Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Well-kept Secret

Where are you James Herriott when I need you? I have been trying unsuccessfully to do something that sounds so easy: to verify that Jake’s dog food recipe is not lacking in anything he needs.

I have a couple of reasons for wanting to do this. If I am to possibly give a class in making homemade dog food, the owner of Hill’s Kitchen asked that I get the recipe “certified” by a vet, a very good idea I thought. In addition, when Jake was in for his expensive check-up that resulted in the Cadillac of an ultrasound recently, the vet took a look at it but urged us to contact the Tufts Veterinary School or a place that should know about canine nutrition -- as if every vet shouldn’t know about animal nutrition.

When I called Tufts, they referred me to Rebecca Remillard at the Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. I spoke to a very understanding receptionist who suggested I make an appointment and come in. I explained that I lived 8 hours away and asked if she could simply show the recipe to Dr. Remillard if I sent it to her in e-mail.

This is the message I got in response:

Hi Barbara,

This is the advice from our nutritionist:

Please tell her it is not complete or balanced.

She can feed a home made diet but it should be guaranteed complete or checked by a nutritionist.

When I called her back, I was told I could pay $90 for a phone consultation with Dr. Remillard and then (on top of that) purchase a recipe for Jake's food.

Can dog food really be so complicated? Don’t wild dogs feed themselves whatever they can find?

It would appear Dr. Remillard is a recognized authority when it comes to canine nutrition, but it also seems she exacts a high price for her advice.

Jake is getting his teeth cleaned toward the end of the month by a new vet, who is much less expensive. She comes highly recommended and was actually the White House vet for many years, so apparently she knows her stuff. We will ask her opinion of the dog food recipe.

Meanwhile, Jake seems to look forward to every meal. He has slimmed down to the perfect weight. He has enough stamina to fetch his Kong as long as someone is willing to throw it. So I’m wondering how lacking that recipe can possibly be?


Blogger media concepts said...

But does it have a speck of cereal? (Reference to an old dog food commercial)

1:09 AM  
Blogger karen said...

I am sure it is wonderful food, as evidenced by Jake's great condition! It will be interesting to get an opinion from the ex White House vet, too...

I enjoyed all your past posts. Glad to see playing with foam has cheered you up out of the blue patch! :)

8:14 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

It's too bad Rebecca can't be a bit more specific, but I guess it's not unreasonable for her to want some compensation for a consultation. Have you looked to see if she's written articles or books on canine nutrition? That might indicate what she thinks is needed, which would give you a hint about what you're lacking. (If anything!)

It's great that Jake does so well on this diet, but I guess there does come a point where he shouldn't slim down anymore, you know?

8:14 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MC -- Is it supposed to have "a speck of cereal"? The answer is yes, as it contains rolled oats.

Karen -- I have taken this dog food thing on as a personal quest!

Steve -- I wouldn't at all mind paying for services, but I think $90 just to pick up the phone is a lot, especially since that's not likely to be be the end of the cost. What I'm coming to realize is that vets in general are about as unschooled in nutrition as most medical doctors are.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

What an interesting mission!

8:52 AM  

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