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Read before you feed!

WSAVA’s updated Global Nutrition Toolkit helps vets inform pet owners on optimal nutrition

The World Small animal Veterinary Association’s (WSAVA’s) Global Nutrition Committee (GNC) has updated its Global Nutrition Toolkit which helps veterinary healthcare teams educate clients on optimal nutrition for their dog or cat. The first update is a revision to its ‘Selecting a pet food’ tool. While many owners regard the ingredient list as the most important factor in choosing a pet food, a list alone gives no reassurance as to the quality of the products used, nor does it give an indication as to whether a fully qualified nutritionist was involved in the food’s formulation. The revised version points out the most useful advice to be found on the label and highlights the importance of the manufacturer providing contact details so that follow up questions can be asked. It also reminds veterinarians and owners of the benefits but limitations of Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) adequacy statements.

With ‘raw feeding’ growing in popularity, the GNC has also created a new and engaging infographic to illustrate the potential risks of the use of raw foods in pet diets. Commenting, Dr Marge Chandler, WSAVA GNC Co-Chair, said: “Owners want the best for their pets but there is so much confusing or simply wrong information out there that it can be hard for them to navigate their way. Veterinary healthcare teams should, of course, be the first port of call for advice on nutrition and, we hope they will find that the educational resources we have created in our toolkit, together with the WSAVA’s Global Nutrition Guidelines, give them the confidence to engage proactively with owners on the subject of nutrition and put them on the right path to feeding their pets an appropriate and well-formulated diet.” The WSAVA’s Global Nutrition Committee promotes the importance of high-quality nutrition for companion animals and recommends that veterinarians perform a nutritional assessment on every animal at every visit. It also advocates the inclusion of nutrition as a component of all veterinary and veterinary nurse/technician curricula. Fully independent in its work, the GNC is co-chaired by Marge Chandler and Gregg Takashima DVM, owner and clinician at The Parkway Veterinary Hospital in Oregon, USA. The Committee’s members, who are based around the world and hold different roles within the profession, lecture and publish widely on all aspects of nutrition for companion animals. The WSAVA represents more than 200,000 veterinarians worldwide through its 115 member associations and works to enhance standards of clinical care for companion animals. Its core activities include the development of WSAVA Global Guidelines in key areas of veterinary practice, including nutrition, pain management and vaccination, together with lobbying on important issues affecting companion animal care worldwide.