I have a stone forming dalmatian. He was given a urethrostomy some years ago and I have very carefully selected food for him ever since. His urine crystal count is virtually zero now and he’s in otherwise excellent health. We very much like his vet and, more importantly, he likes her very well also. But like virtually every veterinarian he has ever seen she is always trying to get us to buy the Hill’s Prescription Diet U/D. This is absolutely horrible food if you look at it’s ingredients, the worst being taurine preserved with BTA and BHA. These are carcinogens that have been banned from human foods for many years. Why are these vets always pushing Science Diet? Do they get kickbacks? I know our vet genuinely cares about our dog’s well being but pushing this food is a real head scratcher to me. It has zero meat protein in it and is full of all kinds of fillers, many known to trigger food allergies. Does anyone out there have a better handle on this?
I am unsure about the Hill’s Prescription and your vet (mine always prefers Royal Canin).
Just say that what you have is working and has been for awhile and you don’t want to change what’s working. Tell her thanks but you don’t want to mess with a system that is working.
Sound advice certainly but I am still absolutely confounded by why all these veterinarians push such an inferior product.
Most vets have no or very minimal nutrition training. I don’t know whether or not they get kickbacks or not, but it’s certainly possible. In my opinion, for your case, if the other food is working, there is no reason to try the crap food. You can just politely explain that what you are doing seems to be working, and so you are not inclined to try the vet diet. By the way, what is she eating now?
Tom K, yes, veterinarians’ nutrition lessons in vet school are sponsored by Purina/Royal Canin/Science Diet. When they become practicing veterinarians, said companies begin “courting” them and offering them all kinds of perks and discounts, if they push and promote their sub-par products. This doesn’t mean that vets don’t care about the animals they serve. They have just been brainwashed by these companies since vet school and don’t know any better. Some holistic or just good vets do, but most don’t. So there you have it. That’s why. I second M A – just keep doing what you’re doing if it’s working. 🙂 Good luck!
This is what I have always suspected. The shame is a great many pet owners see their vets as the very best in advice for their pets, as it should be, but when it comes to nutrition they’re being a little dishonest if you ask me.
He’s eating Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream, a Diamond company product, I know. But it’s ingredients are all high quality and it’s low in purines and at ten years old he still looks and acts terrifically.
Okay, cool. I normally wouldn’t feed a Diamond food, but there are certain situations where it is just what works.
Hi Tom, this is the answer, I got from my vet 4 months ago when I kept trying premium kibbles for my dog Patch & Patch would become ill again with his IBD so I had to go back to the vet diets…
why vets back these vet diets is they have proven to the vets that their diets do work, Hills Science Diet, its in their name SCIENCE…..Hills have proven with science & done so many studies & tests on real animals with certain illnesses, that their vet prescription diet does work, vets are into science & what is proven so they believe in their diets, (Poor dogs that are tested) for Bladder problems, Pancreatitis, or IBD etc, they formulate a special diet that you can not buy over the counter at pet shops, that’s why it has a prescription.. don’t get me wrong I’m not for Vet Diet foods, I’m always arguing with vets until John my old vet said all this to me…. Sometimes when your dog is so ill you need these vet diets just to get them thru until your dog is strong & healthy enough to start on a different diet, people seem to think, OH the dog has IBD just feed him more fiber, wrong, dogs with IBD normally need less fiber & there’s no premium dog food out there that has real low fiber 1% as a vet diet has…. some illness do require a vet diet like EPI or SIBO these illness need real low fiber diets & some dogs need a low fat diet & low fiber diet…. Premium dog foods are made for healthy dogs not sick dogs…some people see a weight loss kibble that is low in fat & buy it cause its low in fat, then wonder why their dog was up all night with diarrhea ….normal premium weight loss diets normally have very high soluble fiber to keep the dog full so they aren’t hungry…where a vet prescription diets will be low fat & have the proper fiber in their diets…
Maybe in 10-20year these vet diet companies will start to improve their diets & add better ingredients…I asked a Hills rep about their crappy ingredients, he said they have already started improving their foods with their new Ideal Balance range, I said, yeh but the whole Ideal Balance range is Chicken for protein or potatoes & I said, why you use chicken & potatoes is cause they’re cheap & your still into making profit over the animals health, I said what about the animals that cant eat chicken or potatoes ?? he had no answer… I said why didn’t Hills use sweet potatoes & duck or turkey cause it’s toooo dear & there will be no profit..
