Best Pet Food Recommended by Vets

Best Pet Food Recommended by Vets
Photo by M Burke

"My dog eats steak every week."

Wow, I thought, your dog eats better than I do!

While I usually do not recommend feeding steak to your dog every week (likely to lead to obesity and other issues), it seems like there are a million different pet diets out there!

Choosing the right food for your pet can be overwhelming with so many options available. It's important to remember that every pet is different, and their dietary needs can vary greatly. Most veterinarians recommend veterinary brand foods due to the extensive research and testing behind them. This article will explore why these foods are often preferred and the special dietary needs for pets with certain health conditions.

Why Veterinary Brand Foods?

Veterinary brand foods, such as Hill's, Royal Canin, and Purina Pro Plan, are commonly recommended by vets (none of these brands are sponsors of Vetspacito).

These brands invest heavily in research and development to ensure their products meet the highest standards of nutrition. They formulate their foods based on the latest scientific findings and conduct rigorous testing to ensure safety and efficacy.

Veterinarians like myself usually feel confident in these brands because they have done extensive testing and research on how their food affects pets.

Special Dietary Needs

  1. Allergies: Pets with food allergies may require hypoallergenic diets (diets less likely to trigger allergic reactions). These foods typically contain novel proteins (sometimes alligator and other odd sounding meat) that the pet has not been exposed to before, reducing the risk of allergic reactions.
  2. Diabetes: Diabetic pets benefit from foods that are high in fiber and low in easily digestible carbohydrates. These diets help manage blood sugar levels more effectively.
  3. Urinary Issues: For pets with urinary tract issues, vets often recommend diets that promote urinary health by controlling mineral levels and acid/base balance to prevent the formation of bladder stones which are incredibly painful.

Be Careful About Raw Food

While some pet owners advocate for raw food diets, many vets (myself included) caution against them due to the risk of bacterial contamination and nutritional imbalances. Raw diets can pose serious health risks to both pets and humans (Salmonella, for example). It's important to consult with your vet before making any significant changes to your pet's diet​.

Practical Tips for Pet Owners

  1. Consult Your Vet: Always consult with your veterinarian before switching your pet's food, especially if your pet has health issues.
  2. Read Labels Carefully: Look for foods that have been tested and meet AAFCO standards. While this does not necessarily guarantee pet food quality, it is a standard of pet food quality that can help ensure that the diet meets minimum health requirements.
  3. Monitor Your Pet's Health: Pay attention to how your pet responds to their diet and report any concerns to your vet.


Choosing the best food for your pet involves considering their unique health needs and consulting with your veterinarian. Veterinary brand foods are often recommended due to their extensive research and proven benefits, however, your pet may do just fine on generic Costco dog food, it really depends.

And of course, be cautious with raw diets, even freeze dried raw diets can still contain Listeria, a bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

Not sure if your pets current diet is enough?

For the best advice on your pet's diet, schedule regular vet visits and discuss any dietary changes with your veterinarian. Your pet's health is worth it.