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I think many of you are probably as well educated, if not more educated than a lot of veterinarians in the area of dog nutrition. There's no doubt in my mind. That's why I value your advice and comments. Thank you all.

I went to my vet last night for a routine exam, and while there I wanted to discuss the topic of raw diets with him. He said a variety of things, but there were three general comments.

1. In his experience, raw diets are not what they're cracked up to be
2. I should be concerned with the risks of undigested, bone chards that he has had to remove from some animals, sickness from this, problems with that due to raw food bacteria, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
3. "Buuuuttttt...it it YOUR dog Craig, so...."

You get the idea.

I found it interesting when my Wife asked what HE feeds HIS dog, and he said "Science Diet". I almost threw up on his floor.

He said that while some of his clients do feed raw, the dogs that he has seen have not looked good. He mentioned one dog in particular that came in with a scruffy coat, very lethargic, etc., etc. "After putting the dog back on a reguar kibble diet, shazam!...the dog looked GREAT.

"Buuuuttttt...it it YOUR dog Craig, so...."

As part of the physical, we took a stool sample in for testing. Later in the evening, my Wife talked with him when he called. He said, "I hope Craig's not mad at me, I don't think he agreed with me on the raw diet..."

I noticed the non-slip surface on the dog scale had a nice Hill's Prescription-Science Diet logo. I noticed the nice wall chart with the Hill's Prescription-Science Diet logo. As I was walking out of the office, I noticed several bags of Hill's Prescription-Science Diet with clients' contact info on.

I know, first hand, what it's like (as I'm sure many of you do as well) to have to make the life/death decision to keep your dog alive when their time has come. I had to make that decision last year for my dog.

I faithfully fed her Hill's Prescription-Science Diet food (per the vet's recommendation), and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't shame myself for not learning more about dog nutrition. Every day I wonder how much more of her life my Wife and I could have enjoyed had I been a more educated owner.

Now, for our new girl Lex, I'm trying to make the best nutrition decisions I can, but I don't feel like I can trust much of the advice of my vet.

Comments?

Thank you all.
Craig
 

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My vet also sells Science Diet, but he sounds more open-minded about the raw diet than your vet. I feed Kodee Orijen Adult (grain-free kibble), and supplement w/raw. My vet gave me the pros/cons of raw, and left it up to me.

What you could do is consult a holistic vet re: your nutritional questions, and use your traditional vet for medical issues. I interviewed a few vets about 6 mos ago, as I wasn't thrilled with the vet I have, and Kodee is so important to me, I just decided to find someone I was happier with. In the process of talking to different vets, i found one who is a holistic DVM, who said she'd be happy to consult re: nutrition, acupuncture, etc, while I have my other new vet (who's board certified) for vaccinations, exams, etc.

If you are really unhappy w/the vet you have now, I'd get a new one. Don't compromise, or you may end up 2nd guessing yourself later.

Good luck!!
 

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IMO most vets will be against raw or anything other than filthy science diet since they all benefit from their proceeds.

Do as you feel it's best. I feed mine Orijen and Canidae half & half and he's doing great.

I have big doubts vets have straight facts about nutrition and will most likely recommend brands that drop lots of $$$ on them.


I would love to be a fly on the wall and visit their homes to see what they really feed!!!!
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Everybody here knows I'm a proponent of raw feeding.

But if I had to put myself in your vet's shoes (or any vet, for that matter) I can understand the hesitation.

An uninformed person could harm their dog feeding a homemade diet if they don't know what they are doing. We've had plenty of people wander onto this forum with some questionable notions about what constitutes a proper canine diet. I don't think it's ever an issue of malice--people want to do what's right--but sometimes it's just pure misinformation or ignorance.

I wouldn't recommend raw feeding to somebody else if I didn't think they were really committed to doing it right. It takes some doing. Honestly, for most people, kibble is probably a better way to feed their dog. I'd much rather see a dog fed a decent kibble than a poorly conceived homemade diet.

All that said---I think that you, Craig, are an excellent candidate for feeding raw. You're highly motivated to learn about this, and are doing it because you want to give your dogs a premium diet--not because it's a fad, or easy, or whatever.

