I am a science based person. My education includes degrees in Animal and Poultry Science, and Biology. In addition, I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
Did I have classes in nutrition? This comes up as I often read on the Internet that vets do not have nutritional training. Well, it’s a simple answer- yes, my education included animal nutrition. Another common myth, is that vets get “kickbacks ” from pet food companies to recommend diets. This is a joke among veterinarians. We hear this one so much that we wonder where the line is to pick up the check. It never happens.
Yet another often repeated rumor is that veterinarians are educated only by the big pet food companies. We do get information from these companies- guess what? They are the ones financing nutritional research. I’d like to think I am able to differentiate between marketing promises and research findings. I know the general public has trouble doing this with no education in nutrition. That’s why the entire “grain free” movement in pet food took hold. It was ALL marketing. As it turned out, grain free can actually be a cause of heart disease in dogs. I went from never recommending grain free to recommending against it.
I am sometimes asked about raw diets. I have no issue with my barn cat Waffles eating a mouse. But, I stand with the Center for Disease Control and the American Animal Hospital Association (https://search.cdc.gov/search/?query=raw%20diets%20in%20pets.&dpage=1 , https://www.avma.org/javma-news/2012-10-15/aaha-warns-about-raw-pet-diet-risks ) who recommend against feeding raw diets to family pets. There is risk of pathogen spread from pets to human family members. In addition, balancing a diet for pets takes education ( not the Google kind) and is generally time consuming and expensive. Third, lack of peer reviewed, science based research on the advantage of a raw diet. There is plenty of research that concluded that feeding raw is not advisable. Raw proponents have the opportunity to do the research. I’m waiting.
So, what do feed my cats? I feed name brand high quality kibble, mostly Science diet with some ProPlan on occasion and for little kittens, Royal Canine Mother and Baby. In addition, I feed canned food from different companies with a variety of flavors and textures, mostly Purina products as my cats seem to like them best. I do group feed; I don’t know who likes what best.
In conclusion, marketing of pet food is a highly successful business. It’s a pet peeve of mine. The information available on the Internet such as touting “grain free” or “human grade ingredients” often does not correlate with a quality pet food. (https://www.aafco.org/consumers/understanding-pet-food/human-grade/#:~:text=The%20presence%20of%20human%2Dgrade,a%20human%20and%20vice%20versa.) There is good information available . The World Small Animal Veterinary Association is an excellent resource (https://wsava.org/global-guidelines/global-nutrition-guidelines/) .