We want you to meet Tiffany Ruiz Dasilva, VMD, the Wild Earth Vet! Tiffany joined the Wild Earth team in June as our Professional Services Veterinarian and we thought it was time you met her. We’ve asked her a few questions to get to know her and how she plans to help you understand your pup a little more.
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself!
I am a passionate, enthusiastic, and driven veterinarian interested in nutrition, behavior and pain management, with the overarching goal of improving the human- animal bond. I attended Brown University, where the value of constantly questioning was further instilled in me, and in 2011, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Following graduation, I lived in Africa, working in wildlife conservation and rehabilitation. I then attended veterinary school at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation, I worked in general practice, on telehealth platforms, and received my Fear Free certification, which aims to prevent and alleviate anxiety and stress in the animals I care for. In 2020, in response to the lack of access to veterinary care during the pandemic, I created an affordable, multilingual telehealth platform in an effort to make veterinarians more easily accessible, and, in turn, provide pet parents with factual information to optimize their pet’s health. As accessibility to in-person care returned, I channeled my passion for pain management, behavior, and pet parent education into pursuing certification in acupuncture, and began working at a rehabilitation practice. It was there that I continued to realize the importance of nutrition in chronic disease and overall health, and as I am always wanting to further educate myself, I made it my goal to learn as much as I can about canine nutrition, taking several courses on the topic, with plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Animal Nutrition in the future.
2. Why did you become a vet?
I have always been incredibly passionate about animals, and knew from a very young age that I wanted to do all I could to help them. Coupled with my love for science, becoming a veterinarian was the obvious choice. Once I had my own dogs in college, I was able to see just how integral a good veterinarian was to their health and to providing me with the reliable information I needed to be a great pet parent. I lost both of my dogs last year, which made seeing dogs every day at work incredibly challenging, but has also provided me with a drive to keep their memory alive by helping dogs live longer and healthier lives.
3. Tell us about your goals as Wild Earth’s Professional Services Veterinarian.
Nutrition is the cornerstone of health, and I hope to make an impact on a larger scale by improving the lives and health of as many dogs as I can… and help the environment while doing so. I am incredibly passionate about pet parent education, especially since the internet is filled with so much misinformation. It is my goal to provide evidence-based data, and be a reliable source of information to help dogs live longer, healthier, and happier lives.
4. What do you enjoy most about working at Wild Earth?
I absolutely love working at Wild Earth so this is a tough one! Not only do I get to constantly learn, but I also get to channel my passion and creativity into educating pet parents, and ultimately helping dogs. What could be better?! Being on the forefront of the plant-based revolution has been challenging in the best possible way, and the people I work with at Wild Earth are amazing. They say “do what you love and you won’t work a day in your life” – that could not be more true for me.
5. What is your #1 tip for dog parents to know about nutrition?
Don’t believe everything you read! Make sure you are getting your information on pet nutrition from a reputable source, such as your veterinarian. Choosing the right dog food is a challenge for every pet parent, as there are plenty of factors to consider. When selecting a high quality food, you want to choose a food that not only meets AAFCO guidelines for “complete and balanced,” but also uses high quality, digestible ingredients. Additionally, you should choose a food tailored to your dog’s specific life stage instead of a food for “all life stages.”
6. What is your #1 tip for training a pup?
Always use positive reinforcement.. and be patient! Make sure to use low calorie treats that your pup enjoys to ensure they are receiving all the nutrients they need from their complete and balanced dog food.
7. What is your favorite animal (besides dogs, of course)?
It’s definitely a toss up between elephants and dolphins!
8. What do you like to do for fun?
I love being outdoors, usually near the ocean, and spending time with my husband, 3 year old son and 1 year old daughter. I also really enjoy scuba diving, especially with sharks, and have been doing it since I was 12 years old. I recently had my husband get certified so now its something we can do together.
9. What are you currently reading?
The Small Animal Veterinary Nutrition Textbook
10. What are you binging on TV?
Stranger Things – this season is sooooo good! I think I just have one more episode to go.
11. What is your favorite trip you’ve ever taken?
Hands down my trip to Africa. I lived there for 4 months, and while I was there I got to hand-raise an orphaned vervet monkey, care for all types of animals including orphaned lion cubs and rhinos, and went cage-diving with great white sharks. It was the most incredible time of my life, although I was really missing my two dogs, Prince and Nahla, who have since passed.