Finding a Veterinarian Who Supports Raw Feeding
21 July, 2016
By Kimberly Gauthier, Dog Nutrition Blogger for Keep the Tail Wagging
Rodrigo and Sydney’s first veterinarian believed in annual vaccinations, prescription diets, and felt that all rescue dogs had behavioral issues.
Thanks to social media and Yelp reviews, I was prepared when I found our current veterinarians. They know that I’m a blogger, that I research everything, I always have questions, and I’m a raw feeder.
Our veterinarians are supportive of the choices I’ve made for our dogs and I want to share with you a few tips that might make finding the right vet (or improving your current relationship) easier.
Not all Holistic Vets are “Holistic”
I assumed all holistic vets were conservative about vaccinations and promoted raw feeding. This isn’t the case. Before you transfer your dog’s records to a holistic veterinarian, ask them their thoughts on vaccinations, spay and neutering, and diet. Be frank and upfront about how you want to raise your dog and let them know that you’re seeking guidance.
While some holistic veterinarians lean more towards traditional medicine, others may be a little to liberal for your comfort. I looked for a veterinarian that practices both traditional and alternative medicine. One who will guide me rather than push me towards a choice.
Anti-Raw Doesn’t Mean Bad Vet
Our veterinarians are pro-raw; I’m lucky. For many veterinarians, the only time they encounter a raw fed dog is when the dog is sick due to being fed an imbalanced diet. If a veterinarian isn’t confident that you’ll take the time to research and learn how to safely feed a raw diet to your dog, you’ll be directed towards a balanced, commercial or prescription diet.
I believe that the best way to change a veterinarian’s mind about raw feeding is to show them a healthy and thriving raw fed dog. There will always be hold outs, but as raw feeding becomes more mainstream, more veterinarians will be meeting more raw fed patients at annual wellness checks.
So don’t discount a vet just because they’re not on board with a raw food diet.
Use Social Media to Find Recommendations
I found two amazing veterinarians by asking for referrals in raw feeding groups, at a traditional veterinarian’s office, and at local dog events.
Raw Feeding Groups
On Facebook, you can start a discussion to see if there are any local members. You can also search the group’s feed (there is a search box in the upper right corner, beneath the header image) for your city to see if someone else has started a similar discussion.
Traditional Veterinarian’s Office
Sydney needed a chiropractic adjustment so I contacted my vet at the time to ask for a referral.
Local Dog / Pet Events
At the Seattle Pet Expo and other local pet events, a local holistic veterinarian may have a vet. Where I live, nearly every summer there is a dog related event that presents an opportunity to ask for referrals.
If you’re not a social butterfly, try a one on- one conversation at your local pet store; the owner or manager will be able to recommend professionals in your area.
Be Patient with Your Veterinarian
If you’ve tried all of this and it’s not working, be patient. Things are changing. We’re seeing more raw food brands coming to market. More people are aware of the impact of poor commercial diets, early spay and neuter, exposure to chemicals, and over vaccination on our dogs.
Your veterinarian may not be ready to jump on the raw feeding bandwagon, but with patience and the evidence of a healthy dog at annual (or bi-annual) wellness checks, you can change your vet’s mind.
About the Author: Kimberly Gauthier is the blogger behind Keep the Tail Wagging, a blog about raw feeding for dogs and offers a free Quick Start Guide to Raw Feeding for newsletter subscribers. Kimberly and her boyfriend are raising two sets of littermates in the Pacific Northwest where they enjoy a property with plenty of room to run and explore. Rodrigo, Sydney, Scout and Zoey are all herding mix dogs, including Blue Heeler, Border Collie, Catahoula, Australian Shepherd, and Labrador (a lover, not a herder).