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Prescription Pet Food – Bad for Dog’s, Cat’s Health

Is the Prescription Dog (Cat) Food Sold in Veterinarian’s Offices Good or Bad for Your Dog (Cat)?  Hill’s Prescription Diet, Royal Canine Veterinary Diet, Purina Veterinary Diet, etc.
What you Need to Know So That You Can Select Healthy Veterinarian Prescribed Dog Food
In this article:

  1. Practitioners of Conventional Modern Veterinary Medicine – how much do they really know about diet and nutrition;
  2. The basics of what you need to know in order to make viable, healthy decisions about your dog’s, cat’s food;
  3. Examples of ingredients in Veterinarian prescribed food that pose serious health issues for your dog, cat;
  4. Examples of Veterinarian prescribed food that you should not feed your dog, cat.

1. 0 Conventional Modern Veterinary Medicine – Diet,
Nutrition

  • Veterinarians are aggressively marketed to by large pet food companies with very deep pockets. These companies spend a considerable amount of money on:
    • In-depth and intense marketing campaigns;
    • Campaigns that are backed-up by skewed and biased data;
    • Campaigns that rely on the fact that:
      • Veterinarians are not taught about nutrition in any depth, and;
      • What they are taught in university is, for the most part based on material prepared by the big pet food manufacturing companies.
What You May not Know About your Veterinarian’sKnowledge of Pet Nutrition
First– Did you know that the standard 4year long university course required to become a Veterinarian only includes about 50 hours of course time spent on pet nutrition? That is equivalent to about 1 week of study over the span of 4 years.
Second – During that week of studya large portion and often 100% of the material studied(research material, text books, study aids and even the course material) is sponsored by and often supplied to the university by the big-name pet food manufacturers such as Royal Canine, Hill’s and PurinaWhile at first glance this might seem ok – its not, and here is why…The material prepared by these companies is very biased – not objective, not truthful and not factual

  • This means that the veterinary students – in their brief one week of nutritional study do not get to learn about real nutrition, they only get exposure to very limited information based on skewed data and misrepresented information.
  • In addition, students are often 
Thirdly–  While studying veterinary sciences at the university the pet food manufacturer offers pet food products at a greatly discounted price or for free to the student for his/her pet;Fourthly – Upon graduation veterinarians are given financial incentive to endorse and stock the product of the company that supplied their university with ‘study’ material and food freebees.Fifth – Read more here to understand why many conventional Veterinarians do not have a viable knowledge of nutrition.

So, having had:
  • All of about 1 week worth of learning about nutrition;
  • And the material studied was provided by a pet food company;
  • Just how much perspective (non-biased understanding) and comprehensive depth of knowledge does the average veterinarian have? 
  • Well, in most cases very little and what they do have may be very biased in favour of a specific company’s product (i.e. Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canine, Purina, etc.).
  • Suffice it to say that the veterinarian student – now a practicing veterinarian really never had the opportunity to learn about real nutrition – not the students fault!
While there are most definitely some conventional practitioners of veterinarian medicine that have a proper knowledge of nutrition their are many more veterinarians that do not have a viable understanding of nutrition and diet.This lack of knowledge is evidenced by the dog and cat food sold by many veterinarians.
The food purchased by pet owners from their Veterinarians is sold at an elevated price – I have client’s that (prior to working with me) were paying $100 or $150 for bag of food. While that might not be a bad thing if the food was truly ensuring the health of their pet, the problem is that the food can have ingredients in it that have an adverse effect on your companion animals’ health.
It is  also important to understand that the majority of these ‘Prescription Diets’ are no different in quality and certainly not better in content than many of the non-Prescription Diet foods sold in pet stores.
A good understanding – even a basic understanding, of what compromises good nutrition is an essential building block for companion animal health.
  • A dog‘s and cat’s best defence against acquiring:
    • Minor and major ailments is a strong immune system;
    • Fleas, ticks, other parasites is a strong immune system.
But what happens when the food that your dog or cat is on:
  • Contains species inappropriate food stuffs;
  • Contains GMO corns and soy;
  • Contains chemical-based preservatives and additives that are toxic and carcinogenic;
  • Contains animal-grade sourced ingredients that provide poor quality nutrition and which can be contaminated with multiple hazards such as:
    •  Aflatoxins
    • Genetically Modified ingredients;
    • E ndocrine disrupters such as growth hormones;
  • Is not nutritionally balanced:
    • And  you are not aware of the insufficiencies in the food;
    • You do not know how to make-up for the insufficiency;
    •  i.e. the real ratio of protein, to fat to carbohydrate is way off balance, and;
  • The Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio is wrong (no dry dog food provides a properly balanced ratio of 3:6 fatty acids).

