Prescription Diet Dog Food: The Lifesaver We’re Led to Believe?


Whenever I talk about dog nutrition, I can’t help but add how confusing it all is. However there are some things I know for sure, and I say “for sure” because it’s based on my experiences.

The vets I have seen, whether I liked them or not, did not have the understanding of nutrition I expected. As a matter of fact I was shocked at some of the things they believed, and how little they seemed to know. One vet who I absolutely loved and trusted, believed that a popular supermarket dog food brand was good quality. I was truly stunned.

Another vet I went to for years had several plaques hanging in her waiting room, each in the name of a member of staff, congratulating them on becoming nutrition consultants. Sounds promising doesn’t it? Don’t get too excited, all that means is that the pet food manufacturer that sponsored the course told them how great their food was, and now they can recommend it to us.

Prescription diets

For those of you who haven’t been to my site before, I share my life with the love of my life, a senior dog named Red. She is about 15 years old, but that’s just an estimate.

Red has been on Hills Prescription Diets for years. First she was on h/d for her heart, and a couple of years ago my vet switched her to k/d for her kidneys.

Let me start by saying I know the ingredients are crap. Let me also say that the vet we use is amazing. He has taken incredible care of her these past couple of years, and as far as I’m concerned is irreplaceable. What does concern/confuse me is his absolute belief that low protein is essential for kidney disease, and the many articles I’ve read that state the opposite.

The truth is her kidney issues are under control and (touch wood), all is fine. Her test results are great and my vet attributes that to her k/d diet.

Then I found this!!!

Yesterday I came across this article Busted: Dogs Naturally Calls Bull$hit On Prescription Diet Dog Food.” It is on the Dogs Naturally Magazine website and was written by Dana Scott, Editor in Chief. In light of Red’s reliance on a prescription diet, I couldn’t help but read it. 

I could relate to a lot of what was written, and found it incredibly informative and yes, scary and concerning too! It makes me want to get her off that food more than ever, yet I’m afraid of upsetting her fragile balance.

I’ve always felt I do the very best I can for Red, but reading this article (which has just reinforced so much of what I’ve known) makes me want to rush her to the nearest holistic vet. For the past year or so I’ve wanted to take her to one, but there was no one anywhere near where we lived.

We have just relocated to Spain for a few months, and I discovered there is an integrative practice about an hour away. I will be getting a car in a couple of weeks, so I should be able to make it happen.

Anyway it’s a great read and if you, or someone you know has a pet on a prescription diet, or is about to go on one, give this article some attention and see what you think.

I’d love to hear your experience with prescription diets. Is or was your dog on one? Did you switch? If yes, why, to what food and do you see better results? Please share in the comment section below, or on my Facebook page.


  1. Connie

    Two of my cats were recommended to go on a urinary “rx” diet because they blocked. I gave it to them for a while, but I could not stand the idea of feeding something with all of those fillers / plant-based ingredients to a cat. I also had a diabetic cat at the time and the more I researched the issue the easier it was for me to conclude that my cats had to go on a raw diet. I did and haven’t looked back. The quality of the food I feed (supermarket chicken) isn’t the best I can do, but it is head and shoulders above anything I can find out there in my area so I do what I can.

    In your instance, where you have an elderly dog that is doing well on the food and has for a while, I can understand the reluctance to get off of it. I can also understand the desire to give the food to prove or disprove a vet or a treatment.. (to keep the vet from not looking past the idea that you are refusing the treatment they are suggesting) but I do think it is a shame that vets rely way too much on Rx foods and don’t really understand the ideas behind them. Like the urinary food I was recommended. they fill it full of plants which cause the urine to become alkaline, but then add enough dl-methionine to cause the urine to be acidic again. Kidney foods are just low in protein because “the kidneys have to work harder when there is protein in the diet”, except in cats have a harder time digesting plants and there is higher waste than when they are fed animal=based ingredients like meat and fat.

    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Connie, I appreciate your comment. The prescription diet Red has been on for quite some time seems to have been helping her kidneys. There are two schools of thought when it comes to protein and kidneys. Some vets believe no protein at all (or miniscule amounts) while others believe protein is fine as long as it’s high quality. I don’t like the unnatural ingredients in the kidney food, and I think her body could be nourished better. I’ve wanted to take Red to a holistic vet for quite some time because I like the philosophy, and about 1 1/2 weeks ago we finally went. Looking forward to going back this Thursday for a meeting to discuss blood test results, and the tailor made homemade diet he is recommending. I’ll write about it after my appointment.


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