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How to Find a Dog Nutrition Expert?
The Importance of Consulting with Reputable Nutrition Experts
Looking for a dog nutrition expert? Whether your dog was diagnosed with a recent health condition or you simply cannot make your mind on what food to feed, you may be looking for advice on determining the best diet for your dog. There seems to be a plethora of information on dog nutrition wherever you turn, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Who should you ask for help? It's easier to first start with who you shouldn't ask for help and several reasons why.
Your Next Door Neighbor
This could also read "your friend at the dog park" or your cousin. What's wrong with asking these people? They will likely recommend you a food they are feeding their dogs. Just because their dogs are thriving on a certain food doesn't necessarily mean your dog will too. Just as people, each dog is different and responds differently to certain types of food. For instance, a person may thrive on eating pasta while a celiac may get severely ill. Your neighbor may do well on an Atkins diet, while you may do better on a Paleo diet. There are no rules written in stone when it comes to food, we each (humans and dogs) respond differently. This explains why when you read reviews on dog foods, you'll have like half percent of people raving on it, and the remaining half will say it almost killed their dog.
Your Groomer/Pet Sitter /Dog Walker
Sometimes, dog owners may expect groomers, dog walkers and pet sitters etc. to know a whole lot about dogs, but let's not forget about their specializations. Groomers get training in how to groom, dog walkers get training in how to walk dogs and pet sitters are specialized in watching dogs. While they may know a lot about dogs, let's not forget that professionals must be careful in not crossing professional boundaries. Giving health and nutritional advice to clients is crossing boundaries. These professionals should always refer their clients to a veterinarian for health issues or a nutrition expert for nutritional advice.
Your Pet Store Clerk
Yes, pet store clerks should know a minimum about the products they sell, but don't expect them to know a whole lot. Because they want to stay in business, they will certainly try to sell you a dog food they have in stock. If you ask them a good food to feed, they will take you to the aisle with the most expensive foods they have; however, they will rarely tell you "I am sorry, we do not carry the best food for your dog, please go try this XYZ store instead." Their boss may be angry if they do so. Many pet food stores carry only certain brands, and there are chances the best food for your dog is sold somewhere else. Also, as mentioned, each dog is an individual so there is no cookie-cutter approach when it comes to diet.
You will find a plethora of websites written by the average Joe claiming to be a nutrition expert. Yet, when you look at these people's credentials you are deluded because they often have none or close to none. Some are even fake vets or they claim to own a practice when they do not. Perhaps these " Internet-educated "experts" read a book or did some research, but their "expertise" doesn't make them the experts in the field. So don' assume a certain food will do miracles on your dog just because Mr. Joe said so.Yes, it could be they are not biased by pet food representatives, but more often than not, they are often trying to promote a certain food , which makes them biased as well from their own marketing strategies. We live in a money-making world where it is hard to see what's exactly behind a person's agenda. Sure, these experts may have a sincere interest in nutrition, but once again, they are NOT the experts in the field.
Your Veterinarian/Veterinarian Staff
You weren't expecting this one, were you? First let's debunk a certain myth that has been promulgated for too long. Many people are going on the Internet claiming that vets know very little about dog nutrition because they are biased by pet food representatives that routinely visit their offices and because they receive no education or very little education in regards to nutrition. The truth is, most vets take at least a semester course on nutrition and much more nutritional education is received throughout their other courses in their careers. Skep Vet, a licensed, practicing veterinarian who blogs and takes a skeptical & science-based look at Veterinary Medicine, states though that this education still does not make them the real "experts" in the field. Yes, they do study nutrition, but most have only general knowledge of veterinary nutrition. What does this mean to the pet owner? That a veterinarian's recommendation on a certain dog food shouldn't necessarily be taken for gold. Of course, as with everything, there are exceptions, and I have personally known some great vets that are up-to-date on the best nutrition advice and look at each dog individually, but finding the best food for your dog requires time and a consult, and thus, takes the expertise of a specialist.
Looking for websites created by Veterinary Nutritionists?
You may be looking for a veterinary nutritionist or may want to look for some tips from them. While they prepare individualized diets based on a dog's medical history, some offer helpful tips on their websites. Here are a couple of helpful resources:
Balance IT by Sean Delaney, DVM, MS, DACVN
So who are The Real Dog Nutrition Experts?
At this point, you may be wondering who are the real dog nutrition experts. As with other specializations, there are true experts in the field, only thing is that they are not that popular, so you may have never heard of them. The real experts in the field are board-certified veterinary nutritionists, professionals who have made training in nutritional science their primary specialization are diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN)-- not to be confused with the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition (AAVN)
The training of these specialists involves intensive research activities lasting at least two years. Attendants must pass a written examination to obtain board certification. What tasks does specializing in nutrition entail? Many tasks involve formulating commercial foods, home-prepared diets and supplements based on an individual basis, other tasks include consulting with regular vets, conducting research and teaching. Diplomates can be found on the ACVN website and are divided by State. At this moment, there seems to be about only 70 diplomates in the whole United States. No wonder they are so hard to come by! They can be found in this directory. Veterinarians who are diplomates of ACVN use the acronym DACVN following their name.
So if you are looking for the right diet for a dog with a certain medical condition or you want to try a home-based diet or raw diet but want to make sure you are not depriving your dog from any important nutrients, a qualified veterinary nutritionist is the best person to ask. He or she we will review your dog's medical history, your dog's diet history and will discuss an individualized feeding strategy to best meet your dog's nutritional needs.
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