Prescription diets

November 14, 2013   |   By David Jackson,

There's no doubt that diet can make an enormous difference to your dog's health so when he's ill, it's only right that your vet should suggest a diet change. Over the last decade or so, the 'veterinary' or 'prescription diet' has become the vet's food of choice but as we will see in this article, they might not be the best options for your dog or your wallet.

prescription veterinary diets article

Veterinary foods are promoted as the ultimate in dietary therapy for your dog - so good in fact that only your vet can give it to you. The pristine packaging, the massive price tag, the fact that they are only available through vets, even the names 'Prescription Diets' and 'Veterinary Diets' all give the overwhelming impression that these are not mere foods but medicinal treatments and must, therefore, be the best choice for your sick dog. Unfortunately, in most cases, this couldn't be further from the truth.

The most important thing to realise is that the majority of veterinary diets are just standard pet foods. Most of them don't contain anything remotely medicinal and no prescription is required to buy them. They are only available through vets because the manufacturers choose not to sell them elsewhere. They could equally choose to sell them in pet stores, feed merchants or at car boot sales if they wanted to but that would damage the air of exclusivity they have worked so hard to create. I repeat, most prescription diets are just standard pet foods.

I say most because there are still a couple of instances where veterinary diets are probably the best choice. This isn't because they are good, nutritious foods (which they certainly are not) but because they contain a certain active ingredient or property that can make all the difference to dogs with certain problems. For example, for dogs with bladder stones (also known as uroliths) specific veterinary diets are able to make the urine more acidic in order to dissolve the stones. Clearly, no normal food is going to have this effect so if your dog has bladder stones, it would certainly be best to stick with your vet's suggested food, at least until your dog gets the all-clear. Another example is dogs with severe intolerance or allergies to a wide range of ingredients. Certain veterinary diets are scientifically tailored to remove or breakdown all potentially problematic molecules so that there is literally zero chance of it causing an upset. Again though, it is best only to use these kinds of foods short term until a safe, more nutritious food can be found.

Nevertheless, these are the exceptions to the rule. Out of all the hundreds of veterinary foods out there, only a handful can claim to have any real medicinal properties. The rest, as we will see, are little more than a collection of run-of-the-mill pet foods in shiny white packaging.

Example: Hill's i/d

Hill's Prescription Diet i/d is probably the most popular veterinary diet in the UK. Vets recommend it for all sorts of gastrointestinal disorders from colitis to pancratitis, IBD to bloat. According to Hill's, it is ideal for these sorts of problems because of its high digestibility, low fat content and its high level of fibre. It also contains electrolytes to help replace losses caused by vomitting and diarrhoea and antioxidants to neutralise free radicals.

That all sounds great but actually there's really nothing unique about it. The market is awash with digestible, low fat, high fibre foods. Electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate) are found in abundance in any complete dog food and antioxidants have to be added to dry dog food to stop it going rancid immediately after production. So, contrary to what your vet might tell you, Hill's i/d is just one of many diets that might fit the bill for a dog with digestive upsets but, as we will see from the ingredients, it certainly isn't the best.

Hills i/d dry ingredients: Ground MaizeClick to see what we think about Maize / Corn in dog food, Ground RiceClick to see what we think about Rice - White in dog food, Dried Whole EggClick to see what we think about Egg in dog food, ChickenClick to see what we think about Chicken in dog food and Turkey MealClick to see what we think about Turkey in dog food, Maize Gluten MealClick to see what we think about Maize Gluten in dog food, DigestClick to see what we think about Digest in dog food, Dried Beet PulpClick to see what we think about Sugar Beet in dog food, Animal FatClick to see what we think about Unspecified Animal fats in dog food, Vegetable OilClick to see what we think about Vegetable Oil in dog food, Calcium CarbonateClick to see what we think about Calcium Carbonate in dog food, FlaxseedClick to see what we think about Linseed in dog food, Potassium Citrate, SaltClick to see what we think about Salt in dog food, Potassium ChlorideClick to see what we think about Potassium Chloride in dog food, Dicalcium PhosphateClick to see what we think about Calcium Phosphate in dog food, TaurineClick to see what we think about Taurine in dog food, L-Tryptophan, Vitamins and Trace ElementsClick to see what we think about Vitamins and Minerals in dog food. Contains EU Approved AntioxidantClick to see what we think about Artificial Preservatives in dog food.

