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

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

We rate Hill’s Science Diet, Hill’s Prescription Diet, and Mars Royal Canin poorly, yet vets religiously defend and recommend them. Why is that? Why do vets recommend Hill’s Science Diet, Prescription Diet, and Royal Canin?

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. In fact you’ll find much more grain in these products than meat. This is fundamentally odd given dogs are essentially carnivores and cats are obligate carnivores. They depend on the highly bio-available essential amino acids in meat to retain optimal health. It’s not rocket science.

In contrast, continuously feeding your pets grains baked into a kibble at very high temperatures is far from optimal.

So why on earth do vets recommend these products?


Yes, that’s true, but we need to ponder this as it is unlikely many vets have ever considered why. If you’re a vet, and you’re reading this, have you ever considered why these products work?

Vets see an improvement in pet health when they are transitioned to Hill’s Science or Prescription Diet products. 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. Let me explain, as there’s one key factor almost always unconsidered:

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.

Unfortunately for our pets most people don’t realise how bad 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.

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

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.