Hill’s Science Diet Adult canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Hill’s Science Diet Adult product line includes 11 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 Gourmet Beef Entree
- Hill’s Science Diet Small/Toy Adult Gourmet Beef Entree
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Savory Stew with Beef (3 stars)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Gourmet Turkey Entree (2 stars)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Gourmet Chicken Entree (2 stars)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Beef and Chicken Entree (2 stars)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Savory Stew with Turkey (3 stars)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Savory Stew with Chicken (3 stars)
- Hill’s Science Diet Small/Toy Adult Savory Stew with Beef (3 stars)
- Hill’s Science Diet Small/Toy Adult Gourmet Chicken Entree (2 stars)
- Hill’s Science Diet Small/Toy Adult Savory Stew with Chicken (3 stars)
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Gourmet Beef Entree was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Hill's Science Diet Adult Gourmet Beef Entree
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Water, beef, liver, ground whole grain corn, cracked pearled barley, chicken liver flavor, soybean oil, calcium carbonate, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), potassium chloride, iron oxide, choline chloride, iodized salt, vitamin E supplement, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, niacin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, calcium iodate, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin, sodium selenite, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 0.8%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||26%||16%||50%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||34%||43%|
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 item 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 fifth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
After the chicken liver flavor, we find 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.
The eighth ingredient is calcium carbonate, likely used here as a dietary mineral supplement.
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 three notable exceptions…
First, we note the inclusion of chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
Next, 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 28% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 46% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 66%.
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 corn gluten meal and soybean meal contained in some recipes, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing only a modest amount of meat.
Hill’s Science Diet Adult is a plant-based canned dog food using a modest amount of beef, chicken, turkey and liver as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
A Final Word
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However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.
For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".
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Notes and Updates
12/30/2009 Original review
08/05/2010 Review updated
05/17/2012 Review updated
11/18/2013 Review updated
11/18/2013 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