Date on Honors Thesis

Spring 4-27-2023


Pre-Veterinary Medicine



Examining Committee Member

Dr. Laura Ken Hoffman, Advisor

Examining Committee Member

Tara Joiner, Committee Member

Examining Committee Member

Sue Robinson, Committee Member


One of the hottest topics currently associated with veterinary medicine is the question of which diet is most appropriate for common household pets such as dogs and cats. Over the past few decades and with the increase in use of social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, pet owners have begun to seriously reconsider the pet food choices that seemed so simple in the past. Social media platforms have allowed creators, whether they be veterinarians, other veterinary professionals, breeders, pet store employees, or pet owners in general, to reach a much broader audience than ever before – and certainly broader than the audience a single veterinarian reaches in practice. These platforms also allow pet diet companies to sponsor or otherwise work with these creators in order to advertise their product. While such platforms allow for more people to learn from experts and to get involved in the pet diet debate, they have also become a breeding ground for misinformation established by untrained or unknowledgeable creators and viewers as well as a source of mistrust in veterinary professionals. Through this project, dog and cat owners will be surveyed to establish what type of diet owners currently feed their pets, what type of diet they believe is ideal for their pet, and from where or whom they obtained information on the proper pet diet. An understanding of how heavily owners rely on veterinarians for dietary information will also be obtained. Respondents will also be given the opportunity to explain why they may not consider veterinarians to be knowledgeable and trustworthy in the topic of pet nutrition or why they may not be likely to bring dietary concerns to their veterinarian.