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
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 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.
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.
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.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
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
05/19/2013 Review updated
12/01/2013 Review updated
12/01/2013 Last Update