Why do vets recommend Hill’s Science Diet / Prescription Diet?

I’m a qualified pet nutritionist, yet I rate Hill’s Science Diet, Hill’s Prescription Diet, and Mars Royal Canin poorly.

Vets on the other hand religiously defend and endorse these brands. Why is that? Why do vets recommend Hill’s Science Diet, Prescription Diet, and Royal Canin?

What’s the truth about Hill’s Science Diet?

Take a look at the ingredients on any bag of Hill’s Prescription or Science Diet dry food. You’ll find mostly grains – wheat, sorghum, corn, rice.

Shouldn’t these animals have a diet mostly of animal or whole prey?

When we consider how much grain is in these foods, and how much carbohydrate for facultative carnivre dogs and factually carnivorous cats, it begs the questions – Is Science Diet bad for dogs? How can grains be fed to cats? Is Prescription Diet any better?

In fact you’ll find much more grain in these products than meat.

Basic animal nutrition 101 tells us how odd it is to feed a dog as a facultative carnivore from the Order Carnivora, and more so a cat as an obligate carnivore, a diet comprising mostly of grains.

Where’s the science in that?

It simply doesn’t make sense.

So why on earth do vets recommend these products?

Why do vets recommend Hill’s Science Diet?

In my experience and communications with many veterinarians, the most common reason may surprise you -> VETS HAVE SEEN THESE PRODUCTS WORK!

But how can they work if they’re stuffed with cereal grains like I mentioned earlier?

This is something I’ve found to be rarely considered by veterinarians, if at all. But these are the real questions which should be asked.

If you’re a vet, and you’re reading this, have you ever considered why these products work?

Why does Hill’s Science Diet “work”?

The answer may be simpler than we could ever imagine, with just one simple consideration:

Most pet foods are very poor quality. It doesn’t take much to offer a pet food marginally better.

Vets see an improvement in pet health when they are transitioned to Hill’s Science or Prescription Diet products, very likely for this reason. Pretty convincing evidence, wouldn’t you agree?

Why do vets recommend Hill's Science Diet / Prescription Diet?

An animal comes in with an illness and poor blood results, and a few weeks after the transition in diet their blood results show an improvement. Miraculous!?

Unfortunately it’s a glaring oversight.

Most kibble is absolute rubbish. Junk food. A convenience product designed for profit.

Sadly business is business, and if these manufacturers put your pets before profit they’ll never succeed as a business, and the businessmen behind those businesses will never own a Lamborghini (which is generally the driving motivation behind a business).

These simple facts (blame it on Capitalism if you will) are the fundamental reason why most dog foods are unhealthy.

Healthy foods cost money, unhealthy foods make profit.

Why is Hill’s Science Diet so expensive?

When you read the ingredients, and understand how cheap those ingredients are, you may wonder why Hill’s Science Diet is so expensive.

So do I.

Hill’s is owned by Colgate-Palmolive, one of the largest conglomerates in the world. The reason they’ve become so big is they know how to make the largest profits possible from products we believe we should use every day.

I’m sure valid arguments include the cost of science, research, safety, quality control, and of course funding large offices and lots of staff, but the end result is a dry pet food product made largely of grains for carnivorous animals.

As pet owners and consumers we implicitly trust what our veterinarians recommend, and because we want what’s best for the pets we love we’re also willing to pay a premium for those recommendations.

Why do people feed Hill’s and Royal Canin to their pets?

Unfortunately for our pets most people don’t realise how dubious these products are, and they feed them continuously to the pets they love, without ever questioning it – ever!

We’re blindsided by some of the best product marketers in the world from some of the leading conglomerates in the world – Mars, Nestle, and Colgate-Palmolive.

Not just us, but veterinarians as well.

We trust products without questioning why we trust them.

For student vets, they trust the syllabus material they are taught, often funded or even provided by pet food manufacturers.

Millions of dogs are fed poor quality kibble and consequentially their health will suffer over time. Obesity, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease, IBD, IBS, allergies, and so forth, can all be caused by bad diet. Hill’s have an answer for all these diet-related health conditions in the form of cleverly-marketed “premium” or “prescription” diets. So do Royal Canin.

Hill’s is a product of toothpaste and shampoo conglomerate Colgate-Palmolive, and Royal Canin is a product of Mars.

The penny drops

Let this simple fact resonate, as it will give you the answer to why vets recommend Hill’s Science Diet, Prescription Diet, and/or Royal Canin:

If you feed your dog junk food, then replace it with something marginally better, you’ll very likely see an improvement.

It’s not a miracle, and it doesn’t mean the expensive premium/prescription diet is healthy or optimal. It’s just marginally better than the rubbish fed previously which more than likely caused the illness in the first place.

In many cases a prescription food is tailored to reducing the symptoms of the specific condition. For example, a kidney diet has reduced phosphorous (and more often than not less meat). A weight loss diet will have lower fat (by reducing meat and increasing grains/legumes).

