Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2 stars.
The Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus product line includes five dry 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 6+ Large Breed
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Active Longevity
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Active Longevity Small Bites
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small and Toy Breed (1.5 stars)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult 11+ Small and Toy Breed Age Defying
Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Active Longevity Small Bites was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Active Longevity Small Bites
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, whole grain sorghum, cracked pearled barley, whole grain oats, pork fat, dried beet pulp, corn gluten meal, chicken liver flavor, soybean oil, lactic acid, pork flavor, flaxseed, potassium chloride, iodized salt, choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, biotin, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement), l-lysine, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), taurine, oat fiber, l-carnitine, mixed tocopherols for freshness, natural flavors, beta-carotene, apples, broccoli, carrots, cranberries, green peas
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.4%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||20%||15%||58%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||17%||32%||51%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second 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 third ingredient is wheat. Like corn, wheat 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 wheat a preferred component in any dog food.
The fourth ingredient is corn. Corn is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as wheat (previously discussed).
The fifth ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.
Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.
The sixth 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.
The seventh ingredient includes oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The eighth 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 ninth ingredient is 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.
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 six notable exceptions…
First, this recipe contains 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.
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.
In addition, flaxseed is 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, this recipe includes 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.
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 Science Diet
Adult Plus Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus Dog Food looks like an 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 20% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 57% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 75%.
Below-average 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 corn gluten meal, flaxseed, and peas contained in this recipe and the soybean meal contained in some others, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a limited amount of meat.
However, with 32% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 17% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus is a plant-based dry dog food using only a limited amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2 stars.
Those looking for a review of the rest of the kibbles in this line may wish to visit our review of Hill’s Science Diet Adult dry dog food.
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
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
11/12/2016 Last Update