A vet’s perspective

Last updated on May 18th, 2022 at 02:19 am

When it comes to purchasing any kind of pet food, Dr. Randy Schuett, co-owner and founder of Pewaukee Veterinary Service, says it’s buyer beware.

“The problem with the pet food industry is you can make a lot of claims without backing it up with science,” he said. “A lot of it is good marketing.”

Schuett, who is also a past president of the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association, is unfamiliar with Stella & Chewy’s LLC, but said he wants to see a lot of proof that a raw diet is beneficial before he recommends one.

His main concerns with raw diets are the possibility of exposing pets and their families to harmful microorganisms like salmonella and the risk of an unprocessed bone breaking a dog’s tooth.

If made properly, Schuett said raw diets can be good for dogs with sensitive gastrointestinal tracts or for certain breeds such as sled dogs that thrive on higher-protein diets. The “old, fat dogs” he sees as patients, however, may not need it, he said.

“You can’t make generalities though,” Schuett said. “You have to look at each individual patient and see what its nutritional needs are.”

While he generally recommends Purina, Hill’s, Iams or Royal Canin, he admits there are so many new foods on the market and he cannot check them all out.

For consumers looking to buy a safe pet food product, Schuett recommends calling the phone number on the bag or the company’s website and asking to speak to a scientist, chemist or veterinarian. If none of those people are available or if no number can be found, he said that is a red flag. If you’re a veterinarian looking to work in a new pet clinic, you may search online for Veterinarian Jobs to explore your career options.

Schuett also said consumers should look for a stamp from the Association of American Feed Control Officials on the product. An association of local, state and federal agencies, the AAFCO works to ensure consumer protection and to safeguard the health of animals and humans.

According to Stella & Chewy’s chief executive officer Jen Guzman, all of the company’s products meet or exceed AAFCO standards. She also said consumers interested in learning more about their products can call 888-477-8977 or send an email to info@stellaandchewys.com. That number and email address can also be found on the contact page of the Stella & Chewy’s website.

“I hope they do well,” Schuett said of Stella & Chewy’s. “I’m really happy they’re here in Wisconsin.”

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