Guest Post: Dr Rex Riggs on critical thinking and pet food

Dr GoogleWow, how many dog and cat foods are out there now!  Did you know, in our grocery stores, pet food is the number one grossing item?  It outsells the next 6 items combined!  In 2013, dog and cat owners in the United States, spent $21,000,000 dollars on food. Twenty one million dollars! Dog and cat food is BIG business. So it no wonder that the number of companies making pet food has exploded.  Some of these foods are good, some are heavily marketed with unsubstantiated claims.  Buyer beware.

What do they say about opinions?  Everyone has one.  I hear all the time, “my brother’s girlfriend’s brother worked in the kennel at a vet’s office and he said…..”  Maybe he is right, but you need to check it out yourself.  Do you go to the internet?  Just remember, there is no editor on the internet so anyone can say anything, and will, to sell a product.   Do you ask the people in the pet store? Maybe, but where are they getting their information?  More than likely from the company representative of the foods they are selling. They have a vested interest in having you buy that specific food, often the one with the highest profit margin. 

So where do I think you should turn to?  I would say your vet.  Now, I have heard many times people saying that they were told vets don’t get any training in pet nutrition.  Well don’t tell Dr Tony Buffington at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine that, he might wonder what he has been teaching vet students for so long. 

The fact is, yes we do get taught nutrition in school, and like any other professions, the dedicated doctors keep current through continuing education and reading. Many veterinary colleges have a veterinary nutritionist on staff to answers your questions (http://vet.osu.edu/vmc/nutrition-support).  

I, like most vets, only sell prescription foods in our hospital. So, there is no ulterior motive for us to have your animal on a particular food.  My only motive is to make sure your pet is on the right food for them. 

Be careful of the fads and hype.  In such a crowded arena, everyone is trying to grab a niche.  Some of these fads are based on pseudo-science, only to sell their product. During the last 3 years, the FDA recalls of pet foods has sky rocketed.  Coincidence?  I think not.

So…BE A CRITICAL THINKER.  If it sounds too good to be true or too far out, It just might be.  Go to your veterinary resources available, because… vets are the experts.

Here is an excellent Myth Busters article written by Dr. Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist at Tufts University College of Veterinary Medicine.  It will answer all your questions.

Related Posts
March is Pet Nutrition Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Podcast: Pet Nutrition with Dr Patrick Mahaney
Guest Post: Dr Rex Riggs on critical thinking and pet food


Other posts by Dr Riggs


Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.

 



Podcast: Pet Nutrition with Dr Patrick Mahaney

I love talking pet nutrition with Dr Patrick Mahaney. There is always something new to learn. This month, we cover the following questions:

  1. How can I find a good guide for the number of calories my cats should eat per day. One goes out when there’s no polar vortex outside, the other two stay in. I don’t believe the suggested amounts on the food bags and cans I buy.
  2. Are there any other options besides prescription diets for pets with renal/kidney issues (c/d, s/d)? I'd really prefer to feed something that is healthier but will also help with struvite/oxolate crystals.
  3. Can you comment on dry vs wet vs raw food. What are your thoughts on a raw diet for allergies? or raw diets in general
  4. How long should a puppy be on puppy food?
  5. Does Patrick feel a puppy should be on probiotics during their vaccination series to reduce/eliminate allergies in the future?
  6. I've been hearing a lot of questions on the grain free diets come up lately. What is the verdict on these for dogs and cats? As well the by-products ingredients being bad - are they really and what exactly are they?

Click on the link below to hear the audio:

Laura Bennett & Dr Patrick Mahaney Pet Nutrition 2014


 One website that Dr Patrick mentions is a Basic Calorie Calculator that's provided by Ohio State's Veterinary Medical Center. You can calculate your dog's ideal caloric intake per day using the formula on this page.

Related Posts
March is Pet Nutrition Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Podcast: Pet Nutrition with Dr Patrick Mahaney
Guest Post: Dr Rex Riggs on critical thinking and pet food

Other posts by Dr Patrick Mahaney


Dr Patrick MahaneyDr. Mahaney is a veterinarian from the University of Pennsylvania and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, having been inspired by his own chronic pain from Intervertebral Disc Disease to provide accupuncture to his veterinary clients. In addition to Dr Mahaney's house call integrative veterinary medicine business, California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness, he sees patients on an in-clinic basis at Veterinary Cancer Group in Culver City, CA. Dr Mahaney writes a veterinary column (Patrick's Blog) forwww.PatrickMahaney.com and contributes to a variety of media, including Perez Hilton's TeddyHilton.com, Fido Friendly, Veterinary Practice News, Healthy Pets and People with Dr Patrick on OutImpactRadio.com, and MSNBC Sunday with Alex Witt and Career Day. His first book, The Uncomfortable Vet, will be available in 2014 through Havenhurst Books



March is Pet Nutrition Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

When you think about it, our bodies, and those of our pets, are incredible machines. For example, these machines fix themselves (most times) when things break, and we don't have to eat precise diets to stay alive (not like my car that only takes a very certain type of very expensive liquid and my mechanic loves that my car doesn't fix itself.)

