Canadian Professor Marion Smart demonstrates vet students' ignorance about pet nutrition in her own veterinary class (pet food video; go to minute 26 to begin this segment). Vet students are not taught about carnivores' natural diets, so that they cannot advise pet owners knowledgeably about what to feed pets.
From ingredient lists on bags of kibble, it is impossible to tell which are so-called premium brands and which are lower-priced store brands, because they are all basically the same. As Professor Smart points out, bags of so-called premium and lesser brands all come from the same manufacturing plants, and it is unlikely that the plant has 6 different bins of protein and 4 different bins of corn meal. Pet owners and their vets are paying double and triple the price for bags of kibble that are not any more nutritious than cheaper brands.
AAFCO standards set nutrient requirements that are supposed to guarantee that pet foods include minimally sufficient proteins, fats, and other dietary elements to sustain pets' lives in a brief feeding trial (actually, only 6 of 8 animals need to finish the trial). Professor Smart demonstrates that the nutritional requirements for pet foods can be met by a concoction of old leather boots, wood shavings, and motor oil -- all of which are completely indigestible and poisonous to pets.
Professor Smart shredded old leather boots, wood shavings, and motor oil , canned the mixture, and label it "Old Boots" dog food. She sent "Old Boots" cans to a laboratory for analysis as pet food. "Old Boots" passed all tests for proteins, fats, and fibre content! All that Old Boots needed was a dose of artificial vitamins and minerals to be "complete and balanced". In other words, the "tightly regulated" pet food industry could approve a completely poisonous concoction of non-food ingredients and call it pet food. To see Professor Smart make "Old Boots", go to the cited video, minute 36.
Despite vets’ total ignorance of natural diets, pet owners rely more on vets than on anyone else to tell them what and how to feed pets. Add to their lack of knowledge the financial support pet-food companies supply from their first days in vet school through funding their practices, most veterinarians are captured by and committed to commercial pet foods. Vet schools provide no contradictory information, so misinformed vets go out of school to misinform pet owners and to feed their own pets on cooked starches. The blind mislead the blind.
The cited video, which is worth viewing in its entirety, is highly critical of commercial pet foods, mostly because their exaggerated claims of healthy nutrition are not based on any science. Claims of "100% compete and balanced" are bald-face lies. No manufactured diet is complete or balanced food. Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkns, an expert on cats, tells pet owners in the video that cats must have a meat diet, because they are ‘obligate carnivores”, which means their natural diet consists entirely of meat and meaty bones. Yet, most vets are feeding their own cats dry foods that give them urinary tract stones, intestinal disorders, and may kill them long before their time.
Commercial pet foods also have a poor safety record, a fact that veterinarians seem not to know. The massive 2007 pet food recall for poisonous melamine in the wheat gluten used in hundreds of canned foods was just one of dozens of pet food recalls in the last decade. Mis-formulated commercial pet foods kill and sicken hundreds of pets annually.
Unfortunately, poisonous batches are not the worst problem with commercial pet foods. The primary problem is that kibbles and canned mush are not appropriate foods for carnivorous pets. Cooked, starchy diets make carnivorous pets chronically sick, even when they are not poisoned with melamine and other contaminants. Tens of millions of pets suffer chronic diseases and premature deaths from inappropriate, starchy diets.
Veterinarians are taught to treat illnesses created by commercial pet foods by prescribing steroids, antibiotics, and prescription diets, all of which support their practices. They are not taught to advise owners to feed a diet of raw-meaty-bones, which keeps pets well. The fact that most vets feed their own pets junk foods is testimony to their faulty education and their financial dependence on the pet-food industry.