Hill’s Ideal Balance Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Hill’s Ideal Balance Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Hill’s Ideal Balance product line includes 12 dry dog foods, nine claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and three for growth (puppies).

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Hill’s Ideal Balance Puppy (4 stars)
  • Hill’s Ideal Balance Adult (2.5 stars)
  • Hill’s Ideal Balance Mature Adult (2 stars)
  • Hill’s Ideal Balance Small Breed Puppy (4 stars)
  • Hill’s Ideal Balance Large Breed Puppy (4 stars)
  • Hill’s Ideal Balance Small Breed Adult (2.5 stars)
  • Hill’s Ideal Balance Large Breed Adult (2.5 stars)
  • Hill’s Ideal Balance Slim and Healthy Adult (3.5 stars)
  • Hill’s Ideal Balance Small Breed Mature Adult (2 stars)
  • Hill’s Ideal Balance Large Breed Mature Adult (2 stars)
  • Hill’s Ideal Balance Adult Natural Lamb and Brown Rice
  • Hill’s Ideal Balance Active Natural Chicken and Oats (3.5 stars)

Hill’s Ideal Balance Adult Natural Lamb and Brown Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Hill's Ideal Balance Adult Natural Lamb and Brown Rice

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 24% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 48%

Ingredients: Lamb, brown rice, whole grain oats, whole grain barley, chicken fat, yellow peas, pea protein concentrate, chicken meal, dried beet pulp, chicken, chicken liver flavor, lactic acid, flaxseed, vegetable & fruit blend (green peas, apples, cranberries, carrots, broccoli), iodized salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement), taurine, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), mixed tocopherols for freshness, phosphoric acid, beta-carotene, natural flavors

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.6%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis24%20%NA
Dry Matter Basis24%20%48%
Calorie Weighted Basis20%40%40%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

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 oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

The fourth 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 fifth ingredient is 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.

The sixth ingredient 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.

The seventh ingredient is pea protein concentrate, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

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 meat content of this dog food.

The eighth ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

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 three notable exceptions

First, 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, 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 Ideal Balance Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Hill’s Ideal Balance looks like an average dry dog food.

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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 24%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 48%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 25% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 70%.

Below-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, pea protein concentrate and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a below-average amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Hill’s Ideal Balance Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a below-average amount of lamb or chicken as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

Recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

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".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

08/07/2011 Original review
04/03/2014 Last Update

  • Missi Rochman

    Agreed..Also be aware of manufacturing cross contamination..meaning some of lines commented on..just like makeup, a lot of these smaller lines are made in same factories hence the risk (and it’s happened) for cross contamination into these less well known “better” lines as folks like “dumbass” & others mentioned..start with evaluating the needs of your dogs..then go from there.on of my dogs got sick on on of the brands mentioned that is supposed to be better..oh, absolutely stay away from Walmart for pet food! Now that is a recipe for disaster..lol. Good luck!

  • Missi Rochman

    Just switched to ideal balance from wellness products including simple which helped to blow up my old akit a /Shep mix to 90 pounds..she should be closer to 70lbs..Most of my crew for 12 years have been on hills products prescription and non for a majority of their lives which were long ones..my akita mix is still alive at 16…wellness is an excellent line but their fat and protein levels are much too high for senior dogs..spent most of day yesterday comparing dog food labels and went with slim and healthy for the a kit a and small breed for my sr toy poodles..also, my awesome vet said don’t believe the hype and get caught into the marketing with foods like blue…recalls still happen with brands like that. Last, this ideal balance line is the only line at pet Co I found that tells u in general where the ingredients are sourced from…remember, just be cause the food is made in the usa, doesn’t mean the ingredients are sourced from the usa..I liked how hills stated high level sourcing..even wellness didn’t state the sourcing! And that is sold in all natural pet stores! Hope this helps, please stay away from anything with ingredients sourced from china:)

  • Dumbass

    All the smart kids would agree. ;)

  • Shawna

    Not everyone on this site would agree with you.. I’m just not one of them and wholeheartedly agree with you!! :)

  • Dumbass

    Besty, I use Victor grain free for my 4 Labs. It’s the best budget food there is, especially since it has all the extra goodies, like Montmorillionite Clay, and all the other stuff. Victor makes my black Labs so shiny and healthy.

  • Dumbass

    Simple. Because Science Diet sucks.

  • Shawna

    “Nutrition Consultant” at Hill’s!! Oh, this could be fun!! :)

  • Betsy Greer

    You’d try to if you were a Hill’s employee like Tom is, Shawna.

  • Shawna

    True allergies of any kind are uncommon. Intolerances are far more common however. That said, grains are not the only foods that cause intolerances.

    I personally wouldn’t consider “pea protein concentrate”, “corn gluten meal” and similar nutritional quality. These are inexpensive and inferior sources of protein.

  • Tom Roberts

    Science Diet has gotten a bad rap recently for two reasons:
    Firstly, they aren’t a high protein food. This is seen as bad because of all the foods that put obscene amounts of protein into their food as a marketing mechanism. Since Science Diet follows the Vet Nutrition Guidelines for their food instead of what is currently popular, they’ve been cast in a bad light.
    The second reason is that many of their foods contain corn and soy (this is one of the reasons that they created Ideal Balance). These, too, have been demonized by other company’s marketing “grain free” versions of food, when most dogs do not have grain allergies of any kind. Many people also say that corn is a filler, which can be true in general but only when the corn used is of low quality or nutrient value. They test every shipment of corn that they recieve, and therefore maintain a high nutrient content in all their foods.

    Personally, I feed Ideal Balance because I don’t like GMO’s (which are mainly corn and soy in the States). The nutrition is the same as Science Diet, just with different ingredients.
    The only other food that comes close to the nutritional quality of Hills is Wellness brand dog food. Their cat food is unfortunately lacking in the nutrient department.

  • Michelle Taylor

    I thought about Pure Balance, but wasn’t sure if it was made by Ol’Roy or not. I’ve only had her on the ONE and then a bag of Rachael Ray’s Just 6. I am mostly concerned with her weight and I don’t want her to throw up. SO many choices out there. I don’t want to break my bank, but yet I don’t want to feed her crap LOL I’d like that happy medium :)

  • Betsy Greer

    OK, you don’t mention too many others that you’ve tried.

    So, what about Pure Balance at Wal-Mart, it’s made by Ainsworth; as are some of the grain free varieties of 4Health at TSC (the newest grain free formulas are made by Diamond, of which, I’m not a fan due to recall issues).

    You might find Infinia which is made by PMI and is carried at feed / garden type stores.

    Dr. Tim’s is an excellent food, that might cost a bit more than some of the others, but you’ll feed less of it because it’s more nutritionally dense than lesser quality foods.

    Simply Nourish is PetSmart’s house brand and is budget friendly.

  • Michelle Taylor

    It is not local for me. I am really aggravating myself trying to figure this out LOL

  • Betsy Greer

    Great! Let us know if you can buy it locally. If not, we can make some other suggestions for budget friendly foods.

  • Bobby dog

    I whole heartedly agree!!! I love reading all POV’s; it is and has been very helpful in the past when posters discuss different views regarding pet care. Subjects that I never thought of or cared about are now on my radar! I very much appreciate any information or research shared by other posters! ;)

  • Shawna

    Hi Shammy,

    I was able to read your reply via email and just wanted you to know that I agree with several of your points.. I hope you didn’t change it to “Nevermind” on my account.?? There are many of us on here who like a good debate. Opens the mind up to different ways of thinking for the posters as well as anyone reading.. And to be honest, I’ve had to change my stance more than a few times when presented with adequate data… :)

  • Michelle Taylor

    Thanks, I will check them out ;)

  • Betsy Greer

    OK, good.

