A PRESCRIPTION FOR DISASTER…The Ugly Truth About RX Pet Food

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By Katy Cable-TWR
A 2 minute read


I am REALLY ANGRY! There is a serious crisis going on with one of the most popular brands of pet food and it just keeps growing. Even worse, it’s happening with prescription formulas being fed to the most compromised pets.

Since January, Hill’s Science Diet has had NUMEROUS recalls on nearly 44 varieties of their pet foods due to possible toxic levels of vitamin D. Instead of correcting the serious issue, the recalls just keep coming.

Several days a week I work as a brand ambassador at pet stores. Not a day goes by when I don't run into many worried, frustrated pet parents trying to help their ailing dogs and cats. What drives me BONKERS is watching them shell out an average of $50-90 on bags of prescription kibble in an effort to treat many common conditions. Typically this comes at the recommendation of their trusted vet!

Perhaps it strikes a chord because I WAS one of those pet parents. My pug Raisin was suffering from chronic bladder infections and his homemade organic diet was switched to RX urinary formula food. First he didn’t want to eat the dry kibble, but eventually he caved. Well, the food worked wonderfully in stopping urinary problems, but it quickly brought on a host of other equally troublesome issues.

When I started volunteering with shelters and rescue groups, I had my eyes opened. I witnessed complete transformations and miraculous healing in sick, compromised dogs all due to a simple change in diet. I watched what happened when pets eating meals loaded with grains, corn, soy, rice and potatoes and poor-quality proteins were switched to new diets of high-quality animal and fish protein, low glycemic carbs and probiotics. It blew my mind! I learned a pet's nutrition is one of the most crucial defenses in their health and most RX foods are nothing more than over-priced bags of junk.

When I purchased my first bag of RX food, the first thing I did was look at the ingredients listed on the label. When all I saw was brewers rice, wheat, corn gluten-meal, chicken by-product meal, and a host of other things I couldn't pronounce, I was puzzled. I asked the vet, "What are the medicines or active ingredients in this to treat my dog's condition?" All I could see were sugary, starchy carbs. and poor quality proteins. There appeared to be no difference between this high-priced kibble and nearly every other food on the market.The vet explained that although there is no medicine in the food, it is specially formulated to treat certain conditions. So in my case, it was designed to prevent urinary crystals from forming.

My next question was, "If there is no medicine in this food, why do I need a prescription to purchase it?" My vet said, "The reason it requires a prescription from a vet is because these formulas do not provide the right nutritional balance for an otherwise healthy pet. If a pet parent were to buy and feed this food to a healthy dog it could be dangerous. We want to monitor pets living these conditions and eating these specially formulated foods." 

I still cringed at spending so much money on this poor quality RX food and wished there was an option that had the formulation my dog needed but was comprised of higher quality ingredients. With all the starchy carbs, it seemed I would be fixing one problem only to create others. And in my case (and so many others) that's exactly what happened. Although Raisin never suffered further urinary problems, instead he was on constant antibiotics for ear infections, yeast infections, tumors and other complications.

Fortunately, now there are several excellent choices that are both less expensive and healthier! If your vet recommends a "big brand" prescription food for obesity, weight-control, allergies or tummy issues, I would discuss considering a premium “wet/moist” pet food without all the starchy carbs and stick to a single “gentle” protein source like turkey, lamb, cod or chicken. I’ve had nothing but success using Nulo. I endorse it because it’s consistently worked. Frankly, it’s been the answer to my prayers. However, there are many excellent premium foods that would be better and safer options for these common conditions.

If your pet suffers from a chronic condition that could be life threatening, such as pancreatitis, diabetes, liver shunt, kidney stones or renal problems, I would consider trying a special diet from Just Food For Dogs. You may be familiar with them if you're from So Cal. JFFD is a unique place that makes fresh, human-grade food formulated for dogs. It's basically a stand alone store with a working kitchen in plain view.

What began as a single location on Pacific Coast Hwy in the beautiful California town of Newport Beach, has now grown to include numerous nationwide locations. Pet parents can stop in and purchase a variety of fresh pet foods, supplements and treats. The best part is JFFD offers an RX line for a variety of conditions. These specially formulated diets are roughly the same price as many other popular commercial brands, however JFFD uses only fresh, premium, human-grade ingredients.

With a team of 8 vets specializing in nutrition on staff, custom food formulations can also be created for specific issues such as cancers, or extreme allergies. These diets may or may not contain actual medications and are created based entirely on your dog's blood panels. If you're interested in giving this option a try for your dog but you're not from this area, all products, including RX foods and custom formulations can be ordered online or by phone and shipped to your door.

Another pet food company offering high quality RX diet options using premium ingredients is: Darwin’s Intelligent Design™ Veterinary Formulas. (https://www.darwinspet.com/product/prescription-meals-for-dogs/) These foods actually do contain beneficial nutraceuticals for specific medical conditions. This company comes highly recommended by many vets who have specialized backgrounds in nutrition.

The other option for those pet parents requiring special diets for their dogs is to consult with an integrated holistic vet. These vets specialize in the role nutrition plays in healing/preventing various medical conditions. In addition to western medicine, other natural alternatives are incorporated into treatment plans. To find an integrated holistic veterinarian in your area visit: https://www.ahvma.org/find-a-holistic-veterinarian/

I want to set the record straight and put a stop to the misconception that these big commercial RX foods are the best and only way to go. I saw with my own eyes you don't need to spend a lot of money on RX foods and in many cases they do more harm than good. Many health conditions can be cured or greatly reduced with better nutrition. The best part is, it doesn't have to break the bank.

Here's wishing you a long happy HEALTHY life for your beloved pet.
Pugs & Kisses!
🐾😘Katy Cable & Olive 

Katy CableComment