Skip to main content

Advice Given to Veterinarians

Related News

Comment66

  1. Laura

    Thank you SO much for calling these horrible vets out on their disgusting attitudes. I used to see a vet who would probably agree with all of them, and who actually had the nerve to tell me, when I would bring up research I did about things that my cats were going through or things that she wanted to do to them, that “you can’t believe everything you read online.” I took that to mean “Shut up and drink the Kool-Aid.” This vet also tried to make me believe that the Science Diet food my cat was eating for his urinary problems was very good, that she had been to the facility, and that the ingredients they get from China are safe. When I said I wanted to feed my cat Rayne, she went to the back and I guess did a quick search for them online or something, then came back and said that they haven’t done any trials and therefore can’t be trusted. Because apparently the way most companies determine the safety of a food, which is based on whether or not any of the animals in the trial DIE from the food, not whether the animals actually thrive on it, ultimately determines whether the food is good or not. Absolutely horrendous. The vet was wretched in other ways, too, but not about anything that’s pertinent to the gist of this post.

  2. Dianna

    Even I am an expert compared to most vets about pet food, and believe me, I don’t know that much. I feed Orijen and Young Again. My vets recommend Pro Plan.

  3. Joni Lowther

    I believe the saying is, “The truth hurts.” It’s bad enough that consumers have had to adopt the “it’s us versus them” approach to pet food manufacturers concerning the quality of pet food but in many instances, we, the consumers, also have frequently had to take that same approach with our beloved pets health care providers. Excellent response, Susan.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Excellent way of stating it Joni – “it’s us versus them”. That’s what I was trying to explain to them. We – their clients – don’t want to feel this way! I hope they heard me.

      1. Vicki

        Give em Hell Susan! Oh, they heard you alright! They may have not liked what they heard, but tough rocks!

        Thank you for fighting for all of us that love our pets and want whats best for them! You Go Gurl! 🙂

  4. Connie

    Good for you and I applaud your comments. While the discussion might have turned I hope your words caused a few cracks in their head in the sand obliviousness.

    Until we can get “the vets” on board, feed companies will contine to thrive and our pets will pay the price.

  5. Madeleine

    Vets are like human doctors. They know little about pet food and nutrition and don’t really care that they don’t. Human docs are influenced by pharmaceutical company favors and payback and will push their drugs for more. Vets are courted the same way by pet food manufacturers. It is an atrocity that should be regulated as I can’t see any evidence that it is. But why else would a vet office push those tasteless and chemical/grain/by-product filled Rx diets. I had one vet who demanded I feed my CRF kit an Rx diet they stocked. I didn’t say yes. I didn’t say no. And I didn’t go back to her.

    1. Peter

      I recently had to find a new vet. This was a difficult and painful process. The one I had used for 8 years prior, who DID work to educate her clients on the value of better (if not necessarily “home made”) diets, and, the value of at least including the consideration of “holistic” methodologies into pet care, was forced out of the practice by the controlling vet, because she wasn’t making him enough money, for example, on all those “professional” and “prescription” grain-based foods.

      1. Regina

        I hope your vet is able to find another practice to join!!!!!!

        And you know, this really does sum up the issue pretty well. The controlling vet wanted sick pets, so he could make more money off of selling the prescription foods and the BS that science diet “taught” him. This vet was just in it for the money. He did not care that pets were actually HEALTHIER!!!!!

        1. Pacific Sun

          I think some times we become a little cold-hearted here in our quick assumptions. I’m not so sure that the owners of most Vet Practices “want” sick pets or “purposefully” push a house brand of PF just for profit. But what ethical vets do want to do, is serve their clients. They want business, yes. Business pays the lease, the payroll, supplies and continuing technical education. But business also comes in many forms. Sure, we “wish” the education of consumers also played a larger role in what vets could offer clients, but unfortunately that isn’t the case. So when people ask what to feed a pet, a vet will answer the question to be of service. It’s difficult to tell a client go pick from over 2500+ brands because who knows what will happen? It can depend upon the circumstances of the pet (and the owner) and so if the vet has a “range” of options at hand, he/she can at least be more specific. Then if things don’t work out, or if the pet gets worse, at least the vet has a starting point from which to work. After all, these are still “our” pets for which we have primary responsibility, and that really does include understanding what and how to feed them well. We don’t ask human doctors to prescribe a perfect daily diet for our children. But yes, a doctor will tell us to feed fruits and vegetables instead of candy, and to that point at least, a vet should recommend sensible nutrition. Remember though …a vet is no more immune to the entire PFI’s deceitful advertising than is a lay person. They only thing they should have is better nutrition courses in college.

          Our vet recently remodeled to a state of the art facility. My own vet is actually the owner of the practice and employs about 4 vets including his wife. And has never “up-sold” me any procedure, and actually finds ways of saving his clients money whenever possible. He respects older dogs and helps clients weigh options using a practical approach, without preying upon the owner’s desperation and fears. Because this Vet practice was able to triple its office, treatment and boarding space, they created a “mini pharmacy” room for dispensing prescriptions, and the house brands of PF (that is, if they are still there) because they are no longer visible out in the lobby. I would imagine they are now another “treatment” option by demand or necessity, but not simply for convenient sales. One way this practice has increased its business is by extending “normal” treatment hours up to 10:30pm 5 days a week, and open Sat & Sun. Not only does this save clients from spending money on “emergency” after hours services, the regular time permits clients to visit without having to take time off from work, or interfere with child care schedules. Before any treatment is administered, an itemized cost sheet is created, and the client can pick and choose among a range of treatments suggested. I never get the feeling that my vet isn’t perfectly happy to see my dogs at their best. And he is always gracious and helpful about “triage-ing” issues and concerns over the phone, before urging me to visit the office.

