My name is Thomas Griner. I am an associate veterinarian at an animal hospital in a small town in Georgia. I do not have any contracts with, nor do I receive any financial compensation for any opinions or recommendations. This varies greatly from a majority of the people who discuss diets online. These bloggers, who are almost never veterinary experts or nutrition experts, admit to receiving compensation for products mentioned and promoted on their websites, or from the websites that sell them. Instead, I am typing on my computer after an already long day at the office, because I care. I’m also writing because I am tired of compassionate pet owners being scared out of their money because they think the food they are feeding is not good enough or somehow harmful.
A terribly exaggerated video came across my news feed yesterday, and since then, I have been shocked and a little disappointed at the channels that have been redistributing it. This video was produced by a website that admittedly receives monetary compensation from the companies of the products it promotes.
This article is intended to reduce the panic caused by the video, point out some pretty idiotic and misleading scare tactics, and finally offer my “opinion” on the commercial dog food industry based on my veterinary education, personal experience with my EIGHT animals, and experience with patients.
Myths about pet food:
What I recommend and what I look for in a dog food:
Finally, because these bloggers, who prey on well-intending pet owners, always include a sob story to help sell you, so they can profit, I will include mine. Even though, I won’t benefit financially, and I am not trying to sell you anything. I considered not including this story because I didn’t intend to promote one brand over another, and I do not.
Nevertheless, I am a 6’ tall 220-pound man who lived under the constant shame of having a 4-pound Chihuahua as a best friend. Her name was Taylor, and she had me wrapped from the first time I zipped her up in my jacket, on a freezing 70-degree night in South Georgia, to keep her warm. Taylor was my first veterinary emergency as a new associate. I took her in because she was having trouble breathing. Taylor had a heart disorder that she was born with, but until now it had not caused her any significant problems.
Taylor was entering heart failure, as was expected at some point. She was started on heart medication, but her already finicky appetite had all but ceased. As a vet I know that this happens, but as a dad it broke my heart to think she was starving to death. We directly associate our pet’s appetite with love and well-being. This is why we are such easy targets for food companies and the bloggers who profit from recommending them. I tried anything to get Taylor to eat. I offered canned, dry, semi-moist. I added shredded cheese and peanut butter. I literally tried anything I could think of to get Taylor to eat and tried any brand. I really didn’t care if she ate a balanced diet at this point if she would JUST EAT! I finally offered her Hill’s Small and Toy Breed. The kibble is smaller than anything else I had found and she actually ate it. I didn’t hold my breath, because she would occasionally eat a little only to decide later, she didn’t like the food anymore. To my excitement, Taylor continued to eat the food and because she could now take her medicine, she started to feel better. Taylor actually gained weight on the food. She was always underweight and this was the first time she had ever been an ideal weight. This is incredible considering she was entering the end stages of heart failure. Taylor passed away a few months ago, an incredible four years after she entered congestive heart failure. For anyone who has experienced this with their own pet, they know that this is an amazing feat. Taylor didn’t live four more years because she ate Hill’s, and she also didn’t die because she did. But because Taylor ate, she had four more quality years, and I had four more (not nearly enough) quality years.
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Waycross, GA 31501
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