By Dr. Elizabeth Holland
At Adel Veterinary Clinic we have veterinarians and team members committed to staying up-to-date on the latest in all aspects of small animal veterinary medicine. We pride ourselves in having an open mind, doing our own research and using a broad scope of resources to make our opinions.
One of the most common (and complicated) questions we answer is what food should we feed our pets. Nutrition is certainly a vast and complicated subject and not one that we spent a lot of time on in veterinary school. It has (rightly or wrongly) also been debated that large food companies are often behind the education we did receive.
As a clinic that supports a holistic approach to health care we have in the past shifted our recommendations to what we hoped were high quality ingredients from somewhat lesser known companies.
Honestly, a lot of this has been turned on it’s head recently with new concerns about the effects that many of these so-called “boutique” pet foods may have on our beloved patients and family members. Among the red flags are exotic ingredients (kangaroo, lentils, etc), grain free diets and other foods where marketing may be trumping research backed formulations. While the jury is still out on the precise mechanisms, implicated ingredients and solutions, we at Adel Veterinary Clinic feel obligated to start speaking out regarding pet food choices as we continue to pay close attention to research and common sense when it comes to what we feed our pets.
The basic concern regarding food choice has arisen from the fact that certain foods are currently being implicated in a rising incidence of a heart disease called Dilated Cardiomyopathy in dogs. This is happening in large numbers in dogs of all ages and was first connected to the rising trend of “grain-free” diets in the marketplace.
One significant point when considering a pet food is that a pet often eats the SAME thing every day. If we were to do the same, the choice of food would matter much more than the fact that we generally eat a variety of foods each day.
Our goal is to share with you the current concerns and commentary on pet diets. Our primary concern is that YOU have the information you deserve to make choices for your pet, ESPECIALLY if the information WE have shared in the past contradicts our latest recommendations.
For the time being, the veterinarians at Adel Veterinary Clinic strongly recommend those that feed a kibble diet consider using a food made by a well known company with a long standing history of research based pet food production including AAFCO approved feeding trials proving that the ingredients work in real pets over long periods of time. We also recommend picking a pet food containing standard ingredients (chicken, beef, rice, corn and wheat) unless there is a well known reason not to.
If you are or would consider feeding a home cooked diet, we STRONGLY recommend consulting with a veterinary nutritionist to ensure the quality of the food you feed.
Believe me, I know this will raise MANY questions and perhaps outrage! Many of us at the clinic are facing the same questions and decisions for our own pets and we will continue to share our thoughts and ideas on pet food. As always, we are committed to being open minded, listening to all sides of this topic and doing our best to share thoughtful and common sense recommendations to our beloved clients and patients.
Included below are several links with more information about this topic.