Meat by-products which are nothing more than slaughterhouse scraps off the floor. Carcinogenic preservatives. Wheat, brewers rice, and corn gluten meal are nothing more than cheap fillers at best and trigger food allergies in a lot of dogs at worst. This is cheaply made, sub par dog food that they have the temerity to charge a premium price for. Once upon a time before the Purina buyout this was a respected brand but I will never feed it to any dog I own.
My perspective is a bit different so I’ll share it with you. On one hand I think that veterinarians have a duty to inform. If you are feeding your dog a raw diet they have to inform you of risk of pathogens. If they don’t they can be open for a malpractice suit if someone gets ill and it is traced back to the dog’s raw diet.
Your dog has formed stones in the past. I see it as a duty to inform you that the diet you are feeding has not been shown to reduce uric acid stone formation whereas U/D has.
As Dals age the risk of stone formation decreases, you can find common ground by monitoring urine to hit the target parameters to prevent uric acid stone recurrence.
Why do vets recommend Hills? Is it lack of nutrition knowledge? I don’t see that as the reason because I have found that it is those with the most education that also recommend Hills. Stepping away from dogs and vets for a minute, I found that PhD nutritionists selecting commercial diets to feed to valuable zoo animals often choose Hills. At the major zoo near me I saw that Hills was being fed. I asked why and was told it was because of the consistency of formulation and high bioavailability of nutrients.
Veterinary nutritionists also recommend Hills and the general practiioner will look to the specialists in their respective fields when seeking guidance with their cases. Dr. Wynn, a holistic practiioner who is so passionate about proper nutrition that she went on to be board certified in nutrition, recommends Hills.
It really isn’t about lack of knowledge, it is about using a different value system by which foods are evaluated. As for myself, I use Hills products, my choice, based on the things that are important to me when deciding what to use to nourish my dog.
I agree that vets do not get a lot of nutritional training. Just as they don’t get a lot of trading in cardiology or dentistry or radiology etc etc etc.. Yet I’ve yet to hear someone say “I don’t have my vet listen to my dog’s heart because he only had a few lectures on cardiology in vet school”. Certainly how much education any one vet will have will vary with the school form which he/she graduated and also with their own interests. Six of the seven vets where I take my pets did not have any nutritional education from
Hills etc. They had a PhD for general nutrition and then DVM faculty for clinical nutrition. Thry did get a free copy of Small Animal Clinicl Nutriton but no direct contact. The seventh said that they were “lunch and learns” put on by Hills and after the presentation faculty together with the students critiqued the information given to them. These were not a formal part of her nutritional training. Of the seven vets, five different schools were represented and years of graduation varied from 1972 to 2011. Different schools will have different programs, but this idea that students are taught by and brainwashed by company reps I’ve found not to be true.
Do Vets get kickbacks? No but as when selling any product they charge you more then what they paid for it.
Hi Aimee. I’m assuming that when you say Dr. Wynn recommends Hills that it is in patients that have had and have a propensity to develop stones? I do believe that there are some situations that you simply have to go with what works regardless of how one may feel about the food at least for awhile until you can get the situation under control. Sometimes that’s just not possible and will have to stick with a food long term.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by Dori.
I don’t know what her recommendations are in regards to stones. I was referring to the recommendation for Science Diet for growth of large breed dogs in an article she authored on that topic.