          Being a vet isn’t easy, and dealing with emotional pet owners can be taxing. I think we should give the “Excellent Vets” full credit for the love and care they offer.

          1. Regina

            I apologize, Pacific Sun. I did respond rashly. I just was responding to what Peter wrote about his particular vet’s practice. It just seemed that that one particular vet was focused more on the financial aspect instead of “healthy pets”.

            I’ve just had some frustrating experiences lately with vets really pushing science diet, and not wanting folks to feed a more natural diet to their pets.

            Your vet’s office sounds wonderful. The extended hours is brilliant. I wish more vets did that!

  6. Barbara

    It’s made my day to know that at least a few vets have heard why their clients are losing faith in them.
    There are a few areas that they have very little knowledge of how to treat. Food is definitely one of them and two of my cats would STILL be suffering with Cystitis if it weren’t for some of those “so called internet experts”.

  7. Laura Uran

    Several months ago I took a typed page of my dog’s diet along with the ingredients in the dog food as well as fresh foods to an appointment with my vet. The veterinarian started to scan the list, then actually stopped and read through. His comment was, ” I didn’t know there was dog food this good out there. My God, this is wonderful.” Such a comment gives me hope that vets may start taking diet into account; it really isn’t rocket science to understand that diseased meat, rotten meat, hideous by products, etc. simply cannot contribute to flourishing good health. Animals may survive on those things for a while, but most will have health problems.
    I hope more vets will take the time to check out better foods or refer their people to an animal nutritionist. Forever focusing on what Hills told them in school nutrition classes really is not enough. They simply cannot sit back and trust the “dog food makers” for diet recommendations. We all know how honest many of the manufacturer’s claims are. As professionals, veterinarians do need to become more aware. The good ones keep learning and exploring. A lot of sick dogs would improve with just a healthier diet and some wouldn’t be sick to start with!! I started the food search by myself after I became too ill to cook a home diet as I had for 13 or 14 years for my dogs. It was a hellish experience to get sound information. Some companies dance around the questions asked and give hype without true information. Some were very helpful and open. You can guess who got my business. I have seen first hand the difference diet can make.

    Keep up the good work Ms. Thixon!! Thank you.

    Laura

    Laura Uran

  8. susan slater

    The dog food ingredients create vast wealth of business for most vets, as the animals slowly sicken, get sick, get treated ,get euthanized.They even sell the bodies to make more, ingredients for get them sick pet foods.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Actually vets do not sell the bodies of euthanized pets – same holds true for animal shelters (they do not sell the bodies either). Rendering facilities charge a fee to pick up the bodies – with shelters this is tax payer expense. But you are correct that the euthanized bodies are rendered and become animal feed ingredients.

        1. Carla

          Allegedly euthanasia drugs (phenobarbital?) have been detected in rendered animal feed. I don’t know what other conclusion that could be drawn from that.

  9. Dr. Laurie Coger

    Way to go Susan! Many of my colleagues are not knowledgeable about food, and take the word of Hills/Purina/Royal Canin as gospel. I work with a vet who does a lot of work with reptiles, yet is very opposed to raw diets for dogs. Yet I don’t see him recommending “snake chow” for snakes — they eat live prey! As nature intended…. Go figure.

    Congrats on your award, well deserved!

    1. Mike L

      Woohoo! Way to go Dr. Coger. I just love it when simple common sense can assist when making or explaining a point. Way to go!

      @ Ms. Thixton – So you’re standing in a line to purchase something when some jerk decides it’s okay to tear a strip off of the clerk rather than address the issue with management. You butt in, I bet, and let him/her know how inappropriate and misdirected their anger is.

      As always thanks for your efforts on all of our behalf. I would love to be there when you step up to the plate and let them know the facts. A recording of some sort posted on Youtube of these various discussions, arguments and speeches would be sooo very nice to have access to. If for no other reason than perhaps the perps might, upon viewing, have the opportunity to reflect and maybe – just maybe – realize that there is more to learn regardless of the source being a lowly “internet expert”. I suspect that there are no recording devices allowed at the events. Ah well, keep up the great work .. please.

  10. Regina

    I was talking to someone recently, recommending a really good food, and this person said that she used to feed that brand, because someone close to her recommended it. Her cat was doing very well on this food.. Well, her vet told her to never ever use that brand. Vet told her to use science diet. I asked the woman if her vet gave an explanation, and she said the vet went to some sort of meeting and learned there that her original choice of pet food was horrible. There was no real explanation. I simply told the woman to look at the list of ingredients, and then if she wanted discuss it with her vet, ask why her vet thinks a carnivore should eat a diet that is not based on meat.

    I told the woman that vets don’t get any real nutritional education in vet school. The only information they get comes from the pet food manufacturers.

    I told the woman that I stopped having to take my dog to the vet a lot when I switched to the better food. I then shrugged and said that I wonder if that’s why vets don’t like our pets eating better food.

    Susan, you were a lot nicer than I would have been in that situation. I get so frustrated by vets continually recommending crappy food. I’m sorry but I will never trust a vet who thinks science diet or purina are good foods. How lazy do they have to be to never do their own reading and thinking about what our pets eat???