It doesn't take a nutritionist to tell you that this is not a great food, but I'm going to anyway. The first, and therefore most abundant ingredient in Hill's i/d is maize - a grain that has become increasingly associated with dietary intolerance and actually causing digestive upsets. Add in the second ingredient rice and the added maize gluten further down and it's clear that i/d is a very grain heavy food. As dogs are primarily designed for digesting meat, this is not the best characteristic for a food to aid digestion. Meat, in fact, is only the 4th ingredient on the list and since the percentage isn't specified, the actual amount in the food could be very low indeed. The remaining ingredients really aren't anything to write home about either - digest, unidentified animal fats, added salt and even artificial antioxidants - all hallmarks of a low grade food. All of this adds up to the fact that Hill's i/d is a pretty bad dog food - by our standards, it scores just 1.8 out of 5 and yet your vet will charge you upwards of £60 for a 12kg bag!

The story is the same for just about all of the veterinary diet ranges out there:

  • Hill's r/d dry for overweight dogs: 2.4 out of 5
  • Hill's j/d dry for joint support: 1.7 out of 5
  • Hill's t/d dry for oral hygiene: 1.8 out of 5
  • Royal Canin Anallergenic dry for reducing intolerances: 1.4 out of 5
  • Royal Canin Dental dry: 2.0 out of 5
  • Royal Canin Gastro Intestinal dry: 2.1 out of 5
  • Purina HA Hypoallergenic: 1.2 out of 5
  • Purina EN Gastroenteric dry: 2.0 out of 5
  • Purina OM Overweight Management 1.2 out of 5

So why do vets sell veterinary diets?

There are several reasons why prescription diets have become so prominent within the veterinary industry: Firstly, as disillusioning as it might be, many vets just don't know any better. Nutrition makes up a very small part of veterinary training and of the few modules that are available, many are 'sponsored' by the manufacturers of veterinary diets themselves. Veterinary undergraduates learn that a dog suffering from condition x must be fed veterinary diet y. Other brands and feeding philosophies just don't get a look in so by the time newly graduated vets join their first vet practice, veterinary diets really are the extent of their dog food knowledge.

Then, of course, there's the money. Veterinary diets are incredibly expensive, the markup for the vet practice is huge and since you can't get them elsewhere, it makes good business sense for a vet to get you on to them. The manufacturers and distributors of the veterinary diets also offer massive cash incentives to practices that meet their sales targets - so large in fact that winning or losing the bonus can make a considerable difference to a practice's prosperity. With so much at stake, it's no surprise to find vets pushing veterinary diets so vigorously.

The Golden Rule

These days, specialist veterinary diets are available for everything from obesity to 'brain ageing' (whatever that is). The golden rule: if your dog is overweight or has problems with his teeth, digestion, joints or skin, he does not need a veterinary diet, he just needs a good diet - in fact, there are dozens of 'normal' foods that will probably be far more beneficial at half the price. You can use our Dog Food Directory to find the best food for your dog.

Prescription diet alternatives

Even a lot of more serious conditions like heart problems, diabetes, kidney disease and liver disease can arguably be managed just as effectively on some normal foods as on veterinary diets. The table below shows some of the biggest selling prescription diets and the characteristics that apparently make them uniquely suitable for dogs with particular health problems. As you can see, there is nothing extraordinary about any of these prescription foods - no medicines or active ingredients at all and every nutritional characteristics that they do have (like being highly digestible or low in fat for example) can be found in other over-the-counter foods at a fraction of the price.

