Hill’s Prescription Diet B/D Healthy Aging and Alertness dog food is not rated due to its intentional therapeutic design.
Hill’s Prescription Diet B/D Canine Healthy Aging and Alertness dog food is designed to support cognitive function in older dogs and to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.
Hill's Prescription Diet B/D Healthy Aging and Alertness
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Whole grain corn, chicken by-product meal, pork fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), brewers rice, soybean mill run, flaxseed, soybean meal, fish meal, lactic acid, chicken liver flavor, dried egg product, soybean oil, dried carrots, dried spinach, dried grape pomace, dried tomato pomace, dried citrus pulp, potassium chloride, vitamin E supplement, oat fiber, choline chloride, vitamins (l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), vitamin E supplement, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin), l-lysine, iodized salt, calcium carbonate, l-tryptophan, taurine, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), l-carnitine, preserved with mixed tocopherols & citric acid, alpha-lipoic acid, phosphoric acid, beta-carotene, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||19%||16%||57%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||17%||34%||50%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The second item is chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed.
In a nutshell, chicken by-products are those unsavory leftovers usually considered “unfit for human consumption”.
In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (real meat).
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.
The third ingredient is pork fat, a product from rendering pig meat.
Commonly known as lard, pork fat can add significant flavor to any dog food. And it can be high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.
Although it may not sound very appetizing, pork fat (in moderate amounts) is actually an acceptable pet food ingredient.
The fourth ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fifth ingredient is soybean mill run. Mill run is a by-product, mostly the hulls of soybeans remaining after processing the beans into meal. This is nothing more than a cheap, low-quality filler more commonly found in cattle feeds.
The sixth ingredient is flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The seventh ingredient includes fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.
What’s more, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in fish meals.
But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, the chemical does not have to be reported to consumers.
We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.
Without knowing more, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.
The eighth ingredient is lactic acid, a compound found naturally in many living organisms. It’s likely added here to adjust the pH of the product which (in turn) reduces the growth of unwanted biological contaminants.
After the chicken liver flavor, we find dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With four notable exceptions…
First, soybean oil is red flagged here only due to its rumored (yet unlikely) link to canine food allergies.
However, since soybean oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids and contains no omega-3′s, it’s considered less nutritious than flaxseed oil or a named animal fat.
Next, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.
Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
In addition, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.
Hill’s Prescription Diet B/D Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Even though this is a prescription product, our review has nothing to do with the accuracy of claims made by the manufacturer as to the product’s ability to treat or cure a specific health condition.
So, to find out whether or not this dog food is appropriate for your particular pet, you must consult your veterinarian.
With that understanding…
Judging by its ingredients alone, Hill’s Prescription Diet B/D dog food looks like a below-average dry product.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 83%.
Low protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a limited amount of meat.
Hill’s Prescription Diet B/D Healthy Aging and Alertness is a plant-based dry dog food using a limited amount of chicken by-product meal as its main source of animal protein.
However, due to its intentional therapeutic design, this dog food is not rated.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
07/23/2010 Original review
11/12/2011 Review updated
05/12/2013 Review updated
05/12/2013 Last Update