Answers are coming fast and furious on part one of Corinne's interview with Dr. Em of Vet Med Corner, known for her popular – and trustworthy – weekly YouTube advice program. The Canadian veterinarian is answering Host Corinne Gearhart’s Top Ten questions about how to nourish our Doodles in the perennial quest to keep them fit, strong and – most of all – happy!
You’ll learn how to assess prescription dog food, whether it’s worth the expense, and why consulting reputable sources is so important. Dr. Em also shares her thoughts on how to help our pets maintain a healthy weight; highlights helpful tools and resources; and offers science-based tips that will keep even the most finicky eaters on track for long-term vibrancy and great health!
Tune in for part two next week to learn answers to questions like:
Visit instagram.com/thedoodlepro for behind-the-scenes peeks at the doodles Corinne works with daily!
[00:00:00] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: There is a legend amongst pet parents that vet. Get lots of training in different areas of our dog's health, but that they are not trained in any way nutrition or that they get one hour. This is the lure that vets get. One hour. Have you heard this too?
[00:00:21] Dr. Em- Vet Med Corner: Yes. All the time.
[00:00:22] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: It's this legend that gets shared that Purina or Royal Canine or whomever is coming in, just like throwing out flyers and handing out money at this hour course and letting me tell you why ours are the best.
[00:00:39] Doodle breed. Dogs are easy to love, but can be challenging to parent. I'm Doodle Expert Car Gearhart, also known as the Doodle Pro, and I'm here to help doodle parents have a more fulfilling and rewarding experience with their doodles. No one has professionally worked with as many different doodle breeds, or has more experience with doodles than I have, and I love to share my expertise in a fun, compassionate, and non-judgmental way.
[00:01:08] From my years of work and education in the pet care and dog training industry, I have an incredible network of skilled training. Grooming and veterinary professionals to share their knowledge with you and give you the doodle specific answers you are looking for. I hope you enjoyed today's episode as I help you parent your doodle like a pro.
[00:01:29] I've been counting down the days for this guest. This is the most frequently requested topic that I get. Yeah. And I didn't wanna invite someone that has just a lot of followers and sensationalizes this topic. I wanted someone with real breadth and education , who isn't trying. For sponsors and stuff is just trying to talk to pet parents about what they know.
[00:01:59] Today I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Em from VetMed Corner. You might have known them from YouTube, and Dr. Em is here to talk to us about how do you figure out what to feed your Doodle.
[00:02:12] Dr. Em- Vet Med Corner: Hello everybody. Thank you so much for Thank you. Lovely welcome. We are
[00:02:16] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: so happy to have you here.
[00:02:18] I know Dr. Em, you are in Canada and I am talking to you from the States, and we chatted a little bit before we came on air, how even under the same brand or the same name of the exact food, there could be some different formulas between here, Europe, Canada, the states, et cetera. .
[00:02:38] Dr. Em- Vet Med Corner: Absolutely because they are manufactured in different plants and there's different rules and regulations in each country.
[00:02:44] There's different ingredients that can be different costs and different availability amounts. So yes, a lot of this information will be quite general in one sense, because I know that your listenership is from all over , , and also I am a general practitioner. I'm not a veterinary nutritionist. And so I.
[00:03:05] A veterinarian who has done years and years of additional training only in nutrition. So I'm also approaching it from that aspect as well.
[00:03:14] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Yes. And you had this recent YouTube video that I loved where you explained that nutritionist, when we're talking about animals Yes. Is not a protected title.
[00:03:24] Can you tell us a little more about that?
[00:03:25] Dr. Em- Vet Med Corner: That's absolutely correct. So people can call themselves dog, nutritionist, pet nutritionist, anything. And none of those titles are protected at all. So any person can just slap that label on themselves and run. The thing that you are looking for is someone who is a veterinarian, who has specialized in nutrition.
[00:03:49] they will. Diplomat in the American College of Veterinary Nutrition in North America. And then there is a European specialty as well that has slightly different titles. , yes. But those are the people that are actual experts. There are also going to be some people who have a PhD. In animal nutrition.