    Victor is an excellent dog food and while they do have some formulas in smaller size bags, I know that you can buy some grain free formulas for $38.99 for a 30 pound bag and the same price for a 40 pound bag of the grain inclusive formula. Those are the prices if you can buy it locally, check this product locator: http://victordogfood.com/. Click on the “find a dealer” tab in the black bar just below the Victor logo. I have my fingers crossed!

  • Michelle Taylor

    about 15lbs, I guess.

  • Shammy

    I have read _Grain Brain_ and I apply the information to myself. (Also read _Wheat Belly_) The only grain I trust for myself on VERY occasion is Rice, although his book recommends against it, I do eat it now and again.But then dogs are not people. My experience with raw was shaky (and I fed it for years!). Like I said, several broken teeth on multiple dogs on “soft” chicken bones. Diarrhea, choking, vomiting, constipation, dogs not wanting to eat it, etc. I have other health reasons for myself that I don’t want potentially contaminated dogs around me. I have home cooked before, for a 3 year stretch at one point, so that is always a possibility in the future. Anyway, this is the latest dog food ‘tangent’ I”ve gone off to, taking a critical look at nutrients. So I’m not trying to debate raw as right/wrong, just trying to define right/wrong for my dogs and myself, you know? As far as anecdotal comparison, I don’t notice any difference in feeding Ideal Balance or Purina One Beyond to Fromm or Acana, honestly, except way better tummies. Sorry for the long response, like I said, just my personal idea of what is right/wrong.

  • Betsy Greer

    How much does a “large bag” of dog food weigh to you, Michelle?

  • Michelle Taylor

    Why has Science Diet gotten a bad rap over the years? I need help deciding on a reasonably priced, yet good quality food. My dog is medium breed.She should weigh probably 45-50lbs and is currently 53-56lbs. Due to strict budget, I don’t want to pay more than say $20 for a large bag of food. I had her on Purina ONE smartblend Healthy Weight and I think it made her throw up. Ever since I took her off of it, she hasn’t, but I haven’t settled on the brand. I don’t want to keep switching. Thanks, I hope someone can help me, my husband is tired of hearing about dog food LOL

  • Shawna

    Hi Shammy and thanks for the info. I highly doubt that all those foods you listed have excess phosphorus but I will surely check it out. I’ve already contacted NV via email and am waiting for their reply. As well as contacted two posters here on DFA that might already have this info on hand.

    I also added “Dog Food Logic” to my Amazon wish list. But before I can read it I have to finish several I already downloaded including “Not Fit for a Dog” (one of the authors, Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins DVM, used to work for Hills), “The Royal Treatment” by Dr. Barbara Royal DVM and “Grain Brain” by Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter plus a few others. I can assure you though, each of these folks think ingredients, not just nutrients, are quite important.

    I often quote Veterinary Nutritionist Dr. Meg Smart (she taught clinical nutrition for over 30 years). When looking for commercial foods she recommends “If you wish to feed
    a commercial diet find a company that is small, family owned and accountable.” http://petnutritionbysmart.blogspot.com/2012/07/practical-advise-on-feeding-your-dog.html

    I noticed your distrust (or maybe just dislike) of raw diets. Dr. Smart’s thoughts on raw (err whole foods) “I see a benefit in feeding whole foods whether cooked or raw. Genetically the dog and the anatomy of its digestive tract are closely aligned with that of the wolf. So we can use this as a dietary model when designing diets for the domestic dog.” – See more at:
    http://www.angryvet.com/angryvet-nutrition-interview-drs-joseph-wakshlag-and-meg-smart/#sthash.rrVGUAi3.dpuf Of course, in this post she doesn’t specifically say raw meat but she does have recipes on her blog utilizing raw meats. I’m not sure of her thoughts on raw meaty bones though??

    I’ve had close to 40 small and toy breed dogs on raw (including my eight, my foster dogs and those I dog sit) for over nine years and I haven’t experienced the issues you’ve seen.

  • Shammy

    I also want to add that I don’t know how ‘gospel” the NRC recommendations are, but this is the current ‘path’ my interest has taken me. So YMMV, so to speak.

  • Shammy

    I don’t know about the AAFCO guidelines, but this is off the NRC ideal ranges I found in my niece’s veterinary textbook. I hate to name names, but so far it’s Wellness, Nature’s Logic, Nature’s Variety, Orijen, Acana, etc.
    Phosphorus on as fed basis should be 0.6-0.9%. You can call up any company and ask. Also the book _Dog Food Logic_ was a great help in understanding nutrients vs. ingredients.

  • Shawna

    I will do that. In the meantime, would you mind listing the ones you’ve come across? This is obviously something that the people feeding these foods should know about right away in my opinion..

    You said according to the NRC. Are they only high based on NRC guidelines or also based on AAFCO guidelines as well?

  • Tiffani Hallan

    You will have to call some companies to find out their “as fed” amounts but I have found that several of the “5 star” foods have too many minerals (according to the NRC). HTH

  • Shawna

    Hi Tiffani,

    Would you mind listing the 5 star foods with excessive amounts of phos, sodium and magnesium?

    I had concerns about a 5 star food, made by former Purina execs, due to the high sodium contents (based on consumer taste test). When I tried to find data suggesting a harmful affect I could not. The amounts given by the Merck vet manual as toxic were pretty high. Did I miss something?

  • Tiffani Hallan

    Your last sentence says it all! People “say” that Hills uses “deceptive marketing” to make its food look better, and then fall for the SAME deceptive marketing of all the so-called “5 star” foods! Many of these foods have excessive, even harmful amounts of phosphorus, sodium and magnesium.

  • qtbigwatts

    Try Merrick!

  • qtbigwatts

    Try Merrick! It’s very expensive but very good

  • qtbigwatts

    The puppy food is great from this brand, but that’s about it. The adult dog food is terrible!

  • Rocio Garcia

    I believe it all depends on the dog itself and what food hes used to. There might be allergens in the food that can possibly cause the vomiting. I’m giving a bias, because I own a puppy myself that loves this food. He is a small breed, ever since I switched him over to this puppy food he loves it. It made him stronger from his legs and paws as comparison as when I would be feeding him off Cesar’s dog food, and aside that the food bag lasts longer and is inexpensive. I respect every dog owners opinion but I like the results its been giving my puppy. Hes already on his second bag and is doing just fine. The great thing about this product, is if your dog doesn’t like it you can return it back and receive full refund. Thats what I was told from a seller at Petsmart. Good luck to all puppy/ dog owners.

  • Pupraser

    I have had the opposite experience, I too am a groomer and see bad skin, yeasty ears, bad hair condition and most are feeding grocery store brands. I recommended SD mainly lamb and rice formula because it has less chance of allergy reactions. Usually we see a huge improvement in these dogs after time on it. One customer has a beautiful border collie that we groom every 2 wks when suddenly coat started looking dull, it wasn’t thick like it used to be, when asked, they had switched from SD to a grocery store brand, we told them to switch back to see if that was the problem, after a month or so her coat got thick and shiny again. Not a huge SD fan, but I am a puppy raiser for an Assistance Dog school in which SD is given, I feed TOTW to my keeper dogs. After reading some of these, I am wondering if that is the problem with my current pup, he has diarrhea, I am feeding LB Ideal Balance to atleast keep him off the grain, I have had him on probiotics for stomach upset due to changing food and the diarrhea won’t stop, NOW i wonder if it’s the food?!?!?!

