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

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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?

Here’s a reason -> VETS HAVE SEEN THESE PRODUCTS WORK!

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.

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Tammy Hackit
Tammy Hackit
5 years ago

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”.

Natalie @ Ozzi Cat Magazine

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

Judy Keller
Judy Keller
6 years ago

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.

karen saunders
karen saunders
6 years ago

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.

Leigh Hotchkiss
Leigh Hotchkiss
6 years ago

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

James McCarthy
James McCarthy
6 years ago

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?

Jane Bennett
Jane Bennett
6 years ago

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…

Marty
Marty
6 years ago

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.

Nicki
Nicki
6 years ago

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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