When it comes to nutrition advice for your dogs, most people go to their veterinarian, assuming he/she is the expert on canine nutrition. But is that really the case?
Another topic discussed in the book Feed Your Pet Right by Nestle & Nesheim is the education of veterinarians on the subject of nutrition. I had heard many times before that vets receive little to no nutrition education in vet schools. Nestle & Nesheim researched it by contacting the vet schools in the U.S. and asking them about the level of nutrition education provided in their programs. Some schools provided no nutrition education as a requirement, while most provided very very little.
What might be even scarier is that the education they do receive is primarily provided by large pet food companies. Can you really trust a corporation who sells pet food to provide the best quality education about pet food? There really is a conflict of interest there. Yet vet schools allow pet food companies to come into their schools and provide vet students with lots of freebies. Medical schools do not allow drug companies to do this in medical schools, so why do vet schools allow these types of activities? I guess they have a hard time giving up all the freebies and money that the pet food companies provide. It's a win-win for the pet food companies and the vet schools. But I think it's a huge loss for those of us with dogs.
Does this mean our vets knows nothing about nutrition? Not necessarily, but it does mean that they will have had to actively seek out additional education on their own. Vets are supposed to be the experts on this topic, but many of them are not. In addition, many vets sell pet foods in their practices. Again, this seems to be a conflict of interest. They make money selling foods, so are they really recommending what is best for our dogs, or are they recommending what will bring in the most money for them?
Do I look to my vet for nutrition advice? Yes, but I also look for vets who have made a point to study nutrition. AND, I make sure I do lots of my own research on dog nutrition so that I can speak intelligently with my vet. One resource that I especially like is the Whole Dog Journal.