The result is your dog’s health is placed at serious risk…

  • Your dog’s immune system cannot function properly, and;
  • Your dog’s brain cannot function at optimum capacity;
  • Your dog’s liver and kidney are forced to work over-time to try to eliminate toxins that build-up faster than they can be eliminated, and worse: 
  • Some of the toxins are bioaccumulative and are absorbed by the body (often by fat cells) at a faster rate than they can be eliminated by the body.
I see dogs that have been diagnosed with renal issues, that have been placed on veterinarian prescribed dry dog food that will actually make the dogs condition worse!
  • Why will the food worsen the dog‘s condition
    • Well for example the food does not meet a dog’s real nutritional needs;
    •  The food contains toxins that an already taxed renal system will be forced to try to eliminate;
    • The food also contains known carcinogens.

I see dogs that are diagnosed with allergies and then  placed on dog food that contains preservatives that are known to cause allergies.

And why does the veterinarian sell the food and not realize what damage his/he recommendation is doing? He/she is not doing this with intent to harm the dog or cat…it is simply that the veterinarian did not have the opportunity to learn about the realities of the pet food industry and about proper nutrition.
2.0 What You Need to Know in Order to Make Informed
Decisions Aboutyour Dog’s, Cat’s Food
If your veterinarian suggests you purchase prescription food products – for example:

  • Royal Canine: 
  • Hill’s Science Diet;Purina, etc. 
  • Read the ingredient label before you purchase the food;
  • Many of these prescription foods  contain ingredients that are not good for your dog’s health.
These foods:

  • May be formulated using very biased science,  skewed and biased data gathering and elimination of any data that indicates that the product has issues;
  • Rely on the fact that you, the consumer know nothing about nutrition, species appropriate food, GMO, toxins and carcinogens;
  • Are marketed using terms that capture the consumers trust but those terms may be unregulated
3.0 Examples of Ingredients in Veterinarian Prescribed
Dog and Cat Food that PoseSerious Health Issues

The following provides some examples of extremely health-harming ingredients that are often found in prescription veterinarian recommended foods.  These are only a few of the health and life threatening ingredients found in these products.

Below the list are examples of some of these prescription diet food products with SOME of the health and life threatening ingredients highlighted.
Brewers Rice
  • What It Is
    • A by-product (left-over) from the processing of rice for human consumption;
    • Brewers rice lacks the nutrient value found in whole ground rice and brown rice;
    • It is a grain derivative.
  • Why It is Used
    • Plentiful, cheap and bulks up the food at little cost to the manufacturer;
  • Issues
  • Example of a Healthy Alternative
    • Sweet Potato, Squash
Corn
  • What It Is
    • The seed of the corn plant, it is a grain;
  • Why it is Used   
    • Corn is a readily available and very inexpensive filler.
  • Issues 
    • Corn provides very little nutritional value;
    • Not a species appropriate food;
    • The corn used in the manufacturing of pet food (i.e. in North America) is grown from Genetically Modified (GMO) Round-up Ready (Agent Orange – a nerve gas and a pesticide) seeds;
    • GMO corn is proven to cause the growth of tumours;
    • For more information on the dangers of feeding your dog food that includes corn and corn derivatives read here.
  • Example of a Healthy Alternative
    • Sweet Potato, Squash
Menadione Sodium Bisulfite and its variations
  • What It is
    • Menadione , Sodium Bisulfate, Meadione Sodium Bisulfite , or (K3) is a synthetic  vitamin K derivative;
  • Why it is Used
    • It is readily available and inexpensive;
  • Issues
    • Toxic – to kidneys, liver, mucous membranes;
    • Repeated or prolonged exposure can produce damage to target organs;
    • Carcinogen;
    • Mutagenic.
  • Example of a Healthy Alternative
Powdered Cellulose