Sorry, I must learn to thoroughly read original posts. I sometimes skim read and I just focused on the part of the dog having stones. I thought he was asking for help with a diet for a dog that has or had stones.
Tom. I agree with you completely on the ingredients in the foods that vets prescribe. I understand that there may be some animals out there that will benefit from them but I’ve had many dogs in my life and have never come across one of them needing one of those diets. Not to say that I haven’t been asked by vets to feed one or another of them through the years. I just politely let them know that I appreciate their advice and I’ll think about it. This vet that I’ve had for 13 years knows that I feed commercial raw diets so none of the vets in the practice or the techs ask me anymore what I feed my dogs. Dr. Susan Wynn is a nutritionist that has seen my 15 1/2 year old Maltese when she was diagnosed with very high liver levels, then a tumor in her bladder and then a mass on the lobe of one of her lungs. All those were discovered early last Spring. At that point Dr. Wynn suggested that I put Hannah on Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Diet because it is HPP and if Hannah’s immune system was working hard with all that was going on with her she didn’t want her to be exposed to any unnecessary bacteria. I feed a rotational diet with all three of my dogs and Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Food was already in their diets. I continued to keep with my rotational feeding of commercial raw foods as I have for the last three years. Some are HPP and some are not. Actually most are not. Typically poultry is what is put under HPP and I don’t feed any poultry because one of my girls is highly intolerant of all fowl. I also don’t feed white potatoes or any night shade plants because they are pro inflammatory. April will be a year that she was diagnosed. To the delight of all, she remains asymptomatic to bladder or lung cancer. Her liver levels are back down in the normal range. (The elevated liver levels were discovered in last Spring’s blood work during her annual physical which is what started the initial visit to Georgia Veterinary Specialists where Dr. Wynn practices and was one of her doctors). I did add a few supplements to Hannah’s diet manufactured by Standard Process. She is regularly monitored and her blood work comes back normal. Her titers are all really good also. Her vet and I decided last year that due to the cancer only titers will be done for her for the rest of her life which I pray is for many many more years. Hannah is the picture in my avatar that was taken last year.
Thanks for everyone’s input. Let’s hope we have better oversight of the pet food industry in the future.
We adopted our Border Collie-Chow mix in 2006. At the shelter they fed Science Diet and we continued that for a couple years. Since then we’ve switched to better dog food (dry and wet); Earthborn and Taste of the Wild (current). Fast-forward to present time and our vet is still pushing just what you mentioned… SD / RC / Purina. I am a better researcher and critical thinker in terms of medical research (due to my own health issues) and now I’ve begun doing the same for our dog. Anyway – our vet keeps justifying those 3 brands, recently I point-blank asked Hill’s where all of their ingredients are sourced and they responded two of the amino acids (Taurine and forgot the other one…) are from China. Then came the spiel justifying why they do so. I had thought they were improving on their formulas (ingredient sourcing and whatnot) apparently they still stand by ingredients from China. Curious how my vet will justify that. -_-
Below are excerpts out of context from:
Click on link for full article, you may find the comments after the article helpful too.
A recent article from the ever-unreliable Dogs Naturally Magazine gave some alternative vets a platform for repeating some myths and misconceptions about what are often called “prescription diets,” though this is technically incorrect. These are better referred to as “therapeutic diets” because they are intended to be useful in treating or preventing specific medical problems, not simply provide good overall nutrition, but they do not actually require a prescription, merely oversight from a qualified veterinarian.
I usually write brief summary of my conclusions for these posts, but in this case I could not write anything that makes the point better than the following, again from a nutritionist knowledgeable about these issues:
All these arguments are just guilt trips and not based on reliable science and assume the quality of a final product depends solely on certain random criteria form the individual ingredients rather than in deep knowledge of the current state of nutritional science, excellent quality control during formulation, reception of ingredients, extrusion, and storage conditions.
