Thank You Dr. Lisa Freeman

By Laurie S. Coger, DVM, CVCP

I realized I left something out of my previous blog on Dr. Freeman’s article entitled  “A broken heart: Risk of heart disease in boutique or grain-free diets and exotic ingredients.” And that was a thank you to her, for a statement she made in that article.

Just in case you missed it, Dr. Lisa Freeman, a board certified veterinary nutritionist and faculty member at Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine recently published on the Tufts Clinical Nutrition service website. In her article, she was supposed to be focusing on the link between heart disease and some specific types of commercial foods and ingredients. At least according to the title. But I feel she digressed a bit…

The further into her article that you read, the more bashing of grain free diets, small food companies, and so called exotic ingredients (when did salmon, lamb, barley, and venison become exotic?) occurs. Along with promotion of foods made by “a well-known reputable company and containing standard ingredients (e.g., chicken, beef, rice, corn, wheat) ” she suggests owners “change to a diet with more typical ingredients made by a company with a long track record of producing good quality diets.” It’s unclear to me whether she is promoting a brand, company, or feeding grains. Just because a company is relatively new does not mean they cannot produce a good product. Conversely, just because a company has been around for some time does not guarantee that their products are superior, or safer. And speaking of safety, for a list of the 10 most recalled brands, click here. In case you were wondering, the newest company on this list is over 15 years old, and so well known that Saturday Night used them in a spoof on dog food ingredients. Yes, even SNL gets it!

Dr. Freeman advised owners “The best way to select what is really the best food for your pet is to ensure the manufacturer has excellent nutritional expertise and rigorous quality control standards.” Really? Sounds to me like these manufacturers are putting words in her mouth — and maybe cash in her pocket. But that’s not the icing on the cake. She further advises owners on selecting foods, “And do yourself a favor – stop reading the ingredient list! Although this is the most common way owners select their pets’ food, it is the least reliable way to do so.”  This is something on which Dr. Freeman and I are in complete agreement on – that the ingredient label misleads consumers! And it’s great that a PhD and Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition and veterinary college faculty member is pointing that out! We savvy consumers, veterinarians, and safe pet food advocates have been saying this for a long time. We need truthful and understandable pet food labels. How fantastic to now have Dr. Freeman supporting us!

A famous friend of mine is fond of saying, “When we know better, we do better.” And while Dr. Freeman took a pass on actually helping consumers understand what can and cannot be determined from the ingredient list, I will not. Pop over to my Facebook page, and ask your questions. I’ll be happy to answer them there, or write a follow up blog to discuss your topic. Because when you know better, you can do better for your dog.


Comments are closed.

error: Content is protected !!