Identifying a Quack

Quacks claim to have the single, magic bullet cure to every illness and ailment known to man and his best friend. They have just the stuff to improve your dog’s health and it’s so simple you won’t believe it.

Except they don’t and they can’t.

But what is a quack and how do you spot one?

Below are some tips to help you make that distinction, and ensure that your dog really is getting the right help from the right people.

Natural is the only way

Quacks will tell you that unless something is natural it’s not good for your dog. For example, they will try and convince you that the best diet for your dog is an ‘all-natural’ one because processed food won’t provide them with the nutrients they need (see below).

But perhaps more worryingly, they will also try to convince you that the only way to treat any illness your dog has is through natural remedies, and that you should shun conventional treatments.

This simply isn’t the case. The best way to ensure your dog overcomes any illness is by talking and listening to your vet and using scientifically proven treatments that have been rigorously tested.

An important point to remember is that when looking for new treatments, scientists often look to nature (e.g. aspirin is derived from the bark of the willow tree). But the key difference is that when they do find something that might be a new potential treatment, they don’t encourage people and pet owners to go and self-medicate with the natural product. Instead they carry out research and clinical trials it to find out how it works, what it’s side-effects are and how much of it should be taken.

Supplementation is key

In the vast majority of cases, quacks are trying to sell you something – predominantly ‘cures’ and supplements. The latter is a particular favourite. Very often, quacks will try and convince you that feeding your dog canned, processed food doesn’t give them the nutrients they need. In some cases, they’ll even try and convince you that your dog is ill purely because they’re not getting an ‘all-natural’ diet, which as we know for the majority of illnesses, simply isn’t the case.

They’ll say this is because cooking, heating and processing any food destroys its nutritional value. And that because of this, your dog needs extra supplements in the form of many different vitamins. All of which they can sell you.

But this isn’t the case. The number of vitamins and nutrients that are sensitive to heat and so can be destroyed by cooking is very small. And perhaps more importantly, your dog can acquire these vitamins via other means, like eating fruit and vegetables. They don’t need to start taking supplements.

It’s a miracle!

When they’re trying to sell you their countless lotions, potions and vitamin supplements, quacks will chew your ear off telling you about how they ‘cured’ Mr and Mrs Smith’s dog, that the Jones’ dog ‘got better in just 2 weeks,’ and that the McAdams’ dog has ‘never been healthier’.

However, you’ll never hear this directly from these people; you’ll only read it on leaflets, flyers and videos that you’re given. So goes without saying that these amazing ‘testimonials’ should be taken with more than a pinch of salt.

Quacks will also show you products that can ‘detoxify’, ‘energise’ and ‘revitalise’ your dog; ones that will ‘strengthen their immune system’ and ‘balance’ their body.

But these are simply words mean nothing. They are simply meant to confuse and bamboozle you into thinking these peddlers know what they’re talking about. There’s nothing your dog can’t eat in its diet that won’t give them the energy and strength they need to live a healthy life. And if your dog is ill, they won’t get better by only taking these products and shunning conventional treatment, especially if they have a serious disease like cancer, heart disease or arthritis.

It’s also important to be weary of anyone trying to sell you products that work in a matter of weeks. Recovering from an illness and improving your dog’s health is something that takes hard work, dedication and time.

They are being persecuted by mainstream medicine

Quacks are fond of playing the victim. They’ll tell you they’re being persecuted by health professionals and governing bodies because they’re ‘speaking the truth’ and the ‘pharmaceutical companies want to keep them quiet’ because ‘they don’t want to lose money’.

This isn’t the case. They play the victim to gain sympathy from people in an effort to get their trust and support. They claim that they’re products work are better than conventional therapies and that they have ‘proof’ – but when such ‘proof’ is tested and discredited by actual scientists, vets and doctors, quacks are unwilling to listen.

Your vet knows best
As a dog owner, ensuring your dog is happy and healthy is important to you. The best way to make sure this happens is by bringing your dog to the vet for regular check-ups and by listening to their advice. Consult them If your dog is unwell, if you’re thinking about stopping or starting giving them any medications or supplements, or if you’re thinking about changing their diet.

They are professionals with years of education and hard-work behind them. And their ultimate aim is to make sure your dog is healthy, not to make a profit for themselves.