Corporate pet food manufacturers convince us these foods are optimal when they’re not. In some case they even use the word Optimal in the brand name (Optimum, also by Mars).

A dog or cat suffering kidney problems shouldn’t be fed a dry food period. An overweight dog is likely overweight because the previous diet was high in carbs and grains their bodies were unable to process. In cases such as this, reducing their meat intake definitely isn’t the optimal solution. A diet with lacklustre meat will likely lead to other health issues over time, even on expensive “premium” diets packed with grains, even the ones using marketing words like “Science” in the name.

Most of the time the deteriorating health of our pets (especially pets with a health condition) is attributed to the worsening of the condition or “old age”, or just plain bad luck, which is far from the whole truth. Diet is so often overlooked as the cause of an initial health condition, and also the cause of subsequent health conditions while the pet is on the premium/prescription food. It’s strange how the term “We are what we eat” is never translated to our pets.

These are fundamental reasons why toothpaste and shampoo company Colgate-Palmolive (makers of Hill’s) and confectionery company Mars (makers of Royal Canin) make an absolute killing out of expensive premium and prescription diets regardless of whether they’re optimal or not, and completely irrespective of the grains they’re made from.

The mass poisoning of pets by vets 1991 – 2015 (and beyond)

This is a controversial video by Sydney vet Dr. Tom Lonsdale, a campaigner against the junk pet food industry since 1991.

Calling Aussie pet lovers – join the mailing list!

David D'Angelo

David D'Angelo has worked as a scientist since graduating with a BSc (Hons) in 2000. In addition, David holds a CPD accredited Diploma in Pet Nutrition as well as being CPD accredited VSA (Veterinary Support Assistant). However, his experience and involvement in the pet food industry for 15+ years has given true insight into pet food, formulations, science, research, and pet food marketing. Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Pinterest

  1. My 2 yo male cat was diagnosed with FLUTD and the vet is telling me to get the hills prescription food for urinary care. I was very suspicious about this since I feed my cat can food from Ziwi peaks, Feline natural and Zealandia, all highly rated can food with good ingredients. She also told me the prescription food can only be bought from vets but I can easily found them selling in almost every pet food store I can find? Then I googled it and found out there’s a class action lawsuit against Hill’s about their prescription cat food in the U.S. This looks very dodgy to me.

    • Hi Lang,

      It feels like most pet food brands in the US have a class action lawsuit filed against them. It seems to be the norm!

      When it comes to pet foods, issues can and do occur – manufacturing issues, contamination issues, ingredient issues which affect a handful of batches. The bigger the brand, the more likely this will be noticed. So when it comes to a brand like Hill’s which is sold worldwide it’s inevitable you’ll hear bad things about it.

      My opinion – as you would’ve noted in this article, I don’t feel it’s overly appropriate for a pet carnivore based on the ingredients, and I always question how much profit is the key motivation over pet health.

      In Australia we don’t have many brands which cater for specific conditions. It’s really only Hill’s, Royal Canin, and to some extent Australian brand Lifewise.

      In most cases, especially for a cat, the wet foods are almost always the better option in terms of ingredients, but do cost more.

      And yes, I’m sure veterinarians would prefer you to buy products from them, but you’re right these brands are available elsewhere as well (often for a better price!)

  2. The only reason vets recommend these overpriced, and actually poorly made products, is because they make a fortune on the prescription (sic) mark-up – pay the price and get whatever you what – prescription dog food is a scam. Ever look at the labels? Hills KD formula lists brown rice as the first ingredient. For Dogs with KD, brown rice, and all whole grains, have too much potassium, and who knows what other crap they hide in the ingredient list. I make my dogs’ food with reduced protein, and low potassium/phosphorus/sodium vegetables, and white rice, and add omega 3 fish oil. It’s bad enough that pet care is expensive, now they want us to spend 2x -> 3x the cost of questionable food for a medical condition. Nothing like pandering to pet owners’ emotions and care for their pets.