What we have here is unsubstantiated belief presented as fact. And this kind of fear mongering has real dangers. There is, for example, very good evidence that feeding commercial diets for cats with kidney disease can reduce suffering and prolong life. Yet I have seen clients feeding unbalanced and completely inappropriate homemade concoctions instead because they have been frightened and misled by this kind of propaganda and are unwilling to feed diets with proven benefits.
As I’ve said many times, no one knows the perfect diet for any given patient, and I am open to the possibility that there are benefits to feeding alternatives to the usual canned and dry commercial diets. But these benefits must be proven, not simply invented out of whole cloth or wrung out of twisted misrepresentations of nutrition science.
Hi Jenny you go girl, educate your vet about pet food nutrition….Jenny ask Anon101 what she feeds her dogs??
She does NOT feed Science Diet, she does NOT feed Royal Canine & Purina she does NOT feed, yet when someone post a post asking what should I feed my new large breed puppy, she says feed it Purina Focus… I bet she has never even read the poor ingredients in this puppy formula…
Anon101 feeds Zignature a premium food that I kept recommending to feed dogs with allergies all last year, she doesn’t feed any of these kibbles with cheap ingredients from china……
Anon101 why don’t you feed your dogs the Purina Sensitive Skin & Stomach or the Science Diet Sensitive skin formula if it’s so good, why don’t you practice what you preach??
You wrote “Hi Jenny you go girl, educate your vet about pet food nutrition…” WOW!
The vet may be making those recommendations because he/she is very highly educated in nutrition. Dr. Wynn a holistic vet and boarded nutritionist feeds Science Diet, Royal Canin and Purina. I find that it is the most highly educated that feed and recommend products from these companies.
Jenny, not sure how the vet will answer in regards to ingredients from China but as someone who feeds Science Diet to my dogs I can tell you my thoughts. There are unscrupulous businesses and people everywhere. I don’t condemn everything from a particular country based on a few unscrupulous individuals and simply avoiding ingredients from a particular country doesn’t insure that the ingredients are pure. No matter where the sourcing is done trust no one and test everything. Larger companies have to ability and resources for quality control testing.
Interestingly enough, I’ve fed majority of the higher rated foods on here with poor results. My boys over and over perform better on Purina Pro Plan. They digest it better, their coats are better and their overall health is better. It is ONLY ever when I switch them to any other brand that issues start popping up.
As far as sourcing vitamins from China goes, Hills/Purina/RC are probably the only companies I would feel comfortable using knowing that fact. And as Aimee said “China Free” products can still be contaminated. Look at the recent recalls going on.
Vets push Science Diet so hard because Science Diet puts them through school. Science Diet is somewhat like a sponsor for the vet. If you have Netflix go watch Petfooled. It will open your eyes to a lot of new information.
Purina (higher end line like Pro Plan) and Science Diet are not as horrible as many think. I was once one of those people. Then I really learned about all the studies they do, the advancements in nutrition that have been made because of these companies and the work they do.
While my experiences are anecdotal, the dogs that I have had to feed Science Diet to have done far better than they did on the 5 star brands. It is because of the science and continued research they do.
They also treat the animals they use in trials very well. Hills keeps the animals for the entirety of their lives and tracks their health and nutrition through all stages. I don’t think there is a company that is so thorough in their research.
My youngest dog is only 2. He’s been on the most expensive foods and always had some sort of issue. Mostly mild when fed really good quality food. He did fantastic on Acana until they started making food in KY. Then his food intolerances were the worst they have ever been. He & his brother do great on Science Diet. (I also feed him The Honest Kitchen too.) His mother is fed Pro Plan. She’s thriving. She has terrible allergies too.
Hills prescription food has kept my girl from having flare ups. It’s no more expensive than the top of the line foods. She is also on FortiFlora which is made by Purina
It’s so important to do your homework. You can’t just go by the label, DFA, documentaries, blogs, etc. Nothing is that simple or black & white. We’re talking about animals. They are not so simple when it comes to their individual needs and differences.
