Hill’s Science Diet Puppy canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Hill’s Science Diet Puppy product line includes five canned dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for growth.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Science Diet Puppy Savory Stew with Beef
- Science Diet Puppy Savory Stew with Chicken
- Science Diet Puppy Gourmet Chicken Entree (3 stars)
- Science Diet Small/Toy Puppy Savory Stew with Chicken
- Science Diet Small/Toy Puppy Gourmet Chicken Entree (3 stars)
Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Gourmet Chicken Entree was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Hill's Science Diet Puppy Gourmet Chicken Entree
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Water, chicken, whole grain corn, cracked pearled barley, soybean meal, liver, dicalcium phosphate, iodized salt, iron oxide, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, niacin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, riboflavin, folic acid, sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||28%||24%||40%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||22%||46%||32%|
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 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 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 soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.
Although soybean meal contains 48% 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 actual meat content of this dog food.
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 dicalcium phosphate, likely used here as a dietary calcium supplement.
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 two notable exceptions…
First, 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 Puppy Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Hill’s Science Diet Puppy looks like a below 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 31% and a mean fat level of 23%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 39% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 73%.
Below-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean meal, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a below average amount of meat.
Hill’s Science Diet Puppy is a plant-based canned dog food using a below average amount of chicken, beef and liver as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
Those looking for a comparable kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of Hill’s Science Diet Puppy dry dog food.
A Final Word
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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.
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Notes and Updates
01/02/2010 Original review
08/06/2010 Review updated
05/23/2012 Review updated
12/01/2013 Review updated
12/01/2013 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