A quick post on how to make sure you have the right dog nutritionist.
What you feed your dog is very important and so getting the right advice from a professional is crucial. You are better off feeding a good brand of kibble than getting the nutrition wrong. And you must consult someone who is prompt in replying to you when your dog has issues. If they are not one phone call or Whatsapp away, don’t give them your hard earned money. I don’t don’t understand the concept of nutritionists asking you to refer to their websites or instagram for queries.
I was taking advice from my vet on Barfi’s nutrition but wanted to get an understanding on how to feed my dog and when Mann saw a talk by A (our current nutritionist) on Dogspot’s live, she asked me to speak to her. I found A’s approach balanced and we had similar views on raw food, kibble etc and I signed up for Barfi’s nutrition plan.
- Below are the things I shared with A before she could make the plan
- Allergy tests (the reports came after I had shifted Barfi to the new meal plan). I would recommend every pet parent to get this done if they can afford it. It is done by Vet lab, costs 14k and the results take a month because it is sent to USA. We realised Barfi is allergic to everything we had been feeding her - carrots, potatoes, rice, chicken. Even though she wasn’t showing allergic reactions (she still doesn’t if I feed her this), at some point she may.
- Recent urine tests
- Recent blood tests
- Details of medication, specially antibiotics, if any
- Photographs to gauge whether Barfi is overweight or obese
- KFT LFT report, to check for renal issues
2. A guided me on transitioning slowly to the new meal plan, educated me on dog nutrition — caloric and macros requirements for a puppy vs adult dog, how many months we would follow this plan, what kind of protein sources I could source etc etc
3. I had to send her Barfi’s morning poop pics for a month to make sure whatever she was being fed was agreeing with her and the transition was at the right pace. And she checked every pic and replied to it without fail.
4. Barfi’s plan was updated 4 times in 4 months
- The initial plan had chicken as one of the proteins. This was changed after the allergy test report
- She had E coli infection so there was protein in her urine. We reduced the protein quantity in the meal and will slowly increase it once the infection is cured.
4. When Barfi had a stomach upset, A gave me a meal to follow till it gets sorted. That is the meal I give Barfi incase of stomach issues.
5. A consults a vet incase of any health issues while preparing the diet plan
6. Qualifications are very important. While am not aware about nutrition courses within the country or abroad, if a nutritionist won’t tell you where he/she studied, that’s a red flag.
7. A has shared recipes on how to cook each ingredient in the plan. From bone broth to meat to vegetables. You shouldn’t have to ask other people for recipes.
A nutritionist can improve your dog’s life or screw it up. So make sure you go ahead with a person you trust completely and someone who cares about your dog.