    1. Nancy

      I agree that vets spend very little time learning about nutritional needs in vet school. My cat became diabetic and my vet recommended Hills DM Prescription wet and dry food. When my cat’s glucose levels didn’t drop, but in fact went higher, my vet switched him to Purina wet and dry. Still no improvement, and I was giving him 9 units of insulin a day. His blood glucose readings were in the high 500’s. His hind legs were starting to fail due to neuropathy. Finally, I started to do tons of research on line about diabetic cats and diet. Over and over again, I read that since cat’s are carnivores, they need meat. High protein, low carb diets, NOT dry foods, not ever! All dry foods are way too high in carbs for diabetic cats, and are not good for healthy cats either. I switched to a good quality wet food, and now, after one month, my cat is down to 1 unit of insulin, and his blood glucose level has been in the 60’s to no higher then 152. WHAT! I can’t believe it. His hind legs are also getting stronger too. So, I don’t blame my vet, this is her 1st year. I do feel however, that sometimes you need to do your own research when things are not improving.

      1. Pet Owner

        Wait a sec. You’re being a lot more considerate of your inexperienced Vet than is deserved. If you can do the research on the internet so can your Vet. You are PAYING the Vet for your cat’s treatment. And if the Vet doesn’t understand Diabetes in felines enough (obviously not) then that’s a shortcoming both in education, experience, and the ability to consult with other specialists. Nutritional therapy needs to be an adjunct to medical treatment. Diabetic people are counselled about how to eat to save their lives! They can read books, or go to Specialists and join Support Groups. You could’ve lost your cat by dealing with this Vet Practice. I too, know someone who had a beautiful Diabetic cat (only about 10 yrs. old) I watched that cat eat gobs of kibble (both dog and cat formulas) for the whole time, and it was never offered a can of wet CF in it’s life. The belief was that all pets do fine on dry food because it’s been on the market for decades! Even towards the end when so much money was being spent on Insulin, it was the cost of quality wet CF that seemed to be the obstacle! Crazy thinking. In early stages, it probably could’ve been treated a lot more successfully with an all protein, wet, minimally cooked (or raw) food diet. I hope people dropping into this website all the time, take note of owners’ experiences here, they can be life saving!

  11. Linda Blakely

    I have become so discouraged about what to feed my cat. No matter how many premium wet foods I’ve tried, he won’t eat them. So – kibble it is. He has struvite crystals and three vets in a row (including one from the Animal Medical Cent AND an animal nutritionist) have insisted I feed him Hill’s cd for Urinary Tract Health. I fought it for quite a while (to my ignorant eyes, the first 5 or 6 ingredients look like crap).

    The crystals have decreased, but I’m terrified I’m slowly killing him. Don’t know what to do. They have even given me mini-lectures on how the “scientists” at Hill’s are experts and know what they’re doing. I think the mega-producers of pet food fund a lot of the research and brain wash these vets.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Cats are not easy to change to wet food if they are used to kibble. Try grinding the kibble (small amounts) in the blender and sprinkling over a wet food. Offer him/her a tablespoon a day – several times a day with a little of the ground kibble on top. It took me a full year to get one of my cats off kibble. Don’t give up. Also you might want to try making bone broth – here’s a link on how to do that: http://truthaboutpetfood.com/make-your-pet-a-healthy-broth/. Another thing to try might be raw goat’s milk. But again – don’t give up.

      1. Jeanette Owen

        My male cat loves Stella & Cheweys freeze dried food – a few bits crumbled between my fingers into a large saucer with ALOT of water. He loves it! Licks it up like crazy. He pees more – but that is not all bad! I ask him if he wants his juice? I’ve read you have to becareful with freeze dried that has ground up bone, older cats can get constipated.

    2. Paula

      Jane, I have a male cat who also turns his nose up at wet food. After three years of working with him, he will eat half a teaspoon of RadCat raw, and some Trader Joe’s Tuna for Cats.

      I switched his kibble to Young Again primarily because he’s a large cat, (I’m guessing he’s a Maine Coon mix) and I didn’t want to run into issues with diabetes, but I’ve seen others use it for urinary issues. They discuss urinary issues on their site as well. They are great about returning emails, and answering diet questions. They also are pretty good about sending a free sample should you be interested.

    3. Karin

      Have you read Dr. Lisa Pierson’s website? http://catinfo.org/

      She has a ton of advice on how to transition stubborn kibble addicts to better food. She also has very informative sections on urinary tract health, obesity issues, how to select a good commercial food for your cat, and also how to make balanced homemade cat food. I am a member of several cat forums and her website is cited more than any other when someone comes looking for advice on feeding and nutrition.

      1. Susan Thixton Author

        Great suggestion Karin – Dr. Pierson is wonderful!

    4. Mary Sue

      It can be done Linda. I switched 3 teenage cats to exclusively canned and raw. Two of the cats had only been with me for a year or two. It took some longer than the others. Be persistent, but remember, it’s not a contest of who will win. It will happen. Use the techniques mentioned here by others as well as everything you can find on the internet. One of the best techniques is to not leave dry food out all the time, even if you are still feeding some. Instead of that, I used to leave some canned out for a few hours if they didn’t eat it right away.

  12. Jane Eagle

    When I moved to this area decades ago, I went through about 6 vets before I found one I respected. I now have 2 vets I respect and adore, but it can take work. Years ago, when one of my dogs went into liver failure (someone threw poison over my fence), my primary vet sold me a bunch of Science Diet L/d. I got home, read the ingredients, and brought it right back, along with an email that most of the GMO ingredients in Hill’s had been shown to CAUSE liver failure rather than cure it. I sent her a bunch of info, and within 2 weeks, she stopped carrying Hill’s! – Which is one of many reasons I adore her. She does not have training in nutrition, but I don’t require that she know everything. I have a chiropractor, and acupuncturist, and an herbalist for my dogs; and I have learned enough about nutrition to be comfortable with the diet I feed. It creates a win/win/win when we can educate a vet rather than walk away…and I have walked away from plenty, including one vet who told me he did not like the breed that my dog was, and another who allowed his wife to run his office…into the ground. I expect excellence, but not perfection; and if I can’t respect a vet’s expertise, there are loads more out there.

