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Dog Food Logic
  • I'm hard to impress when it comes to nutrition books; contrary to what many believe, vet students in my generation DO get nutrition education, and no, it's not all paid for by food companies (Ha! I wish! With 6-figure debt, it'd be nice to catch a break.) Sometimes food companies will sponsor a lunch lecture, but that's about it. We're also limited to how much discounted stuff we can get through various companies (the schools want to challenge the perception that we're bought and paid for before graduation).

    But I digress. As I said, I'm hard to impress when it comes to nutrition books, and Dog Food Logic impressed me.

    Instead of telling you what to feed, the author breaks down many different aspects of the choices we make when choosing a food/feeding style. She doesn't come down harder on one method/company than any other and is an equal-opportunity investigator. She also cites scientific studies throughout the book, both for humans and animals, and includes take-away messages for the less science-inclined among us.

    I think the part I enjoyed most about the book was that the author wants to teach her readers how to think critically, and how to dissect what companies tell us carefully. I knew about some of the marketing tactics already, but some of the stuff I wouldn't have even thought about. It's amazing how things like wording, font choice, etc, can influence our decision-making. She dissects the manufacturing/co-packing business wonderfully, too.

    I will say I wish she'd done more to help dispel the myths I mentioned above about vets. Yes, past generations have been taught that certain brands are best. The profession is more diversified now. We're taught not to push a certain brand/diet, but to inform people to the best of our ability what's out there. We're also taught not to chase away those who feed raw; whether or not you agree with it, your clients are going to come to you for advice, and if you don't advise them, someone else--someone looking to take advantage of them--will. I really wish she'd addressed that more, but as she is not a vet herself, it's understandable.

    Overall, it's a really great book and I highly recommend it. I could see people taking issue with a few of her arguments, but she's got solid science behind them. It's an unbiased look at feeding our dogs, and it definitely made me think.
  • niki82niki82
    Posts: 434
    Hi @Lrose I was just reading through on some of your comments on raw diet feeding. Do most vets really dislike it when dogs and cats are fed raw? If so what is the reason for this? Is it mainly to do with parasites or do they feel raw is not an adequate overall diet? I say most vets because I have had a good discussion with my vet about feeding my picky pup raw and he didn't seem offended by it he was actually supportive and just gave me advice and information on ensuring Sora's diet is adequate (especially during her growing time) and basic hygiene when preparing raw meat. As it is I feed Sora some k9 RAW(beef and tripe) Wellness core kibble, rib bones and raw chicken necks and wings as well as an egg once in a while and different fresh meats. Obviously it's not all fed on the same day!:) I pick and choose what to feed her each day depending on what she has had the day before. Anyway I'm just interested on your thoughts.
  • Lrose1990Lrose1990
    Posts: 80
    So I can't speak for most veterinarians, especially not those a generation or more ago. I'm not offended by raw diets either, provided they are done well and with help from a vet. I don't generally feel comfortable recommending them in a house with very young kids, immunocompromised people, etc. due to the risks associated with handling raw meat. Dogs lick faces, and humans have a hard enough time avoiding cross-contamination when preparing our own food ;)

    There have been concerns with raw diets providing adequate nutrition. You have people who do no research and assume muscle tissue alone is enough. Bones can pose GI risks, so most dogs aren't able to eat raw bones without supervision. Sometimes necks include the thyroid gland, and the hormones present in the gland can lead to issues if consumed (obviously over time and with multiple exposures, but still).

    However, there are people who have dogs doing great on raw diets. With research and great care handling the food, I think it can absolutely be done. It's harder, but if you feel strongly about it and have a vet--or even better, a veterinary nutritionist/nutrition consultant--on board, do your thing. Be wary of people on the Internet with dubious credentials, and ALWAYS wash your hands!

    Bottom line is this: raw diets are out there now and clients want to feed them. We are now taught in school to try and work with clients instead of shooing them away. If you don't advise the client, they may get advice from someone who doesn't know what they're doing.

    Of course, it goes without saying that the myth of vets being in the pockets of food companies is untrue. Unless someone works for a company, it's unlikely they get much in the way of kickbacks for promoting a brand. In fact, at the Midwest vet conference, more natural and homeopathic companies were giving out free samples, etc while the big name brands were handing out tote bags (I have waaaaay too many totes now. I could feasibly help a small nation shop more sustainably.) Yes, some vets are diehard loyalists for brands, but the brands vets tend to like are the ones from companies that do a lot of research into animal health, not just nutrition.

    I like dog food logic because it encourages people to try and figure out what's best for them and their pets. I encourage you to check it out!
  • imBLASIANimBLASIAN
    Posts: 366
    @Lrose1990 - What about shots and vaccinations? There have been several articles over the past few months regarding the over-vaccination of livestock. Has this been applied or discussed relating to pets?
  • niki82niki82
    Posts: 434
    Thanks @Lrose! :)
  • Lrose1990Lrose1990
    Posts: 80
    imBLASIAN said:

    @Lrose1990 - What about shots and vaccinations? There have been several articles over the past few months regarding the over-vaccination of livestock. Has this been applied or discussed relating to pets?



    This is a touchy subject with many. In general, puppy shots are very important because puppies don't have fully developed immune systems. Mom's antibodies, transferred in colostrum, only protect for a certain period of time, and unfortunately we have no way of knowing how long those antibodies persist in an individual puppy. Often, there is a vulnerable period where mom's antibodies fade and the pups have not yet been vaccinated.

    As dogs age, they don't need to be vaccinated as often, though I don't recommend altering your pet's vaccine schedule based on my advice. Talk to your vet or find a vet that will work with you if you choose to do something non-traditional.

    Additionally there are vaccines that are more "life style" vaccines which are more necessary for individuals in certain situations (boarding, Lyme disease heavy area, etc).

    Some in the profession feel we do overvaccinate, based on persisting levels of immunity measured via titers. In a perfect world, immunity would last a lifetime (or at least a very long while) and we wouldn't need to boost immunity so often. However, things happen and few immune systems read the textbooks. Viruses, for example, can dampen the immune response for some time, as can the stress of a bad infection of any kind. Stress itself, malnutrition, and all kinds of other things can affect immune function.

    As an example, I had to get rabies vaccines to go to vet school. Since vet students and vets have a higher risk of exposure than the general population, we get vaccinated. I had my initial series of shots done in 2012, and as of summer 2015, my rabies antibody titer was still adequate. Some of my vet friends have had good titers for 10 years, others had to get a booster after 2 1/2 years.

    I always recommend getting rabies shots as your vet recommends, simply because of the dangerous zoonotic nature of the disease and because local laws may demand it. Additionally, if your dog is current on rabies vaccination and bites someone, there's a much better chance of them getting home alive (animals with unclear records are usually quarantined for long periods of time due to the long incubation period of the disease, and may be euthanized). Again, puppy shots are very important.

    Overall, I think it's best to work with your vet and assess your pet's risk/vaccine schedule. The vet I currently use doesn't push unnecessary pokes, and more and more we are recognizing that a schedule working for one dog may not be perfect for another (outside of puppy shots, which tend to be given more uniformly, as parvo really sucks and it's awful to watch a pup go through).

    With regards to vaccine-related tumors and adverse reactions, the risk is generally very low in dogs. Cats are a different story. Bad reactions can happen, but they're a lot rarer than some would have you believe. Obviously every dog is different and it's best to discuss your concerns with your vet :)

  • imBLASIANimBLASIAN
    Posts: 366
    Thanks @Lrose1990 ! I definitely got the puppy shots and rabies, but will probably do titers for the others when that comes up as my pup gets older.