Category of illness Condition Top vet diets Nutritional characteristics
Gastro Intestinal Gastritis / enteritis / IBD / colitis / EPI / Pancreatitis Hill's i/d
Royal Canin Gastro Intestinal
Purna EN Gastroenteric
High digestibility
Low fat
High fibre
Diabetes Diabetes Melitus Hill's r/d
Royal Canin Diabetic Dog DS37
Purina DCO Dual Fibre Control
High fibre
No added sugars
Kidney Chronic kidney disease Hill's k/d
Royal Canin Renal
Purina NF Kidney Function
Low phosphorus
Low sodium
High fibre
Urinary stones / crystals Urate / cystine / oxalate - prevention only Hill's u/d
Royal Canin Renal
Low protein (high quality)
Low calcium
Low nucleic acids
Low phosphorus
Low Sodium
Struvite / calcium phosphate - prevention only Hill's c/d
Royal Canin S/O
Low protein (high quality)
Low magnesium
Low phosphorus
Liver Liver disease Hill's l/d
Royal Canin Hepatic
Low protein (high quality)
Low copper
High fibre
Low sodium
Heart Heart disease Hill's h/d
Royal Canin Cardiac
Low sodium
High taurine / l-carnitine

The bottom line

Vets are there to help so we certainly recommend following their advice in all aspects of your dog's health but when it comes to diet, it's always best to ask a few questions. If your vet suggests moving to a veterinary diet (or any other diet for that matter), make sure you ask them why. Don't take "because it's specially designed for dogs with this condition" as an answer - we need specifics. If there's a genuine reason why that food would be the best choice for your dog, then go for it. If not, look for alternatives and if in doubt, get in touch.


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Liz meehan 5 days ago

Hi ,after some advice please ,my 10month lab has had constant gastro problems & Guardia x 2 ,long story short vet now thinks it's allergies problem & has recommended strict 6-10 wk tried trial on allergenic food ie Royal Canin, & then reintroduce 1 food a fortnight ,I'm concerned about the cost ,we have tried various hypoallergenic foods but still results in very offensive pop ,sometimes form other times Ice cream consistency,am I going to have to go with royal cabin or does know of alternative allergenic food ? ,TIA

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Adrienne Jane 2 months ago

Hi, we have just been advised that our nearly 10 year old lurcher has early stage kidney disease, following urine and blood tests due to excessive drinking and urination. We have been recommended putting him onto a renal diet, such as royal canin, which a quick search shows to be very poor nutritional rating. He also doesn't tolerate wheat/grain well. Which is a major make up of this food. We have had him on step up naturals which has a much higher nutritional rating and he seems to get on well with. Any advice? Many thanks,


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Sarah Barraclough 8 months ago

When we first found out our dog had allergies we did an allergy test that found he was allergic to all meat proteins & oily fish. We were told by our vet there were no foods that could accommodate him, that he would even react to the usual veterinary diet (Hills Z/D) for allergies. We were told the ONLY food he would never react to was Purina proplan HA hypoallergenic. Anyone who has ever fed this food can immediately tell you it barely constitutes dog food- appearances might not mean much but your dog's food should never look like rice krispies! He lost condition & energy very quickly on this food; not a surprise with such a low fat & protein content! He has now been on wainwright's white fish and vegetables for 5 years and hasn't been itchy that whole time, loves his food, has an lovely shiny coat, and is in amazing condition! He has more energy and is in better condition now at 8yo on this actually appropriate food than he did at 3yo on purina HA.I don't really put any stock in veterinary diets, I think there is NEARLY always going to be a better alternative. I will say that they definitely have some benefit as a baseline food to work from when finding a new diet. We used the remains of the HA as a control food when experimenting with altering his diet, so it was super easy to see any changes/flare ups when we introduced something new.If your dog has an allergy test, avoid everything positive on it (there will always be proteins not tested for!), only try single source protein foods and read EVERY ingredient on the packaging as many things have stuff like chicken fat/salmon oil hidden away. If that fails, try adding JUST the protein to the vet diet (for example, add something 100% pheasant to their food) for an even more precise way to exclude foods. The effort is well worth it!

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Sarah Barraclough Sarah Barraclough 8 months ago

He also takes max dose apoquel to help with environmental allergies which is a big help.

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Bob 2 years ago

Our Cavalier has digestive problems, even when on gluten free food, and he is ok when on Hill’s I’d or Royal Canin Anallergenic.
These foods definitely seem to suit him, but no alternatives are mentioned here

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MrsDee 2 years ago

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream is the only food that our dog can handle. 13kg for £50.49. It lasts 4-5 weeks for 29kg dog which is good.
She’s full of life, energy but most of all there are no health issues or allergy problems any more. I really do highly recommend.
I will say though stay away from the other flavours of this brand as they are far to high in protein. The Pacific Stream is a lower protein and perfect!
It really has been a life saver. I wouldn’t recommend any other food and I’d never change now.