As for Science Diet & Purina paying vet schools. They may pay to hold a seminar, but they are not influencing the course of study. (Much like a comedian or band paying a college to perform.) Students’ attendance is strictly volunteer. They are not credited or penalized.
Glad you found something that works!
Great Post! I have had the same experience with Pro Plan and the same experience with the “better” foods. Glad you found something that is working for your GSD’s!
By no means am I just saying watch a documentary. I deal with pet nutrition for a living. I use the documentary Petfooled to start the conversation. Petfooled is also a great start for information. A vet is interviewed the whole time and she herself says Purina and Science Diet put vets through school. Anyhow, most people are overwhelmed by all the information I give them on pet health and pet nutrition. Science Diet may work for some yes, but it isn’t a great food. Some people say Blue Buffalo saved their dogs lives, while others watched it kill their dog. Everyone has an opinion or thought on what is right.
Unfortunately PetFooled offers up more incorrect information than anything else. Karen Becker is also notorious for manipulating the truth, so again not the best source of information.
Pitlove is right Petfooled is laden with misinformation it’s too bad really.. anyway here are just a few comments I made about it on the review section
” Here is an excerpt from the trailer and the film as an example of misinformation. In reference to corn wheat and soy “those are the things that cause overweight, diabetes, arthritis,chronic skin allergies, infections..”
The problem is, is that there is just as much evidence to say that beef, lamb, and chicken are the things that cause overweightedness, allergies, diabetes, and infections as there is to say corn, wheat and soy cause those things. In other words there is no basis to be making either statement. It is all “fake news”
“What was presented was very biased. For example in regards to rendering there were pics of body piles and dead stock and road kill but no real discussion that the material used in pet food is usually always from a USDA integrated facility leading the viewer to think that road kill and dead bloated cattle is the primary source for pet food ingredients.
Major blunders in facts ( they couldn’t even get the anatomy labeling correct ) and appeal to nature fallacy.
Dr. Becker incorrectly reported that the scientific name of the dog was
changed from canis lupus familiaris to just canis lupus because dogs
are essentially wolves vs them being a recognized subspecies.
She reported the change was because the only differences between wolves and dogs is “outer packaging”
Fact check people, just don’t lift garbage off of raw feeding sites
and repeat it! What she said was pretty much verbatim from here https://www.balanced-canine…
What really happened was that the dog was canis familiaris and was
changed to canis lupus familiaris. Similar renaming occurred with other
domestic animals: separate species names were abandoned in favor of
classifying under the same species and assigning a subspecies name.
No mention of the Nature journal paper that reported on the genetic
adaptation of dogs vs wolves in regards to carbohydrate metabolism.Hmm
Implications that major pet food companies won’t disclose where they source from because they declined to be interviewed for the film. I understand why they would decline to be interviewed and if the producers of the film were interested in looking at sourcing info
they could have just lifted it from company web pages.
Did they not want the viewer to know that human grade 1 and 2 grains and meat from USDA integrated plants is used in pet foods?
All in all a waste of time. Not worth paying for and not worth watching.”
Also, did you know that the average debt for a person graduating vet school is upwards of $167,000 with 20% owing more than 200,000? Therefore this statement, “Vets push Science Diet so hard because Science Diet puts them through school. Science Diet is somewhat like a sponsor for the vet.” is complete “fake news” Oh sure they may get a pocket protector and some free pens or a back pack . Vet Students used to get a “hard” copy of Small Animal Clinical Nutrition. Don’t know if they still get a hard copy as you can just download it off their site, (You can too for that matter and if you are interested in nutrition it is worth your time to read it.) and I think vet students can buy their Hill’s food at a reduced rate. Big deal, nothing that would even make a teeny tiny dent in the cost of their education. Student loans are what puts vets through school not Science Diet.
So. Are road kills and dead bloated cattle part of pet food ingredients? All the brands?
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