

✅ Ready to level up your pet food?

After visiting with your THRIVE veterinarian, you may find yourself with a bag of food that no longer suites your pet’s health needs. If so, be sure to drop off at your local THRIVE! This April, THRIVE clinics nationwide are collecting food for pet’s in need. Learn more here and book your appointment at thrivevet.com!

The THRIVE Food Drive runs April 1 – April 31. Find your nearest location to donate at thrivevet.com. We hope to see you soon!