Encountering a highly opinionated and pushy anti-raw veterinarian can leave many pet parents feeling paralyzed and overwhelmed. However, interacting with veterinarians and their staff doesn’t need to be stressful and it is possible to cultivate a positive working relationship.
Understanding a veterinarian’s daily experiences provides perspective and the insight needed when encountering an anti-raw veterinarian. There are several considerations that should be taken into account in order to foster a respectful and productive discussion:
Always remain respectful when communicating with a veterinarian. Anxiety and stress are high in scenarios where a pet is injured or sick – maintaining composure and respect is the first step when encountering an anti-raw veterinarian.
The recommendation to exhibit respect extends to all veterinarians and their staff:
Always disclose all information about a dog or cat’s home prepared diet even if the veterinarian is anti-raw. Do not lie or withhold information from a veterinarian. Veterinarians need to know everything about their patient when assessing their health and providing treatment.
It is important to provide detailed dietary information rather than using vague descriptions to avoid misunderstandings:
The majority of veterinarians want nothing but the best for their patients. Veterinarians who are strongly anti-raw often have the same common concerns for the health and wellbeing of the pet. Ask about their concerns and address them accordingly.
Maintain an open line of communication on the amount of research completed and show the vet that the home prepared diet is nutritionally balanced:
|Calcium||Raw Meaty Bones||✘||✓||✘||✓|
|Manganese||Green Tripe, Blue Mussel||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Vitamin D||Fatty Fish||✓||✓||✓||✓|
✴ = Conditionally deficient and may require supplementation
Establishing boundaries is recommended for pet parents to communicate their choices for their pet’s care and diet. It is important to remain respectful when communicating boundaries and reflect upon the worst case scenarios veterinarians see on a day to day basis.
Veterinarians may have suggestions for resources or changes to make to a homemade diet. These recommendations will often come from their professional experiences and nutritional biases. Remain open to suggestions and to exploring those recommendations.
The recommendations do not always have to be utilized, but the information provided by a veterinarian could shed light on possible improvements to make to the home prepared diet:
Time is one of the best teachers. If a raw diet is nutritionally sufficient, the condition and health of the pet over time will be evidence of the benefits. Additionally, veterinarians may bring up the discussion of the dog’s or cat’s raw diet on more than one occasion; but maintain patience knowing that time will show that a balanced raw diet is safe to feed dogs and cats:
Finding a raw-friendly vet can be difficult. It is highly encouraged to maintain a relationship with the pet’s primary veterinarian regardless of their stance on home prepared raw diets if a pro-raw vet is not available. An open line of communication and respect will go a long way if due diligence has been done to ensure the home prepared diet is nutritionally sufficient.
Accepting that a veterinarian will not change their stance on a raw diet is disappointing for many pet parents when a pro-raw vet is not available in their local area. However, pet parents can choose to work with multiple veterinarians – specifically pro-raw veterinarians through phone or video consultations.
There is no reason to be fearful of a veterinarian or withhold important information from them – even if the vet is anti-raw. Pet parents should take the steps necessary to develop a positive working relationship with their veterinarian and their staff whenever possible:
These communication tools are intended to guide pet parents through the potentially difficult conversations with an anti-raw veterinarian. They also have greater implications for the raw feeding community as a whole. While raw feeding is still a new concept to many traditional veterinarians, educated pet parents can create a ripple effect among veterinarians and a shift in the pet food industry. It’s important to represent the raw feeding community positively by following the steps outlined in this article. However, if a veterinarian chooses to dismiss the efforts taken to provide a balanced home prepared diet and continues to exhibit overly pushy and defensive behavior, it is a clear sign to search for a new veterinarian that will respect their client regardless of their professional biases.
Yamka, Adams, & Cammack. (2021). Low number of owner reported suspected transmission of foodborne pathogens from raw meat-based diets fed to dogs and/or cats. Pathogen Case. Published. https://www.linkedin.com/posts/ryanyamka_cammack-et-al-2021-asas-annual-meeting-activity-6821555201665716224-0o65?fbclid=IwAR1QHFDoJRU7PJEKupZrJdm2WlqllrbifXHasa5GdegfVLxcMquEKogtJtUa