My young puppy (4 months old) is quite healthy as of today, but my vet mentioned that Royal Canin has veterinary diet kibble for dogs with no clinical problems.

Now he's eating Royal Canin Medium for puppies (he's a pure breed Brittany Spaniel).

Does anyone have experience with the veterinary diet food? Does it improve the overall diet?

  • Also consider a raw diet but do research before implementation
    – Huangism
    Jan 5, 2015 at 15:54

2 Answers 2


Asking what constitutes a "good" or a "bad" diet for dogs, cats, and other pets is a topic which people often have strong opinions about. This makes it difficult to reply objectively to questions like this.

I think most people accept that the manufacturers market their products to people ... not the animals, obviously ... by resorting to emotional appeals rather than verified health benefits.

One has to dig into the ingredients listed on the package to make a more informed choice. Even then the discussion is seldom definitive. There are many ingredients best described as "controversial". By this I mean many people have strong, anecdotal feelings that an ingredient is bad in some way. But there are no definitive scientific studies which prove that its use leads to health problems.

Of course, lack of proof is also not proof that an ingredient is benign. It merely means we don't know. Hence the frequently expressed strong opinions.

One source I have referred to is the Dog Food Advisor site. What I like about the site is that the commentary discusses each ingredient listed on the package. They offer brief, understandable explanations for cryptic industry terms such as brewers rice or chicken by-product meal.

Here is a link to their comments on Royal Canin Medium (Dry). If you refer to it, you should cross check the ingredients on the food you are feeding your puppy to be sure they are talking about the product you are using. They do not rate each product in a manufacturer's line. Instead, they select one product in the line to represent the others on the assumption that they will be essentially identical.

I could not be sure which Royal Canin product your vet was talking about from the information you provided in your question. I noticed that Dog Food Advisor does not discuss veterinary food products.

My personal opinion is that Royal Canin does not impress me as dog food goes. But it is "better" in terms of the quality of the ingredients than a lot of other lower cost, foods. Dog Food Advisor ranks it as 2.5 out of 5 or (slightly below) average by their criteria.

I am also not sure what benefits the Royal Canin sold by your vet would offer. Do you have a specific product name? I personally would feel a lot better about a product recommendation if I knew that the vet would not benefit financially from it. But who knows.

  • As per dogfoodadvisor.com/choosing-dog-food/dog-food-reviews-problems, Dog Food Advisor arbitrarily favours meat based dog food, automatically resulting in a low score for Royal Canin. Furthermore, they do not analyze the mineral and vitamin content of the food which may be a critical aspect of feed quality.
    – Daan
    Feb 7, 2014 at 11:42
  • @Daan I'm sure the decision to favor meat-based dog foods is not "arbitrary". It might be mistaken, but I'm sure they have reasons for doing so.
    – augurar
    Dec 30, 2014 at 6:57
  • Yeah, I really dislike dog food advisor. They were once rating the vet diets to very poor quality when these pets needed it for medical reasons. They probably stopped rating them because people were looking at this and not feeding them the correct diets thus making their pets in even worse condition. Vet foods are good, there is a TON of scientific research behind them, people are just really brainwashed with corn is bad. Digestibility is VERY important and corn is an excellent source of energy once processed correctly to have high digestibility. Dec 27, 2016 at 0:37
  • If you read the caveats on dogfoodadvisor.com, you will learn that the reviews are written by people who are not veterinarians or nutritionists, and that the reviews are based solely on the ingredients list. There is no peer-reviewed science involved in saying that Food A is better than Food B -- it is purely conjecture based on the reviewers' personal biases.
    – jalynn2
    Dec 28, 2016 at 18:18
  • You are best off feeding your dog what they have been eating for the last 11 million years or so: This is meat with trace amounts of vegetable matter. The higher quality and very expensive dog foods reflect this. Dogs have not been eating the predominantly corn-based diets as seen in the low-cost pet foods. This being said your dog will still probably lead a long happy life if fed cheap dogfood that is mainly corn or other grains. He is just at greater risk for obesity and other health problems. How much greater? No one knows.
    – Beo
    Mar 17, 2017 at 18:35

Unfortunately many vets will recommend a food brand that they are essentially sponsored by. Vets do nit receive much training on nutrition during their schooling and will therefore rely on the marketing information provided to them from the company they are sponsored by. Vets will earn a commission for each bag they sell. The most common brands you will find in vet offices include royal canin, science diet, eukaneuba, or iams. These are not high quality foods and are mostly made up of fillers such as corn and low quality meat products...sometimes they don't even specify the type of protein...so it is just scrapings left over from regular meat processing - might have chicken and beef or pork no way to tell.

I highly recommend you visit www.DogFoodAdvisor.com to learn about dog food make ups. They have very detailed reviews and they can help you learn how to select a healthy food choice for your dog.

Frankly any very that tries to sell you a prescription diet for a healthy normal puppy is just looking to make money.

  • 1
    Thanks for your answer. Although I understand your reasoning for the last paragraph, I'm not sure what to think. Someone will make money at some point, the vet can make money and suggest food better than the local store food. Anyway, I'll have a look at dogfoodadvisor !
    – Cedric H.
    Feb 5, 2014 at 8:41
  • 2
    Do you have a source for the statement vets do not receive much training on nutrition? The veterinarians I know are well educated in nutrition and regard it as one of the principal factors in improving life expectancy and quality of life in pets.
    – Daan
    Feb 7, 2014 at 11:44
  • 1
    This is 100% untrue, veterinarians receive zero commission for the foods they sell. You have very little understanding of the products they sell. Dec 27, 2016 at 0:33
  • 1
    This answer is 100% conjecture and opinion without a single source to back up their statements.
    – jalynn2
    Dec 28, 2016 at 18:13
  • @RebeccaRVT not quite true. They do get similar margins as compared to pet stores would selling the same products. So yes, they have an economic incentive to push specific foods. But I'd trust a vet to at least not recommend a product worse than what I was using already (though I'm sure there are some unscrupulous vets out there).
    – jwenting
    Mar 20, 2017 at 10:40

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