Our consultation process: How it works & FAQs

Unlike a face-to-face appointment, our dog nutrition consultations are carried out online without any need to see you or your dog in person.

This is a different approach to what many dog owners would typically have with their vet, and I am often asked about our consultations, how they work and exactly what’s involved.

In short, an online consultation will run just like a face-to-face consultation – starting with finding out why you’ve contacted us, what your dog’s challenges are and what goal(s) you’re hoping to achieve.

To clarify the process, I’ve outlined the various steps in the consultation process and how we’ll work together to benefit your dog’s diet and overall health.

1. Learning about you & your dog

On booking a consultation, the first thing you will receive is a detailed intake form that you will need to fill out and return to me. In the form, I ask about the reason(s) you want a consultation and your goals.

I’ll also ask for information on your dog’s diet to help me get to know them and their eating habits better. I might ask for information including (but not limited to):

  • Your preferred feeding method. (e.g. raw or cooked)
  • Any foods your dog likes / dislikes
  • Foods you want to avoid giving your dog
  • Their diet history (e.g. have they been on a special diet before)

In addition, I’ll need to know about your dog’s activity levels and overall health, including if they have any underlying health issues. As part of this, I may require access to information from your veterinarian, such as your dog’s general medical history, blood chemistry and urine analysis test results and any other relevant information.

While this may seem like a lot of information, having it allows me to carry out the best consultation and get the best results possible for your dog.

2. What does a bespoke diet look like?

Armed with this information, I’ll go through it and determine if I need to know anything else and the best direction to go in for your dog’s bespoke diet, including which ingredients and foods to use and which to avoid.

But what exactly might this look like? The short answer is it will look different for every single dog. A bespoke diet is designed around a specific dog’s nutritional and health needs, breed, age, and activity levels.

For example, if your dog has kidney disease, I will design a diet specifically for the stage of the disease. This means the diet of a dog with early-onset disease will be different to that of a dog with late-stage disease.

Or, if your dog has digestive issues or food sensitivities, I might start them on an elimination diet.

If your dog has multiple health concerns with conflicting nutrient requirements, my approach is to formulate a diet for the most immediately threatening health condition first.

3. Do you do all of this with just food?

I often get asked whether it’s possible to get a truly balanced diet through food only – that is, can it be done without using supplements?

The honest answer is no, it can’t. Where possible, and in most cases, I use a mixture of foods to develop a balanced diet. But supplements will always be necessary.

Some people might find this surprising and might disagree with the use of supplements. Nevertheless, the fact remains that successfully feeding your dog a fully balanced diet without supplements is challenging at best and impossible at worst.

This is because to do so would require using a lot of different foods and ingredients, often in large quantities, some of which might be very expensive and difficult to source. In contrast, others might be impractical to include or unpalatable to your dog.

So, to offset these challenges and still provide your dog with a balanced diet, I use a range of supplements in my recipes and diet plans. Examples of supplements I use include:

  • Vitamins and minerals for overall health
  • Fish oils for joint health
  • Fiber supplements to help digestion

The supplements I use are based on the individual dog, their nutritional needs, and their dietary limitations.

4. What will you receive?

One diet recipe is included in the consultation.

Once I have finished the first draft of your dog’s diet, I will email you to confirm that the food ingredients used are convenient for you to source and that you and your dog are happy with the ingredients.

When we have the new dietary approach established, I will send over the recipe, including a nutritional breakdown of the diet and general dietary guidelines that provide more information and FAQs such as ‘how to make the switch from your current diet to the home-prepared diet’, ‘ingredient substitutions, ‘supplements’ and much more.

I will also outline the nutritional goals of the recipe and why those features are appropriate for your dog.

5. What happens after you’ve received the recipe?

Once you have received the recipe, we get to implement it and monitor how your dog responds to it.

During the whole of the implementation phase, I will ask you to keep me updated on the progress and will ask for specific bits of information, including how the diet is affecting your dogs:

  • Demeanour
  • Weight
  • Bowel movements
  • Coat
  • Energy levels

For dogs with underlying health issues, I will also ask for details surrounding that. For example, I’ll ask for regular updates on the urine pH levels of dogs with bladder stones. And in dogs with kidney disease, I will ask for updates on blood and urine tests.

6. What kind of follow-up is provided?

The consultation includes one hour of follow-up. This includes email support and diet revisions as necessary. This is generally enough time for most dogs to settle into a new diet regime. However, complex cases such as dogs with food intolerances and digestive issues may need more time, and additional hours will be based upon hourly rates.

I hope you found this blog helpful in answering some of your questions, and an online consultation doesn’t seem so scary or impersonal now. If you have any questions or would like help choosing the best consultation for your dog, please feel free to contact us at info@elmoskitchen.com

I look forward to working with you and your dog.