Q&A with Veterinarian Dr. Sydney Pokard

By Team Chippin

Q&A with Veterinarian Dr. Sydney Pokard

Not only do we work with veterinary nutritionists and PhDs in developing each recipe, the Chippin team constantly converses with veterinarians to hear their feedback on Chippin and pet parents want to learn. Dr. Sydney Pokard is one such veterinarian.

Dr. Sydney Pokard is an Orange County native who graduated from Western University of Health Sciences in 2016. Dr. Pokard is a member of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association, the California Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Veterinary Medical Association. During her time at WesternU, Dr. Pokard traveled to South Africa to work with African hoofstock, birds, reptiles, primates, and large carnivores. Fun fact - one of Dr. Pokard’s favorite activities include bringing her dog, Sunny, to the dog beach! We sat down with Dr. Pokard for an IG Live on @chippintime, and here's a taste for some of what we discussed.

What do you love most about your job and what drove you to become a veterinarian?

I have wanted to be a veterinarian since I was 4 years old. I used to bandage and give “medicine” to my stuffed animals. I secured my first job in the field as a kennel attendant when I was 16, and that confirmed I wanted a career as a veterinarian. One of the things I love most about my job is all of the amazing, varied species with which I get to work. 

What are the key things you look for when choosing or recommending dog food and dog treats?
  1. Honesty and transparency of the company
  2. Quality control and research behind the food
  3. Humanely raised and sustainable ingredients
What should my dog be eating, a grain or grain free diet?

I believe dogs should be eating a grain full diet. Recently there was a trend to stay away from grains due to the thought that they cause allergies. Many dogs are actually allergic to the protein source in the diet, not the grains. There has also been an association with grain-free foods and heart disease in pets. This is something I am currently seeing in practice. For these reasons, I recommend a grain full diet.

What are common dog food ingredients that can cause allergies?

Common dog food ingredients that can cause allergies include protein sources like chicken, turkey, beef, and lamb being the most common allergens. 

What is your best advice for transitioning my dog to a new daily food?

It is best to transition gradually. You always want to do a 1-2 week slow transition to prevent stomach upset. A standard guideline I share is to do 25% of the new food mixed with 75% of the old food for 2-3 days, then 50-50 for 2-3 days, then 25% of the old food mixed with 75% of the new food for 2-3 days until you are feeding 100% of the new food. This can vary depending on your dog.

What is your favorite eco tip (we like to call it a "chip in" tip)?

I love using reusable products. I try to stay away from single use plastics as much as possible. I am always carrying a reusable water bottle (for myself and my dog), reusable straw, and reusable fork in my purse.