  • Betsy Greer

    This review was just updated on 04/03/2014. I hardly call that “old.”

  • LabsRawesome

    LOL.

  • Mil

    This website does not take the guaranteed analysis into consideration. The ingredients can be top notch USDA organic etc but if they don’t bring you the right amount of each nutrient then that is not good in the long run. This is really old information here, Hill’s has a whole new line of Ideal Balance cat and dog food. No talk here of the naturally sourced glucosamine, chondroitin, the right balance of omegas…Ideal Balance is great food, should get a high rating. I am disappointed that the nutrition that the ingredients bring to the food is not discussed here, ever.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Completely agree! I feed my dogs a raw diet. Just don’t agree that it’s cheaper, quite a bit more expensive than kibble.

  • jasmine

    Maybe we should feed our pets like we should feed ourselves?
    The food they are built to eat is raw. It is also cheaper to feed raw food.
    My dog has a flea allergy, my cat has very dry skin. They are very young animals, so they should be in their prime.
    I have spent a couple of months researching and I am now comfortable feeding them myself. Most of the complaints mentioned here may improve with raw food. You can try and see, if after a month there is no improvement, then that needs looking at again.
    My theory is, could we live off burgers without getting gostrointestinal problems? Could we survive on just junk food without getting diabetes and heart disease?

  • colleen

    Yes,my dogs had diarrhea too.

  • Ca

    Betsy time to flag

  • Ca

    Patty it is me tattletale time for your downvotes and flags

  • Sandies ma

    hi..I recently switched my dog from the Science Diet light to the new Ideal Balance Light and Healthy. She did great while mixing them to let her adjust to the new food but after a week on only the Ideal balance she developed severe diarrhea. In the two years since I adopted her she has never even had a loose stool. Has anyone else had any problems with this new food from Hills

  • doglover

    Hi Dogdaddy,
    Being from Taiwan, I know exactly how expensive the imported dog food is on the island. Have you tried Kirkland’s Signature that you can only purchase at a Costco store? The prices are fair and I believe some of the formulas receive better ratings compared to Hill’s. If it weren’t because they only carry one formula for puppies in Taiwan, I would’ve continued buying for my 7-month-old pup that appears to start getting tired of eating only the chicken formula. I have to switch to the ridiculously expensive brands next.

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi dogdaddy,

    Have you been out shopping? If so, do you recall what brands you were able to find in the stores?

  • dogdaddy

    I am so confused, I have fed my heins 57 Hills since she was a pup, now 9 y.o. Never had any problems she very healthy. But I have retired now and find myself in a financial pull, I need to cut back where ever I can. I live out of the USA and Hills is very expensive being an import. I have read almost everything I can find on the imports and only got more confused. Hills here in Taiwan cost me around $60 U.S. dollars a 40lb bag, I can’t find any decent dog food for around $40 U.S. What can I do???

  • Mike

    I own a grooming business and many of the dogs that we see have poor skin. I always make it a point to ask owners what they are feeding and inevitably if the dog looks like crap, they are usually feeding a Hill’s product. It makes you wonder.

  • http://www.bestcatanddognutrition.com/ Roger Biduk

    I know this is an old post, but this is the first time I’ve ever, ever heard of anything from Hill’s being “crazy good”.

    Any formulas made by Hill’s which includes Science Diet and all the veterinarian recommended/sold Prescription Diets are horrible and have caused much, much more harm than good.

    How does a pet food that has a super-low protein count of 23% and a super-high carbohydrates at 52% get 3 stars!

    BTW, a dog’s ancestral diet is around 49% protein and 6% carbohydrates and that hasn’t changed…!

    There 46 complaints & reviews on Hill’s with Consumer Affairs. http://www.consumeraffairs.com/pets/hills.html
    Roger Biduk

  • Mydogleah

    Our Weimaraner’s hair started to fall out while on Hill’s. Under her vet’s recommendation we switched to Solid Gold. Within a week the hair loss had not only stopped be she started with some fine regrowth. Would highly NOT recommend.

  • Pattyvaughn

    While I agree that this food is pitiful, I have to remember that 3 stars is average, and there are a whole lot of foods that are even worse than this one. It is a very sad commentary on the pet food industry when this is average, but average it is.

    BTW, I LOVE the picture!

  • http://www.bestcatanddognutrition.com/ Roger Biduk

    Nothing from Hill’s deserves three stars and the vets who sell this crap must be avoided.

    This formula has only one meat ingredient which is 75% water, is a pitiful 23% protein and a humungous 52% carbohydrates… people need to be reminded the natural diet of a dog is around 49% protein, 44% fat and 6% carbohydrates. Roger Biduk

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Michelle –

    The important things you can do to ensure your Dane puppy experiences slow sustained growth with minimal risk of developmental orthopedic disease is to feed a food with no more than 3.5 g, calcium per 1,000 kcal., to keep the puppy lean while growing and to not exercise the puppy (no forced running or high impact activities until the 24 months of age for giant breeds like Danes). The other factor that’s going to impact the likelihood that your Dane does or does not experience developmental orthopedic disease is genetics – this is the most important factor and why it’s important to always purchase a large or giant breed puppy from a responsible breeder that has PennHIP or OFA clearances on both parents.

    I know Betsy posted a link to the Great Dane Lady’s website, I would strongly advise against following her feeding recommendations. Her recommendations are based on very old and very outdated research. She recommends low protein/low fat foods, recommends switching the puppy to an adult food at 8 months of age and recommends avoiding raw and grain-free foods for large and giant breed puppies. Current research has proved that increased dietary protein levels do not contribute to the development of orthopedic disease in large and giant breed puppies.

    There was a study published in the Journal of Nutrition that was done on Great Dane puppies. The study tested the impact of protein on development. The results were:

    “It is concluded in this study the difference in protein intake per se did not affect the occurrence of distrubed skeletal development in young Great Danes, and that an etiologic role for dietary protein in the development of osteochondrosis in dogs is unlikely.”

    [http://jn.nutrition.org/content/121/11_Suppl/S107.full.pdf+html?sid=d2c44222-6ef1-4d42-8671-3ddbf8d809dd]

    The following is an excerpt from “Nutritional Risks to Large Breed Dogs: From Weaning to Geriatric Years” by Susan D. Lauten, PhD:

    “Currently no evidence exists to suggest that high protein intake contributes to the development of orthopedic disease in growing large breed puppies. Previous studies suggesting a risk for high protein and DOD were confounded by higher energy intake in the high protein foods.”

    Here’s a wonderful video by Dr. Karen Becker discussion large/giant breed puppy growth:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=u9gbxLiKaJU

    Knowing that protein has no effect on developmental orthopedic disease I would recommend feeding a species-appropriate diet with controlled levels of calcium. The best thing would be raw or home cooked. Canned food or dehdyrated food would be your next best choice. If you must feed kibble I’d recommend a 4 or 5 star grain-free kibble with at least 30% protein that’s approved for growth or all life stages. Do not feed an adult maintenance food until your dog is at least 24 months old (or preferably never) – these foods are too low in protein and fat for growing puppies and could potentially cause a nutrient deficiency due to lower levels of some critical nutrients. I have large breed dogs as well. My most recent puppy was weaned onto a grain-free raw diet with controlled levels of calcium (45% – 55% protein and 30% – 35% fat) at 8 weeks and my pup before that ate grain-free dehydrated foods with high protein grain-free canned foods with appropriate levels of calcium until 8 months of age and was then switched to raw. Both pups had slow, controlled growth.

