Canine nutritionists are experienced and qualified experts in everything to do with dog food, nutrition, eating habits and digestion, and many such people have spent many years of study in the field in order to qualify and begin working! All companies that manufacture, design or test dog food employ nutritionists to ensure that their products are up to standard and to seek improvement, and dog food production, development and quality control are the main applications for this particular skillset and qualification.
However, canine nutritionists also often work closely with veterinary professionals (particularly specialists and referral clinics) to assist with cases that have a dietary or nutritional element to them, and the field is so specialised that few vets can come close to matching the unique and very specific range of knowledge that a good nutritionist will have.
Ultimately, canine nutritionists are people that most of us are at least peripherally aware of existing, but something that few of us give any thought to-unless of course your dog has a digestive problem, doesn’t seem to be thriving despite a good quality diet, or suffers from complex or challenging allergies.
Veterinary surgeons can call a nutritionist in to help with their cases as required and it is also possible to seek advice and guidance from a canine nutritionist directly-but how would you know if a nutritionist will be able to help you with your dog, and what sort of situations are they needed for?
In this article, we will answer these questions and talk in more detail about what a canine nutritionist can do for your dog. Read on to learn more.
If you have spent a lot of money on a top quality pedigree puppy or are otherwise prepared to invest some money in giving your dog the best possible start to life and feeding them the right diet, you may wish to book a consult with a nutritionist. For certain breeds and types of dogs that tend to be more prone to food allergies and sensitivities than others (such as the English bulldog), this can be even more invaluable.
A canine nutritionist will use a wide range of information about your dog-such as their age, size, breed, breed-specific traits, potential problems and what type of lifestyle your dog will have to analyse their specific requirements from puppyhood to adulthood, and make recommendations about the type of nutritional balance your dog.
This may involve recommending a specific commercial diet for your dog (or a range of options) or simply giving you information on what to look for in the perfect food and allow you to make your own choice, with detailed information required to make an informed decision.
The ingredients listing on any given bag of pet food sold in the UK should be totally accurate in terms of its reflection of what is in the bag, and dog food products and ingredients are regulated and policed in order to ensure that this is the case.
However, all of us have heard about dog food recalls and other problems with certain foods and while rare, they can happen-as was the case earlier on this year with a store brand of cat food.
When something like this does happen, or the nutritional makeup or ingredients of a food have changes subtly, often the first indications that something has gone wrong or a dubious practice has occurred will be that people start to notice changes in their own dog-particularly if the dog suffers from digestive upsets shortly after eating. While this can (and is usually) caused by other reasons such as the onset of allergies or something totally unconnected, asking a canine nutritionist to analyse a given food is something that anyone can ask for-although of course, this can be expensive.
There are virtually as many different things that a dog can be allergic to as there are different substances in the world, and food allergies are the second most common cause of allergies in dogs worldwide. Identifying the root cause of an allergy is important in order to be able to eradicate this ingredient from the dog’s diet, and this is usually performed by exposure testing and/or cutting out certain ingredients from the diet and monitoring for changes.
However, if you and your vet have hit a brick wall when it comes to working out what your dog is allergic to, a canine nutritionist may be able to help, and/or make suggestions on alternatives.
Some allergies in dogs can be complex, because there is more than one allergen in play or because the source of the allergen cannot be eradicated entirely. This makes it much more challenging for the dog’s owner and their vet to keep the allergies under control, and a nutritionist may be able to help here as well.
A canine nutritionist can often make suggestions on not only alternative ingredients for dogs with allergies, but how to feed them in order to best support the dog and minimise the effects that allergens of any type are having on them.
There are a wide range of different canine health conditions for which a large part of the effective management of the condition is dietary-such as diabetes, kidney and liver problems, or chronic skin and coat problems. Most common conditions of these types have prescription diets available to help with their effective management, but it can also be worthwhile asking your vet about a consult with a nutritionist to draw up a diet to suit your dog’s specific requirements, and support good health.
For sporting dogs at the very top of their game, optimum nutrition is vital, because even the slightest incongruence in terms of the diet fed to such a dog can have a direct impact upon their performance! People that compete at high levels in dog sports or that breed and train sporting dogs may also benefit from nutritionist consults to help to ensure that their dogs are fed the best possible diet for their sport.