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How Vets are Being Encouraged to Extract More Money From Pet Owners…

I was contacted by a lady yesterday who was entirely exasperated with her vet who had been pushing a dry diet on her mother’s dog as fresh food “is not good for the teeth”. Of all topics to tackle, the vet is on to a MASSIVE loser with this one. My response to such a debate would be to say this – so, 9/10 dogs have some form of gum disease by three years of age, correct? And 9/10 dogs are dry fed, correct? Are you saying that we should be feeding MORE dry food to fix the issue?!!!”.

This is not the first time I’ve heard this, at all. It’s a very common, though woefully misguided, belief of vets. Dry food is the CAUSE of all the dental disease in dogs. They need “hassle factor” in their food to scrub the plaque off, as well as the fact so many pet products contain sugar. Studies show a fresh meat and bone diet keep your dog’s teeth clean. In fact, a recent study published in the Veterinary Journal found chewing raw beef bones was an effective method of removing dental calculus in dogs. Furthermore, no complications such as tooth fractures, pieces of bone stuck between teeth or intestinal obstructions were observed during the studies.

the benefits of raw bones for dogs

If the vet doesn’t back quickly down from what is clearly an incorrect stance, then you have to ask yourself, what other industry-lead nonsense might this vet unquestionably believe? Annual boosting animals already vaccinated for viruses? A completely useless and utterly ineffective kennel cough vaccine? Perhaps they push Nobivak4 on your for leptospirosis. Nobivak4 has a terrible reputation but it does stop your dog getting a few strains of Lepto for a certain amount of your time.

Canine dentistry is the new frontier for vets and it is BIG business. On a positive note, a lot of dry fed dogs and cats need their teeth done. That is, very sadly, a fact and we don’t want any pets in unnecessary discomfort. On a more negative note, the above studies show the majority of these foul mouth cases would be cleaned up with regular raw bone consumption. To be highly cynical some might say it is the perfect business model, promote a material (cereal-based kibble) which will bestow dental disease by three years of age and then charge a whack to clean the tartar off each year with special equipment. I really don’t believe this is the case though, I think most vets are unaware of the food causes of tartar and believe there is no other food options available other than dry food.

However, it is clearly going on. Check out this article about a top vet advising other vets how they can extract more cash from their existing client base if they only promoted more technical dentistry to them.

…it’s easier to promote your services to existing clients than to find new ones, says Dr. Scott Linick, FAVD, owner of Plainfield Animal Hospital in South Plainfield, N.J. “Your clients are already familiar with you and appreciate your recommendations,” he says.

He asks his associates to devote two to five minutes of every 15- to 20-minute office visit to talking about dental care. Many clients schedule a dental procedure immediately.

To be successful in dental work, it’s important to let go of any fears. Don’t be afraid to make a small investment in better equipment. Don’t be afraid to suggest dental care to clients who are already tightening their belts. And don’t be afraid of longer procedures that may take more of your time and require a bigger financial investment from clients. All these fears can be overcome

The article goes on to show the vet how to get your reluctant staff to comply with this new directive and even how to offer payment options for those that can’t afford it, should they not be covered by insurance….and you were wondering why it’s so high?!

You can make paying for dental cleanings and other care easy for clients with a variety of options. For example, Dr. Linick recommends pet insurance for new pets and third-party payment plans for clients who can’t pay for the care their pets need immediately.

We need to increase the awareness of dentistry until every client knows they need to have this done,” Dr. Knutson says. “If every client is compliant, we’re all going to be very busy practitioners.”

Since the deregulation of veterinary practices and the advent of corporate ownership of our vets and vet clinics, coupled with pet health policies now so expensive many cannot afford them, leading consumers complains to rise by 38% in 2016 alone, it’s not hard to feel a little unsettled at the above advice.

You are the last line of defence between some questionable info and practices and your pet.

Never stop asking questions, particularly when big money is involved.


How to feed bones to clean your dog’s teeth

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"Finally! A well-written, well-referenced thorough examination of the raw dog food debate. A fantastic gift for your favourite veterinarian."
Dr. Karen Becker


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