    I apologize for the long winded response but I hate to see fellow large breed owners falling for old wives tales and, as a result making, poor nutritional decisions such as feeding grain-inclusive low protein/low fat foods or putting their pup on an adult maintenance food.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1140685339 Betsy Greer

    I’m not familiar with the breed personally. I have a friend who has Great Danes and she feeds her dogs whole prey raw exclusively.

    I respect The Great Dane Lady’s opinion; have you checked out her site and see what she recommends: http://www.greatdanelady.com/articles/criteria_list_of_better_foods.htm

  • Michelle

    I would love to know your opinion on what to feed a Great Dane puppy as well as what to feed her when she is grown! I’ve truly been searching and doing research and can’t figure out what is best. The breeder we got her from feeds all 9 of her Danes chicken soup for the dog lovers soul adult large breed for the last 4 yrs and hasn’t had any problems. So confused about what’s right! :-/ Just want the best for her but know I can’t cook for her at this point in my life. Please help! :-)

  • Roger Biduk

    Unbelievable how some people rate pet food. Purina and Science diet are two of the worst.
    14 of the first 15 ingredients in this Purina Pro Plan must be avoided: Chicken, brewers rice, whole grain wheat, poultry by-product meal corn gluten meal, animal fat, whole grain corn, soy flakes, soybean meal, fish meal animal digest, glycerin, dried egg product, wheat bran, salt,

    Plus they throw in some menadione sodium bisulfite complex at the end. Hazard information says it has “carcinogenic effects” and states “the substance is toxic to kidneys, lungs, liver, mucous membranes… yum.

    And as far as Science Diet goes, well…

    Roger Biduk

  • Karen Davis

    Best just to avoid all Hill’s products… a shame vets make so much money off it and then even more money when cats and dogs get sick on this stuff. Hill’s motto is ” Vet’s #1 Choice for Their Own Pets” and “Recommended by Veterinarians Worldwide”. That says everything about the vet profession.

  • Pattyvaughn

    It can get 3 stars because there are plenty of dog foods out there that are MUCH worse. I don’t like Hill’s either, but there are MANY, MANY more dog foods out there that are even more horrendous. Look at it this way, 3 stars is like 60 points out of 100, a failing grade to be sure, but not the wort possible.

  • Pattyvaughn

    While I agree they are bad foods, I have seen plenty even worse, so I think the rating here is pretty fair.

  • Karen Davis

    How could a pet food like Hill’s Ideal Balance Dog Food which has 8 ingredients to avoid (he missed whole grain oats, iodized salt, whole grain barley and chicken liver flavor), is loaded with starch and is a huge 52% carbohydrate content (almost all from grains) get 3 stars?

    Four of the first five ingredients are grains and since chicken is 76% water the first four main ingredients are garbage grains… !

  • Robin Ascot

    Science Diet and Hill’s Prescription Diet are among the worst foods you can feed. Anything more than zero stars is a very bad review…!

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.k.miller.turner Susan Turner

    Which food are you talking about? My Maltese has pretty severe diarhea nd eats hills science diet. We also ave. chihuahua, who eats same and has perfect stools.

  • http://www.facebook.com/deborah.orth.1 Deborah Orth

    Thank you Emily my husband and I do adoption Meet & Greets for retired racing Greyhounds and always tell prospective adopters to do research and feed their adopted Greyhounds the best possible diet they can afford. Our 2 adopted Greyhounds Dr.Jalke and Ellie Mae donate blood to a K-9 blood bank as well. We would love to hear back from you.

  • aimee

    Some don’t… some do just like any other aspect of practice.

  • Guest

    then they don’t use their knowledge very well, do they.

  • aimee

    Hi Roger,

    I looked at the veterinary curriculum from various veterinary schools. The general patten I noted is a basic nutrition class in the first or second year and then the students can take electives in large/ small/exotic animal applied nutrition in the later years.

  • Roger Biduk

    Dr. Alicia McWatters, Ph.D. says “Did you know that your veterinarian gets almost no education on feeding your canine companion?”

    “Most universities provide their students with one day of propaganda hosted by a commercial kibble company that sponsors the university!”

    “Why do some veterinarians misrepresent the benefits
    of feeding a raw natural diet and promote the practice of feeding an inferior commercial kibble diet? For many it is ignorance, for others it is more calculated.”

    “Science Diet (Hills Company) is a Platinum Corporate Sponsor of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA). This is why Science Diet was able to pass off their products as pet food.”

    “The following list of ingredients is a sample of the shockingly inferior products that are designed to make Hill’s Company and the vets that sell their products very wealthy. I would submit that no dog could eat the following chemicals, grains and by-products and be healthy. I encourage all dog owners to read the ingredient list of their pet’s food.”

    Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult Sensitive Stomach
    Ingredients:
    Brewers Rice, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Dried Egg Product, Animal Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Chicken Liver Flavor, Flaxseed, Soybean Oil, Oat Fiber, Dried Beet Pulp, Potassium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Iodized Salt, L-Lysine, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic
    Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Tryptophan, preserved with mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.

    Best regards, Roger Biduk
    http://www.bestcatanddognutrition.com/

  • Shawna

    Thanks Roger :)

    Wow, you’ve got a few vets/people quoted on your site I’ve never heard of before. That’s quite the compilation!! Nicely done!!

  • Lynn

    Have your vet do a TLI test for EPI ( exocrine pancreatic insufficiency ). Chronic diarrhea can also mean Irritable Bowel Disease or Bacterial overgrowth. Is your dog skin and bones, and ravenously hungry?? Write down all of the symptoms and talk to your vet. I wrote this article about my dog Maya and maybe it might help you.

    http://www.total-german-shepherd.com/EPIanddogs.html

  • Lynn

    Don’t forget the B-12, probably one of the most important vitamins as it aids in proper digestion and oxygenates the blood. Most digestive disorders can be helped by adding B-12 daily.

  • Lynn

    Yes, apparently the only teachers of veterinary nutrition in vet schools are reps from the big brand name companies. So vets graduating from vet school only have the knowledge from the sales reps. Scary !!

  • Roger Biduk

    Hello Shawna,

    If everyone was doing what you are, all pet parents would have a happy and healthy pet… good for you.

    I talk to her office every once in a while.
    http://www.bestcatanddognutrition.com/

  • Shawna

    I soooooo agree Roger!! I’ve been getting Dr. Mercola’s newsletter for as long as I can remember.

    Were you a member of Dr. Becker’s forum (before it was closed). If so, you might know me. I was swinn on the site.

  • Roger Biduk

    My condolences to your dog(s) if they get anything from Hill’s.

    If you consider this garbage “great for dogs” what do you consider a food like Orijen Adult that contains 80% meat ingredients, the first five ingredients being fresh fish/meat and meal, 11 fish/meat ingredients in total, voted best pet food three years in a row…

  • Roger Biduk

    This stuff doesn’t deserve three stars… it’s 52% carbohydrates and dogs (carnivores) have a ZERO need for carbs.

    Roger Biduk

  • Roger Biduk

    Grains, corn, soy, wheat, etc. are among the worst ingredients in pet foods, causing all sorts of illness and disease in cats/dogs.
    Even worst, these are non-human grade, often contaminated and containing fungus, etc. Instead of being trucked to the landfill they go into pet foods to make a few cents.
    If feeding commercial pet foods, grain-free, low starch containing as many human-grade meat ingredients at the very least.
    Best regards, Roger Biduk

  • Roger Biduk

    Dr. Mercola and Dr. Karen Becker, DVM provide great info. Subscribe to their newsletters for free and both their archives can be searched for past issues.

