There is no source pet owners trust more than veterinarians for nutrition advice. However, a recent survey conducted by the Purina Institute suggests that many veterinarians may not realize how important nutrition is to their clients and are missing critical opportunities to counsel them about nutrition for their pets. To help address this gap, the Purina Institute is introducing the Purina Institute Handbook of Canine and Feline Clinical Nutrition, a reference guide to the nutritional management of clinical conditions in dogs and cats. The free, product-agnostic e-book is written by over 40 global experts in veterinary nutrition, internal medicine, cardiology, dermatology, emergency care and other specialties. The digital handbook provides practical information and insights for case management and client conversations on the role of nutrition in managing pet health issues.
Veterinarians are clients' most trusted source of nutrition knowledge
In a May 2023 Purina Institute survey, 96% of pet owners said veterinarians are their most trusted source for nutrition advice. In addition, 78% of pet owners stated that nutrition expertise is an "important" or "extremely important" factor in their satisfaction with their veterinary clinic, illustrating that a strong working knowledge of veterinary nutrition and a willingness to engage in nutrition conversations can benefit both patients and a clinic's bottom line. Yet, only 1 in 5 veterinary professionals surveyed say they proactively offer nutrition advice during most client visits.
"We know nutrition can help our patients thrive, but it can be hard to engage clients in a nutrition discussion" said Dr. Andrew Sparkes, independent veterinary consultant and an editor of the nutrition handbook. "This handbook is an outstanding new resource to help facilitate conversations about nutrition and provide practical tips for busy veterinary team members, making it easier to prioritize nutrition recommendations and meet the needs of their clients."
One challenge veterinary professionals stated they often face when discussing nutrition is misinformation on pet health that pet owners gather on the Internet.
"The good news is that the survey revealed clients are much more likely to trust advice from veterinarians and staff members on pet nutrition than any information they can glean from Internet searches," said Dr. Natalia Wagemans, global head of the Purina Institute. Wagemans also emphasized that pet owners place a high level of importance on nutrition, with 3 of 4 stating it is "very important" to the pet's health and well-being.
"Whether a client and patient are visiting the veterinary hospital for a sick or well pet visit, it's clear that nutrition discussions are vital opportunities to build trust," she concluded.
Veterinary professionals can gain free access to the new online Clinical Nutrition Handbook by visiting PurinaInstitute.com/sign-up and signing-up to receive scientific communications. These updates include news on discoveries in nutritional science, upcoming webinars, invitations to events, newsletters and more.
The Clinical Nutrition Handbook is the newest way the Purina Institute is helping veterinary professionals unlock the power of nutrition to further improve and extend the healthy lives of pets. The Institute also offers CentreSquare, an extensive online toolkit of resources to help facilitate nutrition conversations and increase client understanding and compliance with nutrition recommendations.
For more information, visit PurinaInstitute.com.