Why do pet review websites rate Hill’s and Royal Canin products poorly, but vets recommend them highly?
Read on, and I’ll enlighten you somewhat…
Take a look at the ingredients on any bag of Hills Prescription or Science Diet dry food. You’ll see they’re mostly grains – wheat, sorghum, corn, rice. You’ll find much more grain in these products than meat. Dogs are essentially carnivores, cats are obligate carnivores. They depend on the highly bio available essential amino acids in meat to retain optimal health.
Cats are classified as hypercarnivores, requiring at least 70% meat in their diet (according to Wikipedia). These foods can contain over 70% grain.
It’s not rocket science.
Feeding your pets excessive grains baked into a kibble is far from optimal, don’t you think?
So why on earth do vets recommend these products?
Here’s a reason -> VETS HAVE SEEN THESE PRODUCTS WORK!
Yep, that’s true. Many vets see an improvement in pet health when they are transitioned to Hill’s products. Pretty convincing evidence, wouldn’t you agree?
But it’s a glaring oversight.
Let me explain…
Most kibble is absolute rubbish. Junk food. Convenience products designed for profit. Sadly business is business, and if these manufacturers put your pets before profit they’ll never succeed. That’s the fundamental reason why most dog foods are unhealthy.
Unfortunately for our pets most people don’t realise how bad some of these products are, and they feed them continuously to the pets they love. Every. Single. Day.
Millions of dogs are fed poor quality kibble and consequentially their health suffers over time. Obesity, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease, IBS, allergies, and so forth, can all be caused by bad diet. Hill’s have an answer for all these conditions marketed as an expensive “premium” or “prescription” diets. So do Royal Canin.
You see, if you feed your dog junk food and then replace it with something marginally better, you’ll likely see an improvement. It’s not miraculous, and it doesn’t mean the expensive premium/prescription diet is healthy or optimal. It’s just… (arguably) somewhat better.
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). They convince us they’re optimal when they’re not. 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 self-labelled “premium” diets. 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 just “old age”. 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 one of the reasons 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.
So what’s the solution? There aren’t any other commercial “prescription” diets available as only the big manufacturers have the clout to produce and sell them. But what you can do is *think* and *research*.
If your pet has allergies, perhaps consider what the allergy actually is (grains, meat..?). If they’re obese perhaps try a product with more meat and less carbs. If they have a health condition, investigate what their dietary requirements really are, and even if you stick with the prescription food you can supplement it with healthy, nutritious, fresh ingredients.