  13. Reader

    Thank you SO much for standing up during this discussion among a group of Veterinarians! Good Lawrd how dense can they be to not understand why and how patient confidence is waning? Is there any owner out there who hasn’t at some point in their ownership of pets “asked” the vet what they feed or what should they feed?

    I’ve never met any (non-holistic) vet ever admitting to whole food cooking or raw feeding. However over a very long period of time, because I’ve been to a LOT of vets for mine and those temporarily in my care (only to hedge my bets and cross reference opinions). Nearly all have no problems with commercial PF, especially warehouse brands (because it’s soi economical!). Most point out Science Diet however. One vet based his opinion on having been to the (what I call) “wine & dine” event at SD Headquarters to “witness” how the PF is made and of course to hear the “Kool-Aid” Lecture! But never could the vet pull out objective scientific studies (against competitors and whole food feeding) to prove his opinion. [[ Granted SD does have a therapeutic approach in certain situations to control what an owner is feeding so the vet can rule out variables when assessing blood work, and just to know what owners are actually feeding and in what proportions. Because some owners will never be able to therapeutically whole food cook for a seriously ailing dog, unless well supported by nutritional specialists. ]] But to say that SD should be fed on a daily basis for a perfectly healthy dog or cat, is just crazy. It is loaded with corn ingredients. And some of the specialty formulas are so limited in ingredients, the question is how could the dog ever get any nutrition long term?

    In terms of “routine” yearly vaccinations, I’ve heard many vets say that if it weren’t a matter of “requiring” annual vaccinations then they would never see clients at all. And that (they say) in many cases is the only way the vet can pick up on a developing problem. But then, I actually had one vet call me (repeatedly) at home to ask why I wasn’t a more frequent visitor to her practice. I don’t think she ever actually understood my response. Which was … “ahh well, because my dogs aren’t sick?” In fact my dog “titered” out over a documented 7 year period for rabies antibodies. We’ve never vaccinated since.

    1. Sheila

      Let me ask you, do you love in a state that requires a rabies vaccination? I am, but would love to stop giving my cats this vaccine… Even if it is only every 3 years. I’m wondering if the titer shows they have enough antibodies, if I’d still be on the “right” side of the law

  14. Wolf

    There is still an awe in which most people hold their vets. Like our parents generation used to hold their doctors for their human complaints. Ask no questions, trust implicitly, Dr. knows best and we mere mortals have no place doubting.

    Doctors, vets…they are all just humans. Smart, sure. Well-trained in certain areas, yes. But not infallible, and certainly prone to falling for the brainwashing they receive in school and continuing education. And most definitely vulnerable to the programs that Big Pet Food provides them for monetary reward for sales through their practices, as well as the free computers etc that are also on offer for good sales. Big Pet Food operates almost exactly like Big Pharma. We cannot fall for the propaganda, and we must make as many people as possible aware of their far reaching, insidious influence.

    Part of the education that needs to occur is not only with the general populace, but with these vets as well. And they are hanging on stubbornly to the past.

    So we’ll just have to push them off the cliff.

    1. Sharon Abbott

      You are so right, Wolf, many people are still that way about doctors…..I am a consumer in the medical world just as any other place….I will question, contribute and disagree as I see necessary….if they can’t handle it…i find some one who can..

  15. Betty

    Can anyone recommend the very best dog food for dogs? Something that dog’s really like, tastes good ( I have one picky eater and one that will eat anything} and something that is good for them.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      There is no ‘the best dog food’ brand – choosing a pet food is a personal decision. One food might be the best for one dog while another food might be the best for dog number 2. The ‘best’ is food – not feed. Call your manufacturer and ask if the ingredients are USDA certified human edible. Ask them to put that in writing to you. Also ask for country of origin of all ingredients including all supplements. With this information – you can then begin to find the best food for your dog.

    2. Pacific Sun

      There is no single “best” commercial PF. Really the most peace of mind comes from home cooking whole foods. But “The Honest Kitchen” makes many great formulas that should appeal to all kinds of fussy eaters. The ingredients are human grade, manufactured in a human grade facility. Some recipes are base mixes to which you can add your own protein. The secret is hydrating the mix long enough like overnight to make it palatable. Sometimes THK isn’t so economically practical for people who have several very large dogs, but for mid-size or smaller ones it’s a great alternative! At least augmenting a commercial PF diet with whole foods is also helpful. Keep in mind that what a person (seemingly) pays more for in up front PF costs, can sometimes be saved on avoiding back-end chronic health issues at the Vet. My recommendation is only from personal experience and I do not work for any PF companies or suppliers. THK offers sample packs so you can test your dog’s preferences, and they also offer coupons for initial buyers too! I also like Mulligan’s Stew canned food and keep it on hand for emergencies. My own dogs are not fussy eaters though. However my friend’s dogs are very, and they all seem to like Fromm’s Beef Formula kibble. She can not afford to home cook for all of them.

  16. Teresa Reid

    Does anyone know if Wild Calling, a company in in the Midwest, uses food grade meat in their cat food? I wrote to them asking if they used rendered meat and never got an answer. I’m going to try calling them this week to see if they will answer like they report on their website that they are happy to talk to consumers. Susan, thank you for listing the things to ask in your post above because I plan on asking them every single one of those questions. Since I have been following you for several years now, have learned so much from you that has enhanced my kitties’ lives and hopefully will help them live long and healthy lives. My sweet soul mate, Angel, died in 2011, from kidney failure/hyperthyroidism. Really believe if I had known way back when she was a kitten (12 years prior) not to feed her a dry food diet that she would probably still be with me today. Every day my heart aches for her and have promised my sweet babies that I will do my very best to make sure that they have the safest food I can find.