  • Roger Biduk

    You’re exactly right, HDM… Hill’s will try anything to make a buck at the expense of pets everywhere…

  • Hound Dog Mom
  • Chas

    This food is great for dogs. This analysis is crazy. Proof is in the results. Try it and observe. Chicken is not 80% water.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carol.mcarthurrumrill Carol McArthur Rumrill

    I am so happy to hear this – very few vets seem to have any idea what is a good food to feed. Many sell Science Diet, Iams, etc. – which personally I have never bought and never will.

  • Roger Biduk

    Good for you… pet owners need more of the holistic type of vet. It’s unbelievable that good vets have to go against what their own organizations (AVMA & AAHA) preach.
    Hill’s & Purina Prescription Diet are the most sold by vets, unbelievable.
    Ol’ Roy has a 20% market share in the U.S. Unbelievable.
    Bon chance, Roger Biduk

  • Pattyvaughn

    In addition to having your vet check your dog over thoroughly, I would put it on pre/probiotics and digestive enzymes.  Sometimes with chronic diarrhea, they need a little extra support to get their system back in order.

  • bob K

     Jwk_walker – Step # 1  Take them to the vet for a full parasite fecal and blood test including Coccidia and Giardia.  Step # 2 closely monitor all foods and treats the dog eats keep a log of all the foods you have tried and remember to transition slowly to a new dog food.  Keep a log of all the dog food formulas you have tried.  Not just the brands but specific formulas.   Step # 3  What else might your dog be getting into?  Swamp or lake water?  Pesticides and Herbicides?  What else is he eating or drinking?  Are you sure?  Step # 4  Work with an Vet allergy specialist to find a solution.  How would you like to have chronic diarrhea?    What is your dog currently eating?  What other dog foods have you tried? 

  • Jwk_walker

    What is a good food for a dog with chronic diarrhea? I have a great Dane who’s stomach can only seem to tolerate the worst types of dog food that offer no real nutritional value. What should I do?

  • Shawna

    Very Nice :)

    I’m actually a raw feeder and have 8 dogs.  Five get primarily raw with a canned topper for variety and three get kibble (I rotate too — Orijen, Acana, Brothers Complete etc) with raw and canned topper.

    My father is a Naturopathic Doctor with an emphasis in nutrition so……  :) 

    The dog pictured in my avatar was born with kidney disease.  She showed symptoms of polyuria and polydipsia even before weaning.  She was officially diagnosed at her one year blood work.  She’s now 6 and 1/2 years old and doing very very very well..  Symptoms are still only polyuria and polydipsia. :)  She’s been raw fed a high protein diet her whole life.  She’s unmedicated, never requires sub-q fluids, phosphorus binders etc…  I do give pro and prebiotics for nitrogen trapping and whole foods nutraceuticals/vitamins but no meds :)….

    There are quite a few “regulars” on here who raw feed or prepare home cooked meals..

    Anyway, welcome and thanks for sharing!!!! 

  • EmilytheVet

    Hi Shawna,

    Thanks for asking.  I am more than happy to share my dog’s nutrition with you.  I have 3 dachshunds.  They range in age from 3 years to 8 years (middle is 5 years). 

    I feed them a rotation diet which is true to their ancestry.  They eat dry kibble in the AM which is typically Orijen or Fromm, which are both grain free, and consist of high animal protein and low carbs.  In the PM I cook for them.  They gets vegetables as their main carb source (either carrots, green beans, peas or sweet potatoes) and an animal protein which I rotate nightly so that they can receive nutrients from several meats.  I do not feed them raw meat, but I also do not cook the meat fully.  I allow them to eat it on the rare side.  They also get fruit a few days a week (not daily however due to the high sugar content) and this typically comes in the form of a banana which is their favorite.

    They also receive numerous supplements:
    I give them 3-6-9 essential fatty acid oil which includes Flaxseed and Borage oil, fish oil, coconut oil, salmon oil, (the oils are all rotated so they are not overloaded) Co Q10 enzyme, raw local honey, ginger root and aloe vera juice.

    All of this is quite costly to be honest.  But to me, it is worth it.  I love my 3 boys dearly and I want them to be healthy and happy.  I know that solid nutrition is crucial for them to have a long, disease free life.  Granted, I know that a lot of people may not go to this length.  It is a choice, but for me it is truly a labor of love!!  I hope I gave you some new insights.

  • Emilythevet

     Yesssss!!!

  • Shawna

    NICE posts Emilythevet!!!  I couldn’t agree more…  Diet is the foundation for a healthy body.. 

    I’m interested to know what you feed your pets?  Do you mind sharing?

  • Emilythevet

     INCREASE life expectancies, rather!!

  • Emilythevet

     What you are saying is that your dogs found this food to be the most palatable.  Taste of the Wild is the healthiest dog food (hands down) from the list you mentioned.  Dogs will never starve.  If the dog does not want to eat, pull the bowl.  You give your dog what YOU choose.  Choose high quality food and offset degenerative diseases and lower life expectancies in the long run.  Hill’s is a horrible excuse for a pet food company. 

  • Emilythevet

     I loathe Hill’s.  I also detest Purina, Pedigree, Iam’s and most of the
    “big brand name” pet food companies.  I am currently a veterinary
    student and I am dedicated to enter into post graduate training in
    clinical nutrition.  I want to specialize in this field that is so often
    forgotten in veterinary medicine.  It is pretty sad how little general
    DVMs know about nutrition.  They have little to no formal training. It
    is NOT in the curriculum for a degree in veterinary medicine. I want to
    advocate and educate owners about the dire importance of nutrition when
    it comes to their companion animals.  What we feed our pets is truly a
    paramount factor when determining their future for degenerative
    diseases!

  • kristie shepherd

    I am concerned about any dog food with rice in it because of the recent concern over rice adulterated with arsenic in human food.  If rice with arsenic is a concern in human food, shouldn’t we be concerned about it in dog food?

  • Mehorrigan

    My dog started acting very strangely when I phased In the Ideal Balace to her regular Science Diet over a few weeks I was looking to change because she seemed pickier about her old dog food. She spent two days off and on very Agitated, pacing, eating grass and vomiting. After speaking to the vet, we took her off dog food entirely and fed her brown rice and some fresh vegetables. After one week she seems fine again. I won’t return to ideal balance.

  • melissa

    Terri-

    Why are they eating the Rd(Reducing diet?) If overweight, I would try a low fat food, or cutting portions rather than an Rx diet. Lots of great low fat foods out there these days.

  • Terri in VA

    Jan, we feed our 8 & 9 yr old Cavs Science Diet RD, but they always seem famished. Trying to find a satisfying and healthy alternative. Suggestions?

  • http://www.facebook.com/bryanv21 Bryan Van Dusen

    Most kids would rather eat ice cream and candy every meal, but would you let them? I mean, put a bowl of spinach and a bowl of chocolate ice cream in front of a child, which do you think they will go to? Of course, they’ll go for the ice cream. Does that mean the ice cream is better for them?

  • doggonefedup

    Matt8888,
    I could get some fresh cow poop mix it with some chicken livers then pour a little more pureed chicken liver juice on top and I’ll bet your dogs will pass up all those other brands and go straight for the cow poop!
    In other words some manufacturers will add a flavoring and fragrance to their dog food that is appealing to dogs even though it may be very unhealthy for them to eat it.

  • LabsRawesome

     Just because a dog readily eats a food, does not mean it’s the best thing for him…… some dogs will even eat poop.

