Are you wondering how to find vets that support raw feeding?
It can be tricky finding the right vet especially if you’re looking for one knowledgeable about raw feeding.
Back when I lived in rural NC, there were lots of traditional vets whose offices I drove by on a regular basis.
However, none of them were educated in raw feeding, let alone specialized in animal nutrition.
But after I switched my cancer pup Missy and her brother Buzz from highly processed kibble to a raw dog food diet in 2015, I really wanted them to see a holistic vet.
Mostly because I got tired of my traditional vet’s rants against raw dog food, but also because I craved the support of a professional who understood where I came from.
Is Raw Feeding Recommended By Vets?
Because here’s the thing – traditional vets typically don’t support a raw dog food diet.
They’re usually unaware of its many health benefits because raw feeding is not extensively covered in veterinary school curricula, which leads to a lack of familiarity or comfort with this feeding approach.
That said, the education and training of holistic veterinarians is similar to that of traditional veterinarians, but they often pursue additional training and certifications in holistic and complementary therapies after they graduate.
Here’s a general overview of the educational path for holistic veterinarians:
- Undergraduate Education: Like traditional veterinarians, holistic veterinarians typically begin by completing a bachelor’s degree in a science-related field. Common areas of study include biology, animal science, chemistry, or pre-veterinary studies.
- Veterinary School: After completing their undergraduate degree, aspiring holistic veterinarians attend an accredited veterinary school to obtain a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or Veterinary Medical Doctor (VMD) degree. Veterinary school typically lasts four years and includes both classroom coursework and hands-on clinical training. The curriculum covers various aspects of animal health, medicine, surgery, diagnostics, and general veterinary science.
- Postgraduate Education in Holistic Therapies: After graduating from veterinary school, veterinarians interested in practicing holistic medicine often pursue additional training and education in complementary and alternative therapies. This may involve attending specialized postgraduate programs, internships, or residencies that focus on holistic veterinary medicine. These programs provide in-depth training in modalities such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, herbal medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, and more.
- Certification and Accreditation: Holistic veterinarians can pursue certifications and accreditations in specific holistic modalities. For example, the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) offers certification in veterinary acupuncture. Other organizations, such as the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), provide resources, support, and continuing education opportunities for holistic veterinarians who practice integrative veterinarian medicine. We’ll revisit the AHVMA here shortly.
Vet Recommendations From Raw Feeders
So while it took me a while to find a brick and mortar vet office that supports raw feeding, I finally got lucky when I was told about Dr. Charles Loops, DVM, homeopathic veterinarian.
He sees patients in his office in Pittsboro, NC, and he also provides phone consultations for pet owners who live out of State.
Funny enough, the person who told me about him lives in Texas and is a fellow raw feeder I had interviewed for a blog article.
I remember when I first went to see Dr. Loops, I loved seeing pre-made raw dog food from Darwin’s Natural Pet in his chest freezer instead of highly processed kibble on office shelves. I felt right at home!
After all, that’s the raw dog food brand I had started my raw dog food journey with back in 2015.
Learn more about Darwin’s special trial offer here. They offer 10 pounds of raw dog food for up to 75% off!
Missy (left on the box) and Buzz (right) with their Darwin’s delivery
But I digress.
If you don’t have any raw feeding friends, you can join a raw feeding Facebook group such as ours and ask around for raw-friendly vets in your city or state.
If you’re not on Facebook, check out raw dog food related hashtags on Instagram and start engaging with raw feeders there.
For example, #rawdogfoodcommunity or #rawfeedersofinstagram.
After my move to Germany in 2021, I got a recommendation for a holistic vet from a fellow raw feeder I met on a morning walk with my pup Wally.
That said, dog walking meetup groups can be another holistic vet resource to tap into!
My former holistic vet whom I mentioned earlier, Dr. Loops, is also listed in the AHVMA directory of holistic vets.
That’s the acronym for the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, a professional organization dedicated to promoting and supporting holistic and integrative veterinary medicine.
The AHVMA was founded in 1982 and promotes holistic veterinary medicine, including, but not limited to, acupuncture, chiropractic care, herbal medicine, homeopathy and whole food nutrition.
On that note, holistic veterinary medicine is a specialized field, and the number of holistic veterinarians can vary significantly depending on your location and the demand for such services (rural vs urban area).