  • What Is It
    • Powdered Cellulose is made from wood pulp;
  • Why it is Used
    • Powdered Cellulose is an inexpensive fibre;
    • It increases the volume of the food;
    • As a fibre to move food through the digestive tract.
  • Issues 
    • Has no nutritional value;
    • There are much better forms of fibre however by using powdered cellulose the pet food manufacturer can save up to 30% of the cost of using better ingredients.
  • Example of a Healthy Alternative
    • Non-GMO beets
 
Soy and Soy Derivatives
  • What It Is
    • Soy is derived from soybeans;
    • Soy is a source of protein and filler;
  • Why it is Used
    • It is inexpensive;
  • Issues
    • The soy used in the manufacturing of pet food (i.e. in North America) is grown from Genetically Modified (GMO) Round-up Ready (Agent Orange – a nerve gas and a pesticide) seeds;
    • GMO soy comes with many health risks that effect both health of body and mind – for more information on the dangers of feeding your dog food that includes soy and soy derivatives read here.
    • Not a species appropriate food;
  • Example of a Healthy Alternative 
    • Protein from good quality meat, legumes such as lentils and chickpeas.
Tapioca
  • What It Is
    • `Tapioca is derived from the cassava bean;
      Tapioca is an inexpensive filler;
      An inexpensive source of fibre;
  • Why It is Used
    • Tapioca is readily available and inexpensive;
    • It increases the volume of the food;
    • And is an inexpensive source of carbohydrates;
    • Gluten free, so Tapioca can be used as an alternative to wheat flour when the presence of gluten can exacerbate a health condition.
    • Issues
      High in Calories and is associated with weight gain;
    • Contains almost no nutrients;
    • Tapioca that has not undergone proper processing can cause cyanide poisoning;
  • Example of a Healthy Alternative
    • Sweet Potato, Squash
TBHQ
  • What Is It
    • A chemical based preservative used to stop fat from going rancid and to prevent unpleasant odours;
  • Why It is Used
    • It is readily available and very inexpensive;
  • Issues
    • TBHQ is a chemical based toxic, carcinogenic preservative – read about all its life threatening health effects here.
  • Example of a Healthy Alternative;
    • Rosemary, Sage, Citric Acid
 
Vegetable Oil, Canola Oil, Cotton Seed Oil, Safflower Oil, Soybean Oil
(note Mixed Tocopherols used in pet food are derived from these oils)
  • Why It is Used
    • Inexpensive and readily available source of Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Issues
    • Not a first quality product – often purchased from restaurants (i.e. frying oil, when it can’t be used again for human food prep – rancid or contaminated, it is poured into a container, placed at the back of the restaurant and sold to pet food manufacturers);
    • These vegetable oils are all derived from GMO crops;
    • These vegetable oils have high levels of pesticide residue;
    • Carcinogenic;
    • Toxic.
  • Example of a Healthy Alternative
    • Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil – though not as good as coconut or olive oil, is still a healthier alternative
Wheat

