What is a Veterinary Nutritionist?

As a pet parent, you’ve likely heard the word “veterinary nutritionist” thrown around, but you’re not alone if you’ve wondered what exactly that title means, and why these veterinary nutritionists are so important. 

Just like your dog might have a penchant for making friends in the off-leash area, or an unnatural fear of the neighborhood ice cream truck, their nutritional needs are also one-of-a-kind. In short, veterinary nutritionists are the people who understand the complexities of every dog’s nutritional needs, and know how every dog’s unique nutritional needs can best be met. Here are the most important facts every pet parent should know about who veterinary nutritionists are, and why your pet should be looking to experts like them for dietary guidance. 

Dr.Justin Shmalberg - NomNomNow dog nutritionist

How a vet nutritionist differs from a veterinarian

Veterinary nutritionists are first and foremost, veterinarians. They have all the same training and credentials of a regular vet. Their knowledge base extends further, though, to include detailed expertise on all things related to your pets’ dietary needs.

A veterinary nutritionist has an additional certification that makes them qualified to give nutritional advice. Regular vets spend a nominal amount of their training covering nutrition, but a veterinary nutritionist makes it the key specialization of their medical career.

In addition to the training general veterinarians complete, vet nutritionists must additionally complete one year of clinical experience or internship, followed by two more years of training and residency study, including research and teaching. Finally, veterinary nutritionists must pass a two-day written board exam. So it’s no wonder they’re rare (there are less than 100 veterinary nutritionists in the country), but it’s also no surprise why vet nutritionists really do know more about your dog’s nutritional needs than anyone else.

Why your dog should eat food formulated by a vet nutritionist

Because of their extensive training, veterinary nutritionists are undoubtedly the most qualified people on the planet when it comes to formulating a diet for your dog. And though, for years, a veterinarian-formulated diet was the thing to look for when shopping for a pet food, it’s clear that the person who should be designing your pet’s diet is an expert in nutrition. Also known as: a veterinary nutritionist.

Dog vitamins and minerals dogs need l NomNomNow Blog

Which dog foods are formulated by a veterinary nutritionist?

Not all dog foods are created equal, and that’s likely something we can all agree on. Whenever choosing a pet food, it’s important to do your research. Not only do you need to know what’s in your dog’s food (and what isn’t!), but you should know enough about who is behind the food before feeding it to your best friend.

When looking for a dog food that is formulated by a veterinary nutritionist, research the company making your dog’s food, and find out who has formulated the recipes. Make sure that a veterinary nutritionist is the one formulating all recipes, so you know your dog will be receiving an optimal diet. Traditionally, you’ll only find veterinary nutritionists standing behind fresh dog foods (such as NomNomNow), and a select few of higher-end dry foods.

You can also have a veterinary nutritionist formulate a food specifically for your dog, but this can be quite costly (typically costing about $500 per recipe), and will require that you prepare the food yourself, by following the veterinary nutritionist’s recipe.

But what if my vet already suggested a certain diet?

Many veterinarians are happy to answer diet-related questions regarding their patients. And while they have a basic foundation for nutrition, many vets simply don’t have the educational background to speak authoritatively when it comes to what your dog should be eating. What’s more, some vets are paid by large pet food manufacturers to promote certain brands. 

It’s important to let your Veterinarian know what your dog is eating, and certainly worthwhile getting their feedback, though research on finding a diet for your dog should expand far beyond their scope. Take their recommendations, and do your own research as well. Even better, schedule an appointment with a veterinary nutritionist and get their suggestions and input on the best diet for your dog.

Veterinary nutritionist dog food, pet food, fresh dog food l NomNomNow

Veterinary Nutritionist Dr. Shmalberg

Here at NomNomNow, we believe every dog deserves to live a healthier, happier, and longer life, and of course diet is an important part of that. Our goal is to make a healthy, veterinary nutritionist-formulated diet accessible to all pet parents, so that every dog can eat the healthiest food possible.

Dr. Justin Shmalberg, DVM is one of the less than 100 veterinary nutritionists in the USA, and has been formulating fresh pet diets for more than 15 years. He is the brains behind all of the recipes here at NomNomNow, and has made it possible for us to prepare fresh, individually-portioned meals as part of a customized meal plan for your dog (while also making it more affordable that a traditional veterinary nutritionist-formulated recipe would be). Learn more about his take on pet nutrition, various dog food diets, and more in these short videos.

When choosing a diet for our dogs, we believe in feeding only the best, formulated by the best.


Get a personalized meal plan designed by Dr. Shmalberg whenever you order fresh food from NomNomNow

Author: meganfreshly

Megan Freshley is a freelance copywriter and poet based in Portland, OR. She's studied at Antioch College and the Esalen Insititute, and she earned her MFA from Portland State University.

2 thoughts

  1. My dog is an akita she has alot. Of alergies . she needs a grain free diet no fowl at all!!she needs a weight watcher food with condoughten and the other one for. her joints. Shes only 6 years old. And Loved. Verry much !! Please contact me lets talk ok.?or text. Her food taste of the wild isnt working out good for her .my name is cherie. Thank you.

    Like

    1. Hi Cherie! We’d love to talk to you a bit more about a healthy diet for your sweet Akita! I’ve forwarded your information to our Customer Service team, who will be able to reach out shortly.

      I just edited your comment to remove your phone number for you. Our team now has it, but we want to make sure to protect your personal information 🙂

      Thanks so much for commenting, we look forward to speaking soon!

      Best,
      Megan

      Like

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