It doesn't mean though that all that we eat is good for us in the long run, and eating a better quality of food is one way we can improve our health without having to go to the doctor. It's very much the same situation for our pets, yet some people are still unaware that the quality of the food we feed our cats and dogs is incredibly important. Better and more appropriate foods really do make a difference for our pets.

We are going to talk about pet nutrition in this blog this month. In the meantime, we have some great articles on cat and dog nutrition on our website over at the Water Bowl. For example:

These are just a few of the excellent articles on the pet care page. I recommend you peruse the rest for some good tips and even a contest or two for freebies.

Related Posts
March is Pet Nutrition Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Podcast: Pet Nutrition with Dr Patrick Mahaney
Guest Post: Dr Rex Riggs on critical thinking and pet food



Podcast: your questions on pet dental health with Dr Patrick Mahaney

This month, we are talking pet dentals. It’s Pet Dental Health Month according to the AVMA so it’s as good a time as any to talk about teeth and pets and why keeping teeth healthy is good for your pet’s overall health.

In our podcast, Dr Patrick and I address the following questions:

What is the current status of dog and cat dental health - good, bad, or plain ugly?

Why is brushing your pet's teeth so important? How can you make it a positive and simple daily task if you're just beginning to brush their teeth?

What are some examples of instances when it might be best to forgo dental care?

What OTC products work best for helping to control dental tartar, etc. (examples are the water additives, gels, chews, etc.) for your pet in addition to brushing their teeth?

I've heard that once you do a dental cleaning, you have to continue doing them regularly because it wears away the teeth and leaves them vulnerable. Is that true?

Click on the link below to hear the audio:

Laura Bennett & Dr Patrick Mahaney Pet Dental Month
 

Related Posts
February is Pet Dental Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: why do a dog or cat dental cleaning?
Podcast: your questions on pet dental health with Dr Patrick Mahaney

Other posts by Dr Patrick Mahaney


Dr Patrick MahaneyDr. Mahaney is a veterinarian from the University of Pennsylvania and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, having been inspired by his own chronic pain from Intervertebral Disc Disease to provide accupuncture to his veterinary clients. In addition to Dr Mahaney's house call integrative veterinary medicine business, California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness, he sees patients on an in-clinic basis at Veterinary Cancer Group in Culver City, CA. Dr Mahaney writes a veterinary column (Patrick's Blog) forwww.PatrickMahaney.com and contributes to a variety of media, including Perez Hilton's TeddyHilton.com, Fido Friendly, Veterinary Practice News, Healthy Pets and People with Dr Patrick on OutImpactRadio.com, and MSNBC Sunday with Alex Witt and Career Day. His first book, The Uncomfortable Vet, will be available in 2014 through Havenhurst Books

 



Guest Post: why do a dog or cat dental cleaning?

Embrace friend and advisor, Dr Rex Riggs, talks about why you should go ahead with the expense of a dental cleaning under anesthesia with X-rays. It's needed people!


Periodontal disease is the most common disease seen in our pets. Think about it. If we did not brush our teeth, used no mouthwash, ate whatever we can put in our mouth including, for dogs, that tasty hors d’ourve, the ever popular cat turd, what would our teeth look like? Put on top of this chomping down on deer antlers, bones, and nylabones, and you get a lot of chipped and broken teeth.

How many of us have had root canals?  They are a result of tooth root abscesses and they hurt like a mother. Dogs and cats have these same tooth root abscesses and continue to eat. They are great at hiding their pain.  How they do that is beyond me.  Did I mention tooth root abscesses hurt like a mother? 

Dental care in our pets is so important to the animal’s wellbeing and quality of life.  The plaque, which accumulates on the teeth, is just a harbouring site for bacteria that can be responsible for gingivitis as well as for infections a long way from teeth, such as the heart valves and kidneys, once it gets seeded in the blood stream. Dental health is not something to overlook.

Do you have some reservations about pet dentals, perhaps because of recent media stories? Recently ABC did a 20/20 story that talked about how vets use dentals as a scare tactic for clients to schedule dentals strictly as a underhanded way to make money.  They implied dental x-rays in our pets are just not needed.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

There is a great article, "How Honest is your Veterinarian" written by Steve Dale, who is a journalist, not a veterinarian, about this piece of yellow journalism, and how it's simply not true.  It is a very good read if you have a moment.

Dental radiography is very important in veterinary medicine and I would go as far as to say a vet should not be doing dentals without the ability to do intra-oral x-rays. You just can’t see what is going on under the gums where about 60% of the tooth lies.  Tooth root abscesses (which looks like a black halo around the root), bone loss around the tooth, and fractured roots are just three of the things you need an x-ray to diagnose.  Sometimes there are extra teeth, called supranumary teeth, lurking beneath the gum line. You would not be able to tell all these problems were going on just by looking at the teeth, even under anesthesia.

Check out the document below with radiographs illustrating the wonders of dental radiology. You will soon see that a lot of what is shown could not be seen with out x-rays.

Download Dental X Rays in dogs

 

Related Posts
February is Pet Dental Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: why do a dog or cat dental cleaning?

Other posts by Dr Riggs


Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.





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