    Also, thank you so much for letting us know about the vaccine titers. I did not realize they could be drawn and will ask my vet about doing that in the future.

    Thank you for all the hard work you have done in the past and are doing now. The world is a better place because of people like you and I mean that sincerely and know if our animals could talk, they would say the same thing too!♥

    1. Debi Cohen

      Wild calling is made by Evangers, good luck

  17. Pat P.

    I am in the market for a new vet and have been for a while, now. Unfortunately, good vets are hard to find. In addition, I have chronic health issues which prevents me from driving very far.

    I chose the vet that I now have, because her website indicated she specialized in nutrition. Was that a crock! When I walked in her waiting room and saw Royal Canin, I had my doubts which were confirmed. She knows nothing about nutrition. She even recommended RC dry kibble for a cat with kidney disease–a terrible choice! There canned food isn’t much better. She agrees with me that most foods aren’t very good, but still pushes RC.
    I told her before my first visit that I would be researching the internet regarding both my cats’ health and wanted to make certain she was okay with that. She was fine with it, until I found info that disagreed with her. She then said that I can’t believe what I read on-line.
    It is difficult enough to find vets that know much about cats (most are more dog-oriented), let alone one that knows anything about pet food.

    I talked to a woman, recently, whose vet, of many years, told her to never feed more than one kind and variety of pet food (meaning “rotation” is bad); that her cat would get really sick, if she fed different varieties or wet food, so she has been feeding the same kibble for years. She won’t listen to me.

    I am having a very difficult time finding good foods for a cat who is incredibly picky, and will only eat one lousy brand and variety, and another one who has kidney disease. Even the lists that are on-line, Tanya’s and Dr. Pierson’s, are not helpful for me. The foods with low phosphorus (for the CKD cat) are all lousy junk, including the “prescription” ones.

    Anyway, Susan, thanks for informing some ignorant vets about the realities of the pet food industry. Hopefully, a few listened and care enough to do their own research.

    I don’t vaccinate my cats (even though a rabies one is legally required) but know that many vets will not accept you as a client, unless you do. This, of course, limits my choices of available vets.

    1. GeoC

      I concur with your comments re: vets, food, shots.. The ignorance of veterinary physicians is astounding! Thank goodness for Susan’s tireless work and other reputable internet sites. Also, I’ve done so much research and tried every healthy food out there for my cats, but they will go on a hunger strike if they don’t get their Fancy Feast! I load it with Primal freeze dried raw and they drink up Halo Spots Pate Chicken which I make a soup out of with hot water. They also like Whole Life raw treats as well. I keep trying to get them to eat better foods… and most of the really healthy food goes to the feral cat outside- crazy!

      1. Leannan

        I’m not familiar with Whole Life raw treats, I’m going to give them a try.
        I was having the same “Fancy Feast problem”. This is what worked for me: I’m now feeding only Primal and Stella & Chewy’s.
        For 90% of their meals, I serve Primal (frozen has a pheasant option) but add in a much smaller amount of Stella and Chewy’s. I use the same protein, even if S&C is a canine formula.
        The other 10% of the time, I serve only Stella & Chewy’s. I use the “novel” protein canine formulas, lamb, venison etc. They LOVE S&C Canine formulas.
        By doing this they all stay interested in eating raw, or an HHP “raw” that contains ingredients I trust more than Purina”s ingredients.
        It took less than a week for my FF holdout to stop whining and stop just picking at the Primal and S&C.
        Ordering the bulk of my food online is the only way I can afford to feed Primal and Stella & Chewy’s, but I maintain a good relationship with local “speciality” pet food stores. By buying a bag of raw treats, or a bag of Primal or S&C once every month or two at a retail store, I am able to ask for samples (Stella & Chewy’s has had samples available every time I’ve asked)
        BREIF overview: Two years ago, I adopted a 7 year old cat. Blood work done after I adopted him, showed stage 1 kidney disease, and also showed signs of cancer.
        He is STILL anemic, with low potassium, (still being treated) but his kidney disease hasn’t progressed. I feed him Primal and S&C, and he doesn’t give the outward appearance of being ill. He is active and maintains his weight (I have a baby scale) and his fur is silky. I have NO (scientific) PROOF that feeding him these foods has prolonged his life, but he is a year and a half past his expected “expiration date” and I sometimes have to look at his test results to remember/believe that he is as sick as he is.

        1. Sheila

          Does the stella and chewy’s canine formula have enough taurine for cats? I just tried the feline duck/goose and my cats love it! I’ve been trying for 6 months to get them to eat more raw. I’ve used vital essentials, primal, nature’s variety, nature’s logic… All with mediocre response. If i lightly cook them for a couple of minutes, they are more inclined to eat it. They are canned food… No kibble. That was a very easy transition. I’m trying to stay away from chicken because i have one cat that has skin issues and he has greatly improved on canned, non chicken formulas. I wish stella would add more proteins for cats. Also, where do you order online? I fear I can’t afford to feed 3 cats this food. It would cost $300 a month! However, if i ever want to go out of town… The dehyrated would be much easier for the sitter.

  18. Trish Whitley

    I LOVED your reply…. instead of CRICKETS, I give you a STANDING OVATION! 🙂

  19. Kenneth Kalligher

    OK Susan, that reply to the group was what I would call a gut shot to the vets. NO REPLY after your comments? Why? Your comments were a succinct compendium of factual knowledge…it is a don’t mess with that one she knows her stuff! Further, the silence is a testimonial of they, the vets, not having either the facts or the guts (can’t let the lady make us look to uniformed) to take you on. BRAVO Susan!