  3. My cat ate Hill’s prescription dry WD cat food for 12 years no problem then they changed the look of the bag and I was worried because it was a different cat on the bag and the only wording they gave me was 6 months prior to changing the cat on the bag and the ingredients in the bag was a little yellow notice on the old bag that I bought six months prior but said great new look and taste coming soon what that label should have said was if you don’t save some of this old and transition your cat food before the new cat food comes out your cat may get very sick and or die if it is not transitioned properly by adding a little of the new cat food to the old cat food. Long story short for the next two and a half months I tried everything and all they kept reading been recommended was more of the different kind of Hill’s prescription cat food at the vets and I trusted them and believed them my cat lost half her body weight in two and a half months she went from 6 lb 1 oz down to 2 lb 7 oz and then her anal glands ruptured after she suffered with diarrhea liquid diarrhea throwing up she was nothing but fur and bones when I would pick her up I had to force feed her and the last time she had a vet appointment the night before her anal glands ruptured and then she was pooping out murky looking blood she looks so horrible the golden color in her eyes were gone and it was gray I decided to have her put to sleep that day I regret the decision I miss her so bad by that in California said she should live to be about 22 years old that she had the longest longevity of all the feline. Now she is in heaven with God and only age 12 I lost a good 10 years of her being with me. She slept every night with her paw on my hand and then I learned hills prescription cat food and dog food is owned by Colgate Palmolive who already haslawsuits against the them for deceptive business practices and false advertising. I truly believe the hills prescription cat food change of ingredients in their new cat food killed by cat. I also learned the only prescription thing about Hill’s prescription cat food is that they copyright the word back in 2010 so they could be the only cat food company to use it with their products. On the food and drug administration website they even say that there is actually no prescription needed to buy hills prescription cat food but the vets play the prescription game because the vets and the hills prescription cat food company AKA Colgate Palmolive make a ton of money and that’s all they really care about because then after I saw or had to put my cat to sleep I found there was a big roll out of new cat and new dog food for 2023. How many more pets need to die before these people are shut down… For their deceptive business practices and false advertising? And when you buy your prescription vs cat food from a vet they know who you are they have your phone number your address and usually your email address as well I could have been notified by any three of those methods to transition my cat properly and save some of the old cat food to transition her with.. I was not notified by the vet or by the hills prescription cat food company and as a result my cat is now dead… So okay it’s wonderful when the prescription BS stuff works but why do some animals have to die in the process I know it’s just so they can all line their pockets with money. And yes I could leave a complaint on the FDA website but they have known about this company for a long time poisoning animals a lot of dogs died back in 2015 and the FDA still did nothing about it. All they had to do was told me to save some of the old cat food and transition her properly that it was very important. But because of the big roll out they were having they didn’t want to freak people out so they wouldn’t buy their crap cat food and dog food and now it’s all over the place there’s bags of it all over tractor supply store that used to have none last year in fact I’m going to ask him to tractor supply if I need a prescription to buy a bag of it. And I bet they say no. I recommend you get your animal off of Hill’s prescription cat food transition them slowly onto something that is not their cat food or dog food otherwise I know that your pet is at Great risk! Because the last thing you want to watch is over two and a half months Your animal starve to death in front of your own eyes!

  4. Hi, thanks a million for your article and the link for the great Tom’s youtube clip.
    My six year old cat was a victim of junkfood-caused periodontist. The vet says it’s not the food, it’s “genetic” (!!!???) (Same story for humans, right? An obese person with cancer who eats mac donald and cola for 10 years goes to the gp and the cancer is “genetic”) Anyway, I did give him homemade balls of raw vernison, wallaby and chicken, which he loves, but I stupidly complemented with store bought wet and dry food (even if both were high end). He had to have 6 teeth removed and I do not want to ever touch a bag of kibbles again. What do I do though? Without his canines he can’t eat chicken wings etc (I’m assuming), he was never a fan of it anyway. He also doesn’t like sardines… He is a bit fussy, would there be ANY good store-bought SAFE wet food that I could give a try? Or recipes?… He also doesn’t like raw fish. My point is: it seems that for dogs is much easier to just throw big meaty bones to them and perhaps their diet is complete with that? For cats, you can’t just throw big meaty bones… I need help. I don’t know what to feed him in a way that he is not going to be lacking vitamines, minerals and nutrients for his optimum health and recovery. Kibbles, NEVER MORE. I’m giving him bone broth, with the rest of the wet food I had and cooked pumpkin, but I suppose he can not live with my little raw balls and bone broth only forever?… Not one vet to ask for advice; they are all brainwashed to sell Hills (one of the most horrible, unhealthy, unethical junk), to say that kibbles are important for their teeth’s health (!!!??? – like saying to us to eat biscuits and never brushing our teeth!) and that any damage these junk causes is either bad luck or gens. Shelters say the same!!! Can’t stand so much BS! Thank you

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) April 4, 2023 at 10:00 pm

      Hi Maria, I’ve spoken to Tom about this in the past and his opinion is it’s never too late to start feeding meaty bones. For cats you can opt for chicken necks, wings, drumsticks, or even carcasses. This should protect your cat’s remaining teeth, and healthy gums can be surprisingly strong so your cat may not have the issues you would imagine.

      Yesterday I wrote a new review for Hill’s Prescription Diet Kidney Care, and it never ceases to amaze me how much grains are in these products. To think they’re for a carnivorous animal! And when it comes to kidney care even the nature of kibble I don’t consider appropriate. To use Tom Lonsdale’s word – “con”.

  5. Hi,
    I fed my two cats half wet food and half dry for years. I started off with ziwi peak but my male cat developed a “Sterile” UTI and had to be taken to the vet who then prescribed the hills urinary diet for a few months, after which i put him back on the ziwi – careful this time to avoid any seafood and fish versions. However even switching to non seafood versions he developed the problem again.

