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  • #80047 Report Abuse
    Courtney H


    I have a Pug with a mixed bag of issues and have been on a specially formulated home-cooked diet from a local University per the recommendation of my home holistic vet and our specialist for over 9 months. There are many issues and concerns that I have about the diet. I’m looking for an independent nutritionist at this point, because of the awful experiences of dealing with the UT and the diet not being as personalized as I would like it to be.

    Has anyone used a Pet Nutritionist? Have anyone to recommend? Good or bad experiences? Any advice?

    Thank you!!


    #80049 Report Abuse

    You may find some helpful information here: http://skeptvet.com/Blog/?s=nutritionist
    and here:

    What do Veterinarians Know About Nutrition?

    “The real “experts” in this area are board-certified veterinary nutritionists, individuals who have advanced residency training in nutrition and have passed the board certification exam of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition”.

    If not, maybe someone else will. Best of luck.

    #80050 Report Abuse
    Courtney H

    She does have a diet from a board certified nutritionist from the University of Tennessee. My experience with them is not great nor is my generic recipe.

    Doing my research, I see that there are certified independent pet nutritionists. I’m looking for someone who has had experience with one of these people.

    #80052 Report Abuse

    I haven’t worked with any of these folks but have been following them for years.
    Monica Segal
    Kymythy Schultz
    Cat Lane

    Dr. Meg Smart is a board certified vet and taught nutrition. She’s in Canada but may do long distance consults. She is a raw feeder and although she uses some products I wouldn’t (like canola oil etc) I do think she would customize further.

    Dr. Susan Wynn is another board certified vet nutritionist. One of my friends uses her and is very VERY picky about what she will give her dogs (only species appropriate foods).

    Dr. Barbara Royal and Dr. Karen Becker are not certified nutritionists but in my opinion have a great grasp on species appropriate ingredients and foods and have a better understanding on why not to use some things (like canola oil). Dr. Royal created a prescription raw liver and a kidney diet that are sold through Darwins. Dr. Becker co-wrote “Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats”. She has a wonderful grasp on healthful foods and nutrients and how those foods could help or harm our pets.

    Hope the above gives you a few jumping off points!!!

    #80054 Report Abuse
    Courtney H

    Is your friend happy with the diet from Dr. Wynn? Do you know what kind of diet she formulates? (Her current diet is literally; barley, beef with BalanceIT and some oils, one of which they wanted to use was Canola Oil and I’m not. It just seems so basic and I’m looking for a diet that is more personalized! I hope this makes sense!!)

    Thank you so much Shawna!!

    #80071 Report Abuse
    Jenn H

    I live near Boston. When I needed to get specific dietery advice it was recommended to me to call Tufts Veterinary School. They are 1 of the best.
    They will do a phone consultation and it isn’t cheap.
    I can dig up the info if you’d like.
    Good luck.

    #80079 Report Abuse

    Hi Courtney,

    If you already paid for a consult with UT and want options I’d recontact them as they already know your pet’s needs and have the medical records. Explain what it is you desire and see if they will modify the current diet.

    Beware…Anyone can call and market themselves as a nutritionist so you do have to be careful as to who you consult with. Unfortunately some vets who are not boarded market themselves as nutritionists and though they they mean well do not give proper nutritional advice. Others call themselves Dr and their degrees are from off shore diploma mills. It really is a buyer beware situation.

    Also I think it is if you require a diet to address a medical condition it is not legal for a vet to consult directly with you unless they are the one to physically examine your dog. The nutritionist needs to consult with your vet. This may vary with the state… but I’m pretty sure that is how it needs to be. Dr Wynn makes it that clear on her website that she will be working through your vet and not directly with you. Good Luck.

    P.S. I’m concerned if the recipe you have calls for canola oil and you are not using it as this may throw of the balance of the diet. If the canola was incorporated as a source of the needed essential fatty acid linoleic acid and you dropped it out or substituted an oil that didn’t provide linoleic acid, the diet may not be meeting your dog needs.

