By Katy Cable-TWR
A 2 minute read
I am REALLY ANGRY! Several days a week I work as a brand ambassador at PetSmart 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.
Perhaps it strikes a chord because I WAS one of those pet parents. My pug Raisin was suffering from chronic bladder infections and his vet recommended an RX urinary formula food. 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 were fed grain/corn/soy/GMO free meals consisting of human-grade animal and fish protein, low glycemic carbs and probiotics. It blew my mind. I learned that a pet's nutrition is the first and most crucial defense in their health and most RX foods are nothing more than a genius marketing con.
In a previous blog I explained how RX pet food came about. (http://weeklyrunt.weebly.com/blog/farm-to-fidopart-deux) This follow-up blog is an interesting look at what is currently transpiring.
When I purchased my first bag of RX food, the first thing I did was look at the ingredients on the label. When all I saw was 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. Come to find out I was correct. There's NOTHING medicinal in the majority of RX pet foods.
I was quite encouraged to learn that recently, a group of pet parents from Northern California, filed a class action lawsuit against 6 of the biggest pet industry players: Mars Petcare, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Nestlé Purina Petcare, Banfield Pet Hospital, Blue Pearl Pet Hospital and PetSmart. They alleged these companies were engaged in price fixing of prescription dog and cat food in the U.S. in violation of anti-trust and consumer protection laws.
The plaintiffs, who purchased prescription pet foods from one or more of these companies, state they falsely promoted Hill's Royal Canine, Purina Pro Plan and Iam's "prescription” pet foods. Their lawsuit points out the fact there’s no reason for the foods to require a prescription, since they do not contain drugs or any other ingredient not commonly found in non-prescription pet diets. Their complaint further alleges:
“Retail consumers, including Plaintiffs, have overpaid and made purchases they otherwise would not have made on account of Defendants’ abuse and manipulation of the ‘prescription’ requirement.”
The lawsuit also asserts that a prescription requirement allows the defendants to sell prescription pet food at well-above market prices.
The lawsuit further argues that the defendants are engaged in an anticompetitive conspiracy. These companies abuse their position as the biggest players in the industry to promote “prescription” diets for dogs and cats. Most people are unaware that Mars owns 79% of Banfield. The remaining 21 percent is owned by PetSmart (which is why many Banfield clinics are located inside PetSmart stores). Mars also owns many large, popular pet food lines including: Nutro, Eukanuba, Greenies, and the Blue Pearl company. According to the complaint:
“Defendants are engaged in an anticompetitive conspiracy to market and sell pet food as prescription pet food to consumers at above-market prices that would not otherwise prevail in the absence of their collusive prescription-authorization requirement."
I am happy these astute pet parents are coming forward. This lawsuit hits the nail on the head and exposes the fraudulent practices occuring with many big pet food companies. According to Tim Wall, writing for PetfoodIndustry.com:
“The case document states that the American public reasonably expects a prescription requirement implies that a substance is medically necessary, contains a drug, medicine or controlled ingredient, has been FDA evaluated and legally requires a prescription. The plaintiffs allege that the prescription pet foods do not meet these criteria.”
In a nutshell, this lawsuit alleges that selling the pet food as “prescription” is unfair and deceptive under California consumer protection laws. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. I hope and pray it has a positive impact and changes are made. I will keep you posted on any outcome but in the meantime here's a few tips:
To learn more about how the corrupt big-business monopoly of pet food works, see the documentary or read my blog: PET FOOleD (http://weeklyrunt.weebly.com/blog/pet-fooled)
If your vet recommends a "big brand" prescription food for obesity, weight-control, or tummy issues, I would ask them about trying Nulo, Simply Natural Pet, Stella & Chewy, Just Food For Dog's or another human-grade, specialty food. Otherwise, you’ll be spending a lot of money for poor-quality pet food. It's typically loaded with sugary carbs, that will probably do more harm than good when it comes to your dog's long-term health. For conditions of a more serious nature, I would get recommendations and consult with a holistic, integrated veterinarian. Traditional veterinarians receive minimal nutritional training in vet school (and it may well be sponsored by Purina or Hills.)
Holistic and integrated vets specialize in the role nutrition plays in healing various medical conditions. They will customize a nutriton plan to target the specific health needs of your dog. If that isn't an option you can pursue, look into Darwin’s Intelligent Design™ Veterinary Formulas that actually do contain beneficial nutraceuticals for specific medical conditions.
I'm angry people continue to be fooled by misleading marketing that wouldn't fly in any other industry. 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 proper nutrition. The best part is, it doesn't have to break the bank.
Heres wishing you a long happy life for your beloved pet. 💕💕🐾
Pugs & Kissez 😘