    He has since been staying on the hills/royal canin urinary diet for several years now and not had any problems, but i am not happy with the about of carbs, oil and processed meat etc. I’m hesitant to try other foods, and all vets i have spoken to have just said to stay with the prescription diets.

    SO the first question is what safe alternatives should i consider if any?

    The second is similar, when i was feeding mostly wet food (same brand, different diet) their teeth health would degrade. So you can guess – the vets said to include dry food again. Same concerns.

    Any help – or counter questions to take to the vet- would be very appreciated, thank you

    • I use k9 natural dry food and water to increase the water consumption. Even for dogs, this is beneficial when it’s really hot.

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) December 18, 2022 at 12:34 am

      Hi Lawrence, have you considered raw meaty bones, such as chicken necks, wings, or drumsticks? I find these a great natural solution for both dental health and also adding moisture to the diet. I often find UTIs common in cats fed a dry diet, especially dry diets made largely of carbs/starches. Ziwi peak has more moisture than a kibble but is still effectively a dried food, so I think anything you can do to increase moisture intake in your cats is good. Perhaps even a water fountain (tend to be a bit hit or miss with cats, but great if they entice them to drink).

  6. My 8yr old female Maltese has been diagnosed with diabetes and vet recommended Hills W/D dry biscuits. I am having trouble regulating her blood sugar levels because after food they spike. I wonder if it’s the Hills W/D food doing it. The ingredients list is horrible and I would have thought something grain free would be better? I also mentioned to my vet about putting my dog on raw diet but the vet wasn’t happy about that. I thought diabetes is better managed on low carb, high protein foods, which makes me wonder about Hills W/D.

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) November 1, 2022 at 5:27 pm

      Hi Dawn, not all vets are against raw diets, but personally I would opt for a decent raw diet over a dry biscuit like Hill’s W/D. I think you need to question why a diet for a sick dog has a main ingredient of wheat, which is especially ominous when you consider the natural diet of a dog or their ancestors. It makes little sense to me.

      It’s also worth considering what may’ve caused the diabetes in the first place – did your vet question what food was fed until your dog became sick? I think whatever you decide to do, such as switching to a more raw diet, let me know how it goes and hopefully it will show an improvement.

  7. I would love for you to cite your sources for the information you are providing as no vet or veterinary nutritionist I have ever worked with for my animals has ever approved of feeding raw, and I see in your comments section you are promoting raw feeding, etc.

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) August 30, 2022 at 4:21 pm

      Hi Crystal, many Australian vets these days see no issues with raw feeding as long as precautions are taken. After all it’s a far more naturally instinctive diet for both a dog and a cat (obligate carnivore).

      From my perspective, I see a great deal of marketing and marketing-instigated “research” which aims to slur raw feeding over a commercial kibble. If you consider the process involved in creating kibble, such as at high temperatures which kill nutrients and enzymes, combined with ingredients which aren’t a great fit for carnivorous animals, then what we’re left with is a logical conclusion.

      What would you consider a more appropriate diet for such animals?

  8. “In many cases a prescription food is tailored to reducing the symptoms of the specific condition. For example, a kidney diet has reduced phosphorous (and more often than not less meat)”

    This is a very misleading and irresponsible statement. Less meat is primarily about controlling phosphorous levels to slow the progression of chronic kidney disease, not reduce symptoms.

    In CKD, phosphorus levels elevate and facilitate kidney damage and disease progression. Dietary proteins (meats especially) contain high phosphorus levels, so unfortunately, the best way to control phosphorus is to reduce protein amounts. Phosphorus binders can help, but have limitations.

    Vets and nutritionists up-to-date on current research are well aware of this catch-22 and acknowledge that more study is needed to better understand CKD presentation and treatment in pets.


    The minerals section offers an good explanation of phosphorus effects in CKD:

    • Why would you advise someone to feed their pet something that has the potential to kill?! Important fact,chicken bones are EXTREMELY DANGEROUS for dogs, cats and even humans when ingested. Why? Due to their smaller size and brittleness, they have a tendency to break or snap when chewed, thus creating sharp, jagged edges that can easily puncture the soft tissue in the throat and esophagus. If that happens, you could be facing a life threatening situation, plus one hefty vet bill! If you must feed them chicken, debone the meat prior to mealtime. Your furbaby will thank you!

      • I”‘ve fed my dogs raw chicken frames and wings for 2 decades without incident. Hardly “extremely dangerous”.

      • Reply
        Pet Food Reviews (Australia) March 1, 2023 at 8:32 pm

        Hi Sarah, many people feed raw meaty bones and have done for many years. Some vets endorse this style of feeding. I agree there is some risk – inappropriate sized bones such as knuckle bones, weight bearing bones, and definitely cooked bones which should never be fed to a dog. I find most people in the raw feeding community are well aware of the risks, although perhaps a few are not. There are also health risks to feeding kibble, so the reverse argument is also possible. I would be interested to know why you feel so strongly about this issue, and any viewpoints are welcome.

