I’ve always been dismayed by both the poor quality ingredients in over priced Prescription Veterinary pet food diets. For example, here’s a quick look at the ingredients in Royal Canin Veterinary Diets Calorie Control Dry Kibble –
Chicken meal, brewers rice, corn gluten meal, corn, wheat, natural flavors, chicken fat,powdered cellulose, wheat gluten, potassium chloride, dried beet pulp, salt, fish oil, taurine, choline chloride, calcium carbonate, monocalcium phosphate, glucosamine hydrochloride, vitamins [dl-alpha tocopherpol acetate (source of vitamin E), l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, biotin, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin A acetate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], l-carnitine, trace minerals (zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), marigold extract (Tagetes erecta), tea, chondroitin sulfate, rosemary extract, preserved with natural mixed tocopherols and citric acid
Brewers rice, corn gluten meal, wheat, powdered cellulose, wheat gluten, corn, wheat – all poor quality, inexpensive ‘fillers’, and all listed in the top ten ingredients in this very expensive food.
If the poor quality ingredients aren’t distressing enough, consider how willing some vets seem to be to use scare tactics to convince their clients to feed these foods. I’ve met people who’ve been told that their 8 week old puppies MUST be on Prescription diets, for life, because ‘only prescription diets have proper nutrition’. In fact, it’s not uncommon for Veterinarians to claim that ‘only a vet truly understands what a pet needs when it comes to nutrition’.
This is roughly akin to your paediatrician telling you that the only food you can feed your child has to be bought through them, because only a paediatrician can really understand how to feed a child – and then if the food your paediatrician sells is made by McDonalds.
You’d assume, then, that the diets sold by your Veterinarian have to undergo some pretty rigorous testing to verify that they actually do what their manufacturer’s claim they do. Not exactly. In fact, the FDA currently require NO testing by manufacturers to prove the safety or efficacy of their therapeutic claims (and it’s even worse in Canada, where there’s no regulation of any kind whatsoever regarding claims made by pet food companies).
The FDA has no intentions of correcting this issue. On the contrary, the FDA is discussing legislation to ensure that no NON prescription diets can make claims of therapeutic value for their pet foods (“supports joint health” or “for urinary tract health”, for example), all while STILL not requiring the veterinary pet food diets to prove their OWN claims.
It’s refreshing to see renowned writer and Veterinarian Dr. Patty Khuly speaking out against this, and against prescription diets in general – which she has done over the strenuous objections of some within the veterinary community.
Read more about her feelings on Prescription pet foods, and the moral and ethical dilemma they face for vets who care more about pets than they do about their wallets.