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Kaye 4 years ago

Well almost a year on from my original post and my other younger dog is now having issues with chronic vomiting, inappetence, stomach pains and is going to need further exploratory testing so at the minute the only food he can tolerate is Hills ZD as I know that although the Royal Canin Hypoallergenic that my IBD dog is on is made of hydrolysed soya I want to be sure it wont affect him as he has soya as one of his allergies. So far its going okay. So again it shows that even though he too has had the best diets in his young life it seems they may have caused more harm than good and ended up being too much for his little body to digest. So yet again another thumbs up from me for Vet Prescribed Diets.

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Elaine Wright 4 years ago

This is all very well and good but my dog genuinely has diet intolerances and despite having lots of tests and some serious exploratory surgery we have no idea what causes these intolerances. We have nearly lost him due to infections cause by his digestion problems a few times which is quite scarey. The only food that he doesnt react to at present is RC anallergenic food. However it is expensive and I know it’s not he best food but no one offers a good alternative. People often talk about hypoallergenic food but his digestive system can’t tolerate it.

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Louise LItalien Elaine Wright 4 years ago

Hi Elaine, I too am having health problems with my dog. I am not an antivaxxer however I am starting to believe that my dog may be one of the few unlucky that was negatively affected by his shots. Maybe look into that?https://www.truecarnivores....

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jellybe4n 4 years ago

I am also dubious about the advice here. We have a rescue dog who had been fed Eden dog food for about 18 months. She's recently started a trial with Royal Canin Anallergenic food due to itching and the resultant gnawing at her legs and feet. She had great bald patches on her hips and red raw paws. At first we thought stress, then the idea of pollen came in, but it still didn't resolve despite pollen season being well and truly over. So the trial diet was suggested as the next step as the presentation suggests an allergy, and if it's food related she was already grain free with the Eden food. She seems much happier, we won't know if the itching has resolved for a little while yet, she's still on apiquel until the end of the month at least. But high meat, no grain was likely not working for her, she needed something else.

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Elaine Wright jellybe4n 4 years ago

Can I ask is she still on the anallergenic or have you found a cheaper alternative that works for her? We have had nothing but sucess since changing our dog to anallergenic because he can’t seem to handle richer foods. He also struggles with itchiness, will bite his feet and gets white headed spot on his belly when he is on the wrong type of food. Not to mention his poor bowel movements and when he becomes unwell. However it is expensive and I’m wonder if there is a similar lower priced alternative. The 8kg bags I’ve found for £45 but they don’t last a full month.

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Crazy Tree 5 years ago

My 7.5 yr old Staffordshire Bull Terrier had unspecified but severe food intolerances/allergies as a young dog. Vets were completely stumped by the severity but tests didn't shed much light. Through feeding the best quality food I could & carefully controlling her diet she has been fairly stable for about 5 years. She was fed on AATU & Forthglade for about 2-3 yrs with no problems (before that Lukullus for about 2-3yrs). Sadly her severe food issues have returned over the past 6 months following the death of my other dog. We are now in a position where her system is rejecting literally everything offered - even chicken breast/white fish & white rice results in violent vomiting and diarrhoea. I am heartbroken at having to feed her a "prescription" diet but have no idea how else to help her. She has since had a severe reaction to Hill's Z/D which is hydrolyzed and is meant to be undetectable by the immune system. We are trying Specific Allergy Plus hyhydrolyzed salmon now but expect that to be rejected too. Literally idea what we will do next. Vet is hugely experienced and says she is one of the most extreme but puzzling cases he has seen in his career.

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Christine 6 years ago

I have read this site with interest but feel it is dangerously misleading! The scoring system is floored as diets designed for specific problems may well have lower percentages of the ingredients this system rates highly – for example renal diets use more soya and gluten proteins than meat protein as they are more easily assimilated than meat proteins but because this system scores meat protein high and vegetable based protein low they are bound to score poorly. Of course, they authors use the argument that in the wild a dogs diet would contain a higher percentage of meat than vegetable/grain but then, in the wild animals wouldn’t live as long as our pets do and so probably wouldn’t suffer the diseases of old age!

