The food does indeed have to be nutritionally balanced to suit the dog's needs, but that doesn't mean exclusively commercial foods - many of which are not all they are cracked up to be.....
You definitely need to research what you are using though, in my opinion. As far as the vets only recommending commercially made foods because they get some sort of kickback? Maybe that is more of an American thing, it's not something that we tend to hear about or have to deal with here in Canada.
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