The warnings given by your vet have been discussed to death. There's just not much else to say except he's wrong.

I recently switched vets after being with the same vet practice for 25 years. Their attitude about raw feeding was only one reason (but it was an important one to me.) With as much money as I give a vet's office in a year, I don't see any reason that I should be made to feel stupid or uninformed by them as I hand them hundreds of dollars. I went out and found a vet that more closely matches the way I want to raise my dogs. I'm just not interested in battling with people who are supposed to be helping me.
 

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If you like your vet other than the raw disagreement, then I say stay with your vet, and feed what you feel comfortable with. Two of my other vets do not agree with feeding a raw diet, however they are good vets. My current vet that I deal with is very open to raw plus he is a good vet, so this does make it easier for me. But I personally would not hesitate to stay with a GOOD vet I felt comfortable with just because they did not like they way I fed my dogs..just me...

My vet is always saying gosh your dogs look great..

I will say though that even though my other vets don't care for a raw diet, they did not preach it to me either though.
 

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I do feed a kibble, but I read with interest the comments of people who feed raw, and in the back of my mind, I would like to try raw, but I don't know if DH would go along with it. He's one, I feel sure, would not be comfortable with the bacteria issues, etc. And, with our need to keep Mitzi on a low fat/low fiber diet, we have a kibble that meets that need.

One thing that keeps going thru my mind, tho, is a comment that my mother made to me quite a while back, that while she was growing up they always had multiple dogs/cats, and that commerical dog foods were not around when she was younger. Their dogs ate table scraps. And while that might be a statement that would raise concerns now, I think that back then, everyone lived a simpler lifestyle, and ate better (aka real) food than what we do now - we eat far too much processed food nowadays.

The more I look around and read up on things, the more suspicious I am of comercially made products in general.

I read the statement that all around your vets office are the science-diet labled items, and have to laugh, as my own dr. told us at one visit that her old group practice had to take down every single item - informational wall charts, etc, in their offices that were provided by drug mfg reps. - All so that they could not be accused of taking payment or whatever from the drug companies to promote their products. Maybe the vets should do the same thing.
 

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Tracy,
You're absolutely correct. I want to do what's BEST for "Lex". I'm damned determined to no longer be ignorant about animal nutrition. I understand that her life is in my hands.

My Wife asked my vet if he had read the book "Food Pets Die for: Shocking Facts About Pet Food" by Ann Martin. He said, "No...but I've heard about it". I get a kick out of one of the comments made by my vet. "Yeah, but I'd like to see the degrees held by the people who write these books and support raw diets..."

It was very insultive as you might imagine. Yeah, like holding a college degree, etc. in and of itself adds credibility. That's laughable. I know lots of incompetent attorneys, CPA's, etc.

I'm not thinking of switching vets solely because he doesn't like the raw diet concept. I don't think that would be smart. I'm thinking of switching because I feel like "just a number" to them as well as a variety of other reasons.

<sigh>

Craig
 

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If you're at all worried that your dog might not receive optimum care at your current vet due to a raw-fed diet, I would start looking for a new vet now. There are some vets out there that will just not see past a 'different' diet to properly diagnose your dog. I ran into one of them. It is unfortunate, but some vets just get 'tunnel vision' when it comes to raw-feeding. Any illness MUST be caused by the different diet.

I used to work at a vet's office that recommended Hills, Purina or Iams almost exclusively. I'd never heard of Timberwolf Organics, Merrick, Natural Balance, etc. until I got my own dog and did research. I was determined to feed my future dogs raw, however, and never bought into the kibbles they were selling. All of the vets and most of the staff fed their dogs Hills food and none of them were pro-raw. I remember the small 'uproar' over a client looking to get a new puppy from a breeder that required the pup to be raw-fed. Not sure they'd be too happy to have me as a client there again with Risa.


I am sure your vet has probably seen dogs that were fed improper raw diets. To feed raw correctly, you have to do a lot of research beforehand. You need to know the WHYs of the diet as well as the hows. I don't doubt that you're willing to do that research but many people are not. Those people would be better off feeding kibble, as Tracy said.

