Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light canned dog food earns the Advisor’s lowest rating of 1 star.
The Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light product line lists two 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 Light with Liver
- Hill’s Science Diet Small and Toy Adult Light with Liver
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light with Liver was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Hill's Science Diet Adult Light with Liver
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Water, ground whole grain corn, meat by-products, soybean mill run, liver, corn gluten meal, chicken liver flavor, powdered cellulose, egg product, soybean oil, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, iodized salt, iron oxide, potassium chloride, taurine, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, niacin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, riboflavin, folic acid, sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 9.7%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||20%||9%||64%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||19%||20%||61%|
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 includes 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 third ingredient is meat by-products, an item made from slaughterhouse waste. This is what’s left of slaughtered animals after all the prime striated muscle cuts have been removed.
With the exception of hair, horns, teeth and hooves, this item can include almost any other part of the animal.1
Although most meat by-products can be nutritious, we do not consider such vaguely described (generic) ingredients to be as high in quality as those derived from a named animal source.
The fourth 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 fifth 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 sixth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
After the chicken liver flavor, we find powdered cellulose, a non-digestible plant fiber usually made from the by-products of vegetable processing. Except for the usual benefits of fiber, powdered cellulose provides no nutritional value to a dog.
The ninth ingredient is egg product, an unspecified (wet or dry?) 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 three notable exceptions…
First, we find soybean oil. 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, 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 Light
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light 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 19% and a mean fat level of 9%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 64% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 45%.
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, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing only a limited amount of meat.
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light is a plant-based canned dog food using a limited amount of generic meat by-products as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1 star.
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.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
11/21/2014 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