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) August 25, 2022 at 5:44 pm

      Hi B., I respect what you have said but you have to question the method used for extruded kibble, cooked at high temperatures, formulated largely from grains, to treat animals factually known as obligate carnivores (for cats) or debatably facultative carnivores (for dogs).

      With kidney conditions, you must also question what the animal was fed prior to developing the condition, which was likely also kibble largely formulated from grains.

      You can cite a great deal of research on CKD, but you will find very little which taints kibble as any potential cause of kidney conditions in carnivores, or research which suggests more natural alternatives as a better approach for treating such conditions.

      To leave you with a question – should a sick cat or dog be medicated with kibble, and would you consider this optimum?

  9. “A dog or cat suffering kidney problems shouldn’t be fed a dry food period.”
    Thank you so much for confirming it! A vet told me that years ago when one of my cats aged 4 had a case of struvite. Almost 10 years later with nothing but regular food, he’s had just once his teeth cleaned, and the vet of the town we’re living in can’t believe he is so healthy. At the clinic, they do insist on Hill’s and Royal Canin and Virbac (a French brand), but I’ve never bought any of those, as the ingredients don’t list meat as being the primary content.
    One issue though: he’s just been diagnosed with hyperthyroid, I suspect that the water quality could be the trigger? So I’ve started filtering his water supply.
    Thank you so much!

  10. Hi, I almost feel guilty adding to the questions that have been asked of you, but I’m at my wits end.

    I have a 4.8 year old blue staffy (Pumba) who, over the past 7 months, has been consistently getting interdigital cysts.

    Before I go on, I just want to say that nothing had changed in regards to his food, or anything else when this all started. Before that he was fine.

    Ok, he started out with just one cyst which I didn’t know what it was to begin with, it was just a horrible, nasty looking blister type thing between his toes. I took him to the vet, who told me what it was and that it could be from an ingrown hair, a prickle or something he stood on in the yard. He just lanced it, squeezed the blood out of it (but didn’t find a prickle, or anything) and gave him an antibiotic injection. I took Pumba home and bathed his paw until the cyst went away.

    I thought that was it, but no…another one came up on the other paw. So we did what the vet did, then bathed it until it was gone and all was good. Long story short, he ended up getting cysts on all his paws, even though I had been bathing them as soon as I saw them. So back to the vet. He was put on a course of antibiotics and apoquel to treat him for allergy. I was told that he may need ongoing apoquel (at least during Spring/Summer), to change him to Hills Dermcomplete, which must be the most expensive kibble ever made (and which I cannot afford), but I have changed his diet (he was having a combination meat/fish and chicken kibble), he is now having kangaroo meat and Savor Life salmon kibble. I am also now putting flaxseed oil on his dinner and I’ve made up a spray that I spray on his feet twice a day (1 cup green tea, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar).

    He seemed to be getting better, in that all of the cysts cleared up. But now, he has got a couple back again, so I’m constantly bathing his paws. And you can look at him one minute and nothing, then you look at him literally 5 mins later and he has a cyst! It’s so annoying. I can’t imagine how horrible it is for him.

    Can you please tell me, if this is a food (or possibly nature) allergy thing, what would be the best I can give him. I’m looking at Meals for Mutts kangaroo single meat (kibble), or is there no kibble that is any good?

    Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated!
    Thank you.

    • Zignature has arrived in Australia, available at Pet Circle. May be of use to you as well as it’s considered a limited ingredient food and has many proteins to choose from.

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) February 16, 2022 at 6:21 pm

      Hi Marrianne, if the issue is diet-related, which I suspect it might be given what you’ve said, the best starting point is considering the root cause. This would be the kibble you fed originally (feel free to mention the brand, or message me privately). Food intolerances build up over time, and poor quality foods can disrupt the microbiome which takes a long time to heal.

      If Hill’s Derm Complete showed an improvement then this is further evidence the original food was causing the cysts. Unfortunately, like many Hill’s dog foods, it’s not ideal for a dog as essentially a meat-eating animal. Derm Complete is mostly cereals, low protein, and whereas might seem to improve skin conditions may cause other health issues in the long term.

      My recommendation would be to try a food without cereals or wheat, and possibly with a meat protein which is novel to your dog. In terms of kibble, perhaps Canidae PURE, Taste of the Wild PREY, or Australian brand Lifewise (such as their Kangaroo formula). If you’re willing to try a more fresh food then maybe Lyka or Frontier Pets as high end offerings more species-appropriate. You don’t need to feel locked in to any of these brands, but worth a try for a few weeks to see if there’s any improvement in your dog.

      It should be fine to keep up the flaxseed and spray, and hopefully in time his condition improves.

      • How do I contact the author / pet nutritionist that wrote & published this article? 🙂 would love to send them an email in regards to where to attain formal nutrition qualifications,
        I am a veterinary nursing student with an interest in nutrition.