One of the other raw feeders I often talk to has often wondered why human doctors are always encouraging us to eat fresh foods and less processed junk but veterinarians encourage us to feed our dogs processed foods. Not saying all kibble is bad and raw/homecooked is good (as you have to do what works best for your dog and your family). Just gives you something to think about.
 

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One of the vets at my clinic puts it this way: "Look, veterinary prescription diets have their place. MOST owners aren't going to cook for their dogs. They want an easy fix. If the dog has allergies or kidney failure, they want to open a can or a bag -- they'll complain about the cost the whole time, but they'll do it -- and they want an easy fix.

That's why we sell the veterinary diets. And veterinary diets are designed by vets. They are helpful. For you, Lori, I wouldn't recommend one ever. You know what to do when your dog gets sick. I have a handful of owners that do, and maybe a handful of owners who don't, but would be willing to find out. For the rest, veterinary diets for sick dogs are very helpful."

When you look at the shelves at the office, the product is veterinary prescription diets. That's the attitude of the other vets at my clinic as well. The actual owner of the vet clinic (my vet) has limits about Hills/Purina/Iams reps dropping by and giving away freebies (he doesn't tolerate it). Veterinary diets can be helpful. They're not the essential part of what they do.

I'm with the others. I'm sure there are a number of owners doing raw diets the wrong way. I don't casually tell people I feed my dog a raw diet because I don't want them thinking it's something that's easy to do. It IS easy to actually do on a day-to-day basis, once you've spent a lot of time and effort researching and learning. I tell them I feed a "home-made" or "homecooked" diet, which sounds like more work. If they're still interested, then I'll talk details.

My vet is thrilled with how all three of my dogs look. And all three of them eat different diets: the GSD eats raw with cooked vegetables; my senior eats cooked meat with premium grain-free kibble; my puppy eats raw meat, cooked meat, veggies, and kibble, and I'll transition her to a raw diet once she's a bit bigger (she weighs just 8 lbs now).

I think that for a vet, it's got to be kind of scary to hear an owner say, "I've been to this internet site, and I've learned from the people there (none of them veterinarians) how to design my dog's raw diet. And that's what I'm going to do from now on." We all know that there are some really dumb things on the internet, some frighteningly wrong. In fact, even on this board, there are frequently posts that I find pretty scary, and I wonder, "these people are doing THIS with their dogs?" (But yes, I realize they might wonder the same thing about what I do with mine.)

And in this BARF forum, you will find a huge spectrum of what we feed our dogs. We all believe what we're serving our dogs for their meals is the best for our dogs. In theory, we can't ALL be right, right?

When I told my vet I was going to feed a raw diet, as his eyebrows started to go up just a little, I outlined for him what I meant by that. What I would feed on a daily basis -- what meats, what bones, what extras, what supplements, etc.

When I was done, he was happy with the healthy balanced diet my dog was eating. He made a few small recommendations. I was thrilled that my vet understood and was on board. And we've all lived happily ever after.

If you think you might prefer to stay with your vet, outline for him exactly what you plan to feed your dog -- spreadsheets, weight/caloric intake, supplements. (It will help YOU come up with a real plan as well, so you're not just kind of winging it.). I found it helpful to get my vet's input and get him and the other vets in the office on board. I have a feeling that doing this has or will make it easier for other raw feeders who walk into their office door after me as well. Even if you switch vets, I think this is a good idea. The next vet might be more open-minded but not any more informed.

For me, being able to articulate what my dog eats specifically and why is good for his dog's health. When I consult with specialists/trainers/etc telling them he eats "a raw diet," can mean almost anything involving raw meat. Being very specific is very helpful.

Maybe your vet feeds Science Diet to his dog. But that doesn't mean that your vet is an imbecile. Uneducated, ignorant. We change the world one person at a time!
 

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Our Vet is pretty awesome about us feeding ours the Raw diet. She openly admits that she does not know much about it, and therefore does not feel comfortable promoting or endorsing it. She does however recognize the obvious benefits that our dogs have received from it and is always thrilled to hear about it.

I tell her the same that I tell everyone else who asks about it. It can be a fairly complicated diet, one I never ever try to explain or promote to anyone in the street. If people truly are interested, they should do their own research and find out for theirself if it is right for them and their dog.
 
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