Why is prescription vet food full of corn and other fillers?
They sell it for about 10 dollars more than healthy food and they use low quality meats and fillers. I am tired of seeing people switch to a food their vet recommends when it is just terrible compared to what they could be purchasing. My vet had recommended a Hill's prescription dry food for my lab and I could not believe the ingredients. The top one is CORN. Next is pork fat, not nutritious and just there for flavor. After that is a chicken by product, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, soybean mill run. What gives with vets recommending these terrible ingredients?
Unfortunately, I have no real answer--only some theories.
First, I'd be asking the vet why a prescription is needed for FOOD. Are there any medications or drugs included in the food? If not, there should be no need for a 'by-prescription-only' basis.
Secondly, I'd inquire if it was a special balance of certain vitamins/minerals in the food..and many of those are found in over-the-counter foods as well, so again the question comes up as to 'why by prescription?'
Finally, if there are no medicines or "special minerals" in the food, I'd be inclined to suspect a promotion/kickback arrangement between the vets and the food manufacturer. This happens all the time with prescription medications for humans, but I do not believe there is any FOOD for people that may only be obtained by prescription.
I have a text message in to my daughter, whose cat is on a prescription diet, but have not heard back from her--(I guess she's busy celebrating today's 49ers win over the Saints).
Thanks for your answer, DzyMsLizzy. I just get upset sometimes people going to the vet is expensive enough just for a routine exam, but to have to pay 10-15 dollars more for food that isn't even going to help them. Most people have no idea what to look for when it comes to nutrition, they trust their vet because vets were trained to care for animals. All anyone tries to do is provide the best they can for their pets without breaking the bank. Instead what happens is they don't end up giving their dog healthy food and just waste money.
I wouldn't get so upset it's just that animals don't really have a voice to speak up for them. They can't tell their owner, "Hey Mama, I don't think I should be eating corn or beet pulp."
The promotion/kickback thing you mentioned reminded me of how I always see pens and calenders from drug companies at the doctor's office. I do believe the vet's receive profit from it as well.
corn is not a good source of protein for dogs. Meat is. When the biggest ingredient in a food (science diet) is corn, that is a huge red flag. Corn should never be near the top of the ingredient list. Maybe the "regular" food you compared to science diet is low quality too, because I can think of at least 5 brands of dog food that have much better ingredients than science diet. It is not the same at all, and I have compared too. None of the food I feed my pets has corn or soy in the first ingredients. Those are NOT easily broken down by carnivores. Dogs are carnivores, they get protein from meat not corn. Science diet is not considered premium, it is full of fillers and allergens. Corn, soy, beet pulp, and cellulose should not be in your dog's daily diet. The serving sizes are also smaller because they don't need as much food to get the nutrients. Serving sizes are bigger in cheap foods because it is all filler and no meat, they have to eat a ton just to fill up.
Prescription foods should be used for a specific purpose, not just because they're supposed to be higher quality food. I'm sure you're right that other foods have better ingredient lists. On the other hand, I'm unaware of any premium foods that make prescription versions for certain health requirements. That would probably be a great niche market for them to get into! You should ask your vet what makes that particular prescription food beneficial for your dog, maybe you can find something else that has the equivalent health benefits in whatever premium food you prefer to use.
I would not say there's a "kickback" between the vets and food companies. That's like saying there's a "kickback" between Walmart and every company whose product they sell. The owner (possibly the vet) of the practice will likely make a profit from selling you any product, including food that's not readily available elsewhere.
(BTW, I believe dogs are considered to be omnivores, cats carnivores.)
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