  • Matt8888

    Hi all, I have good reviews on this dog food. I did a little experiment. I laid out 5 different dog foods consisting of Purina ProPlan chicken & rice, taste of the wild smoked salmon, taste of the wild roasted bison, 4 health chicken & Rice, and science diet ideal balance ( chicken, whole grain, no corn). Both dogs went right to the science diet. I was surprised, based on the reviews posted on this site! The 4 Health dog food was second. Taste of the wild bison third, taste of the wild salmon fourth, and purina proplan last. I have fed my dogs Purina Proplan for 5+ years.

  • Pingback: Hills Science Diet Ideal Balance Grain Free Dog Food - Review | Earth2Body

  • http://www.facebook.com/Toxed2loss Toxed2loss

    Shawna GFETE I have! I followed a link to his website from Mercola also. :-) Highly esteemed!

    (good grief, I’ve got to slow down, my typing is atrocious this morning! Sorry all!)

  • Shawna

    PS — the attached was my first introduction (in May 2009) to Dogtor J and I have been a devoted fan ever since.. :) http://healthypets.mercola.com/groups/healthypets/forum/p/100050/195899.aspx#195899

    He has helped me understand what happened to both Audrey (barley) and myself (dairy).

  • Shawna

    Toxed ~~ is he not amazing or what!! If you haven’t been to his website you must go and read… Anxiously awaiting the flax post!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Toxed2loss Toxed2loss

    Thank you DogtorJ!
    That is one of the best summaries I’ve red and included valuable information I hadn’t heard. Than you! I’ll be looking forward to your post on Flax!m:-D

  • http://dogtorj.com/ DogtorJ

    Thank you all for the warm welcome. It’s great to know that there are people latching onto this information. It’s not hard to understand, just hard to believe that “we” (the pet food industry and veterinary professions) are still so out to lunch on this vital topic.

    On soy: Soy joins gluten, casein (from cow’s milk, particularly A1 cattle…the Western European cattle), and corn as being an inducer of villous atrophy, in which those small finger-like projections of the intestine responsible for nutrient absorption become damaged and ineffective. This results in the malabsorption of critical vitamins (e.g. C, B complex, D3, K), minerals (e.g. calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium), proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Basically, everything our body needs is absorbed by the small intestine, making IT the center of our medical universe (vs. the liver, as held by many. The liver is totally dependent upon what comes from the small intestine.)

    Soy also is THE richest source of dietary estrogens (isoflavones, which can be inflammatory and immune suppressing) and glutamic acid, which is the parent protein in MSG. The latter becomes extremely important when the individual – two or four legged – is battling neurological disorders in which case the brain or nervous system cells are too ill to handle the dietary sources of this neurostimulating amino acid (e.g. epilepsy, ADHD, MS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, fibromyalgia, insomnia, dystonia, etc.). Once the cells that regulate the levels of glutamic acid at the neuronal synapse become ill (the astrocytes), clinical signs arise as the level of that neurotransmitter increase (seizures, migraines, peripheral neuropathy, mood disorders, insomnia, etc.). And…soy is THE richest food source of glutamic acid. You might as well coat every bite of food with MSG. (They used to make MSG from soy.)

    Then, the lectins (antibody sized proteins) of soy enter the body and start bombarding cells, such as the thyroid. (Google “soy, thyroid”, Errrhhh!!!) Soy is incredibly inflammatory just like it’s brothers-in-arms – gluten, casein, and corn – the “big 4″ that I write so much about.

    Sadly, becoming sensitized to soy can lead to cross reactions to other legumes, such as lentils, beans and green peas. I am seeing more and more problems with green peas, especially in cats, so I screamed when I saw Dick van Patten adding green peas to their limited ingredient diets. talk about a major blunder.

    So…everything is wrong with soy. For those who still doubt that, please read this paper. (Look at what it is doing to our children. Again…ERRRRRRHHH!!!!)
    http://www.mercola.com/article/soy/avoid_soy.htm

    I will post on the other question about flax later today.

    Thanks again for the positive comments!
    John

  • Jan (Mom to Cavs)

    Dogtorj! Welcome! I, too, am a fan and consult your website. I also recently sited your website on Nature’s Variety’s facebook page. A poster was questioning my comment about dogs being intolerant of glutens in kibble, so I gave them you website to read lol. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Toxed2loss Toxed2loss

    Hi DogtorJ,
    I loved your comments on what you were relieved to see being omitted from dog food, especially soy. Would you mind elaborating on why you feel soy should not be in petfood? I have strong objections to flax/linseed, which I’m seeing in more petfoods. I’ll post some sources below. Would you mind commenting on flax/linseed also?

    In a cited article compiled by Dr Harris Steinman, he states it is 

    “…known to contain potent allergens (6), Linseed may be a source of cyanide exposure. Linseeds are cyanogenic, but toxic effects are (undocumented) from traditional and moderate use by humans. However, unprocessed whole seeds and Linseed cakes processed under low temperature can be toxic to animals. The potential cyanide yield can vary from 4 to 12 mmol kg. Linseed contains the same cyanogenic glucosides as Cassava. Authors have suggested that excess intake (via laxatives) may be dangerous (16). The oil in the seed contains 4% L-glutamic acid, or MSG, and therefore might cause MSG-type reactions.” “Allergic reactions to linseed have been documented from “hidden” exposures in “… milk from cows fed flax… (3-5).”

    {Compiled by Dr Harris Steinman, f333 http: http://www.immunocapinvitrosight.com dia_templates ImmunoCAP Allergen____28350.aspx# 
    3. Leon F. Rodriguez M, Cuevas M. Anaphylaxis to LInum. Allergol Immunopathol (Madr) 2003;31(1):47-9 
    4. Black WC. Flax Hypersensitiveness. JAMA 1930;94:1064 
    5. Alonso L, Marcos ML, Blanco JG, Navarro JA, JUste S, del Mar Garces M, Perez R, Carretero PJ. Anaphylaxis caused by linseed (flaxseed) intake. J Allergy Clin IMmunol 469-70 6. William R, Kenneth P. Aerobiology and inhalant allergens. In: Middleton E Jr, Reed Ellis EF, Adkinson NF Jr, Yunginger JW, editors. Allery:principles and practise. Mosby Company 1988:312-72 
    16. Rosling H. Cyanide esposure from linseed. Lancet 1993;341(8838): 177 1996;98(2): CE, 3rd ed CV}

    The Linus Pauling Institute says, “Flaxseed is by far the richest dietary source of plant lignans…”

  • Shawna

    Dogtor J,

    Thank you so much for your insightful comments. I’ve been following your website since you first posted on Mercola Healthy PETS in 2009 (I think). I have learned a great deal from you and truly appreciate everything you have done to shed light on this important issue. We all have a great deal to learn from your extensive research and knowledge base.. I am a big fan!! THANK YOU!

  • http://dogtorj.com/ DogtorJ

    Hi Everyone,

    First of all, thanks to DogFoodAdvisor for creating such as great site. Very important. As a practicing veterinarian (32 years) I can say that the vast majority of veterinary clients still have little clue about what’s in their current commercial diets and how to feed their pets properly. Thanks for helping.

    To those above: Thanks for the references to the Website and my work in this area. I have been researching food intolerance in pets for almost 12 years now, doing both exam room and Internet consultations for the gamut of medical conditions and observing one medical miracle after another as a result. The elimination of gluten (wheat, barely, rye), dairy products, soy and corn has been the backbone of therapy, with the addition of appropriate supplements being a relatively recent addition to speed and ensure recovery, especially in the tough cases.

