Use Instagram to bust pet food label myths

June 6, 2019
Shannon Newton

Your veterinary clients are using social sites like Instagram to gain information on how to best help their pets. This is where you and your clinic come in.

Editor's note: Psst! Want this as a client handout? Head here to download and print!

“Oh,” your client tells you, with just a dash of superiority, “Bella only eats this brand because it has real meat and less corn. It's labeled ‘gourmet,' which means it's the best.”

The irony here is that your veterinary client was probably sold that brand through a sponsored ad on Instagram, where over 1 billion people scroll through each month. Now, you'll have to educate your clients on nutrition myths, and you can use the very app they're scrolling through every day to make it happen. Here's how.

Hopefully, you and your clinic have an Instagram account set up. It's super easy to do. (Pro tip: Make sure your clinic's website link is in the bio.) Now, post a photo and add a caption. We've got options for you below, but feel free to exercise your creative freedom as you see fit. Let's get to posting! (Click on each image to download a larger version fit for Instagram.)

Caption: Insider tip: Some pet food companies call out other manufacturers for using ingredients such as corn or meat meal, knowing full well that the food's ingredients are not the critical factor. What's important are the nutrients contained in those ingredients. It's also important to know that products with these labels are not required to contain any particular type of ingredient, nor are they held to any higher nutritional standards than other complete and balanced products. Manufacturers, nutritionists and pet owners simply can't predict a food's performance based on its ingredient list because there are too many unknowns: what the exact ingredients are and where they came from, ingredient quality and consistency, how much of each ingredient is present in the food, and the effects of processing. For more information, reach out to us at the link in bio!

Caption: Some manufacturers make unsubstantiated claims about ingredients and manipulate their ingredient lists. For example, some dry food manufacturers tout real chicken, fish or beef as their first ingredient, because the food contains more of this ingredient by weight than any other ingredient. What they don't explain is that “real meat” is mostly water weight, and when the water is removed during the manufacturing process, meat moves way down on the ingredient list. They also neglect to mention that the technical term for “real meat” is mechanically deboned meat, also known as “white slime” (we kid you not). For more information, reach out to us at the link in bio!

Caption: A pet food label trick that some manufacturers play is called ingredient splitting, where they list different carbohydrates separately-corn, rice, barley, wheat and oatmeal, for example-or list different forms of the same carbohydrate, such as ground wheat and wheat flour. That way, the individual carbs appear lower in the ingredient list. Doing so makes it appear as if carbohydrates are not the first ingredient. For more information, reach out to us at the link in bio!

Story time! You can add this photo and text to your Instagram stories to add complexity to posting on the subject. Or you can make it another Instagram post.

Caption: With so many pet food options, choosing the right diet for your pet can be tricky. As your veterinary team, we can help you select the best foods based on knowledge of nutrition and our experience with many pets, ignoring the blizzard of marketing ploys designed to appeal to your emotional needs rather than your pet's nutritional needs.

We can help you choose foods based on your pet's physical condition, lifestyle, any disease issues and other related health factors as well as on your preferences. So, before you reach for food you heard about on a commercial, talk with our veterinary team to get a recommendation tailored to the needs and preferences of both you and your pet.

Not only will this help you connect with your veterinary clients, but it will educate any pet owners who see and grow your brand in the process. Happy posting!