    P.S.s. Dr Meg Smart does not appear on the list of board certified vet nutritionists at acvn dot org

    #80085 Report Abuse

    Hi Courtney H,

    I haven’t had to work with a nutritionist of any kind, but I would be wary of independent pet nutritionists. They can get “certification” from home study programs under $1000 for a very short period of study. I would personally only feel comfortable with one who had a veterinary degree with certification in nutrition as opposed to simply a “certified” nutritionist. Here’s an example:


    Hi Aimee,

    Shawna didn’t say she was a ACVN certified nutritionist. Meg Smart may not be on the ACVN board certified list, but she was the first to teach small animal nutrition in North America, so she must have some decent credentials. Since she is Canadian and got her DVM and PHD from Canadian Universities, it seems logical that she would not necessarily be credentialed in an American College of Nutrition. Another thought on this is that ACVN was founded in 1988 and she was already an established vet and teaching nutrition in Vet schools in 1994, so it may not have been necessary. Just my random thoughts. Link:


    • This reply was modified 8 years, 6 months ago by C4D.
    #80088 Report Abuse
    Bobby dog

    Hi Courtney H:
    When I was researching making homemade food for my dog and cats I found this info about canola oil on Dr. Wynn’s blog:

    #80102 Report Abuse
    Courtney H


    I have been in contact with UT this entire time, making changes and edits with the oils. I have not simply dropped it, we are experimenting with them because she is so GI sensitive.

    The nutritionist’s that I have been looking at DO work directly with my vet.

    I am looking for advice from people with experiences using these people, or even experiences with other Universities.


    #80103 Report Abuse
    Courtney H

    Does anyone have experience with Dr. Susan Lauten?

    #80104 Report Abuse
    Courtney H

    Thanks Jenn!! Do you know if they use BalanceIT?

    #80106 Report Abuse

    I am aware that this doesn’t answer the OP’s specific questions, however, someone reading this may find some helpful tips here: http://www.homeovet.net/dynamic/php/downloads/dog-c8470f2c75dbe4b683205c3919ee2310/dog_diet_complete.pdf

    #80109 Report Abuse

    Hi Courtney,

    Glad to know that you didn’t just omit the canola : ) I do think it is important to have the right “fit” and if you don’t feel that UT is meeting your needs I can see why you are looking for other opinions. I’ve never worked with a nutritionist so I can’t give you any personal experience but based on her readings you may want to consider Dr Wynn.

    Hi C4D,

    From the profile you posted I don’t see that Dr Smart is boarded in anything so not sure why Shawna described her as a board certified vet. As she followed that with “Dr. Susan Wynn is another board certified vet nutritionist.” the use of the word “another” led me to believe that Shawna was saying Dr Smart is boarded in nutrition.

    I know it seems odd but I’ve only seen boarded accreditation through either the American or European boards. When I looked at faculty in a Canadian vet school they were boarded through the American, or European system or both.

    Additionally this statement “she was the first to teach small animal nutrition in North America” doesn’t make sense to me. The vet I use graduated in 1985 and had a dedicated small animal nutrition course in her 4th year vet school and the profile indicates Dr. Smart didn’t start teaching nutrition until 1994.

    #80111 Report Abuse

    Hi Courtney,

    So sorry, I just now saw your reply to me!!

    Yes, I believe Dori is quite satisfied with the support and dietary advice she received from Dr. Wynn. Dori is a raw feeder and feeds pre-made complete and balanced diets so I’m not exactly sure what involvement Dr. Wynn had. Maybe just consult versus diet formulation? I can ask Dori to comment.