  • Why It is Used
    • Wheat is added to dog food as it is an inexpensive source of carbohydrates. 
  • Issues
    • Wheat is not a species appropriate food;
    • Wheat has a high glycemic index;
    • Wheat is quickly converted by the body into sugar, which spikes insulin levels, spikes Omega-6 fatty acid levels;
    • Wheat is high in fructan – fructan can ferment in the GI tract, causing an overgrowth of bad bacteria (Candida) that in-turn causes yeast infections;
    • The wheat used in pet food is not screened for Aflatoxins – a naturally occurring fungus that can cause liver and kidney damage and liver cancer;
    • Wheat can cause or worsen:
    • Anemia;
    • Arthritis;
    • Cancer;
    • Elevated blood-sugar levels;
    • IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome
    • Inflammation of brain cells;
    • Increase in hunger;
    • Weight gain.
  • Example of a Healthy Alternative
    • Sweet Potato, squash, lentils, chickpeas

Wheat Gluten
  • What Is it
    • Wheat Gluten is the protein part of the wheat kernel.
  • Why It Is Used
    • An inexpensive form of protein and a carbohydrate;
  • Issues
    • Wheat is not a species appropriate food;
    • Wheat gluten has a high glycemic index;
    • Wheat is quickly converted by the body into sugar, which spikes insulin levels, spikes Omega-6 fatty acid levels…
    • Wheat Gluten can cause or worsen:
    • Anemia;
    • Arthritis;
    • Elevated blood-sugar levels;
    • IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome
    • Inflammation of brain cells;
    • Increase in hunger;
    • Weight gain.
  • Example of a Healthy Alternative
    • Meat, lentils, chickpeas
4.0 Examples of Veterinarian Prescription Food That You
Should Not Feed to Your Dog, Cat

Here are some examples to assist you in understanding what you don’t want in your dog’s ‘Prescription’ Diet. The examples provided below contain ingredients known to:

  • Cause food sensitivity and allergies;
  • Cause behavourial issues;
  • Cause minor and major illness;
  • Cause toxic loading;
  • Cause Cancer;
  • These foods – despite the manufacturer’s claims, may not promote the health of your dog or cat…

Purina Veterinary Diet – Example

Purina Veterinary Diets HA Hypoallergenic® Canine Formula
Ingredients (Dry)

Starch, hydrolyzed soy protein isolate, vegetable oil,calcium phosphate, partially hydrogenated canola oil preserved with TBHQ, powdered cellulose, corn oil, potassium chloride, vegetable gums (gum arabic, guar gum), choline chloride, DL-Methionine, salt, magnesium oxide, lecithin, taurine, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, manganese sulfate, niacin, calcium carbonate, Vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, garlic oil, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite. I-4571

Royal Canine Veterinary Therapeutic Formula (Diet) – Examples

 
Royal Canine Veterinary Therapeutic Formulas – Calm Dry

‘formulated to support dogs in situations associated with stress and anxiety’Ingredients
Brewer’s Rice, Chicken Meal, Corn, Chicken Fat, Wheat Gluten, Wheat, Chicory, Natural Flavour, Salt, Vegetable Oil, Fish Oil, Calcium Sulphate, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Silico Aluminate (Zeolite), Fructo-Oligosaccharides, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, DL-Methionine, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Vitamins [DL-Alpha-Tocopherol (Source of Vitamin E), Inositol, Niacin, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Thiamine Mononitrate (vitamin B1), Vitamin A Acetate, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement and Vitamin D3 Supplement], Dried Hydrolyzed Casein, Marigold Extract, Trace Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulphate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Copper Sulphate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate and Sodium Selenite), L-Tryptophan and Rosemary. Naturally preserved with Mixed Tocopherolsand Citric Acid.
Note
This product also contains ingredients that:
  • Spike insulin levels;
  • Create low serotonin levels, and;
  • Cause inflammation of brain cells;
  • Low Serotonin levels are associated with anxiety;
  • Inflammation of brain cells is linked to behavourial problems;
  • Low PS levels are associated with low levels of Omega-3, low PS levels are associated with anxiety;
  • Soy and soy by products (vegetable oil, mixed tocopherols) contain endocrine disruptors which can lead to thyroid problems which is associated with anxiety and behavioural problems.
 
