Hill’s Science Diet Adult canned dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.
The Hill’s Science Diet Adult product line includes 12 canned dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Beef and Barley Entree
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light with Liver (1 star)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Chicken and Barley Entree
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Chicken and Beef Entree (2 stars)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Turkey and Barley Entree (2 stars)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach and Skin (2 stars)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Savory Stew with Beef and Vegetables
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Savory Stew with Chicken and Vegetables
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light with Liver Small and Toy Breed (1 star)
- Hill’s Science Diet Small and Toy Adult Chicken and Barley Entree (2.5 stars)
- Hill’s Science Diet Small and Toy Adult Savory Stew with Beef and Vegetables
- Hill’s Science Diet Small and Toy Adult Savory Stew with Chicken and Vegetables
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Savory Stew with Beef and Vegetables was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Hill's Science Diet Adult Savory Stew with Beef and Vegetables
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Water, beef, liver, brown rice, carrots, rice starch-modified, wheat flour, potato starch, pork plasma, dried beet pulp, potatoes, dextrose, chicken fat, peas, chicken liver flavor, spinach, calcium carbonate, soybean oil, ground flaxseed, potassium chloride, sodium phosphate, caramel (added color), guar gum, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper proteinate, manganous sulfate, potassium iodide), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, folic acid), choline chloride, taurine, l-lysine monohydrochloride, iron oxide (added color)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.9%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||21%||43%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||41%||35%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.
The second ingredient is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The third ingredient is liver. Normally, liver can be considered a quality component. However, in this case, the source of the liver is not identified. For this reason, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.
The fourth ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fifth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The sixth ingredient is rice starch, a starchy powder extracted from rice and most likely used here as a thickening agent.
The seventh ingredient is wheat flour, a highly-refined product of wheat milling. Like corn, wheat is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider wheat a preferred component in any dog food.
The eighth ingredient is potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.
The ninth ingredient is pork plasma. Plasma is what remains of blood after the blood cells themselves have been removed. Plasma can be considered a nutritious addition.
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 eight notable exceptions…
First, we note the inclusion of beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
Next, dextrose is a crystallized form of glucose — with a flavor significantly sweeter than common table sugar. It is typically used in pet food as a sweetener and as an agent to help develop browning.
Without knowing a healthy reason for its inclusion here, dextrose (like most sugars) can be considered a nutritionally unnecessary addition to this recipe.
In addition, this foods contains peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
Next, 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.
We also note the use of 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.
Next, caramel is a natural coloring agent made by caramelizing carbohydrates. It’s used by pet food manufacturers to impart a golden brown tint to the finished product.
However, the concentrated version of this ingredient commonly known as caramel coloring has been more recently considered controversial and found to cause cancer in laboratory animals.2
And iron oxide is a synthetic color additive used in industry to impart a reddish color to food — and paint. In its natural form, this chemical compound is more commonly known as “iron rust”.
We’re always disappointed to find any artificial coloring in a pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?
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 Science Diet
Adult Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Hill’s Science Diet Adult canned dog food looks like a below-average wet 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 26% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 49% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 65%.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed in this recipe and the corn gluten and soybean meals and pea protein contained in some others, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing just a moderate amount of meat.
However, with 41% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 24% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.
Hill’s Science Diet Adult is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of named meats and named by-products as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.
Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
- Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Market Withdrawal of November 2015 (11/29/2015)
- Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Recall June 2014 (6/3/2014)
To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.
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Notes and Updates
11/10/2016 Last Update