Nutrition Tips for Our Pets

The Vet Scoop Team

In this VetScoop podcast, our co-founder, Dr. Marty Becker, is joined by boarded veterinary nutritionist Dr. Lindsey Bullen to talk about all things pet nutrition.  They chat about the importance of getting good information about nutrition for your pet, what food allergies are and how we can detect them through food trials, and so much more about keeping our pets happy and healthy with proper nutrition.

Dr. Lindsey Bullen:

I have come to realize, and to learn, throughout my career, that every pet is a unique individual. And so it is not a one-size fit all for nutrition. And it’s really easy for us to judge from the outside, what somebody is buying, but we don’t know what their selection process is like in their head. 

Dr. Lindsey Bullen:

The challenge is that there’s a lot of misinformation available on the internet, and it’s hard for our pet parents to sift between those facts from the misinformation. And so there’s a lot of unraveling, usually in our first appointment in terms of what we really need to try to do to determine if it’s environmental or if it really is a food allergy. And a lot of times it’s both. And then to talk with them about how it needs to be an investment, because a lot of times with allergies, it can take a significant amount of time to figure out what’s the issue and what the responding treatment is. Because again, every patient is unique.

Dr. Lindsey Bullen:

Food is really powerful. You know, even if it is environmental allergies with food, with the appropriate amount of essential fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants, all the things we can help build that skin defense barrier. But it’s really a combination and they’ll come to me sometimes when they have no clue. And a lot of times I will refer them to my dermatology colleagues, if I’m suspicious that it’s not a food component, but one of the ways to make sure if food is involved or not is a diet trial.

Dr. Lindsey Bullen:

A lot of people want to try to avoid the essential fatty acids, the omega sixes, because they think they’re pro-inflammatory and they’re bad. And they are more inflammatory than the omega-3 family, but omega sixes are essential components of cell membranes, are essential components of the skin. So you have to make sure that the diet is complete and balanced to provide the nutrients that the body needs to have that defense. The other thing is when we break that barrier from scratching or others, I mean, you know, most pet parents try to keep their animals relatively clean, but they are usually dirtier than their human counterparts. And so when those nails scratch through, it’s introducing bacteria as well. Vitamins and minerals are going to be important. Antioxidants are going to be important. All of these things work synergistically together to make that body strong, to make that skin barrier strong. And you know, it, it is multifactorial in nature. Sometimes they have underlying immune things going on and they just need a little bit of help from medications. Sometimes diet’s enough, sometimes removing an environmental allergen is enough.