Additionally, some veterinarians may integrate holistic approaches into their practice without exclusively identifying as holistic veterinarians and listing their offices on the AHVMA.
Now, according to the AHVMA, they have a membership base of over 1,200 veterinary professionals interested in holistic veterinary care.
Compared to the 125.000 traditional vets in the US, this may not seem like much, but chances are that you’ll be able to find a holistic vet within a 100 mile radius of your location.
Dr. Loops’ office was about 45 miles from my place in Spring Lake, NC.
How to Use The AHVMA Directory to Find Raw-Friendly Veterinarians Near You
It’s pretty straight forward – all you have to do is follow these steps:
- Visit the AHVMA website at www.ahvma.org.
- On the homepage, navigate to the “Find a Holistic Veterinarian” section. It’s easy to find as it’s prominently displayed on the page, you’ll just have to scroll down a little.
- Click on the “Find a Member” button to access the directory.
- You’ll see a search form that lets you search by location. Fill in your city, state, or ZIP code and submit your search query.
- Next, the directory will generate a list of holistic veterinarians near you.
- Review the list of holistic veterinarians provided. Each listing typically includes their name, website link, contact details like email address and phone number, along with a brief description of their practice or areas of expertise.
- Look for keywords or descriptions that indicate support for raw feeding like “nutrition”, “nutraceuticals” or “food therapy”. If you’re lucky, you may even find a mobile holistic veterinarian such as this one in the greater L.A, California, area.
- Contact the veterinarians directly to further inquire about their stance on raw feeding. You can call their clinic or send an email to ask specific questions about raw feeding, discuss your concerns, and determine if they align with your preferences.
Remember that the AHVMA directory includes holistic veterinarians, and while they may have a broader perspective on pet care, not all of them may specifically mention nutrition-related keywords in their profiles.
Google Search For “Raw-Friendly Vets Near Me”
While we’re on the topic of using directories, of course you can also do a Google search for “vets that support raw feeding” or similar entries.
Once you find one (or several), navigate to their website and browse the services they offer. If you like what you see, call their office or email them to see if they’re accepting new doggie patients.
Local Raw Food Suppliers & Pet Stores That Carry Raw Dog Food
You could also reach out to local raw food suppliers and/or pet retailers that sell raw dog food to get a recommendation for vets that support raw feeding.
If they don’t know any holistic vets, they may know raw-diet breeders who do.
Or local dog trainers, dog walkers and pet sitters who feed their pups raw dog food.
It doesn’t hurt to pop in and ask next time you’re there to shop!
Popular Vets That Support Raw Feeding In The Online Space
You can also reach out to the holistic vets I mention below.
They have a strong online presence and may just know of a vet that supports raw feeding in your general area:
- Dr. Karen Becker, DVM, integrative wellness veterinarian
- Dr. Dee Blanco, DVM, holistic veterinarian
- Dr. Judy Morgan, DVM, CVA, CVCP, CVFT, integrative veterinarian
- Dr. Tom Lonsdale, BVetMed, MRCVS, aka the “Whistle Blower Vet”
- Dr. Ian Billinghurst, Veterinary Surgeon B.V.Sc.(Hons), B.Sc.Agr., Dip. Ed., Nutritional Consultant and Raw Pet Food Producer
According to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, there’s about 1200 holistic vets that support raw feeding in the US.
You can find the nearest one by following these steps:
- Ask fellow raw feeders you’re friends with for a holistic vet recommendation.
- Conduct an online search on Google (or Bing, Yahoo, etc). Use keywords such as “vets that support raw feeding”, “raw feeding-friendly veterinarians” or similar entries.
- Contact local raw food suppliers or pet stores that specialize in raw feeding. They might have a list of veterinarians who are supportive of raw diets.
- Consult with local dog breeders, trainers, or other pet professionals who advocate for raw feeding. They might be familiar with veterinarians who specialize in whole food nutrition.
- Utilize social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram to search for raw feeding groups specific to your location/hashtags about raw dog food. Engage with the community and ask for recommendations on raw feeding-friendly veterinarians.
- Browse the AHVMA directory for holistic veterinarians in your area.
If you still can’t find any vets that support raw feeding using any of these approaches, maybe you can find one along the road of an upcoming trip you’re getting ready to go on with your pups!
Can you recommend a holistic vet in the US for our readers? If the answer is YES, please mention them in the comment section below!
For more information on raw dog food in general, check out our raw dog food resources here.