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All About Dog Food Christine 6 years ago

Hi Christine and thanks for posting. I'm not sure what gave you the impression that soya and gluten proteins are easier for dogs to assimilate than meat proteins? It has long been established that proteins form vegetable origin and ESPECIALLY gluten and soya proteins are much harder for dogs to digest and absorb than proteins from animal sources which has given rise to a relatively high incidence of gluten and soya intolerance in dogs. These are not ingredients that I would recommend for any dogs, let alone sick ones.

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Christine All About Dog Food 6 years ago

I cannot speak for all prescription diets, my interest and experience lies mainly with the renal/diabetic specific diets, I was making the point that your use of the points system is misleading, if people do not read behind the figures. Even without the argument of animal vs vegetable protein a diet lower in protein will automatically score lower.
However whilst the quantity of protein in renal diets was the major focus in the past, recent research points to the type of protein holding the key and you can find numerous papers indicating that substitution of soy protein for animal protein results in less hyperfiltration and glomerular hypertension in both animal and human diabetic subjects and may reduce urine albumin excretion.
I have actually found it considerably harder to find many scientific studies supporting the hypothesis that proteins from vegetable proteins are harder for dogs to digest and much of the information available still appears to be anecdotal.

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All About Dog Food Christine 6 years ago

The rating equation doesn't actually factor in protein content (or any other nutrient level) at all. It is based purely on assessing how healthy a food is likely to be for the majority of dogs based on the stated ingredients.The studies you mention sound very interesting indeed. Could you direct me to the papers in question?

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Christine All About Dog Food 6 years ago

Oh, I'm sorry, I must have misinterpreted your faq's where it states "the more meat a food contains, the better it will score." as one of the "overriding principles of your rating program" and "carbs like maize and wheat always lose points". Which confirms to me that a scoring system is simply too simpistic to fully encompass the pros and cons of feeding specific foods - particularly where there is an underlying health concern.
The studies I refer to are all to be found on the ncbi website.

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All About Dog Food Christine 6 years ago

Really no need to apologise Christine.The NCBI website is a big one. Could you be more specific?

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jellybe4n All About Dog Food 4 years ago

But my dog likely has a meat protein allergy. So meat 8s the wrong thing to give her!

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Kaye Christine 5 years ago

I totally agree with Christine in the sense that I feel some of the points made on these reviews are very misleading. I have done nutrition training and have always been under the impression high meat content is good....avoid this...avoid that etc and when originally looking for new foods to feed my dogs I did countless research using these principals i learned to research different brands, their composition, ingredients research and thought I had chosen foods that were the best quality I could for my dogs. 1 1/2 years on I have a 2 year old suffering from IBD and a 1 year old suffering from enviromental allergies. So the 'best start in life' I supposedly was making for them didn't turn out so good.
Through my vets suggestion (yes he did suggest it) I tried my IBD dog on Royal Canin Hypoallergenic although I was pretty dubious about the composition due to my research in the past. 8 months on he is a totally different dog. He now has no signs of inappetance, vomiting, diahorrea, gurgle tummy and is generally a much happier dog. All this would not have been possible without the Royal Canin Vet Prescribed food. My youngest is now being transitioned onto Hills Vetenary Derm Defence on MY suggestion.
My point is although this site is telling you about all the 'good' ingredient your dog should eat some of the ones deemed as bad or not good are only the views of certain people. Please dont all assume that just coz this site and others says these prescribed diets are rubbish they are not rubbish when used for their purpose. Sometimes they can be lifesavers. You can't compare these diets to others as they are made specific and what may be good for one dog is not necessarily good for another!
The research done to produce these diets is immense and the manufacturing plants are of the most top quality you could ask for. Some plants close down for months at a time when producing the hypoallergenic and an allergenic diets to avoid cross contamination of ingredients preventing any reactions.
Although it surprises me to say this I am a convert to prescription diets as my dogs lives would be much more stressful without them!

