Mabel the Rescue Dog

Encourage Dog Lovers to Adopt 💕

UPDATE: This post has been getting a crazy amount of views suddenly, both positive and negative. So, I just wanted to remind readers that I am not a professional when it comes to dog health and nutrition. I am simply a dog mom, foster parent, and rescue volunteer who writes posts on this blog for fun. I wrote this article because I was curious about the topic and wanted to share my findings with my followers. I am certainly not trying to force any opinions on readers or talk badly about vets in general. Thank you! – Molly

3 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)

There are lots of disagreements when it comes to what food is best for your dog. Most confusion comes from what vets tell you. You’ve probably seen many articles about how it’s important to have healthy meat sources and no fillers in your dog’s food. However, many of the brands vets recommend contradict this healthy advice. Why is that?

When Molly takes me to the vet, they usually talk badly about how I eat a grain-free diet. However, we have researched it very thoroughly, and we haven’t found any real proof that grain-free is bad. However, there are plenty of clear reasons as to why the products they recommend are.

What Do Vets Usually Recommend?

Many vets recommend Hill’s Science Diet and Royal Canin as their preferred brand. In fact, many even try to say that they are prescription diets. However, if you take a closer look at the ingredients, both brands are actually very low-quality and have had a higher number of recalls.

On Dog Food Advisor, both Hill’s Science Diet and Royal Canin foods receive between a 2.5 and 3 rating. It seems odd that vets would recommend anything below a 5-star rating.

When you read the ingredient list, you’ll also notice that many of the top ingredients in these foods are grains and other fillers. Ideally, the first few ingredients should be a quality meat source, followed by other beneficial ingredients. However, a lot of these “prescription foods” just have cheap fillers in them.

I even read an article recently that did a study with some vets. The vets were given 4 different ingredient lists and asked to rank them from best to worst quality. Surprisingly enough, the food that the vets ranked last was the one that was most similar to Hill’s and Royal Canin.

So, if many vets know that their recommendations are not the healthiest, then why would they recommend it? It just doesn’t seem fair to all the poor dogs out there.

Why Would Vets Promote Unhealthy Products?

In general, dry kibble is the unhealthiest way to go. Some kibble is definitely a much better quality than others, but most of it is like junk food for dogs. So, there has the be a reason as to why vets would recommend the unhealthiest junk food possible.

This whole problem began way back in the 1980s. Colgate Palmolive is a company that creates a wide range of products, one of which is Hill’s Science Diet. In the ’80s, they used dentists to promote their toothpaste, which worked really well. So, they decided to also work with vets to sell their dog food. The same goes for Royal Canin, which is made by Mars.

To this day, these types of partnerships continue. Vets are essentially paid to promote these specific brands, which is why they will often try to encourage you to buy them. However, that still doesn’t make it right if you ask me.

Sadly, a lot of the dog industry is all about making money. A lot of dog food is created just for profit and not for our well-being. That’s why Molly always looks at the ingredients before deciding if a food is good or not. If a brand only uses healthy, beneficial ingredients instead of cheap fillers, you can tell that they put your dog’s health as a number one priority.

So, while you should trust your vet on all other health aspects, food just isn’t one of them. Do your research before blindly agreeing with your vet about food. It’s not fair that money has so much control over dog products, but it’s the sad reality that we live in. Hopefully things will be different in the future!

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13 thoughts on “Why Do Vets Recommend Unhealthy Dog Food?

  1. There is less pressure here in the UK. Certainly the vets that Lenny and I visit (infrequently thankfully) do not push certain foods upon us and our pawrents when we are in there. In any case, we would always do our own research to see what is best for us, and then see if we can get it cheaper as the vets often try to charge top dollar.

    It has always struck me as a strange marriage between some of these huge manufacturers of many products including dog food, and some vets. Some of these companies test some of their other products on animals such as beagles, so I do wonder how vets can ethically justify their “jumping into bed” with these multinationals. I suppose its greed at the end of the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear that it’s better where you are! In the US, it seems like every vet is trying to sell low quality food for a high price, so it can be confusing for many dog parents. I also always make sure to do my research before choosing a food for Mabel!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rb says:

        I would like to know your credentials. Are you a veterinary nutritionist? If not please stop spreading harmful information like grain-free is good. You would know if you were a veterinary nutritionist, that dogs are more likely to be allergic to a protein source then a grain source. And they are linking grain free to dilated cardiomyopathy. You would also know that ingredients are listed by weight and that does not actually mean that there is more of that item. Aka “chicken is the first ingredient” yes it can be if it’s full of water thus weighing more then other ingredients. Please do some actual research from actual veterinary nutritionists before spreading your dumbass opinion.


        1. Hi! I appreciate your feedback, but I wish you would’ve offered it in a more respectful way. I don’t believe anyone’s opinions are “dumbass,” and talking like that is not a good way to have a discussion with someone.

          No, I am not a dog food nutritionist or vet, but I make that very clear in all my posts. I’m not sure how you stumbled upon my small blog, but I’m just a dog rescue volunteer who writes these posts for fun. I am in no way trying to say that one food is better than all the rest in this post, but instead, I’m just encouraging everyone to look at ingredient labels before blindly choosing a dog food. I also never said that grain-free was good in this post. Yes, I occasionally feed my dog grain-free, but I do believe that grains are good for dogs as well, depending on the dog, the grains, and the dog food brand. Also, I am aware of the DCM investigation, and I have covered that in other posts and talked to vets about it.

          I believe every dog parent should be able to choose food and other supplies for their dogs without being judged. I share my thoughts on my personal blog because many people enjoy reading my posts and I have fun writing them, but I will never be rude or discredit anyone’s opinions while doing it. I am sad to see that you’re being so judgmental toward someone you never met, and I hope you don’t treat anyone else that way. Thank you for taking the time to look at my blog though.


  2. P says:

    This topic is EXTREMELY important and I am so grateful for this well-written article. My 11-ish year old dog is my best friend, and unfortunately I have been trusting my vet’s recommendation re: his “prescription diet” food for too long now and I have recently been motivated to change his food. I really appreciate this article and think more pet owners need to know about this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the article! I’m always surprised by how many vets recommend low-quality brands, so I thought it was an important topic to discuss.


      1. Sheryl Dietz says:

        This was the gest article! Than you for this. My 11yr old 8lb Yorkie Chloe went for a wellness check. The vet said her cholesterol was 1100 and wanted me to get her off of Farmer’s Dog, and put her on Royal Canin. I’m livid.. Who can you really trust?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you for reading my article! Of course, the purpose of the article is not to say that you can never trust vets. Most vets are very trustworthy, but it’s always important to check ingredient labels before following anyone’s suggestions. Perhaps switching her food would be beneficial, but I doubt Royal Canin is the best choice. I wish you the best of luck when finding good food for sweet little Chloe!


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