  20. Sharon

    The challenges of client trust can’t be solved by building sales skills. Trust is built on respect for the client and quality of care given to their pets.

    Veterinarian offices should not be hubs for profiting from third-party products. Every time a vet sells a client any product and that client later learns that product contains waste products, toxins or is otherwise creating more issues than it cures, trust is lost.

    Either provide veterinarian services only or be sure you know everything about your product and provide full disclosure when selling it.

    I’m still upset that, after discovering that my vet’s practice had sold me a prescription shampoo that contained a known carcinogen and that the product line was even banned in CA (not where I am), I pointed this out to the owner of the clinic. He was surprised to learn this fact but is still selling it. My dog is in the Gold Retriever Lifetime Study on cancer!!! I’ve had both a cat and a dog die from cancer.

    I love the vet I see there (I even like the owner of the clinic), and my vet is committed to the lifetime study with us but I’m conflicted over putting money into a clinic when they knowingly sell carcinogenic products to other clients. My nearest homeopathic vet is an hour away, when I have an emergency, this clinic is only 10 minutes and they’ve been very good about handling them – even after hours. The proverbial rock and a hard place.

    1. Regina

      Sharon, I always hate when we’re stuck between that rock and hard place.

      I like that your vet is at least committed to the lifetime study on cancer. But as for still selling products that are problematic, I wonder if the vet can be convinced to turn over any profits they make from the sales of those items, directly to the study on cancer???

      I also do wish that since your vet is committed to the cancer study, they would speak to some homeopathic or holistic vets to get a better idea of what goes into our pets being part of the problem of cancer.

      1. Sharon

        Regina,

        My vet only works at this particular clinic two days a week, the rest of her time is spent in a spay/neuter clinic elsewhere. It’s the owner of the clinic that chose to continue selling the shampoo after I pointed out the carcinogenic ingredients.

        I’m uncomfortable putting money into his practice so he can use that to increase his profits by selling products that can cause cancer in someone else’s dog while I’m doing everything I can to prevent cancer in my own dog and hopefully help others understand how do the same. I wouldn’t be any more comfortable asking him to donate the profits from a shampoo that increases cancer risk to cancer research. And frankly, if I were collecting funds for cancer research, I wouldn’t take them from cigarette makers either. The problem isn’t the money he makes – it’s how he makes that money.

        I’m more determined to find an holistic vet for everyday care – even if I have to drive an hour to get there, that shares my ethical concerns.

  21. Rin Tin Tin

    You are the Joan of Arc of pet food advocates and then some, bravo and thank you for all you do. {Do you need any behind the scenes volunteers? Would be happy to assist with research or whatever.}

  22. Teresa Johnson

    Well said Susan! It would be my best guess that the silence that followed your commentary was due in large part to embarrassment and shock that someone other than veterinary persons might have a handle on health issues of our pets. I’m certain it gave them all some “food for thought”. Hopefully you have started a trend for better education, for veterinarians and the clients.

  23. Lynne Fowler

    Bravo, Susan. Maybe you need to start teaching nutrition at vet schools, as Big Dog Food does. Like you’re not doing enough already! Thank you for all you do on behalf of ll our pets.

  24. Ellie

    I would love to have been there when you gave them an ear full! Funny that the people with letters after their names didn’t bother to argue about the quality of pet food with you. I wonder if vets even bother to look at ingredient lists. They are so trained to just sell the traditional big brand name pet foods.

  25. Cmsky

    I am already getting trashed on three other facebook pages; I sure don’t need to get trashed on my own page too. All human doctors, all veterinarians, all internet specialists, etc are not alike–do not come out of a cookie-cutter mold. Please do not lump us all together. I read an article the other day when promoting your practice do not say, “we are the best”, say “we are different”. I had to open my own practice (and let me tell you veterinary medicine is a challenge but running your own is a different cup of tea). I do not euthanize pets when it is not medically necessary which upsets a lot people. I do not allow clients to come in and tell me how to treat their pets, though I am open-minded and will research for them which sometimes helps me. I do not allow clients in anyway to disrespect our staff members. If there is a problem they need to come to me, staff don’t get paid (and can’t generally resolve the problem without the doctor or manager anyway) enough to be verbally abused. We don’t vaccinate every pet with every vaccine. We tailor their medical recommendations, vaccines included, to the individual pet’s needs. At every visit we discuss behavior and diet. We don’t recommend raw diet for many reasons. But we are very happy about the drive commercial companies have towards changing their ingredients to more premium and consistent ingredients. When I speak to clients about “Dr. Google”, they are usually scared because they went online and found 100 different things their pet could have and 50 of them are as scary as ebola! So we give a list of sites that we believe the client to understand and it will usually tell them if their pet needs to see they vet if the animal is exhibiting particular symptoms. I do listen to my clients, and I tune into what the pet is showing me since they can’t “talk”. Human doctors (and a lot of time veterinarians) have to sift through a lot of what the people have already determined the problem is online and get to the bottom of the real issue. I am not one of the veterinarians you are speaking of in this article with such malice. I did not see one comment in here about, “well, my veterinarian does things different”; or “I really like, respect, and trust my veterinarian”. Some one must like, respect, trust veterinarians or there wouldn’t be so many… In any case, spay/neuter clinics who perform surgery on 40 animals per day with little monitoring and no pain medications; walgreens one hour vaccine clinics where many clients end up with a 300 or 400.00 emergency room bill because these vets pack up and move on to the next town if your pet has a reaction and online pharmacies of which many get products out of the country with different manufacturing standards, short dated, expired, even counterfeit will/are driving the cost of running the practice up (permits, licenses, payroll and payroll taxes with workmen’s comp and unemployment, mortgage, insurances, medications that cost the same as human medicines) which must pass that increase on to the consumer. Bottom line… find a veterinarian you trust and stick with them. Loyalty is hard to find these days because the gas station across the street has gas for a couple cents less… Don’t lump us all in one category.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      My personal apologies you are getting “trashed” on other sites. This post was not meant to lump all veterinarians into one category or ‘trash’ anyone. I think most pet food consumers understand that all veterinarians are not alike. What the discussion in Canada was concerning was there is an issue of trust (or lack thereof) that both pet owners and veterinarians are suffering from. It was my intention to try to share with these veterinarians why many people are losing faith in their veterinarian. I believe we – the educated pet food consumer – are justified in our lack of faith. Again, overall – not singling out any one particular pet food consumer/pet owner or any one particular veterinarian.

