Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult (Canned)

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Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult canned dog food gets the Advisor’s lowest tier rating of 1.5 stars.

The Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult product line lists eight canned dog foods.

Although each formulation appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we were unable to find AAFCO nutritional profile recommendations for these dog foods on the product’s web page.

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

  • Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult Gourmet Beef (1 star)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult Gourmet Turkey (1 star)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult Gourmet Chicken (1 star)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Small and Toy Mature Adult Gourmet Beef (1 star)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Small and Toy Mature Adult Gourmet Chicken (1 star)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult Savory Stew with Beef and Vegetables (2.5 stars)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult Savory Stew with Chicken and Vegetables (2.5 stars)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Small and Toy Mature Adult Savory Stew with Chicken and Vegetables (2.5 stars)

Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult Gourmet Chicken Entree was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Hill's Science Diet Mature Adult Gourmet Chicken Entree

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 18% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 61%

Ingredients: Water, chicken, cracked pearled barley, ground whole grain corn, dried whey, liver, dried beet pulp, corn gluten meal, chicken liver flavor, soybean oil, choline chloride, fish meal, iron oxide, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, vitamin E supplement, taurine, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, niacin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, riboflavin, calcium iodate, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, sodium selenite

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.6%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis18%13%NA
Dry Matter Basis18%13%61%
Calorie Weighted Basis17%29%55%

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 chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The third 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 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 dried whey, a by-product of the cheese industry. Dried whey consists of about 75% carbohydrate and can also contribute a limited amount of protein to a dog food.

It’s used in canned dog foods as a gelling agent and is an item with little nutritional value to a dog.

The sixth 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 seventh 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.

The eighth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.

This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly 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 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.

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 fish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

What’s more, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in fish meals.

But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, the chemical does not have to be reported to consumers.

We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.

Without knowing more, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.

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 Mature Adult Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Hill’s Science Diet Mature 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 18%, a fat level of 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 61%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 23% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 53% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 72%.

Low protein. Near-average fat. And high carbs when compared to a typical canned 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.

Bottom line?

Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult is a plant-based canned dog food using only a limited amount of poultry or beef as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1.5 stars.

Not recommended.

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

Special Alert

Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.

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

01/01/2010 Original review
08/06/2010 Review updated
11/14/2011 Review updated
05/19/2013 Review updated
12/01/2013 Review updated
12/01/2013 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Zyekitty

    I feed my yorkie, Zyekies, Instinct canned. Instinct also has a limited ingredient line, which could be helpful. They do not have any grain, gluten, eggs, or dairy.

  • Diane

    I have been feeding my German Shorthaired Pointer, Peanut, Science Diet canned gourmet chicken for several years for one reason–despite the negative reviews, it is the only dog food we have found that does not give him constant diarrhea. We have tried Eagle Pack, Fromm’s, Pure Vita, Blue Buffalo among others with the same result. If someone could recommend a canned food that might be better, I would love to hear about it and get him off the Sci Di.

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  • Shawna

    Deb ~~ unfortunately, your vet is giving you old information.  New science came out over 10 years ago showing how inaccurate the info your vet gave you is.

    Older dogs actually need more protein then adult dogs due to their general inability to digest as efficiently.  Several canine nutritionists and vets discuss this newer information.  I can give you links if you want — the nutritionists are Mary Straus and Lew Olsen and the vets are Dr. Karen Becker and Drs Foster and Smith.  Mary Straus and Lew Olsen have links to the newer studies on their websites.

    Also, if is now known that “protein” does not damage kidneys and lowering the protein level too much of a dog with kidney disease will cause death faster then putting the dog on a moderate but high quality protein diet.  In a dog with kd you would want to limit phosphorus (which is high in some meats but is also high in grains and other foods). 

    My dog was born with kidney disease and will be 6 years old the end of June 2012.  She is still, and has been since weening, on a HIGH protein raw diet.  She is doing fabulously!!

    Your vet, lots of vets, need to research the newer information…

    Here’s just one sampling (of many) of the new info —

    “Feeding the Older Dog from the SpeedyVet Clinical Nutrition Library “The assumption was that low-protein diets retarded the progression of renal degeneration. This assumption was disproved, using partially nephrectomised dogs, which showed no uraemic signs and had reduced but stable renal function for 48 months. These dogs did better on moderate-protein diets than on low-protein diets. There is no direct evidence that high protein intake damages canine kidneys or that reducing protein intake in dogs with renal dysfunction results in preservation of either renal structure or function.”  http://www.dogaware.com/health/kidneyprotein.html

  • Deb

    I just talked to my vet about our Blossom who is almost 7 yrs old and he indicated that she should be put on a dog food with 20% or less crude protein ; as he kidney level is up in one of the kidneys . He said this often happens in older dogs and usually you get great results by lowering the protein level as they are not as active. Hope that helps you.

  • Patricia

    I had fed my dog who is 10 years old, Science Diet Adult Senior Dog food for about 9 and l/2 years.  I changed to Fresh Pet Select (Chunky Chicken, Turkey, and vegetable and rice recipe) which is located in the refrigerated section of the grocery store and she absolutely loves it.  She has kept her weight down and it has made me very happy.  Today I went to the Vet and had blood work done on her (I was worried because she was having more difficulty jumping on the sofa, etc. and I wanted to make sure she was ok (She’s a Maltese).

    The Vet believes she has arthritis and I am going to start her on gluocsomine; however, the Vet also indicated that my  dog’s kidney results are up (not kidney disease tho) and it might become an issue at some point.

    Could the change in dog food to Fresh Pet Select cause this because she went from low protein dog food to higher protein dog food?