With easy access to the internet, many Belgian owners look there for nutrition advice. There is some great advice available online and some terrible advice available online.
Dr Lisa Freeman, DVM PhD DACVN of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University has some great tips for picking out the excellent advice from the off the wall advice.
1) Discuss what you read with your veterinarian. She may be able to help you separate the unwarranted claims from the real science.
2) Look at the credentials of the website's author. Simply saying "pet" or "certified nutritionist" really doesn't mean anything. You want a veterinary nutritionist or a someone with a doctorate in animal nutrition if possible.
3) Look at the website address itself. "Edu" means an academic site. "Gov" and "Org" are usually good sites. Beware of "com", "net", "biz" and a personal name. Those sites tend to be associated with businesses and their goal will be to sell you something -whether or not your Belgian needs it!
4) Look at the source of the information provided. What are the credentials of the sources? Are references supplied? Is the information or article from a peer reviewed publication? Were studies done with live animals or simply "in vitro" meaning in a laboratory? What species was looked at in the study? A study on feline nutrition won't be of much use to your Belgian puppy.
5) Check out the timeliness of the information. There are some classic nutrition studies done 30 or 40 years ago that are still relevant but there is a great deal of new information available each year.
Five more tips will be provided in Part 4.