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    Updated on Sep 11, 2020. Posted on Sep 9, 2020

    This Vet Went Viral For His Explainer On Popular Items To Avoid From The Pet Store

    Pet owners, pay attention. This is important!

    Hunter Finn is an associate veterinarian who has been practicing in Arlington, Texas for about a year and a half.

    And Hunter recently went viral on TikTok after he made a couple of videos highlighting popular items to avoid at the pet store. "After a walk through a local store looking for new toys for my own dogs, I realized that there are an overwhelming amount of options, and marketing and colorful products play a huge role in the consumer's decision. Unfortunately, those well-marketed products are not always what’s best for their loved ones," Hunter told BuzzFeed.

    Photo of Dr. Hunter with his dog.
    Hunter Finn

    "As a veterinarian who sees sick patients from toys, treats, and foods that aren’t necessarily the safest for them, I feel it is my job to go above and beyond and give pet owners the information they need to make informed purchases to prevent these mishaps," he added.

    Hunter's first TikTok received over 4 million views:

    @dr.hunterfinn

    #petsoftiktok #vettech #veterinarylife #veterinarian

    ♬ FEEL THE GROOVE - Queens Road, Fabian Graetz

    So, what are some key items to avoid? Raw hides with double layered ends, because they are choking hazards.

    Hunter Finn

    Fatty treats, like pig ears, cause gastrointestinal issues and, in some cases, a serious disease called pancreatitis.

    Photo of bones in a bin.
    Hunter Finn

    Hunter also said that both raw and cooked bones can break teeth and cause intestinal issues. "If any treat is too hard to slap on your knee or make a fingernail indention in, it is too hard for your pet," he explained.

    Hunter Finn

    Jerky treats should also be avoided. "There is enough evidence to support the claim that certain jerky treats cause renal disease in pets. It is not worth the risk, in my opinion," said Hunter.

    Photo of jerky treats.
    Mybaitshop / Getty Images

    "Never ever give cats unsupervised time with stringy toys. Cats are the poster child for developing linear foreign bodies from eating string toys, socks, or rubber bands," he added.

    Hunter Finn

    For dental health, Hunter suggests only buying treats, supplements, or chews with the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) stamp on it. "If it does not have the VOHC stamp, move on and find another product because you are wasting your money," he said.

    Hunter Finn

    Every animal is different, so Hunter said that there isn't a certain treat that he can suggest for all dogs. However, because schnauzers are prone to developing pancreatitis, he said they should avoid eating items that have a moderate-to-high fat content.

    @dr.hunterfinn

    #petsoftiktok #veterinarian #vettech #veterinarylife I’m on vacation, but promise to make more videos if y’all like these. Cats next.

    ♬ Send Me on My Way - Guy Meets Girl

    BuzzFeed also spoke to Los Angeles–based veterinarian Dr. Max Emanuel, VMD, who agreed with Hunter's suggestions. "In addition, tennis balls with fuzz can cause dental wear down to the pulp, so balls without fuzz are recommended," he said.

    Globalp / Getty Images

    Dr. Emanuel also emphasized avoiding jerky treats. "Jerky treats from China have been linked to fanconis disease and protein-losing nephropathy," he explained.

    Both Dr. Emanuel and Dr. Hunter agreed that, when it comes to dog and cat treats and food, all myths are related to marketing. Dr. Hunter said, "Just because something has meat as the first ingredient, contains no grains, or is completely raw, does not mean that item is superior compared to others. In fact, whenever a client asks me about nutritional advice, I always recommend they research the company they are using and make sure they have a full-time, board-certified veterinary nutritionist on their staff. People don’t realize that many pet foods and treats can be placed on the market with pretty minimal testing requirements. In my opinion, this leads to businesses spending more money and time on advertisement than actually developing a safe product for our fur babies."

    "I would say the biggest myth of this day and age for dogs is the continued marketing campaign that grain is bad for dogs. There is nothing in medical literature to support that it is harmful for pets, but it has created a market for boutique and exotic diets that appear to be 'healthy' to owners. Recent findings have actually linked it with a heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy," added Dr. Emanuel.

    Overall, pet owners should be doing their research before giving their animals treats or food. "I don’t mean looking at their reviews, I mean actually call them and ask them questions about their products. If they don’t answer, or do not want to disclose any information on the 'Selecting a Pet Food' list provided by WSAVA, then I would not use them," Dr. Hunter explained.

    Photo of a happy, mixed breed dog with a kitten on his head.
    Ksenia Raykova / Getty Images

    We hope this has been helpful to all the fur baby parents out there!

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