[00:04:13] And that is also a wonderful expertise. But anybody who just says dog nutritionist or pet nutritionist, I would be incredibly wary of because they could have, who knows what sort of education and who knows where it's from as well.
[00:04:29] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And just cuz someone has a TikTok channel. Yes. And it says nutritionist, which is why Dr. Em., I know you're not a veterinary nutritionist, but tell us a little bit about your education because your background and your experience is why I asked you to come. Sure. To
[00:04:47] Dr. Em- Vet Med Corner: join us. . Yeah. So first I did an undergraduate, high school and then undergraduate degree in biochem and molecular biology.
[00:04:55] And then after that there's the vet school years, which is an additional four years. And in that you have one year that's clinical work. And the previous three years, it's mostly in classrooms with some like anatomy labs or hands-on labs. throughout. And then I've been practicing as a GP veterinarian for about a decade now Yeah.
[00:05:23] And in that amount of time you have to have continuing education hours every year to maintain your license. Where your license will change the specifics of that a little bit. Most places, except for Michigan, I think have continuing education requirements that are fairly stringent.
[00:05:43] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Okay, wonderful.
[00:05:45] There is a legend amongst pet parents that vet. Get lots of training in different areas of our dog's health, but that they are not trained in any way nutrition or that they get one hour. This is the lure that vets get. One hour. Have you heard this too?
[00:06:07] Dr. Em- Vet Med Corner: Yes.
[00:06:07] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: All the time. Vets get one hour of nutrition training.
[00:06:14] And that it's sponsored by, usually I think Purina is the one that people say, or Royal Canine. They name one. Yeah, that it's sponsored by them. Great. Don't actually know anything about pet nutrition. .
[00:06:29] Dr. Em- Vet Med Corner: And that's just not true at all. . So it, it will depend which vet college you go to, how it's specifically structured.
[00:06:39] But the vet colleges have to go through accreditation and part of the specification for accreditation in North America include. parts were that specific parts about nutrition for all species has to be taught. So we learn for ruminants versus dogs versus cats cuz they're not just small dogs and horses versus cows.
[00:07:03] And there's all sorts of education that we get there. And then so that's usually in a specific nutrition course. But also when we have, say our cardiac. Course, like our heart health course or our renal course on kidney stuff, or GI whatever. There will also be all throughout all of those courses as well.
[00:07:27] There will be discussions about nutrition because nutrition can impact so many diseases. If we have kidney issues, we need to be very careful about protein levels and electrolytes and sodium and potassium and so on. When we have heart issues, often a lower sodium diet is appropriate. Like when we have GI issues, we can need prebiotics and probiotics and different amounts of insoluble versus soluble fibers.
[00:07:53] We just use nutrition in every single. way possible. So that education is woven throughout all of those years as well as having individual courses on it. it's not just one hour, it will be a course for a quarter or a semester, depending on how the vet school runs their curriculum.
[00:08:15] Yes. And What people don't realize is they go, oh, it's one course in nutrition, but that is one course at a doctorate level. And we also have. One course in GI tract. We also have one course in cardiac things, and I'm qualified to treat all of those issues like very
[00:08:49] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: mean when we meet with our vets. Yeah, when we have a sick visit or a well, We don't have time to ask them and it might feel insulting, is it true? You just got that one hour true and it sounds like. when people hear this cuz it's this legend that gets shared that Purina or Royal Canine or whomever is coming in, just like throwing out flyers and handing out money at this hour course and letting me tell you why ours are the best.
[00:09:20] And just so you know, I'm not sponsored by anyone either.
[00:09:24] Dr. Em- Vet Med Corner: I'm not either , ,
[00:09:26] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: but that's what I think people.
[00:09:29] Dr. Em- Vet Med Corner: Yes. And that is a very good point. So I paid hundreds of thousands of tuition dollars. That's what I did to get this nutrition knowledge. And that tuition goes towards the school I went to.