Royal Canine Veterinary Therapeutic Formulas – Diabetic Dry
‘formulated to assist in the management of diabetes mellitus’
Ingredients

Chicken meal, barley, corn gluten meal, powdered cellulose, wheat gluten, tapioca, dried beet pulp, chicken fat, natural flavors, fish oil, psyllium seed husk, potassium chloride, salt, fructooligosaccharides, choline chloride, taurine, vitamins [dl-alpha tocopherol (source of vitamin E), L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), biotin, D-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin B12supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid, vitamin D3supplement], trace minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate], L-carnitine, marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), rosemary extract, preserved with natural mixed tocopherolsand citric acid.
 
Royal Canine Veterinary Therapeutic Formulas – Anallergenic Dry
‘formulated to assist in the management of severe adverse food reactions’
Ingredients

Corn starch, hydrolyzed poultry by-products aggregate, coconut oil, soybean oil, natural flavors, potassium phosphate, powdered cellulose, calcium carbonate, sodium silico aluminate, chicory, L-tyrosine, fructooligosaccharides, fish oil, L-lysine, choline chloride, taurine, L-tryptophan, vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol (source of vitamin E), inositol, niacin, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), D-calcium panthotenate, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavine (vitamin B2), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin A acetate, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], DL-methionine, marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), histidine, trace minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], rosemary extract, preserved with natural mixed tocopherols and citric acid.

Hill’s® Prescription Diet® – Examples

 

Hill’s® Prescription Diet®
r/d® Canine Weight Loss-Low Calorie with Chicken

Ingredients

Whole Grain Corn
, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Powdered Cellulose, Soybean Mill Run, Chicken Liver Flavor, Chicken, Dried Beet Pulp, Soybean Meal, Lactic Acid, Soybean Oil, Caramel Color, L-Lysine, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Iodized Salt, Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), minerals (Manganese Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, L-Carnitine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols & Citric Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.

Hill’s® Prescription Diet®
r/d® Canine Mobility

Ingredients

Whole Grain Corn
,Chicken By-Product Meal, Flaxseed, Soybean Mill Run, Brewers Rice, Soybean Meal, Pork Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherolsand citric acid), Chicken Liver Flavor, Powdered Cellulose, Fish Oil, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, L-Lysine, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Iodized Salt, DL-Methionine, Vitamin E Supplement, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), L-Threonine, Taurine, Soy Lecithin, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Tryptophan, L-Carnitine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, Chondroitin Sulfate, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.

Note

  • Chicken liver flavour is a chemical based additive

About Karen

Dogs are my life, my work, my passion… I am a Dog Whisperer, Dog Behaviorist and Holistic Canine Wellness Adviser with a wealth of real-time, real-life experience living and working with dogs. For two and a half decades I have worked with and shared my life with dogs. My own dog pack is comprised of eleven dogs, various breeds and ages. I provide a full range of services including Obedience Training for puppies and dogs; canine Behavior Modification; canine Psychological Rehabilitation, specializing in assisting dogs that are experiencing extreme states of insecurity, anxiety and aggressive-reactive behavior; Diet, Nutrition and Wellness Advice and Plans for canines and felines…natural wisdom for you and your companion animal.

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3 comments

  1. omg for the past 7.5 years I was feeding my yorkie(s) Royal Canine Yorkshire Terrier food thinking she was getting what her appropriate breed needed to be healthy….boy was I fooled and the poor dog had to suffer for my ignorance. Now her vet has her on a canned medical diet food made by Science Diet (which she loves eating by the way) but most likely isn’t good for her. I am so thankful I came across this website.

  2. Thank you. I was appalled when I read the ingredients in the dog food our vet prescribed for our dog that has urinary tract problems. I kept telling my husband that dogs don’t eat corn and that the food was loaded with GMO’s and probably had traces of pesticides in it. Your article confirmed what I was thinking. Off to get an organic dog food for our Sophie today!

  3. thank you so much for this eye-opening outstanding article!

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