I'm not telling you anything you probably didn't know already when I say that veterinarians have negligible training in the area of animal nutrition, right? Most veterinary training programs contain a couple of days of nutrition education. Should nutrition counseling even be considered within their scope of practice if they have little training on the subject? Scope of practice is limited to that which the law allows for specific education and experience, and specific demonstrated competency. According to Wikipedia if requirements for practicing a skill or profession satisfy all three of the following requirements then it is within that persons scope of practice.
So I guess the day or two of "nutrition education" (hosted by pet food companies) counts for the education piece in this case. How do you feel about that? Do you think this makes them qualified in animal nutrition?
First of all, why is nutrition not understood to be a key part of animal health with more education being given on the topic? Considering the lack of education in this area why do pet owner's follow their vet's nutritional advice? Being a licensed veterinarian does not magically make one knowledgeable about animal nutrition. Some veterinarians have furthered their education on the subject and are knowledgeable, but they are few are far between.
Would I take nutrition advice from my Dr.? maybe for very general questions, but if I wanted comprehensive nutrition guidance I would be consulting with a dietician. Someone who is educated on nutrition. Makes sense right?
Do I expect my Dr. to have an extensive knowledge of nutrition? No, that is not their area of expertise, they are GENERAL Practitioners. Do I see my GP if my muscles are sore and tense? (not unless I want to pop a pill and suppress my symptoms). Personally I go see my massage therapist who has the ability to mechanically work the tension out of my muscles.
We have actually placed a burden on veterinarians to dispense nutrition advice for which they have not been trained. A general practitioner cannot be expected to have expert knowledge on all things health related. This is why we may see many different types of practitioners regarding our own health needs. Even in animal care we have specialists, orthopedic, cardiologists, ophthalmologists and so on. But nutrition, one of the most basic needs that is the foundation to health in all species is sorely neglected.
It's like a black hole of big pet food business. Anything outside of scientifically formulated balanced pellets from a bag gets sucked into this black hole. These pet food companies are making billions of dollars from pet owners and at the expense of the animals whose health suffers because of poor nutrition. We refer to drug money as dirty money, I think commercial pet food money is pretty darn dirty. How many animals have had a poor quality of life or lost their life due to the food they ate? And the profits made go right back into advertising of these foods. They pour vast amounts of money attempting to discredit natural feeding methods so they can continue to rake in the money.
But not to worry about the gap in knowledge veterinarians have regarding nutrition because the pet food companies have got it all figured out for all of us. They have scientifically created balanced formulas for you so you don't have to worry about what to feed your pet. They make it easy for Veterinarians, creating these scientifically balanced foods that will be their simple solution when clients ask about what to feed their pets. Not only will it be simple to recommend this product but they also make money on any sales as well. No thinking needed, clients just open the bag and scoop into their pets bowl. The kibble is sprayed with the attractive flavoring so the animals will want to eat it. It's a win win!
But it's NOT a win win...our pets are ill. They should not be having so many chronic health issues and at younger and younger ages. This is not normal. Their highly processed food is full of chemicals and toxins, is poorly digestible, promotes gum disease, contains species-inappropriate ingredients and so many other problems. Take a look at my book The Inner Carnivore for a detailed run down on how processed pet foods contribute to poor health.
But they do not have to live a life of poor health! Species appropriate diets are the only way to go. Stop paying out your hard earned money on products that are promoting disease in your animal, which costs you more money at the veterinarian and causes much heartache. Is it me or does this thinking makes absolutely no sense at all! Educate yourself on the topic. The resources are out there in books and websites. If you need personalized help please contact me for a nutrition consultation, I would be so happy to help you get your animal back to health!
Author - Jennifer Lee
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