Why You Should Know Exactly What You're Feeding Your Pet

September 13, 2016
American Veterinarian Editorial Staff

Ed Carlson, CVT, VTS (Nutrition), technician learning and development manager at Ethos Veterinary Health, stresses that pet owners need to know what they are feeding their pets before a vet visit.

Ed Carlson, CVT, VTS (Nutrition), technician learning and development manager at Ethos Veterinary Health, stresses that pet owners need to know what they are feeding their pets before a vet visit.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“It’s really important to really think about, before you go to your veterinarians, the things that you do feed your pet and what brand you feed [them], and not just ‘the blue bag that I usually buy,’ because we can’t know what all of those are. But for us to be able to really help you and your pet, we really do need to know what it is exactly that you feed, even down to if you’re feeding a canned food, [there] can be a huge variety of different ingredients and amount of calories in the same type of can, from one to another, even within the same brand, just within a different flavor.

A chicken canned food within one particular brand may have, maybe 100 kcals in a 3-ounce can, whereas looking at that same 3-ounce can in something that’s beef, for example, might be 150. That would be a big difference when I’m trying to explain to you how much to feed. I recommend that people take pictures with their phone of the labels of their foods before they go to the veterinarians, so that when we start asking you, ‘what is it that you feed your animal?’ you can really tell us.

The other thing that I like to remind clients [of] when I’m talking to them about the things that they feed and trying to take a really complete history, which means everything that goes into that animal’s mouth and is ingested, for some reason people forget that that big scoop of ice cream or that big glob of peanut butter that they put a pill in everyday, they forget that that’s food, and they don’t tell us about that and so we need to know those things, so we can help you.”