As a veterinarian with over 28 years of experience, I can confidently say that vets do not receive bribes from any pet food company. I often hear this question from my customers, and while my answer is always “no”, recent data has made me want to address this topic. When I graduated from college, I continued to buy Science Diet for my dogs and recommended it to all my customers. I also recommended their “prescription products” to patients with various health issues.
I was unaware of other brands and my loyalty had been bought by pet food companies during my four years in veterinary school. This subtle manipulation is more dangerous than making them teach nutrition classes.Nowadays, veterinary students are exposed to many more companies than I was in my student days. Universities such as Cornell have developed corporate sponsorship policies to try to eliminate undue influence. However, when a major raw food manufacturer came to Cornell to talk to the holistic medicine club, it was limited in mentioning its brand and distributing handouts.So why are some companies allowed to talk to students and sell products at discounts while others can't even buy them coffee or give them a free pen? Why make things easier for some (larger) companies compared to others (smaller)?Veterinarians are poorly paid compared to similar professions such as doctors, and specialized veterinarians cost much less than specialized doctors.
According to the recommendations of the WSAVA and Pet Nutrition Alliance, the front desk staff, the veterinary technician and the veterinarian should “talk” to all pet owners about pet food eight different times during a visit to the vet.I tried cooking for my dogs and following a holistic vet's recommended diet, but it didn't solve the problem. That same vet wanted my cat, who had episodes of anxiety and cystitis, to be given a canned food from Utah that would “reduce stress”. Veterinarians should monitor the pet for possible nutritional deficiencies, an acceptable risk in short-term situations.Many customers share the view that their satisfaction with a clinic does not always lie solely with the veterinarian involved. I remind you that veterinarians studied for many years and that they are actually poorly paid compared to similar professions.
The Association of Veterinary Nutritionists should see this as a red alert about the need to include veterinary nutrition as a mandatory course in the basic curricula of all veterinary schools. In conclusion, vets do not get paid to recommend certain foods. They are simply trying to provide the best care for their patients. It is important for pet owners to be aware of all their options when it comes to pet food and nutrition so they can make an informed decision.