Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult canned dog food gets the Advisor’s lowest rating of 1 star.
The Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult product line lists 5 canned dog foods.
Although we found no AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the Hill’s website, each product appears to be designed for senior pets (adult maintenance).
- Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult Gourmet Beef Entree
- Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult Savory Chicken Entree
- Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult Gourmet Turkey Entree
- 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 Mature Adult Savory Chicken Entree canned dog food was chosen to represent the others in the line for this review.
Hill's Science Diet Mature Adult Savory Chicken Entree
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
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|
|Dry Matter Basis||18%||13%||61%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||17%||29%||55%|
The first ingredient in this dog food lists 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 lists barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index (like rice), barley can help support stable blood sugar levels in dogs.
The fourth item is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain 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 item is dried whey. Whey is a by-product of the cheese industry. This particular form of whey is high in the milk sugar, lactose (about 70%) but low in protein.
It’s used in canned dog foods as a gelling agent and is an item with little nutritional value.
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 lists 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 item 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 many of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein content reported in this dog food.
After the liver flavor, we find soil oil, 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 canola or flaxseed oils.
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 have much of an effect on the overall rating of this product.
With two notable exceptions…
First, fish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.
Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.
Fish meal is commonly made from the by-products of commercial fish operations.
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, and based upon this fish meal’s location on the list of ingredients, we would expect to find only a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.
And finally, the minerals 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 appears to be an average canned 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 23% and an average fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate serving size of 53% for the overall product line.
Low protein. Below-average fat. And high carbs as compared to a typical canned dog food.
In addition, when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten meal, this looks like the profile of a canned food containing only a modest amount of meat.
Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult is a grain-based canned dog food using only a modest amount of beef or poultry as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1 star.
Please note that due to their slightly more generous meat content, the two stew products were awarded a higher rating.
Those looking for a senior kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult dry dog food.
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
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Notes and Updates
01/01/2010 Original review
08/06/2010 Review updated
11/14/2011 Review updated, added 2 new stew recipes
11/14/2011 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