My veterinarian is anti-raw. What do I do?
Not everyone has yet made the switch to a raw diet for their pets or, in the case of a veterinarian, for their patients. And that's a good thing. Since it is a relatively new concept, it will take time for people to understand and accept it. However, there are a few points to keep in mind when dealing with your veterinarian, technician or administrative staff.
Be respectful when dealing with your veterinarian and the clinic staff. Yes, you may be upset because your pet is sick, but it is important to be calm and respectful of each other.
Remember that your veterinarian is a qualified medical professional who has the expertise and knowledge to treat your pet's injuries or illnesses. He or she also has nutritional knowledge and can make additional recommendations for treating your pet. You also need to work with the veterinarian's staff, whether they are technicians, administrators or other staff members. Think of them as an extension of your veterinarian and show them the respect they deserve to keep the clinic running smoothly.
Of course, you are the primary person responsible for your pet's diet and make the final decision, but you should also treat your veterinarian's suggestions with respect.
Do not keep any diet-related secrets from your veterinarian, even if they are against the raw diet. This is important when it comes to assessing your pet's health and finding the right treatment. Provide detailed information about your pet's diet rather than vague and evasive answers to questions about nutrition.
If your pet is fed at home, tell the veterinarian if it is raw food, cooked food, or a combination of both. Include how much and what ingredients your pet eats and how long they have been on this food. It is more likely that a raw diet will be less acceptable than a cooked diet. However, listen to the veterinarian's concerns about unbalanced homemade diets. Disclose the supplements you are feeding your pet. Some supplements can interact with medications, and your veterinarian needs all the information to best care for and treat your furry family member.
Your veterinarian may be anti-dog, but that doesn't change the fact that he cares about your pet's health. Talk to him openly and address his questions with truthful answers. Do thorough research, and be prepared to prove to the vet that the food you prepare yourself has balanced nutritional values, compensates for deficiencies, and is free of bacteria and parasites. List all the ingredients in the food and explain what each contributes to your pet's health. Many homemade diets also do not contain certain nutrients. Your veterinarian will appreciate you pointing out these deficiencies and showing how to correct them.
Many veterinarians who are against raw diets fear the presence of bacteria and parasites in the food that could harm the pet and its family. However, several tests have been conducted that show this is not a health risk if proper precautions are taken. Finally, the presence of parasites in your pet's food may also be a concern. Since raw food is usually fit for human consumption, it does not contain parasites, and if it is frozen for a few days before being fed, the parasites will be killed.
Establish boundaries if you encounter an exceptionally pushy anti-raw food veterinarian. Communicate your decision to feed only fresh food, even considering the cases veterinarians see almost daily. Explain to the veterinarian that a balanced diet of fresh food, raw or cooked, is possible and that there is no good reason to switch the pet to prepackaged, ready-to-eat food.
If your pet must stay in the hospital, he or she may not have access to homemade food, and you may be uncomfortable with your pet eating processed food. Be willing to compromise and look for alternatives such as commercial freeze-dried raw food.
Your veterinarian can make suggestions and recommendations for changing your pet's diet. These suggestions are based on his or her professional experience, and if you listen to them, you may gain a new perspective. For example, your veterinarian may have an opinion on feeding whole raw meat bones and recommend calcium supplements instead. There have been cases where pets with bone-related emergencies.
There have been cases where pets have rushed to the vet with bone-related emergencies, so your vet's concerns are understandable. However, if you are careful to feed safe raw meat bones, your pet will be fine. Some veterinarians ask you to see a dog or cat nutritionist to make sure the food you prepare yourself is nutritionally balanced.
Ultimately, it's your decision what to include and what not to include, but you'll see improvements with your pet's homemade diet.
If you provide your pet with a nutritionally balanced diet, the results will speak for themselves. Your veterinarian may bring up the subject a few times, but with a little patience, you will find that your dog is doing well health-wise and energy-wise, and that raw feeding is safe.
Despite all your efforts, your veterinarian may not be willing to change his or her negative attitude toward raw feeding. Don't be disappointed and accept that not everyone has to think the way you do. If your relationship with your veterinarian is otherwise good, you may want to continue working with them for the benefit of your pet. Remember that it may not be easy to find a veterinarian who has been around since before your pet was born.
Regardless of whether or not your veterinarian is in favor of raw diets, it is important that you do not worry about his opinion on your dietary choices. Don't withhold information from him or be afraid of his opinion. Develop and maintain a good working relationship, and stand firm.