[00:09:43] Did have a veterinary nutritionist. Some will have an internal medicine specialist that does a. Veterinary nutrition, a lot of them have veterinary nutritionist. It all depends where you go. And so my tuition paid that veterinary nutritionist, they aren't being sponsored by anybody. It's not the reverse.
[00:10:04] No, it's my tuition that's paying for them to teach me. That's how school works. And whenever I hear about that, we're getting paid by all these companies, I just now am at the point where I ask them please tell me how I could get paid because I haven't received, where's the signup done? And I have a hundred thousand dollars of debt left from all of this school after paying it down for a decade.
[00:10:31] And man, I could really use that money. I'd like to go on a honeymoon. So if you know where I can get this money, .
[00:10:44] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: IM sad to hear you've heard this same rumor. I was hoping it was only being told amongst, oh, like pet parents.
[00:10:52] Dr. Em- Vet Med Corner: I know that it goes round and I don't take it personally, but I'm glad that you're trying to.
[00:10:57] What reality is out there, because hopefully that helps people understand a bit better. Yeah. We
[00:11:03] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: are all about that here at the Doodle Pro not just sharing rumors or lore, but let's look at facts and if you had heard that and you believed it, we all do the best with what we know. And were giving you some more information now.
[00:11:17] Absolutely. Something along that lines that people think reinforces that idea. It's almost this doctor's sh shilling for big pharma kind of thing that's applied to vets is when they go in and a vet will say, I need you to take this prescription dog food. And they'll see the same names that people talk about.
[00:11:38] Can you tell me what's different, why vets prescribe dog food? Is it because. As people say that you get a kickback, et cetera, or why, what is different about these prescription
[00:11:50] Dr. Em- Vet Med Corner: dog foods? Yeah, so we don't get kickbacks from any of that either. Now each clinic will compensate their veterinarians slightly differently.
[00:12:03] But the majority of the time we are paid an hourly rate or a shift rate that's the most common and. We get paid to do the things that only a veterinarian is licensed to do. So that means diagnose things, prescribe things, make treatment plans, and operate surgeries, dental procedures, that sort of thing.
[00:12:25] That's what we get paid to do, and doing that is what keeps the hospital open. Yes, just like prescription medications are part of a treatment plan, sometimes nutrition can be a very important part of a treatment plan as well. Now when we are recommending prescriptions, whether it's medication or nutrition or whatever, we want to be able to recommend things that we have the most confidence will be effective and the way.
[00:12:56] We do that is all throughout our schooling. We are also taught how to read and apply research findings and information from experts. So say the consensus of what veterinary nutritionist tell us in this particular scenario and what the research papers tell us is what we then take and apply to the treatment plans for the individual patient.
[00:13:20] So the reason that we recommend. Specific prescription foods is because those are the ones that have the research behind them. And so when there is no research we, don't have any confidence that it will do what it says or that it will work at all. So when we have. Studies, like especially for kidney disease, those papers are particularly wonderful because they show the difference in lifespan when you feed a prescription kidney diet versus not depending on what stage of kidney disease they're at.
[00:13:54] Yeah, it's more individualized than that, but just, yes, in general, , when you include prescription nutrition in their treatment plan, you have a longer quality of. that's better for a longer period of time. And. That's what we want for our patients. And so part of that will you can never practice veterinary medicine in a vacuum.
[00:14:16] You, you just can't. And I do not have time, the funding or the knowledge to make medications myself. I don't have. The time to make foods myself or to make machines that read blood work or all of those things. I, just can't. I need products in order to be able to support my patients as best as I can.
[00:14:43] And so we use our education and our reading and consulting with experts in order to formulate the best treatment plan we can for that individual. . I
[00:14:56] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: had a client ask if the veterinary foods are superior, why aren't they on the regular shelves? And I found that interesting. And if you don't mind sharing, what's different about the foods that you prescribe that a dog should be eating versus what is on the shelf by the same manufacturer?
