Friday, July 24, 2009

Outed at work

So now they all know my secret, I feed raw.

Not all the time. I am sometimes lazy so I do feed kibble too. During hunting season I have access to lots of free deer and moose trimmings and bones which I use to feed my dogs. (the ribs not weight bearing bones and yes I add calcium when needed as well as probiotics and other supplements) I had even stored a bunch of meat up to use through the summer but lost it all recently to a freezer malfunction.

When I first started my new job at the vet I kept my mouth shut about my views on raw diets. They sell a specific brand of kibble and I knew that going in. I figure it is not my job to educate people about the food that they feed their pets in that setting beyond that. (ok perhaps that is rationalization on my part) I love my job and want to keep it though so that is how it is. Call me a sell out if you will. I figure though that EVERYONE has access to the information available if they chose to look for it. Besides, I am simply one person with one opinion.

After being there a few months I did admit to one of the doctors and some other staff that I sometimes fed raw but only as one meal a day and with supplements added. (which is all true) When Missy had her scare with the mast cell tumors I switched her to all raw until we got results back. (cancer thrives on sugar which is very readily found in kibble food) But I didn't tell them that. I wasn't sure of the reaction I might get and didn't need any more stress at that time.

Cut to this earlier this week when I took Jenny in to be seen for some extra itchiness. She gets that way at times and I usually manage her with benadryl and baths. I was worried she might be getting a secondary infection or have a staf infection this time so I took her to be checked. I have been toying with the idea of allergy testing but had heard they aren't always as accurate and didn't want to invest in it if that were true. (the jury is still out on this) The doctor said that they prefer you do a food trial before any bloodwork for those tests anyhow. It would be good to know if this was food or an environmental reaction or a combo of both.

Of course he would prefer I use the food they sell there for the trial. In his defense it isn't about profit but because he truly believes in the product. His experience has always been good using/recommending it and he likes the testing they have done on it. I cannot fault him for that. At least it isn't about making a buck. I also admitted that I am a bit all over the map with kibble food because I tend to change it often for the variety. There are alot of good foods out there and I don't like to feed just one all the time. I guess I just wonder how one food can be balanced if you eat it for every meal. Humans don't do that nor do they recommend that we do. Besides, all dogs are individuals so shouldn't their diet be too? Of course it helps that I have dogs that can tolerate the frequent changes to their systems. Not all are that lucky.

He wants me to use his food because he is familiar with it but I prefer the foods I feed based on my own research. (disclaimer - I am not a vet just a regular person that sometimes reads to much.) So I asked him if I could do a food trial using my own choice of food. He said it would depend on the ingredients and being strict with the protocol. Could he see what was in my food? Um sure.

So I printed off the ingredients listed in the formula of Primal, the commercial raw I decided to switch Jenny to, and set it on his desk. I told him to try not to roll his eyes to much at it. (I thought humor might help.) Later we had a discussion about dog food. It was interesting but neither of us really changed our minds about anything. We only agreed to disagree. (with respect) We did both agree that all dogs are individuals and some do well on things others do not. He did admit the ingredients themselves were good even though he personally isn't a fan of raw diets.

Now for the record I do value his opinion as a vet. I think he is good at what he does and I like his bedside manner. He isn't pushy about his views and he will listen to mine. All good things. And to add to that he is a very good boss. At least so far.

I am very relieved that I no longer need to keep my food opinions a secret at work. Of course this doesn't really change anything as far as clients go. It will still be status quo there. But considering the doctors there are now my dogs vets to I think that is important. And who knows, maybe my experience can be a foot in the door towards new information for them.

FMI on pet food diets check out these books:

Raw Dog Food ~ Make it easy for you and your dog by Carina Beth MacDonald (Why and how to feed a raw diet.)

Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats ~ The ultimate diet by Kymythy R. Schultze C.C.N.,A.H.I. (more about how to feed raw with sample meal plans)

Food pets die for by Ann Martin (Interestingly while disagreeing with vets about feeding kibble she agrees with them about not feeding bones. But the other great info in the book outweighs this one discrepancy.)

Pet Food Politics by Marion Nestle (in inside look at the pet food recall with some alarming info about what may be in our own food supply)


Katie said...

I don't feed raw very often anymore but I kept my mouth shut when I did because it's very politically incorrect in the places I've worked. My opinions on many things, from spay/neuter to declawing to vaccinating to diet to behavior differ significantly from the company line at work. I'm there to represent my bosses and their business, not my own personal beliefs. I struggle with it sometimes and I've been taking a lot of heat over not neuter Steve at six months, but I have to do what I feel is right for my own pets.

Lauren said...

The great food debate is one I constantly struggle with. I recently switched my dogs to Wellness and it gave Simon the worst upset stomach - he clearly doesn't tolerate food switches well (in his defense I did it too quickly waiting until I didn't have much left to mix!) But that being said, I feel the same way about the change. I read somewhere that changing every few months is good for them if they can tolerate it, but unfortunately mine can't. What I'm going to try next is switching the different kinds of Wellness and seeing if he can tolerate just moving through their products.
As for the raw movement, I am very curious about it, but haven't really gotten the nerve to try it. Lizzie is a picky eater and I'm afraid if I start feeding raw occasionally, she'll stop eating kibble altogether.

Mrs. Lazaro said...

I really like him (hence why I take all my animals to him) but yeah, I have had to agree to disagree with him in the past on such subjects as rawhides and kibbles and vaccinations for older ferrets...

I figure no one is perfect, and you're right--he's not pushy--so it's certainly something I can live with. It just makes me glad that I do my research and he does his!

How is Miss Missy?

Marie said...

Katie, I agree. When I'm at work I represent their business. Of course I will continue to make decisions I feel are best for my dogs too. I am lucky though that behaviorally we are on the same page. (we decided to pass on the CM freebies for our clients after watching it for ourselves)

Lauren, there are alot of great e-mail lists for raw people. You can sign up and just read all about it before jumping in. I like Primal brand because it is all inclusive, no need for me to think about it, just thaw and feed. An easy way to get a foot in the door with it.

Hannah, Missy is doing great. I swear she is even more feisty and playful these days. She certainly doesn't act like her age!

Jade Brown said...
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