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Sally Kaye 5 years ago

I agree with Kaye and Christine.
The thing is each dog is different and may have different requirements.
I have always believed in the holistic alternative and whatever is rated as natural and healthy as possible.
Whilst I realise that the Raw diet for dogs has helped so many, my story is different.
My dog was weaned on raw chicken wings which the breeder gave to the pups with all the best intentions in the world. He and his siblings started life on raw food.
Unfortunately, he developed Campolobacter because of this. In turn he developed an inflamed gut, years of on/ off Giardia, anal gland issues and a huge list of allergies. I tried raw, he wouldn't go near it, simple 1 protein meals, everything..
In the end Royal Canin hydrolized wet food has helped him immeasurably. He's a lot better so the results say it all. I tried to put off a hydrolized diet for a long time after reading terrible reviews about prescription diets. Oh and he has IBD.

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Rachel Ireland Kaye 4 years ago

I agree with this. My dog has food allergies and my vets recommended a hypoallergenic diet for a trial run to see if it was the food. Turns out it was and within four weeks my dog had nearly completely stopped scratching. She's been on it for about 5/6 months now though and I am starting to have problems. She has stopped gorbing it down and refuses to eat it unless starving and she keeps eating wrappers, bits of plastic, q tips, anything small and plasticky. Her poos although small and not very smelly have been causing some problems with constipation. I am currently researching the best alternative to see if this solves the problem but I don't want to start itching again so I am in a bit of a dilemma.

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Kerry0401 6 years ago

Due to all the negative comments about Hills l/d all over the internet I avoided feeding my dog this for over a year while he suffered with symptoms of his liver issues (liver shunt). We tried a range of different foods including home cooked to try and reduce his symptoms and improve his general well-being to no avail.Eventually we did decide to give Hills l/d a try and wow, what a difference. I am no way trying to sell this product, as i believe one food may not suit every dog and their condition but my dog is in such a better place since. And no our vets did not persuade us into it, in fact, quite the opposite. I did also have a look at the ingredients and was put off, but I can't disagree with the evidence I see before me. He is no way cured of all symptoms, but he suffered so badly before, and now I often forget theres anything wrong.

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Claire F 8 years ago

I realise that I'm coming to this debate very late but later readers may be interested to know that Hills themselves claim to be teaching at veterinary schools all over the world. "Hill's scientists author more than 50 research papers and textbook chapters each year and teach at leading schools of veterinary medicine all over the world so we can put our knowledge and expertise into every Hill's™ pet food for you." as does Royal Canin "Each of our products is based on our extensive knowledge of cats and dogs, gained through years of studies at our own centre, partnerships with leading veterinary schools and universities, and continued input from veterinarians and breeders worldwide. - See more at:"Further the UK Raw Meaty Bones organisation has unearthed evidence of such collaboration through persistent application under Freedom of Information. For example...
and... veterinary students themselves have some of the same questions and concerns. "Veterinary students have questioned the influence that pet food
manufacturers may have on university teaching, and urged
lecturers to give them a full and in-depth knowledge of pet
nutrition." research is happening in the US into these relationships and the ethics of veterinary involvement with pet food companies. "More specifically, it will argue that the commercial pet food industry’s connection to the veterinary profession has resulted in the creation of a system in which veterinarians are not only ill suited to counsel their clients on pet nutrition, but have a financial stake in their clients’ market decisions as well. One of the key questions to be examined here is the ethical implications of a system in which pet food companies are used to educate veterinarians about pet nutrition while at the same time providing veterinarians with exclusive rights to the sale of their pet food products (which may account for up to 40% of the profit of veterinary clinics). "
I am attempting to track down this research and its publication.I think the idea that this link between vets and their training in nutrition and big pet food is a myth is highly questionable.

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Bald Monk 8 years ago

A very good article challenging vets! Vets are not the be all and end all to what diet a dog needs and it is the ill informed public that often feed bad or too much food or human food to dogs causing many ill dogs that then have too have precsiption food. Vets should do more too promote good food brands and speak out against the bad .But surprize that is not happening!

