The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has recently announced a certification course regarding “Canine and Feline Nutrition Guidelines”. Quoting their course description page (bold added for emphasis): “Implementing a team-based approach to feline and canine nutrition and weight management is essential to proactively address potential health complications resulting from a poor or inadequate diet. It’s also critical to (empathetically) convince sometimes reluctant pet owners to comply with your team’s recommendations.

Why would it be “critical” to “convince” a pet owner to comply with a veterinarian’s pet food recommendation?

Perhaps it is because the AAHA pet food course “is generously supported by a grant from ​Purina Pro Plan.

Or perhaps it is critical to convince a pet owner to comply with a veterinarian’s pet food recommendation because the Nutrition Course guidelines were “supported by generous educational grants from Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets, and Royal Canin®.”

The AAHA pet food course for veterinarians and staff discusses “a team approach” to convince reluctant pet owners to accept pet food recommendations. In other words, pet owners will be pitched by multiple veterinary staff members.

It makes one wonder if any of the veterinary staff or the veterinarian convincing pet owners to comply understand the difference between human grade pet food and feed grade pet food? Or if anyone is aware that FDA openly allows feed grade pet foods – such as those manufactured by Purina, Hill’s and Royal Canin (Mars) – to source meats from diseased animals and animals that died other than by slaughter?

We can safely assume the Purina, Hills and Royal Canin nutritional training DID NOT include that information.

So…if you get ‘the pitch’…here are some questions you can ask the veterinary staff to see just how much they know about the pet food they are recommending:

Is the pet food you are recommending human grade or feed grade?
What is the country of origin of all ingredients including supplements?
Does the pet food include rendered ingredients? If yes, does the pet food provide any verification the rendered ingredients contain no diseased animals, animals that died other than by slaughter, or condemned animals/animal parts?

When you get ‘the deer in the headlights look’, you can tell them that AAFCO defined the terms feed grade and human grade in 2016. Feed grade ingredients are allowed by legal definition to include adulterated ingredients (such as meats or fats sourced from diseased, non-slaughtered, and/or condemned animal carcasses or carcass parts). A human grade pet food means all ingredients and supplements are human edible and the pet food is manufactured per human food safety standards.

You can tell them the FDA openly states they will allow through enforcement discretion pet foods to source meat and fat ingredients from condemned, diseased, or non-slaughtered decomposing animals with no warning or disclosure to pet owners.

And you can “empathetically” tell the veterinary staff you would never feed your pet a product that contains condemned, diseased or non-slaughtered decomposing animal material – or any other waste ingredient. Tell them when they can make a recommendation of a human grade ingredient pet food, you would be happy to hear more about the brand.

Wishing you and your pet the best –

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Association for Truth in Pet Food

Become a member of our pet food consumer Association. Association for Truth in Pet Food is a a stakeholder organization representing the voice of pet food consumers at AAFCO and with FDA. Your membership helps representatives attend meetings and voice consumer concerns with regulatory authorities. Click Here to learn more.

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“Critical to Convince Pet Owners to Comply” with Veterinarian Pet Food Recommendations – Truth about Pet Food

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