        • Pet Food Reviews (Australia) February 13, 2024 at 7:23 pm

          Very good question, which is harder to answer than you may expect.

          Some may argue becoming a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist is your only path to credibility, but I find a strong discord between human nutrition and the nutrition of cats (as carnivores) and dogs (which we’re told are omnivores like us).

          Another option is paying for a pet nutrition course which can be completed in a matter of hours, and despite teaching you almost nothing about pet nutrition, will allow you to claim a certification. This is a route I see many take, whether to promote their pet food product or give the impression they know what they’re talking about. I have such a certification, and I’ll readily tell you such a certification is absolutely meaningless.

          Perhaps it’s better to translate what we know about human nutrition to that of pets, because when you compare the science in human nutrition to the pet space you’ll unearth all manner of questions.

      • I put my work email on the previous comment. I meant to put my personal one (which is what I’ve submitted now).

      • Thank you, this is very helpful information!

        The brand Pumba was on was Natures Goodness, grain free, chicken, duck and garden vegetable and I mixed this with Big Dog Como wet food (Ingredients: Beef, finely ground beef bone and cartilage, lamb, finely ground lamb bone and cartilage, chicken, finely ground chicken bone and cartilage, pork heart, beef and lamb heart, beef and lamb liver, beef and lamb kidney, whole fish (salmon & sardines), seasonal fruits, vege and herbs (kale, spinach, broccoli, bok choy, silver beet, carrots, celery, beetroot, lettuce, cucumber, capsicum, apple, orange, pear, tomato, strawberry, ginger & parsley), cold pressed ground flaxseed, alfalfa powder, whole egg, kelp powder (brown seaweed), brewers yeast, wheatgrass, live probiotics, prebiotics, garlic.). I bought these from the RSPCA shop.

        • Pet Food Reviews (Australia) February 19, 2022 at 4:43 pm

          Generally I find Big Dog very reliable. Natures Goodness on the other hand… I can’t say I find the manufacturer to be “high standard”. They also make Woolworths Baxters and Ivory Coat, which have no end of concerning consumer issues, which I suspect occur on other brands by the manufacturer.

      • Thank you!! How do I PM you?

  11. G’day, we have a new Border Collie X Smithfield pup, 13 weeks old. We’ve been feeding him a cook up of Turkey or Beef mince with pumpkin, broccoli, boiled eggs, rice or couscous. From what I’ve been reading it sounds like we should stop cooking the meat and leave it raw, drop the rice component and replace that with a handful of high quality dry food. Does this sound pretty right?
    Love to hear anyone’s thoughts.

    • I make up a thick stew using brown rice &/or oats &/or, millet, veggies and chicken or beef stock plus herbs, coconut oil, turmeric etc then mix with raw meat in their bowls and a big spoonful of vets all natural to ensure they get supplements. Also chicken wings/carcass in the morning and good quality dry food for bribes and treats. I also have Frontier or other top quality food on stand-by for health emergencies.

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) February 4, 2022 at 6:24 pm

      Hi Todd, for feeding raw / raw meaty bones I highly recommend Work Wonders by Tom Lonsdale which will give you excellent information and reassurance. Feeding raw does have some consideration and requirements for organs as well as breast meat, and personally I see value in adding fresh veggies and fruits in moderation. Honestly, I would say feeding a decent raw diet will always be better and likely more cost effective than any commercial dog food, but does take consideration and more time in preparation.

      There’s a fantastic Facebook group The Australian Raw Feeding Group – there are no silly questions and that’s a great community for gathering information.

      Personally I feed my dog a mixture of commercial dog food (for convenience) and a variety of fresh and raw ingredients.

  12. So, my doggo has been fed Ziwi Peak for a long time. The vet recently told me that because of the crumbly nature of the food, it’s causing a quickened build up of plaque. I’m trying to train doggo to let me brush his teeth but he gags, even when using a finger tooth brush. It’s been months of very gradual and slow training with the help of a trainer, and no joy.

    The vet has, of course, recommended either Royal Canin or Advance dental food. He’s apparently missing the action of crunching his food, since ZP is crumbly and he can swallow it pretty quick.

    I’m happy with what I’m feeding my guy. ZP is up there with the best foods, right? My vet has told me ZP contains “too much meat” and not enough grains, etc.

    There’s so much conflicting information and vets really add to the confusion. I was wondering if you had any recommendations for foods that might help reduce the build up. He’s only two and he had to undergo anaesthetic for dental cleaning. We don’t give him bones as we aren’t sure what kind to give him. Maybe that would help?

    • High meat foods are our pets both cat and dogs most important foods. Adding non species appropriate foods like grains and certain carby starchy veggies is the opposite of what they should be getting.

      If your unsure of what’s best in terms of bones ask here. Fresh Food Feeding For Dogs-Kibble Feeders Welcome! 

