Holistic Vet | Feeding Your Pet a Non-Traditional Diet

Hi I’m Dr. Ilana Smolkin here for healthcarepets.com I’m going to talk a little bit about non-traditional diets so I consider a non-traditional diet anything outside of the normal sort of kibble or canned food that you get through a pet store to a veterinarian clinic this would include home-cooked diet raw diets dehydrated little patties you can buy or anything of that sort one thing that needs to be looked really carefully at this type of diet is the balancing of that diet dogs have different nutritional needs than we do their calcium phosphorus ratios their mineral needs are different and so it’s really important that that diet meets those needs for that pet so that we don’t end up with other healthcare issues most people who choose my non-traditional diets are doing so because they really want to do what’s best for their pet so it’s important that it’s done well if they’re off balance we can see all sorts of problems from bone weakness so fractures at teeth issues things like bladder stones and again none of these are issues that any of us want to deal with so the first thing I look at if someone comes into my practice and says they’re feeding a non-traditional diet especially a home-cooked variety or raw but home prepared I’ll ask where the recipe came from did they just come up with it on their own or what source did they get it from I’d like to see that that diet or that recipe came from someone with a nutritional background or veterinary nutrition background the next questions I ask is whether someone’s subbed out one ingredient for another this seems really innocent you know I’m just going to use carrots instead of potatoes but that can make a huge difference to that balancing of that diet totally different nutrients and in a carrot versus a potato for example there’s lots of great resources available for people who want to use these types of diets their books available often through your veterinarian that also are paired with a mineral mix that give you lots of different options of diets that you can try there are also some websites that will help you formulate diet now be careful in choosing that website look at the credentials of the person that’s offering it because you want to again make sure that it’s a veterinarian or someone with a PhD and animal nutrition someone who’s got that training I would also like to see on that website that they say something along the lines that if your pet has more advanced nutritional needs or healthcare issues that then they want to work both with you and your veterinarian to make sure that that diets that’s formulated meets all those needs and for people who don’t want to cook there’s frozen patties and things like that that you can get it’s important if you’re going to choose this type of diet that you do some research into how the diet was again formulated was the recipe checked for balancing and do they do testing along the way to make sure that the diet is accurate also did they do any testing to make sure that there’s no contamination so no bacteria or any problems like that in the final product there are also some companies that offer dehydrated foods where all you got to do is add water but again back to my previous point is do some research as to how those diet formulations came about raw food now this is a very hot button topic and it’s discussed in another video here but I’ll give you my take on it there are lots of studies out there that show that there is increased bacteria in those raw food diets and then those bacteria are shared by your pet however I have seen some pets do very well in this type of diet but there are things to keep in mind if you’re using a raw diet one piece of advice is that you can see the outside of the meat and that’s going to decrease the bacterial load if you’re using a raw diet that’s completely pre prepared for you some of these companies actually even do their own pathogen testing and can look into making sure that there’s no bacteria in their final product and will guarantee that they also will do some balancing testing on that as well I think that’s an important thing for you to look into care should be taken using a raw diet if you’ve got an immunocompromised pet so an animal undergoing chemotherapy or an animal that’s debilitated with a bad disease so cancer or an older pet care should be taken in those circumstances ultimately what’s important to know is there’s not one good diet for all patients every pet is totally unique and has different nutritional needs and it’s not always obvious which diet we should choose sometimes it takes trying a few to find that right diet I hear things all the time like it’s normal but my cat throws up or you know my dog’s stools are always soft so I’m not worried but ultimately even though those things are common they’re not normal so to me if your pet’s digestion is not optimal then we need to be open to changing that diet to something different whatever that might be whether it’s traditional or non-traditional finding some way to make sure that we’ve got good stool output and I love to ask about poop and how it looks like even though most people don’t really like discussing that and making sure that your pets not throwing up because again although a cat vomiting is common it’s not normal what’s most important is that you should review your pads nutritional needs with your veterinarian because what’s important to us is your pet’s health here at healthcareforpets.com

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