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LocalNumberFife 8 years ago

I concur with the findings of the author.. and acknowledge - as he does, that there is a requirement for 'special' food in specific circumstances.However, I was approached by a worried owner whose diabetic dog wasn't eating his food - sometimes leaving it for days. The vet had the dog on medication by injection and had delegated the actual process of injection to the owner, but was dictating the dosage and frequency of injection.The vet seemed to take no notice of the fact - that as the dog was diabetic - it would benefit greatly from regular intake of suitable quality food. The vet had recommended a common supermarket tinned food which boasted it was chicken and rice. When I checked it, it did indeed have chicken and rice in it.... along with.... well - why don't I just print what it says on the tin.
Product SummaryComplete&balanced nutrition. Developed with vets. Rich in white fish. No eggs, dairy, red meat or soya . Healthy skin&coat. Vitality. Healthy digestion, bones. No artificial colours or flavours. CHAPPIE®is a Complete Wet Dog Food is a 100% complete and balanced dog food developed with vets. As well as containing no artificial colours, flavours, added sugar, eggs, dairy, red meat or soya, CHAPPIE®contains all of the essential nutrients that your dog requires to keep him in top condition every single day. Developed with our nutritionists and veterinarians of WALTHAM®. The world's leading authority on pet care and nutrition. www.waltham.comIngredientsFish and Fish and Derivatives (including 14% Whitefish), Cereals, Meat and Animal Derivatives (including 4% Chicken), Oils and Fats, Minerals, Herbs
Mind you there was a nice little label on the tin which said "Developed with Vets"..Back to the main story, I gave the owner some cold-pressed dog food on Friday to try over the weekend. On Sunday he rang me in the evening pleading for me to deliver more on Monday morning as his dog ate it straight away. The dog in fact trotted up to the bowl as soon as he heard the food hit it.Unfortunately when the owner went to the vets for the required check-up - the dog was put back on the supermarket tinned stuff. I'm not going to say what the dog IS eating now - but I know which food I would prefer him to eat and he knows which dog food he prefers.Of course not all vets are bad - but there are some out there who let the side down badly and seem to lack a holistic approach to canine health which combined with an inability to understand what constitutes quality food, can actually aggravate a condition, as opposed to easing it.

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Pegasus Pets LocalNumberFife 8 years ago

Interesting thing about the Chappie - more and more vets seem to recommend this.
A customer came to us asking to find an alternative to Royal Canin prescription tinned food. I said I would if I knew the ingredients. No ingredients on the wrapper and none to be seen on the tin. tried the website - no details. Rang Crown helpline but was told I was retail and not veterinary therefore the rep wouldn't speak to me. Rang Canin helpline (posing as a customer) and was told that they didn't know the ingredients and I was to ask the vet who prescribed the food. The hit a brainwave and took the label off the tin and there printed on the inside were the ingredients - Cereal & cereal derivatives, meat & meat derivatives, preservatives. In fact very close to Chappie (Chappie actually better in my opinion). Could it be that vets actually know how bad some of the prescription foods are and feel obliged to offer an alternative? It must be ethically hard to prescribe a £2.40 can of food knowing that it is similar to a 50p supermarket food.

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Bald Monk Pegasus Pets 8 years ago

Well said ,Chappie is basicly derivatives fish and rice and egg which supplies the dog with good protein and vitamins and is easily digested .To aid recovery,Royal canin is a reap off and once again the vet try too push this on the customer.

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Paul Scotney Bald Monk 8 years ago

I asked my vet what she fed her 3 dogs. She said "Baker's Complete". I think that shows what level of knowledge some of them have.

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Morbidly Paul Scotney 6 years ago

I fed my two JRs Bakers Complete for 8 years, with no problems, then due to bullying from nurse at vet I switched 2 years ago to an expensive Canadian make (not the one they wanted me to buy at the vets). The result? One of my dogs seriously ill and only days away from dying due to liver failure over christmas [it is worth noting that even though I took her to the vet the day she showed the first symptoms of pacing, head pressing and signs of pain, that the vet was not interested. It took another two visits and my insistance that her bloods were checked for everything that her elevated liver levels were found]. Now I feed them both Chappie and give my dog with the liver problems Denamarin tablets.

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Morbidly Pegasus Pets 6 years ago

Thank you for posting this, my one dogs has problems with her liver and some days won't eat and I was considering trying her with Hills instead of Chappie. I will stick with Chappie.
If anyone reading is interested I also have success with cottage cheese or some boiled rice cooked with a small egg in a frying pan.

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Faye Gordon 8 years ago

Chalice you can't argue with the list of ingredients. How much of vets training is about nutrition and of that how much is given by the companies that sell the prescription diets?

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Chalice Faye Gordon 8 years ago

No but I can argue with their interpretation of the nutritional value of the ingredients. Did you read my comment properly? One of the main points was it's a myth that vet nutrition training is sponsored by pet food companies - at least here in the UK.

