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 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?
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.