      Things need to change. I think the comments here show many consumers feel the same.

    2. Pacific Sun

      Dr. CMSKY, we live in a busy, high stress world. So maybe there wasn’t a chance to read ALL 55 comments above, except for the article itself. For your reference mine is re-posted below I would say that Respect and Communication are about the only non-specific tools we have left at disposal or within our arsonal these days. I am a long-time Follower, and yes a Believer, and also a Commenter mostly in response to others. My take is that many clients would consider themselves particularly fortunate to have you as their Vet! Those kind of people who want the best for their pets ARE looking for one-of-a-kind medical care-givers and if you were to post which section of the Country in which you live, the increased traffic would ensure the stability of your business.

      It’s important to understand the TAPF Author’s point of view from exposure to years of PF Industry cynicism and disregard for the “best” welfare of pets, in preference of profit and an unwillingness to entertain change (what we like to call it progress). And so is the context for the above reaction . First, the attendees had split into discussion groups after all (one would think) as an opportunity to hear one another. However know that the Author has been trying to represent PF Consumers’ & Pet Owners’ interests at many “Industry Events” for years! Only recently has she been formally acknowledged to share on committees, and then begrudgingly so by the other participants. Hardly a professional reaction to honest … interaction. So just as you feel generalized along with mediocre or questionable veterinarians (and don’t appreciate it) so does the Author feel insulted to be lumped in with anyone who happens to publish a website and call him or herself an “Expert.”

      TAPF is researched journalism that happens to be distributed through a website. It’s not just idle chatter among amateurs with nothing better to do. But it is a group of loving pet owners, benefiting from the journalism, and confirming through own experiences, often the point of many articles. The Author champions on consumers’ behalf, at no cost, with no advertising, or profitability. She cares as much for her cause, as you do for YOUR clients. And so, in turn there should be that much in common and deserving of mutual respect.

      Secondly, Purina has it’s own issues enough. Purina is the “Poster Child” of spending more money on advertising than putting it into the honest development and progress of its products ~ or at the very least ~ spending the appropriate amount of time helping to educate the public. And that doesn’t mean by showing another happy “beneful” dog romping through the grass on TV. Purina is just a symptom or the lack of transparency the PFI chooses for itself, and the failure to meet a consumer advocate half-way. What could it hurt. Do we read published research verifying the optimal value of the Industry’s products? No, they fight us on whole food feeding. They discount, dismiss, and ignore direct question. They challenge at every point believing the entire population of sales are at risk. Rather than to see it as an opportunity to expand. Do we even know what PF trials are made, much less the results? Are we supposed to ignore that Pet Food is Livestock Feed, formulated for maintenance, that in the short term won’t do the pet immediate harm, except for those mistakes that do occur. But in the end, does it really help your pet to put off for as long as possible, chronic end-of-life issues either. How would we even know. Purina has been around for 50+ yrs. and if any company had the data, then they should be the Corporation MOST proud to demonstrate its usefulness!

      So Dr. CMSKY, from how you’ve described your approach to your pwm profession, I don’t think you’d be (or even want to be) one of those Vets sitting in the so-called discussion group at that Industry Meeting. It wasn’t really a meeting of truly open-minded professionals, nor was it much less a meeting …. of the minds.

      ___________________

      Pacific Sun
      October 27, 2014 at 7:37 pm
      I think some times we become a little cold-hearted here in our quick assumptions. I’m not so sure that the owners of most Vet Practices “want” sick pets or “purposefully” push a house brand of PF just for profit. But what ethical vets do want to do, is serve their clients. They want business, yes. Business pays the lease, the payroll, supplies and continuing technical education. But business also comes in many forms. Sure, we “wish” the education of consumers also played a larger role in what vets could offer clients, but unfortunately that isn’t the case. So when people ask what to feed a pet, a vet will answer the question to be of service. It’s difficult to tell a client go pick from over 2500+ brands because who knows what will happen? It can depend upon the circumstances of the pet (and the owner) and so if the vet has a “range” of options at hand, he/she can at least be more specific. Then if things don’t work out, or if the pet gets worse, at least the vet has a starting point from which to work. After all, these are still “our” pets for which we have primary responsibility, and that really does include understanding what and how to feed them well. We don’t ask human doctors to prescribe a perfect daily diet for our children. But yes, a doctor will tell us to feed fruits and vegetables instead of candy, and to that point at least, a vet should recommend sensible nutrition. Remember though …a vet is no more immune to the entire PFI’s deceitful advertising than is a lay person. They only thing they should have is better nutrition courses in college.

