Veterinarians and Real Food Diets. Good or not so good experience?

Sep 06, 2023 Dan


The purpose of this blog is to provide some insight into why most Vets are not onside with feeding our dogs and cats a raw diet, a real food diet.  I would also like to make some suggestions as to how you can deal with your vet (and sometimes the vet technicians) about your feeding choices.  For those of you who are considering switching your pet to raw, this might help you prepare if you choose to use your vet as a resource for food choices.



This is not intended to bash the veterinarian community.  In the least.

I have the greatest respect for veterinarians.  We as a pet community rely heavily on veterinarian teams to help keep our pets healthy and provide us with the medical knowledge and expertise needed to do so.

However, I do not agree with their recommendations of pet food. 

Especially the food you will find in their offices manufactured by Hills, Purina and or Mars.  This feed is ultra-processed, high in starch and carbohydrates. 

Our dogs are facultative carnivores. Our cats are obligate carnivores.

Why is my vet telling me to feed a carnivore an ultra-processed food high in carbohydrates (and in some cases rendered ingredients)? 

  1. Education and Training      

Unfortunately, like our medical doctors, they receive very little in the way of formal education and training around nutrition.  In fact, most of what is delivered in their final year of veterinary college is provided and or delivery by one the of BIG 3 (Purina, Mars, Hills). 

The consequence of this is that it is difficult for any vet to guide a patient around a feeding choice that they know very little about.  I get it.  I understand it.  

  1. Direction from their Veterinary Associations

In July of 2018, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association published a Position Statement on Raw Meat-based Diets for Pets.  This position statement can be read in it’s entirety HERE

If you read the statement, the real risk of feeding our pets raw food is the danger of pathogens and the risk of making us and our dogs ill. Ugh.  Really?  I’ve watched my dog eat a dead squirrel and survive.  My wife and I have been dealing with raw meat for ourselves (which we usually cook) and our dogs.  There is common sense when it come to handling and serving raw meat.  Enough said.

This position statement is consistent with each provincial association and the American Veterinary Medical Association. 

These position statements play a significant role as to how our veterinarians approach food choices.  Again, very little education and associations that play a role in how our veterinarians deal with patients.

  1. $$$ Business $$$

Take a close look at who the major donors are for some of the more respected Veterinary Colleges in North America.  When you walk into CVO at Guelph University, you might notice signage thanking certain donors.  Big pet food manufacturers and the veterinarian communities have a very strong relationship.  Enough said???



Over the last 13 years, we have found that some vets are cool and not judgemental about feeding raw.  Some vets are totally onside and will even recommend it.  A veterinarian that has also expanded their education to Holistic Health are invariably onside with feeding raw.  However, in our experience, the feedback, even today, is that MOST vet interactions around feeding raw is not a positive one and at times can be confrontational.  So, how can we deal with these situations?  Working with a vet is crucial.  You certainly don’t want to be knocking heads every time you walk into the clinic.  Consider these approaches.


  1. Ask your vet why your pet should solely consume an ultra-processed diet when my doctor advises me to avoid ultra-processed foods?  The worldwide research evidencing that a diet high in ultra-processed foods is linked to obesity, heart disease, hypertension and cancer.  This is a scientifically researched issue that many veterinarians ignore.
  2. Ask you vet why your pet, who is a carnivore, should solely consume a diet high in starches, carbohydrates and in some cases rendered ingredients? Isn’t feeding a carnivore a high carb diet akin to forcing a rabbit to eat meat?
  3. Kindly inform your vet that your decision to feed a balanced raw diet will be best for your pet. Then, without getting argumentative, ask your vet if he/she is willing to work with you and your pet in a professional and non-judgemental manner.  You may agree to disagree, but your vet now knows where you stand.  Hopefully the relationship continues, and you can work together for the sake of your pet.

We are aware of some situations where the vet clinic is impossible to work with.  For example, some clinics will pull out the hazmat suits when they are dealing with a raw fed pet. It sounds crazy, but it has happened.

Sometimes, when you are not feeling right about the veterinarian clinic you are dealing with, maybe it is time for a new look.   I know that vets are in short supply, and it can be a challenge getting a new vet.  I think we agree that we would prefer to work with someone who is onside with our personal choices.



Your vet may bring this up.  If he or she does, you need to wait for my blog next month on this subject.  Very eye opening and is kind of in line with what was written about today.  Stay tuned.