      Or here. The Australian Raw Feeding Community

      Facebook groups, which when I linked my post got stuck.

      Don’t mention kibble at all on the first one your post will be deleted and you’ll get muted.

      Essentially write what breed of dog, size, chewing habits and people will help you out.

      I wouldn’t suggest any alternatives as people tend to know better I’ve seen than random Google searches.

      I feed my two a high meat diet consisting of mainly air dried and some kibble and freeze dried toppers.

      Mine can’t have very many bones or much of anything to munch on daily without being sick. So I brush their teeth instead.

    • High meat foods are our pets both cat and dogs most important foods. Adding non species appropriate foods like grains and certain carby starchy veggies is the opposite of what they should be getting.

      If your unsure of what’s best in terms of bones ask here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/rawandfresh

      Or here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/rawfeedingaustralia

      Don’t mention kibble at all on the first one your post will be deleted and you’ll get muted.

      Essentially write what breed of dog, size, chewing habits and people will help you out.

      I wouldn’t suggest any alternatives as people tend to know better I’ve seen than random Google searches.

      I feed my two a high meat diet consisting of mainly air dried and some kibble and freeze dried toppers.

      Mine can’t have very many bones or much of anything to munch on daily without being sick. So I brush their teeth instead.

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) January 19, 2022 at 2:48 am

      My question to your vet would be whether wheat gluten should be the significant ingredient in a canine diet. Or corn and rice for that matter. These make up the bulk of the Royal Canin dental product they’ve recommended to you!

      I just googled “What in Royal Canin Dental reduces plaque” and apparently it’s the abrasive texture and shape of the kibble itself. It makes you wonder why Royal Canin don’t use the same style kibble for all their diets!

      Sadly no commercial dog foods really address dental health, and it’s a clear problem when you speak to vets who understand periodontal disease.

      Personally I feed my dog and cat raw meaty bones. The gnawing and chewing naturally cleans their teeth, and this is the reason cats and dogs in the wild have much better dental health than domestic pets. As a caution you should only feed bones appropriate to the breed and eating habits of your dog, and always raw. Work Wonders is an excellent book on the subject by an Australian dental vet.

      If you’re unsure of bones then brushing is the next best thing, or treats like dear antlers are great for chewing. There’s info on this page – actually a ZiwiPeak treat!

      As for ZiwiPeak – yes, it’s soft, but at least it’s made from ingredients beneficial to your dog. I find it ironic when vets recommend dry kibbles made largely of high-carbohydrate grains, when we know fully well carbohydrates turn to sugars, and sugar rots teeth. Or maybe I’m just radical!?

  13. Vets are trained in PET FOOD NUTRITION not CARNIVORE NUTRITION. But luckily, Dr Franics Pottenger (Medical Doctor) has already done an animal feeding experiment for the vets. Pottenger’s famous 10 YEAR Cats-Diet Study (1932-1942) used 900 x cats over 3 generations of cats using (1) RAW MEAT and (2) RAW MILK vs. COOKED fed cats. Guess which diet produced the healthiest cats after 10 YEARS? The answer is on u-Tube “Pottengers Cats-Diet Will Effect Future Generations”.

  14. Thanks for sharing. Glad you shared your findings. I wish every cat or dog owner thought about this. Unfortunately people make this discovery when it can be too late for their pet. What I found over time, you must educate yourself. It’s not that hard, but takes time and dedication. xx

  15. We have a 9 year old golden retriever in excellent health generally. However he was recently diagnosed with a mask cell tumour on his right flank. Fortunately it had not spread and has been removed.
    Do you have an opinion on what food would be best for him now. He’s always had dried Royal Canin in the past. Grateful for any advice.

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) March 19, 2015 at 1:12 am

      Hi Judy, if the tumour has been removed and he’s in good health then any good diet should be suitable. I have to recommend you take advice from your vet in a situation like this, but generally to help prevent tumour growth and maintain health you need a diet low in carbohydrates (especially high GI carbohydrates as they fuel tumour growth), decent meat proteins and fats, and fish oils for omega fatty acids. Supplements might be an additional option, for omegas, vitamin D, and anti-carcinogenics like green tea extract.

  16. i have been feeding my great dane pups on giant breed advance dry food and now learn it doesn’t even rate in the best food list. very disappointed and am now being recommended hills science and according to the review on this web that also doesn’t rate in this list . i have read so many articles and blogs and breeders reports and vets reports and still i can not find an agreed best quality dry food. I get that it depends on many variable and how your dogs respond etc but blimey this is hard work. the debates between raw foods and not, soaking kibble and not, too much protein is apparently not an issue now its more about getting calcium to potassium levels right, one person swore by their Paleo diet, and one breeder even said she even fed her danes ice cream and chocolate all their lives with no consequence, seriously! some sites said vets aren’t up on the latest research so don’t trust them follow what your breeders recommend. Well my breeder fed one dane initially on pre soaked adult optimum , and the other breeder weetbix. Do i trust that !!!! i think not.