[00:15:13] Dr. Em- Vet Med Corner: Sure. So the difference really is specificity of that nutrition. So say if you have a dog that has liver issues, you need specific nutrition to support the liver, but you would not want to give that diet to say, a growing dog or to a pregnant dog, or. That could cause harm instead of good.
[00:15:37] And so when we have very, targeted nutrition, we need it for very specific situations. And so it's not on the shelves because we don't want people to use it in the wrong situation and end up worse off than they would've been otherwise. And you also first need a diagnosis before you can apply the appropriate treatment plan.
[00:16:00] And when people just go into a pet store, Don't have that. They need to see their veterinarian to get that treatment plan. that diagnosis, and then therefore the appropriate nutrition if, necessary.
[00:16:13] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: A lot of Doodles are sent home from their breeder with a sample of food from what the breeder used.
[00:16:21] And a lot contact yes and a lot. Contact me and say my puppy was sent home with adult dog food. and they said it's the same and it's actually better for them. What is your advice on that? ?
[00:16:36] Dr. Em- Vet Med Corner: Yeah, you probably saw my slight Grimes there. ? Yes. You hear this as well, . Sorry,
[00:16:42] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: I Do you hear this as well
[00:16:44] Dr. Em- Vet Med Corner: from patients?
[00:16:45] Yes, Yeah, it's, so it's, this is a case of outdated information. Oh. Say, oh boy, now I'm gonna be dating myself. Before I was in vet schools, that would be a, I guess about 15 years ago, that was roughly about when we started seeing growth diets for different. Sizes of puppy. Because the growth curve for a small breed dog is very different from a giant breed dog.
[00:17:16] Yeah. And their nutrition needs the calorie density, the calcium phosphorous ratios and levels are different to support their growth for that huge change in size. Back before we had appropriate small, medium, and large breed puppy formulas. Yes, sometimes we would feed large breed puppies, an adult diet because that was closer to what they needed than the small breed puppy formula.
[00:17:52] Now however, we have proper large breed puppy formulas and that is the best that you should be feeding them as they're growing. And then you're a veterinarian can help you to assess cuz when they're done growing will vary depending on the mix. The adult size of the parents and so on. Yes. But usually they'll be done growing around eight, 10 months-ish.
[00:18:14] And so you do want a large breed puppy food until they're done growing. And then you can talk with your veterinarian about blending over to an adult diet from
[00:18:22] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: there and smaller breed puppies. Puppy food is still. The appropriate food for them as well? Yes,
[00:18:28] Dr. Em- Vet Med Corner: yes. So they would get a small breed formula.
[00:18:31] And they'll likely be done growing closer to about six months. And then our like Danes, like our really giant dogs, yes. They tend to grow more like 12, 18 months, that sort of thing. So then you need them on the giant braid formula and for longer. ,
[00:18:49] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: not everyone gets the opportunity that I'm having right now with Dr.
[00:18:52] M to be able to ask questions. and Doodle parents are very committed, yes, and invested in their dog's wellbeing and health, and it's overwhelming trying to navigate. How do I tell? the junk from the science. How do I tell what to look for? Yeah. So what is your advice when somebody doesn't get to just sit down with a veterinary nutritionist or with their vet?
[00:19:17] Where should they go for accurate information? .
[00:19:21] Dr. Em- Vet Med Corner: That's a wonderful question.
[00:19:24] And many more, make sure to catch next week's episode. Number 43 for part two of my conversation with veterinarian doctor. She's going to answer questions like where should we go for reputable, reliable advice is human grade, dog food special. How can you get your doodle to eat the right food?
[00:19:48] Is it okay to use toppers to dress up a meal? How do you figure out exactly how much to feed your doodle? And much more.
[00:19:56] Thanks for joining me on this episode of the Doodle Pro Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, don't forget to rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. And I invite you to follow me on Instagram at the Doodle Pro for behind the scenes peaks at all of the adorable doodles I work with daily.