Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a veterinary nutritionist?
2. How are home-prepared diets formulated?
3. Why do I need to complete a diet history form?
4. How long will an appointment typically last?

1. What is a veterinary nutritionist?

A veterinary nutritionist is a veterinarian who has undergone additional specialty training — usually in the form of a residency — in the field of clinical nutrition.

Residency training involves clinical management of patients as well as research and teaching responsibilities. Additionally, residents must meet certain qualification standards determined by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN). After their training, they must pass an extensive written examination to obtain board certification and receive credentials to be a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (DACVN). Board certification gives them unique training and qualifications to offer expertise in the nutritional management of both healthy pets and those with diseases.

For additional information, please visit the American College of Veterinary Nutrition at www.acvn.org


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2. How are home-prepared diets formulated?

We use a customized approach for every patient. We don’t provide generic or stock recipes, but rather, we create a recipe specifically to meet your pet’s specific nutritional and/or medical needs while trying to balance individual dietary preferences or specific requests when possible.

To do so, we individually review your pet’s medical history, recent bloodwork and unique diet history. Next, the veterinary nutritionist applies his or her knowledge, experience and data from a variety of reputable sources to design a diet that will best meet the individual’s needs.

Ultimately, the veterinary nutritionist uses a computer software program with complete nutritional profiles from standardized food sources to create and adjust the dietary profile containing specific ingredients. 


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3. Why do I need to complete a diet history form?

Our approach for every pet is customized — regardless of whether we recommend a commercial diet or formulate a home-cooked diet. To accomplish this goal, we need to know specific information regarding your pet’s diet history including: 

  • current and past diets fed
  • treats, supplements and other foods
  • your pet's responses to these foods

For example, an accurate and complete diet history may help the nutritionist better determine the correct number of calories for your individual pet so that unintended weight loss or weight gain can be avoided (or achieved if needed).

Additionally, a pet may be expected to respond favorably or unfavorably to changes in the consumption of specific nutrients. The veterinary nutritionist needs to estimate the pet's current intake to determine how best to achieve these changes.

The more detailed and accurate information you can provide us, the greater the chance that we have of providing a recommendation that most specifically addresses your pet’s needs while minimizing unintended consequences. 


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4. How long will an appointment typically last?

Most in-person appointments last for around an hour. The goal is to spend sufficient time with you and your pet and to ensure that we address your pet’s needs and answer your questions.

If this can’t be sufficiently accomplished within an hour, an additional appointment may need to be scheduled for a future time. You may also need to factor in additional time for check-in, dispensation of specific diets, supplements or discharge instructions, and check-out.

Recheck appointments are typically shorter and may vary depending on the complexity of the case. 


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