One of the most important decisions pet parents can make for their pets' well-being is what to feed them. Unfortunately, when it comes to navigating the ocean of information available about pet nutrition, pet parents have to wade through a literal feeding frenzy of misinformation. Pet food manufacturers know there is a lot at stake and competition is intense. Veterinarians are scientifically trained medical professionals who are uniquely positioned to provide pet parents with evidence about nutrition as opposed to pushing the latest trend. We also have the benefit of knowing about a pet's unique medical needs and have the training to understand how nutrition may play a role. The bottom line is that information provided by veterinarians has one primary goal: maximizing the health and well-being of our furry and feathered companions.
The global pet food market is estimated to exceed $92 billion in 2021. Because the stakes are so high, advertising departments for pet food companies pull out all the stops. It's important to understand that the people who are out there making the most noise about what you should be feeding your pet don't always have good science to back up their claims. Their primary goal is to sell as much food as possible, and they'll capitalize on people's emotions to accomplish that. Most folks don't have the scientific background necessary to distinguish marketing hype from proven facts and can easily be led astray by these tactics.
Your veterinarian is a scientifically trained professional who's spent a lifetime making life-or-death decisions based on evidence. You can count on your vet to take the same approach when making nutritional recommendations. This makes it easy for us to avoid being swayed by splashy advertising or getting sucked in by the latest fad. Because of our scientific foundation, we look at nutrition analytically and understand that diet choice doesn't have anything at all to do with what makes our pets happy or how we show them we love them. Instead, we keep it simple and focus on choosing a diet that provides what the evidence shows the pet needs to be healthy.
Your veterinarian understands any medical conditions your pet might be dealing with or may be predisposed to developing. The things that make your pet unique can also affect what type of food is best for them. Your veterinarian is uniquely positioned to evaluate the big picture of your pet's unique makeup and lifestyle, and make nutritional recommendations based on that. This allows for personalized nutritional counseling rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
Your veterinarian isn't in the business of selling pet food. They endured the many years of veterinary school in order to dedicate their lives to helping pets be healthy. Veterinarians spend their days listening to pet parents, trying to prevent illnesses whenever possible, and doing their utmost to save lives when things go astray. The entire focus of a veterinarian's career is on health and wellness, not moving inventory. As such, you can trust your vet's nutritional recommendations to be based on health and wellness and nothing else.
Pet parents are correct: one of the most important decisions they can make for the well-being of their pets is what and how to feed them. Veterinarians are here to provide the critical analysis to streamline this process.
Jo Myers, DVM is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University and the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and has spent more than 25 years helping pet owners enjoy happy and satisfying lives with their furry and feathered companions.
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