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Dare to Ask Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is this information important? Why did you do this project?
    • With thousands of choices of pet foods, it is confusing for pet owners and the veterinary healthcare team to make informed decisions about the best pet food for an individual pet. Surveys show that practitioners are overwhelmed with the volume of food choices available and feel unequipped to make educated food recommendations to clients. With this in mind, Pet Nutrition Alliance set out to create resources that not only inform veterinary healthcare teams on the best food options available, but to also save veterinary professionals time and energy in their research.
    • Collecting this information from each manufacturer takes countless hours of work so it’s unrealistic to expect the individual veterinary professional to do this. In order to save time for veterinary healthcare teams, we dared to ask the questions!
  2. How does this information help a primary care veterinary team?
    • Clients look to you for a recommendation for pet food, or they have questions about multiple diets and want you to weigh in. This tool can help you evaluate pet food manufacturers more quickly and objectively so you can have answers for clients with these questions.
  3. I have questions on how the Dare to Ask project was conducted/protocol related questions.
  4. Why did you use the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Guidelines?
    • WSAVA published global nutrition guidelines in 2011. “The goal of these guidelines is to help the veterinary healthcare team and pet owners ensure that dogs and cats are on an optimal nutrition plan tailored to the needs of the individual dog or cat.” The Global Nutrition Committee’s guidelines and tool,Recommendations on Selecting Pet Foods provide specific steps to making objective decisions about pet food.
    • For the Pet Nutrition Alliance’s “Dare to Ask” project, information was compiled on the most objective criteria from the WSAVA guidelines (i.e., nutritional expertise, manufacturing plants, and if manufacturers could provide information on a specific nutrient). While other aspects of the guidelines (e.g., quality control measures, research) are just as important, these are more difficult to evaluate objectively; therefore, this information was not collected as part of the Dare to Ask project this year.
    • WSAVA guidelines were also chosen for the Dare to Ask project because they are global guidelines rather than being focused on a single country. WSAVA guidelines have been endorsed by 36 international veterinary organizations.
  5. I represent a manufacturer, and my data was inaccurate or not included. Who should I contact?
    • For manufacturers that did not respond but want to respond now: Pet Nutrition Alliance will update this resource annually; manufacturers are encouraged to provide information when the next request for information deploys in May 2019.
    • If you are a manufacturer and any of your data is inaccurate, please contact the Pet Nutrition Alliance: https://petnutritionalliance.org/site/contact/
    • The full protocol for the Dare to Ask project is posted here.
  6. Why didn’t Pet Nutrition Alliance just provide a score?
    • There is no best food for every dog or cat. While selecting an optimal diet depends upon the individual animal, there are certain basic critical features to ensure veterinary professionals and pet owners are basing their decisions on objective information. PNA compiled information on some of those critical features of quality pet food. PNA’s goal is to provide information that allows veterinary professionals to practice evidence-based medicine for pet food just like other aspects of medicine (e.g., completing a chemistry panel and then interpreting that information to make an informed decision/plan for the individual pet).
    • Evidence-based medicine requires the integration of the best research evidence with our clinical expertise and our patient’s unique values and circumstances.” (Straus et al, 2005)
    • PNA’s goal was to compile this objective information for veterinary professionals whose judgment is critical for optimal nutrition of the individual pet.