    A nutritionist, whether credentialed or not, holds no value to me if they don’t have a deeper understanding of how “healthy foods” (like canola oil) 🙂 can be damaging. I want someone willing to think outside the box versus someone to just spout out recipes that simply meet all the nutrient requirements. I’m not sure all the people I listed can do that but I have more faith in them then some others I’ve seen (especially Drs. Becker and Royal). The problem with this is that you might have to spend more on more supplements but, in my opinion, in the long run it pays off with better health. An example if needing canola for it’s Linoleic acid — hemp seed oil would be an alternative having 54 to 57% LA (Dr. Becker recommends hemp seed in her recipe book when feeding a beef diet). Another option, and my personal choice, would be pumpkin seed oil. It contains approximately 64% LA. In addition to that it is high in vitamin E and in chlorophyll which is quite health promoting. It’s likely that a source of Omega 3 would need to be added in higher amounts with these two than with canola but that is definitely doable for most.

    There are nutritionists that can formulate a complete and balanced diet and then their are folks that can formulate a complete and balanced diet while doing so with foods that not only meet nutritional needs but also promote optimal health. But I’m sure you understand that as you are trying to get a more personalized, healthier diet. 🙂

    I think this article written by a human dietitian explains the problem quite well

    Providing Medical Nutrition Therapy in a nursing home requires credentials as a registered dietitian with the American Dietetic Association’s (ADA) Commission on Dietetic Registration. Training is extensive. In most cases it requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, an internship of nine months to a year working within a clinical setting, and passing a comprehensive exam.

    During my clinical training as a dietitian, I was not taught holistic nutrition principles. I did not learn the benefits of herbs, or of the importance of whole foods, probiotics, enzymes, or organically grown foods to good health. I did not learn to use vitamin and mineral supplementation to overcome illness or disease. I did not understand that poor nutrition is probably the cause of most disease and poor health conditions in the first place. I had no idea that we require cholesterol and saturated fat to be well. I did not learn that the nutritional value of grass-fed beef was superior to grain-fed beef, or of the importance of iodine coupled with the avoidance of bromine for proper thyroid function, and so on.

    I was taught we should eat less fat and more grain products. I was led to believe that pharmaceutical therapy was necessary and that nutrition made little or no impact in treating an already established condition. My continuing education hours were offered free by the pharmaceutical industry. During these classes I was taught about their “new and improved” Ensure and other products they were promoting.” – See more at: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/health-issues/a-dietitians-experience-in-the-nursing-home/#sthash.SWFcZ0Bo.dpuf

    It’s often more about what you know than what (or even where) you were taught.

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 6 months ago by Shawna.
    • This reply was modified 8 years, 6 months ago by Shawna.
    #80225 Report Abuse
    Jenn H

    I do not know off hand. I’ll get the info I have and get back to you.

    #80226 Report Abuse
    Jenn H

    I have to say that raw unpasteurized goat milk has been a lifesaver. I wish I knew about it years ago. It’s considered a super food. And I never really thought it was all that it was cracked up to be until I had was so desperate for anything to work in a particular situation.
    If you have a certified organic farmer that sells it near you or at a farmer’s market get it. That’s the least expensive.
    If you can’t find it locally try a small mom & pop pet store that sells raw diets. That’s where I end up getting it most of the time. My store sells Primal brand.
    Online you can try The Honest Kitchen Pro Bloom. It’s dehydrated. More reasonably priced than Primal.
    If you look on the Answers website they have tons of info & links about the million benefits of raw goat milk.
    Like I said I didn’t believe it til I tried it. Now I swear by it. Since giving it to my dog with Lyme she hasn’t needed any anti-inflammatory drugs and her stomach didn’t get upset from the antibiotic this time.
    The puppy has been having diarrhea off & on for some unknown reason. Since giving it to him daily no more diarrhea.
    Every morning about 20-30 min before breakfast I give them pure pumpkin mixed with raw goat milk.
    It has been a miracle. I really can’t say enough about it. I suggest trying that before spending a ton of money on nutritionists. I really think you’ll find improvement pretty quickly.

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