    So…based on the last decade of experience, I would give the above food a 1.5 or less. The only thing I applaud Hill’s for is the absence of corn. Perhaps their love affair with this horrible grain is finally coming to an end. Hope so. But…their relatively new use of gluten grains (wheat and barley) and soy is a GIANT step backwards in veterinary nutrition. If they are serious about the health of our pets, they WILL reconsider. None of these ingredients have any place in the body of our 4 legged friends, including horses.

    On the grape poisoning: Fluoride is the only logical culprit AND the clinical signs and clinical course are an EXACT match for fluoride poisoning…vomiting, acute abdomen and renal failure. Grapes are one of two plants in nature that concentrate fluoride, with the tea plant being the other. Thanks to fluoridated irrigation water, fluoride-based pesticides and fertilizers, and fluoride in air pollution, the grapes of today have much higher levels of fluoride than those of yesteryear. AND…the dose required to intoxicate an individual varies greatly within individuals depending on many factors. Fluoride is a major trigger of “autoimmune disease” and a carcinogen and some individuals have much more of a hair trigger than others, based on their overall health, coexisting conditions, etc. So, no one would be any more surprised to find that one dog might require a canister of raisins to shut down their kidneys vs. much less than they are to hear that peanuts can kill some people with a whiff vs. others who require much more to make them ill. This is the way things are.

    On the viruses and bacteria living in every cell: It’s a biological fact! Those who don’t know this simply need to read more. Pleomorphic bacteria enter the cell and interact with the mitochondria while viruses enter the cell and interact with the nucleus, both of which being crucial to cellular adaptation. Most of what we call “disease” results from these organisms
    reacting to outside challenges (e.g. carcinogens, such as fluoride). Google “HERVs, DNA” (human endogenous retroviruses), “epigenome, virus”, and “mitochondria, bacteria”. These are scientific facts, not theory. Understand these and related facts and we grasp the truth about “disease” (most of which are symptoms that persist due to our failure to address the true cause).

    Hope this helps,
    John

  • http://zerlettkennel.com danielle

    I have to put up a rating on this food…I work at petco and they gave us a nice discount to try this food. I did an immediate switch cause I ran out of food and I suspected a little bit of diarrhea. Since my dogs normally can never have solid stool and they have sensitive stomachs I was excepting it. But instead all my dogs stool were perfect the next day, which is not normal for one of my dogs that has loose stool every day no matter how long hes been on a specific food. I was shocked. This food is crazy good. I’ve never seen that and I have tried just about every food on the market. Even with a supplement to help my dogs digestion it was nothing compared to how quick and effective this food is. They like it and they eat it no problem and gas is nonexistent. Before this food I was feeding merrick whole earth farms and the gas is horrible. I find the food a bit expensive but worth it. I’ve never been this impressed by a food.

  • Gordon

    Ditto Victoria

  • Victoria

    I would not give this more then 3 stars, even though chicken is first ingredient, it moves down the list after cooking, so this food is primarily made up of wheat, barley and soy.
    Sorry Hills, nice try, but you suck at formulating species appropriate foods.

  • lynda

    I’m wondering about the low fiber in this food. I would be going from 4.4% to 2.2%. I would like to try it but I have one dog prone to anal gland problems. Has anyone tried this food?

  • sandy

    I just looked at the ingredients for Science Diet Sensitive Skin and meat is the 4th ingredient!! It’s behind rice, whole grain corn, and corn meal gluten. Ughh! For skin and coat you can just give your dog a fish oil capsule. Salmon oil or krill oil. Or even a sardine (packed in water) a couple times a week. That food is going to give your dog some future allergy issues with all that corn and gluten.

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-industry-exposed/grains-in-dog-food-1/

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-industry-exposed/grains-in-dog-food-2/

  • sandy

    What brands do you have access to?

  • David Ursprung

    Thanks, folks. I don’t think a fish based food will work because the mutt wouldn’t touch (for 5 days) the fishy pro plan and after smelling it I couldn’t blame him. Living in Colombia has it’s definite advantages ;-) but also many disadvantages and shortage of different brands of dog food is one of them. But at least three vets here in Medellin highly tote Science Diet for Sensitive Skin and the dog’s skin did clear up with it so I guess I’ll have to pay the stiff price.

  • Gordon

    Laurie M. – Yeah and this brand’s and case, I would certainly not think that it is sufficient on its own. Not even partly adequate because it is partly detrimental in long term feeding, IMO.

    With better quality kibble, like say Artemis or Earthborn, you could still add a topper in the form of organic yoghurt, for effective probiotic utilisation and even some supplemental digestive enzymes for any kibble feeding. Only because, whilst better quality kibbles as mentioned are considered a truly complete and balanced meal, they are nonetheless, the most unnatural form of food for dogs and cats. And so added probiotics in the form of organic yoghurt makes a logical topper, plus adds extra palatability. Just ask my dogs, when their part time kibble rotation comes around, lol.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninja Dog Food Ninja

    David, those foods are both junk. If you have a doggy with sensitive skin, just get the grains out of his diet! Try any of the 4- or 5-star rated dog foods on this site. You would probably do well to avoid common proteins at first, too, like chicken. Look for a grain-free fish, lamb, or bison based food. Also, you can try adding salmon oil to your dog’s diet. Great omega-3′s for skin and coat health. What ever you go with, remember to transition slowly to the new food over the course of a week or two.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi David… You may be able to find specific skin-type products in both the Hill’s and Purina’s veterinary prescription product lines. You may want to look there.

  • David Ursprung

    Is there information for Science Diet for Sensitive Skin Dry or Purina Pro Plan for Sensitive Skin Dry? I don’t see either in the list of evaluations. My mixed breed (mostly poodle) had severe skin problems and Science Diet was recommended with Purina Pro Plan as an alternate. The skin problems cleared up with Science but the dog wouldn’t eat the first bite of Pro Plan. Both are very expensive but I don’t know if they evaluate well.

  • Laurie M.

    Gordon,

    The only way I see this kibble working for my dogs would be if I added extra protein in the form of canned or cooked meat, fish, eggs, or cottage cheese. This kibble would not be ideal as a stand-alone meal for my dogs. I have not even purchased this kibble.

    I prefer to feed kibble that I don’t have to add anything to, as all the toppings cost money and it adds up, especially now with 4 dogs in the house (3 large breeds and a puppy).

    I also don’t want to feed a kibble that I have to order online because it isn’t available in my area. That’s why I no longer feed Annamaet even though my dogs did beautifully on it. I found Rotations (rated 4 stars here) at my local pet supply store and am seeing excellent results.

  • Gordon

    Yeah Jonathan. But I’m not personally surprised that Hills don’t include (Or at least don’t appear to) included chelated minerals. The irony is, in this case, that it would hardly cost them anymore to do so, unless I’m missing something.

    My own thoughts are open on grape toxicity to dogs. The toxicity of same hasn’t to date been pinned on anything concrete, unless I’m again missing something. And I I’m not so sure that it can be attributed to fluoride?

    Whilst I don’t believe in giving any dogs grapes, my JRT did eat a few, a few months ago when the neighbours kid through some green grapes over the fence into my back yard. It had no effect on my JRT at all. But then, it is really more of a long term concern.

