Wondered Why You Always Find Science Diet at the Vet?

Science DietIt’s no coincidence that you find Science Diet at the doc’s. We found this Wall Street Journal article when looking for information as to why so many vets were promoting Hill’s Pet Nutrition product. The article is almost 10-years-old, but it lays out why Science Diet is so trusted by vets today.

Over examining tables across the country, more pet doctors lately are trashing trusted brand names like Purina and Kal-Kan, calling them “junk food,” and directing people to shell out an extra $20 or so for a month’s supply of super-premium “high science” foods.

Hill’s has spent a generation cultivating its professional following. It spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year funding university research and nutrition courses at every one of the 27 U.S. veterinary colleges. Once in practice, vets who sell Science Diet and other premium foods directly from their offices pocket profits of as much as 40%.

“Vets trust them,” says Janil Norris, a fresh graduate of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. While she was in school, a Hill’s program allowed the struggling student to pay just $3 a bag for a special prescription brand for her cat, Buffalo Sean. A bag normally runs about $25. She also received a small stipend, courtesy of the Hill’s program, to study orthopedic surgery with a Los Angeles vet. “Hill’s was just always around,” she adds.

Our baby came to our home from the shelter with a bag of Science Diet. He enjoyed the food and seemed very happy and healthy. In fact, it’s nice to see Science Diet help out shelters even if the motivation isn’t purely altruistic.

Several reader tips led us to this Harvard law-student’s research paper that condemns the vets and the pet food industry for selling “Ring Dings and Krispy Kremes”(Mmm. Donuts.) and points to a major conflict of interest.

We’re not questioning the value or quality of Science Diet, (wait, we take that back) but we do want to point out that even the best-intentioned vets are susceptible to marketing. Which leaves you, the parent to be the best judge of what your baby should eat.

10 Responses to “Wondered Why You Always Find Science Diet at the Vet?”

  1. Nikki says:

    From May 2006 to Dec 2006, I was a Sci Di food “consultant” for Hill’s for six months (i.e., I hawked SD products at pet food stores like Petsmart and Petco for $16.50 an hour).

    I have a graduate degree in Biochemistry and have specialized in pet nutrition for the past few years, ever since our beloved G’Kar (now passed) was diagnosed with liver damage (due to Pfizer’s Rimadyl) and thymoma, an aggressive cancer of the thymus gland (also likely due to Rimadyl, but impossible to prove). I spent two days of “sales and product” training prior to commencing my Sci Di job, locked in a room with some 30-40 other new-hires, listening to the mind-washed babblings of one of Hill’s veterinarians who was our instructor. Oh. my. god. I can’t even begin to tell you how uninformed and closed-minded this vet was. She was a Hill’s version of a “Stepford Wife”. She regurgitated everything Hill’s force fed her about animal nutrition–in spite of any common sense application to said information. Things like, “Ethoxyquin is PERFECTLY safe” (ethoxyquin is a chemical preservative found most often in cheap pet foods–most premium brands now use tocopherols, a natural preservative–except that many of Hill’s PRESCRIPTION DIET foods and many of of the SCIENCE DIET treats still use ethoxyquin. This vet also babbled on how chicken byproducts–chicken beaks, feet and feathers–were perfectly wonderful sources of nutrition.

    Oh, the stories I could tell you…

  2. Steve says:


    Never mind. That alone was enough to make me hurl.

  3. Pamela says:

    Please, Nikki, do tell. I love hearing “background” info the general public never gets to hear.

  4. Leigh-Ann says:

    Nikki, did that vet have the initials “G.A.”? I’ve taken CEU classes about small animal nutrition (to supplement my vet tech knowledge), and I’ve ended up with instructors who work for Hills. In fact, every single pet nutrition class I try to find, and which is authorized for CEU credit, is either taught by someone from Hills or Purina, or paid for by them, or they’re providing the program materials. I went to sign up for a course on Nutrition and Kidney Disease, and I was excitedly informed that all the course materials were being offered free by Hills! Whoopee.

    And yes, the course instructors always find a way to show that their product is the best and the safest and most reliable, while pooh-pooh-ing smaller, independent brands, and even mocking them. It’s pretty disgusting.

  5. Gale Larns says:

    Please send me information on Pet safety recalls.Thank you

  6. Sharon says:

    On one the SD food sacks, it says in the ingredients, ground pea nut hulls, I cant get any one to tell me Why they think out pets should eat Saw Dust.

  7. Lisa says:

    I have been feeding regular Science Diet to my cats for the past couple of years… I am at my wit’s end with this stuff… trying to get them converted over to chicken and rice … and they seem to PREFER the roadkill and who-knows-what-else the manufacturers use… has ANYBODY figured out WHY? They must have some really great flavor enhancers or something going on to make the peanut shells and chicken feet taste better… my cats won’t even eat thigh meat well, they will only eat breast meat, freshly cooked… and it can’t be boiled, has to be saute’ed. ANY SUGGESTIONS?

  8. Thel Josenhans says:

    Pet food industry’s may have got away with murder , of our beloved pets ,but …………… NEVER AGAIN ………will I , buy , there pet food , Purina , should be given a ……… AWARD ……for not excellance ……… but , for , how , they got away with , hiding , all the toxins in there pet food , TELL US ………. ONE …….. JUST ONE ……… THAT IS SAFE ????
    EVEN the Vet’s didnt know , how bad , the poison was , for years ….saying , the animal had ……… food allergy.
    It is not just China , Canada , …… it is U.S.A. pet food Co.’s …….. that cared about money , now , it is hard to even trust the Vets.

  9. HKC222 says:

    Science Diet is not a good brand of dogfood. it has so many fillers and carbohydrates in the product that are not meant for dog’s digestive system.

  10. TRISTAN says:

    I absolutely concur, My vet yelled at me when I would not feed the KD diet to my cat who had just been diagnosed with kidney disease. He insisted that KD had ingredients that were formulated to help kidney failure. When he came out with the booklet HS sends the vets with the ingredients, he was hard pressed to explain just how corn, wheat gluten and pork by products and yes plant cellulose(sawdust) would help a cat whose kidneys cannot filter toxins.

    This is s unethical something needs to be done.

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