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) March 11, 2015 at 12:24 am

      Ha ha, I fully understand Karen. There’s a huge amount of conflicting information and opinions in the world today, especially with the internet. With Great Danes you need to be especially careful as they’re prone to joint problems so need a decent food as a puppy. With Raw you need to be very careful you cater for all nutritional requirements (more info here). I believe the key is variety – us humans have a varied diet, why shouldn’t dogs? There’s some very decent puppy formulas out there, such as Canidae Pure Foundations, Earthborn Holistic Puppy, Ivory Coat Puppy… perhaps try some of those as a base diet, and throw in some human grade meats as and when you can (leftovers from dinner).

  17. i have three dogs, english staffy 3 years, maltese x shi-tzu 2 years and maltese x shi-tzu 15 years. i currently feed them nutro natural choice with a small amount of human grade meat (chicken wings or beef mince). After reading your reviews on nutro im looking to change biscuits but not sure which ones to get. my staffy has a mild allergy and am doing what i can to treat it but it seems to be seasonal so my vet thinks it may be a kind of grass allergy, but none the less am trying to find a food with low allergy ingredients. im looking at canidae all life stages as it seems to be the most affordable from my supplier (pet circle which i highly recommend). is there any others that would be suitable also for around the same price. pet circle will deliver to my house a 20 kg bag for $110. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) March 11, 2015 at 12:30 am

      If your Staffy is suffering a seasonal allergy then I agree it might be a grass allergy – something in your garden perhaps, or local park? Any grain-free food might help if that’s the case, as it’s more likely a grain/grass allergy than meat allergy.

      Canidae are a good brand so I can’t argue with that. I believe Pet Circle sell Ivory Coat which is a relatively new Australian made food, and a manufacturer I’ve been very impressed with.

  18. I have just bought a German shepherd puppy from a breeder who was quite passionate about the raw food diet, and which I thought was a good idea but also thought it would be a difficult thing to correctly guess what my puppy should be eating because nutrition is so important to growth, I took my puppy (Atlas) to the vets as recommended by the GSDCV and the breeder and was told that i should switch him to a dry puppy food, The vet had royal canin, the dog shop had black hawk and the other place i looked had the hills science diet…How do I really know what to feed him to ensure proper growth?

  19. I’d like to see more facts about what information vets do actually receive about nutrition, and whether it is different in the USA vs Australia and whether it varies according to different courses taught at / in different universities.
    For Example , we have a couple of excellent vets here promoting and communicating the benefits of raw wholesome food such as Dr Tom Lonsdale (http://www.rawmeatybones.com) and ‘Dr Bruce’ from Vets All Natural. I’ve also read spirited disagreement in some websites about this issue (eg Danielle Steenkamp DVM in the Raw Feeding Community disagreeing )
    There’s no doubt that Lonsdale, appears to have been attempting to counter the pet food company- dominant influence and not getting anywhere… His articles and history make for sad reading.
    If it is true (I’m not fully convinced) it would appear akin to McDonalds and the like subsidising nutritional teaching of paediatrics…

  20. I grew up on a farm and breeding Ridgebacks was my gran’s passion and paying hobby. They took many ribbons. These show and sought after Sires, Bitches or pets for some were fed on porridge and a stew made of chuck, garlic and spinach. They didn’t have fleas or ticks and were very healthy!
    I’ve had show siamese cats that lived on fresh meat and chicken, cubed and frozen in plastic bags plus a few spoons of Pampers Chicken.
    They nibbled on green grass, a piece of biltong, a few Whiskas Chicken dry food pellits now and again. All my cats were stunning, sleek and disease free and lived till 17-21 years. Dry food was a nibble not their main meal.
    I find it hard to believe that commercial food can outshine natural food for flesh eating animals.

  21. hi there, I’ve often wondered the same thing because nutritionally I don’t find Science diet to be the supreme. Yet, many vets don’t seem to mind recommending it. I am a big believer that whatever is most natural, in its whole form, is better – obviously nutrition is about a combination of natural forms to achieve the ultimate diet. On top of this, we find many vets recommending dog food brands that are absolute rubbish, such as a particular Australian veterinarian recommending supercoat! To be honest, I think it all goes back to what they were taught, exactly how you say, the vet science course only includes 6 weeks of animal nutrition – 6 weeks out of the 6 years. Feeding your animals bad quality food may not kill them, but it certainly doesn’t help their health. I have found since educating myself better with pet food quality, that my pets have better digestion (less defacations – what a relief), healthier teeth & gums and healthier skin and coat. So I think there is just a cycle that vets believe science diet is ‘good enough’ to satisfied their nutritional knowledge and since it doesn’t contribute to worsen health (skin conditions, gum, nutritional deficiencies etc) they keep on recommending it. Anyway, very interesting topic for me.

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