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Bald Monk Chalice 8 years ago

Pet food companies dont sponsor vets ,however vets push and sell certain brands over others that they have no knowledge about . Because there is more profit in it .A vets practice is a buisness and has too make money thats why they charge more mark up on items! Which now can be bought on the internet or from pets at Home for half the price. Fact .

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Shirley 8 years ago

A family members cat was put on hills food when they took him for his inoculation. 3 months down the line the cat became diabetic and thousands of pounds later in vet bills they discovered it was due to the food.... they changed the food to a non-cereal based wet food,and hey presto the cat was no longer diabetic!!!! However several months later the cat had a stroke and had to be put to sleep... Makes you wonder doesn't it???

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Chalice 8 years ago

Not a good article in my opinion. This just rehashes the usual myths that vets learn nothing about nutrition at vet school and best of all, that the modules are sponsored by nutrition companies and that vet practices make soooo much money from prescription foods. Has the author actually been through vet school, or might he just be getting his 'facts' from hearsay? As a vet nurse, I can tell you that the revenue generated from food sales is very small in any practice; small enough to not really be worth it. And I haven't yet met a vet who did Hills/Royal Canin sponsored nutrition modules at university. If the author or any readers might take a look at some of the (independent) studies they might just find out what I know from experience, which is how useful prescription diets can be in managing many conditions, especially renal disease, bladder stones, diabetes and obesity. These diets can actually completely negate the need for any medication in many cases, and there aren't commercially available alternatives.
2 points of information for you: ALL veterinary prescription diets (Hills, Royal Canin, Eukanuba, Purina and Dechra Specific) are available online, not just through vets.
Also 'brain aging', otherwise known as cognitive dysfunction is an increasingly recognised condition among senior dogs and cats. Whatever you may think of Hills b/d (the only diet for cognitive dysfunction that I'm aware of) there is no doubt that this condition is very common and can have a serious negative impact on an otherwise physically healthy animal's quality of life.
I really think the author could do with citing some references when composing this type of article, particularly one that, I feel, makes some quite unfair negative and generalised comments about vets.

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Pegasus Pets Chalice 8 years ago

Could you possibly site or link to the independent studies.
As to sponsorship of modules at University - these may be under names such as Proctor & Gamble, Crown Pet foods, Nestle Purina or Colgate Palmolive.

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Chalice Pegasus Pets 8 years ago

I am aware of the names of companies that own pet food brands. Did you read my comment properly? My suggestion was that the article contain references to back up the "facts" in it. If you can't be bothered to do that I certainly can't. And just to emphasise, I do think this article is unfairly negative towards vets who 90% of the time DO actually know what they're talking about when it comes to nutrition (I can only speak for the UK) and more to the point 98% of vets are dedicating their lives to helping people's pets. This kind of attitude is part of the reason the suicide rates among vets is so high.

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Pegasus Pets Chalice 8 years ago

I am actively looking for 'some of the (independent) studies' as all studies, I have found, into dog food nutrition, are sponsored by the 'big four'.

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Jackie Grimmett Chalice 6 years ago for proof pet food companys are involved with Veterinary training and support. xxx

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Jackie Grimmett Chalice 6 years ago

and another, come from the first reply post on here,

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Piers Smart 8 years ago

This is a great article in that it lifts the lid on the myth of "prescription diets" although I don't agree with all details within the chart for instance on diabetic dogs high fresh meat rather than high fibre makes more sense? Well done David for raising this whole issue!

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All About Dog Food Piers Smart 8 years ago

Many thanks Piers! High fibre is generally recommended for diabetics because it slows down digestion and helps to prevent blood sugar levels from spiking after meals.

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Piers Smart All About Dog Food 8 years ago

Hi David, At Scampers we are constantly researching pet food info around the world and have formed a different opinion regarding suitable diets for diabetic dogs and cats and are equally very concerned that diabetes is a disease being exacerbated by mass produced cereal based kibble. I have attached a couple of very interesting links. The white paper from Champion is essential reading for anyone involved or interested in pet foods and secondly a link to The Glycemic Institute in Washington. All the best, Piershttp://files.championpetfoo...

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Piers Smart All About Dog Food 8 years ago

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