7. Does the pet food company sponsor basic nutritional research at U.S. veterinary colleges?
The knowledge base of pet nutrition is always growing and changing. The best companies are driving that knowledge forward by sponsoring independent researchers to ask important questions about curing diseases that can affect your pet through nutrition. These studies also help educate future veterinarians.
8. Does the pet food company have a board-certified veterinary nutritionist on staff?
There are only about 85 veterinarians in the United states who have gone on to further study to become board-certified in veterinary nutrition. These are the thought leaders in this industry. Having one or more of these uniquely qualified individuals on staff in your company is a measure of commitment toward nutritional quality and relevance. Both regulations specialists and veterinary nutritionists help to keep the marketing department at bay.
9. Does the company maintain a well-run kennel and cattery?
There is increased and appropriate concern over the plight of research animals. This has caused concern over the conditions of kennels and catteries run by pet-food companies. The dogs and cats at the kennel facilities of the pet-food companies should be well-loved, cared for and socialized, and the company should not be conducting animal studies that involve anything more than taking a blood sample. The best companies maintain a kennel and cattery of happy, well-socialized pets that help ensure complete nutrition for your pet in all life stages and the palatability of their food.
10. Does the company have an 800 number on the bag?
If they do, call it and get their answers to these questions. If they don’t, why don’t they?
Further information is available at ACVN.org, balanceit.com, petdiets.com and, of course, from your veterinarian.
Dr. Elizabeth Bradt is a 1986 graduate of Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and the owner of All Creatures Veterinary Hospital in Salem. Email your pet questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please title your email “Vet Connection.”