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    Some info about Sulfuryl Fluoride –
    http://www.fluoridealert.org/sf/index.html
    In 2004, EPA gave Dow what they wanted: the approval to use sulfuryl fluoride on food. As a result, hundreds of food processing companies across the US have begun fumigating their facilities with sulfuryl fluoride (trade name = ProFume ®). #

    News report January 2011:
    http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/01/11/11greenwire-epa-proposes-phaseout-of-fluoride-based-pestic-97414.html
    EPA Proposes Phaseout of Fluoride-Based Pesticide

  • melissa

    Aimee-

    I would have to think that those dogs who only “ingested a few grapes” had some sort of preexisting condition. I remember as a kid, my mother used to feed some green grapes to our poodle when she ate them, and never an issue.

  • aimee

    Shameless
    I apologize for attributing the quote to you. I didn’t realize you were quoting someone else. I followed the link you provided to his article. IMHO I think Dogtor J is trying to fit a round peg into a square hole in regards to his idea that fluoride is the toxic principle in raisins and grapes. If it was that simple I’m sure it would have been recognized by veterinary toxicologists.

    I think his information is dangerous when he states that grape toxicity is related to volume ingested as there are case reports of just a few grapes leading to renal failure.

    On a side note I find most of what he writes “unconventional” to say the least. I am always very suspect of information on the web when there are no supporting references cited for any of the ideas the author is putting forth. For example his statement that bacteria and virus routinely live in our cells is easily dispelled using transmission electron microscopy.

    In reagrd to the CDC I was just pointing out that the symptoms listed for fluoride differ from those of sulfuryl fluoride

  • aimee

    Shameless
    I apologize for attributing the quote to you. I didn’t realize you were quoting someone else. I followed the link you provided to his article. IMHO I think Dogtor J is trying to fit a round peg into a square hole in regards to his idea that fluoride is the toxic principle in raisins and grapes. If it was that simple I’m sure it would have been recognized by veterinary toxicologists.

    I think his information is dangerous when he states that grape toxicity is related to volume ingested as there are case reports of just a few grapes leading to renal failure.

    On a side note I find most of what he writes “unconventional” to say the least. I am always very suspect of information on the web when there are no supporting references cited for any of the ideas the author is putting forth. For example his statement that bacteria and virus routinely live in our cells is easily dispelled using transmission electron microscopy.

  • Jonathan

    I agree, Gordon. I think 3 is pushing it with wheat and soybean meal all coming before chicken meal. But it’s certainly “better” than their normal stuff. I think the best improvement in this food is actually the use of pork fat rather than nondescript animal fat. It does still blow my mind that SCIENCE Diet doesn’t use clelated minerals.

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    Hi aimee – I am not usually awake at this hour!
    To clarify – that quote about the grapes and raisin isn’t mine. I quoted a “Coming Soon to DogtorJ.com” fluoride article by Dogtor J (John B. Symes, D.V.M.) titled Fluoride – Public Chemical #1 http://dogtorj.com/
    I found this link which is Symes ‘theory’ on the topic:
    http://dogtorj.com/appetizers/medical-conditions-f-k/grape-poisoning-in-dogs/

    Also, Shawna listed “Sulfuryl fluoride” (not fluoride) from the CDC report of PESTICIDE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS.

  • aimee

    Shameless wrote “Oh…and it’s the fluoride in grapes and raisins that is responsible for those canine deaths resulting from “grape poisoning“. #”

    As recent as this 2011 publication (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20953132) the authors reported that the toxic principle of grapes and raisins hadn’t been identified.

    Renal failure can be seen at 2.8mg/kg ingestion of raisins. The amount of fluoride in raisins is approx 234 ug/100 grams ( from the USDA nutrient database) which is equivalent to 2.34 ug/ gram or 0.00234 ug fluoride /mg of raisins.

    Fluoride toxicity is reported in terms of mg/kg for dogs so I don’t see how the two are related. At 3 mg/kg of raisin ingestion the amount of fluoride ingested would be only 0.007ug.

    In the link that Shawna posted kidney isn’t even mentioned under the heading “fluoride”

  • Gordon

    Laurie M. – May be Hills are starting to take note of mass concern? I, personally wouldn’t give this anymore than 2.5 stars, because they’re using too higher a carb percentage. It’s 2:1 carb to protein when it should be the other way around and then some.

    Still, it is a good improvement compared to all their other formulas.

  • Shawna

    All be da-ned…… (from the CDC’s website)..

    Sulfuryl fluoride
    Dyspnea
    Kidney (proteinuria, hematuria, sometimes leading to oliguria,
    acute renal failure with azotemia
    Muscle twitching
    Upper respiratory tract irritation: rhinitis, scratchy throat, cough
    http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/pesticides/pdfs/pest-cd2app2v2.pdf

    Thanks Sandi for the Mercola link.

  • Shawna

    I was wrong — not the original dentist but a dentist that “promoted fluoride for 25 years”. And then saw the light :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoJ0EQE4KEo

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/02/23/fluorides-deadly-secret.aspx

  • http://www.whosyourvet.com Sandi
  • Shawna

    Shameless,

    I’m RIGHT ON BOARD with you on fluoride.. We’ve been using reverse osmosis filtered water since 1998 in my home — for humans and dogs. I use baking soda and peroxide for teeth (although several of the “natural” toothpastes don’t include fluoride). I did not know that fluoride was the culprit with grapes/raisins however —- GREAT info thanks….

    Grapes/raisins causes acute kidney disease… The concentration on the grapes must be immense then…? This makes me wonder then if chronic, low grade exposure contributes to chronic kidney disease?

    From the research I have done — fluoride (the kind used in toothpaste and city water) is a “waste” product from the steel industry. Small amounts of natural fluorine (with an n) in naturally occuring water is beneficial but fluorine and fluoride are not one in the same.. Is this what you have found?

    Dr. Mercola has a video on his site and if I remember correctly, in the video the dentist that was the original advocate of fluoride has made a public apology and now talks about the problems with fluoride. I’ll see if I can find the video…

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    Shawna – I hadn’t heard of Dogtor J (John B. Symes, D.V.M.) – but he has a fluoride warning article “Coming Soon to DogtorJ.com”:
    Fluoride – Public Chemical #1 – This paper will hopefully make you run right out and buy a fluoride water filter…at least. It is my hope that it will also make the reader ask deeper questions, such as “Why do most dentists support the fluoridation of our public water?” Now that’s a deep rabbit hole. Oh…and it’s the fluoride in grapes and raisins that is responsible for those canine deaths resulting from “grape poisoning“. #

  • Shawna

    Just yesterday I found information on the USDA’s website state barley also could affect “cirulating” taurine. Taurine is necessary for heart health, eye health plus..

    “Some have even been implicated in lowering circulating taurine (e.g., rice bran, barley, isolated soy protein).” http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5086580

  • Shawna

    Sandy,

    His website is http://dogtorj.com/

  • sandy

    shawna,

    what is dr. J’s website?

  • Laurie M.

    I’m impressed. I never thought Hill’s could come out with a product rated higher than 2 stars. This is something I would feed my dogs as part of their rotation.

  • Shawna

    Comment on pearled barley — barley has some benefits. In addition to what is already mentioned, it also has a substantial amount of inulin – a prebiotic.

    The down side of barley. Like wheat, barley contains gluten. The gliadin protein in gluten is the culprit. Gluten grains are more ominous then many know of – imo.. They can damage the tiny hairs (villi) in the digestive tract that trap and absorb nutrients. If these hairs are damaged malnutrition will eventually happen. Often times, a sensitivity is diagnosed due to malnutrition symptoms and digestive symptoms are not present (this was my experience – except with milk not gluten)..

    Dogtor J DVM is one of the most knowledgable persons on this topic. His website is full of information on how four common foods (gluten, casein in dairy, soy and corn) can cause digestive damage (often without symptoms) and malnutrition..