      Our vet recently remodeled to a state of the art facility. My own vet is actually the owner of the practice and employs about 4 vets including his wife. And has never “up-sold” me any procedure, and actually finds ways of saving his clients money whenever possible. He respects older dogs and helps clients weigh options using a practical approach, without preying upon the owner’s desperation and fears. Because this Vet practice was able to triple its office, treatment and boarding space, they created a “mini pharmacy” room for dispensing prescriptions, and the house brands of PF (that is, if they are still there) because they are no longer visible out in the lobby. I would imagine they are now another “treatment” option by demand or necessity, but not simply for convenient sales. One way this practice has increased its business is by extending “normal” treatment hours up to 10:30pm 5 days a week, and open Sat & Sun. Not only does this save clients from spending money on “emergency” after hours services, the regular time permits clients to visit without having to take time off from work, or interfere with child care schedules. Before any treatment is administered, an itemized cost sheet is created, and the client can pick and choose among a range of treatments suggested. I never get the feeling that my vet isn’t perfectly happy to see my dogs at their best. And he is always gracious and helpful about “triage-ing” issues and concerns over the phone, before urging me to visit the office.

      Being a vet isn’t easy, and dealing with emotional pet owners can be taxing. I think we should give the “Excellent Vets” full credit for the love and care they offer.

    3. Ellie

      I would have to say my vet is not like most vets. She is very health conscious and agrees with me in that we do not need to over vaccinate. She also recommends raw and home cooking done properly. I have known good vets and I have known some not so good ones over the years. The fact that it is veterinarians that are supposedly creating and recommending these highly processed foods and fighting the use of raw foods cause us all to become suspicious.

      The pet food industry employs veterinarians and uses their names to promote their brands. That puts them out there in the line of fire when it comes to placing blame for the kind of trash that is put into some brands of pet food.

      Many vets offices are littered with the pet food industry’s promotions. When a pet is sick the vet recommends the pet food industry’s RX foods. You have to admit they are deeply entrenched in the industry

      I don’t know what was said to you on some other forum but you came out swinging on this one. Most pet owners would like very much to have their vet support them in finding a healthy alternative to traditional pet food. No one wants the veterinarians of this country to disappear. We would like some good vets to stand up to the industry so that new and innovative ideas about feeding pets are not automatically denounced by the veterinarian associations.

      1. Poodle Lover

        Ellie’s November 5th comment about the need for Vets to stand up to the PFI is outstanding! Of all the interested parties, it should be the Vets. They are the ones treating the issues. They have the data on their side. Why wouldn’t they demand the data (honest feed trials and controlled studies) showing the safety and wellness of commercial PF? All of this should be based on science period, not emotion or drama. Why can’t the Vets join with Consumers for PF Advocacy??

  26. Dianne

    Well, I really like my vet. He listens, will discuss things with me as if I were a reasonably intelligent person and he is willing to make modifications. He wasn’t aware that there were titre tests for parvo, etc. But when I said they were available in he states, he immediately went out to see if there really was one available and if he could get it done. He agreed with me that instead of giving heartworm medication to one of my dogs that we could do twice yearly heartworm and tick disease blood work. He was understanding and accepting when I said I could not use the neonicitinoid drops on my dog. Sadly, he is cutting his hours and will soon retire. I am not sure that I can work as well with the other vets in his practice.

  27. Mary

    I’m with you! I am disgusted when I see vets selling Science Diet, high dollars for corn basically. It makes me sad to see people who I know love their dogs buying food they think are good because of the label or because of the name attached to it. It isn’t difficult to learn the basics about dog food. If you want to learn just the simple bits to buy the better quality I just tell people to look for Corn, Soy, any meat “By-product”, artificial colors or flavors at a minimum. Also, look for “product of China” If the food has any of these then don’t buy it. I stick with meat as the first ingredient and made in USA or Canada. I pay a bit more sure and I can’t get it at Walmart, but there are plenty of places you can now order dog food on-line with free shipping and the prices are not jacked up.

  28. TP

    To those of you that love your pets as I do.
    My job for the last thirty years has been the monitoring of food sources for human and pet foods.
    This job has taken me all over the world investigating processing procedures.
    I will just make a couple of points from this experience.
    1 – Never, never buy your pet food from a small family business that does not have major funding, “why” they have to cut corners to make a profit. your pet will suffer the consequences. please remember that through all the advertising money is the driver. There are three stacks of raw ingredients in most foreign countries, stack one is for the companies that can maintain a flow of orders, stack two is the next small group of companies, stack three is for the small order group. The range of quality from stack 1 to stack 3 drops by 70%.
    2 – Even larger companies will cut corners during hard times, and thus what was a 90 to 100% ingredient now becomes a 50 to 70% ingredient. Thus your pet suffers the results.
    3- What do I mean by cut? Older tallow (fat), old corn, fewer checks for toxins, bins are added with filler to make up weight of ingredients, thus cost reduction.
    4- If you believe inspection agency can catch this, I have some ocean front properties in Arizona that you will like.
    Hope this will help you when choosing food for your pet.
    Note: I could have been taking about human food.

  29. Kelley

    TP – Thank you for an outstanding comment. I wish more insiders would post. This is what consumers need to hear, eye witness experience about what really happens behind the scenes commentary.

    I used for awhile a product that wasn’t advertised and I had to ship in. It was found only through TAPF because they returned the Pledge. In the end they admitted to me the product had to be discontinued because they couldn’t continue to do what they were committed to doing due tocost and lack of approved suppliers. They would’ve had to double or triple their price. Though I terribly miss my back up emergency product I so applaud their honesty.

    It’s such a sad state of affairs that the only peace of mind pet owners can truly have comes from home cooking. From being able to identify primary ingredients such as whole cuts of meat, and supporting ingredients they themselves would eat, such as by controlling the carbs, etc. One of the most alarming developments we’re now being educated about through TAPF is about the adverse syngery effect of multiple and simultaneous mycotoxins in PF due to sub-standard grains. So your post is EXTREMELY relevant! Thank you so much for participating on TAPF!

Leave a Reply