How can we help you help your dog? Let’s start by making sure you’re finding the right resources on quality dog food.
Dr. Lauren Pagliughi, DVM, lends her veterinary expertise to Just Right by Purina personalized dog food. In this three-part series, Dr. Lauren bridges the gap between what you may have heard about dog nutrition on the Internet and what could help your dog -- giving you the surprising answers your veterinarian wishes you knew. Ready to uncover the truth behind dog food?
"I Read It On The Internet"
In an age when information is at our fingertips, we depend on the Internet’s advice for any topic imaginable. But problems arise when we find truth in every written word, especially when it comes to dog nutrition and the dog food industry. I totally get it. At the end of the day, a pet owner just wants to know what’s the best food for their dog.
But we really need to ask ourselves -- are my sources credible beyond self-taught knowledge? Have they taken an ounce of truth and taken it out of context? Are the ideas too simplified? (Ever heard the phrase, “Don’t believe everything you read?”) It’s definitely possible to separate myth from fact, but it can be especially difficult if the dog people in your circle have also heard the same misinformation.
Tips for Finding Reliable Dog Nutrition Resources
I always recommend that my clients skim the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s tips for finding good information about dog nutrition on the Internet:
- Does your Internet search contradict your veterinarian’s recommendations? If they don’t align, you may want to reconsider the source of your material.
- Who’s the author of the information? Is this person a veterinarian or a professional such as a certified veterinary technician? A pet nutritionist? Are their statements backed up by peer-reviewed scientific studies? Scientists have to go through rigorous processes in order to get their research published so that they can be held accountable for correct information. Bloggers, on the other hand, don’t have anything like that. Anyone can start a blog or a website, so it’s important to know their credentials, beyond just their love for pets and self-taught knowledge.
- Do the testimonials and anecdotes sound too good to be true? Then they probably are. Sound information is supported by research and clinical trials, rather than anecdotes. There are many factors that go into a dog’s health – dog food is just one of those factors.
- Be wary of dog food rating and dog food review sites. These websites tend to sensationalize the presence or absence of specific ingredients, rather than looking at the nutrients (more on that in Part III). Plus, these sites typically only look at the list of ingredients, which doesn’t tell you anything about the quality of a pet food.
BONUS READ: For even more detailed information and answers to very specific questions about your dog’s nutrition, check out The Pet Nutrition Alliance. The “About Pet Food” section just might make you an expert too. ;)
Better Information for a Better Life with Your Dog
The Internet isn’t going anywhere. Neither is the misinformation surrounding the pet food industry. But with verified resources to get you started and dog experts on your side, you can begin busting myths like a pro and helping your dog live the happy, healthy life he deserves.
Want to dive deeper into the surprising things your veterinarian wishes you knew? Check out Parts II and III below. (They only get more interesting from here!)