Hill’s Science Diet Puppy (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Hill’s Science Diet Puppy product line includes five dry 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.

  • Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed
  • Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Small and Toy Breed
  • Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Original
  • Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites
  • Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Lamb Meal and Rice

Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Hill's Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 30% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 42%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, cracked pearled barley, whole grain wheat, pork meal, whole grain corn, whole grain sorghum, corn gluten meal, pork fat, chicken liver flavor, dried beet pulp, fish oil, lactic acid, flaxseed, pork liver flavor, soybean oil, dicalcium phosphate, iodized salt, potassium chloride, l-lysine, 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), minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), taurine, oat fiber, mixed tocopherols for freshness, phosphoric acid, beta-carotene, natural flavors, dried apples, dried broccoli, dried carrots, dried cranberries, dried peas

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.8%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis30%20%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%20%42%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%40%35%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The second ingredient is pearled barley. The term “pearled” means the grain has been processed to remove its outer hull and bran, unlike whole 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 third ingredient is wheat. Like corn, wheat is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider wheat a preferred component in any dog food.

The fourth ingredient is pork meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The fifth ingredient is corn. Corn is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as wheat (previously discussed).

The sixth ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.

Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.

The seventh 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.

The eighth ingredient is pork fat, a product from rendering pig meat.

Commonly known as lard, pork fat can add significant flavor to any dog food. And it can be high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.

Although it may not sound very appetizing, pork fat (in moderate amounts) is actually an acceptable pet food ingredient.

After the chicken liver flavor, we find 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 five notable exceptions

First, fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

Next, flaxseed is 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.

In addition, 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.

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 Science Diet Puppy Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food looks like an average dry 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 30%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 42%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effects of the corn gluten meal and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken or lamb meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

Recommended.

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

12/30/2009 Original review
08/03/2010 Review updated
05/17/2012 Review updated
02/16/2013 Review updated
10/17/2013 Review updated
10/17/2013 Last Update

  • Susan M Mueller

    I have a problem. My puppy is just now 5 months old. I had him on a non-corn or non-corn syrup blah blah food. He is a clown and a bit stubborn but, I ran out of his food and in a pinch got Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Food two days ago. I was told this was good stuff. For the price I thought it better be. Today, my puppy turned into Satan. He is nipping and jumping and totally hyper and destructive. I read up on some things and as usual there are the Hysteric response to the eh? response of He has a brain tumor to take him for a walk. I realize this is most likely a food issue that is getting remedied tomorrow but has anyone heard of this happening before from changing food?

  • Osux

    LOL- yes they do! Cute pup there!:-)

  • LabsRawesome

    Yes they are!! Little dogs love to bark for no apparent reason.

  • Osux

    I will check out the book and Darwin’s- that’s a great deal. Jake is a Pomeranian pup (about 4 months old- we think) so he’s teeny. He’s my first small dog too. I’m finding the little guys are completely different. LOL

  • Osux

    I just ordered some probiotics. He loves pumpkin- I got that idea here. :-)

  • Osux

    I think so. I feed Jake 1 cup a day- split into 3 feedings. It’s actually probably even a little less because I give him toppers. Not a dumb question at all- I was thinking the same thing.

  • Betsy Greer

    One dumb question, no offense. Are you sure you’re feeding the correct portion? Overfeeding is probably the most common cause of loose stool.

  • Betsy Greer

    I discovered my sensitive dog’s problem ingredients by keeping notes about every food he ate, the ingredients in the food, how he responded, etc. Suddenly the common, problematic, ingredients started popping up.

    A few more things, have you tried adding some plain canned pumpkin to his food to see how he responds. Fruitables makes a digestive supplement that contains pumpkin, apple pommace, spinach and ginger, all good for digestion. You might also add a bit of Metamucil, psyllium or ground chia seed to his food. And, have you ever tried adding probiotics and digestive enzymes to his food to see if that helps. Adding organic unrefined coconut oil to his food may help also.

  • Betsy Greer

    It’s not for everyone. : )

    Balance is something I worry about also. And yes, it definitely takes some research.

    Is your pup with the digestive issues a smaller dog? If so, maybe you might look into a commercial raw product that’s already balanced. Commercial raw can be costly, but if you’re feeding a small dog, at least it’s more affordable than feeding your Rottie. I use and would recommend Darwin’s. They have an amazing intro offer on their website. 10 pounds of meals for $14.95, shipping included. Just be aware that you’re signing up for auto ship, but it can be cancelled at any time. You might also try Primal, that you can buy at pet food stores.

    If you’re interested in a raw diet and/ or making homemade raw, check out Steve Brown’s book, Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet. Maybe your pup would do better on something less processed.

  • Betsy Greer

    I hope that works well for you! I’ve heard of several others who have pups with sensitive digestive systems who’ve had great success with that. My sensitive pup is fish intolerant, or I would’ve tried it also. Good luck and keep us posted on your results!

  • Osux

    I’m currently reading up on raw. I couldn’t do it with my Rottie so it would be a fine line. Unless it’s not as expensive as I think it would be for him. I would consider it for my little guy. I cook every night for my family so it’s not like it would put me out. I would just be concerned about enough nutrients. But I guess that’s where the research comes in.

  • Osux

    Thanks Betsy! I’m trying- believe me, I would feel so much better if something good would just settle with him. At least something I consider good.
    I’m definitely not a fan of crap food- if I came off that way- I didn’t mean to. I’m also not about skimping on food to save a few bucks, I would prefer my dog be as healthy as I can get him. I don’t like these vet visits and neither does my wallet.
    I will slowly try to supplement more with healthy food and see how it goes. It would really be nice if I could get this dog to be like my Rottie, Hank. I rotated him since I adopted him and he has zero tummy issues, he doesn’t shed too bad and he has the energy of a puppy at about 7. It makes it nice when I go get a bag of Kibble- I can get one on sale- and have zero issues with it. Merrick kibble is his favorite though it seems.

    Both dogs seem to handle some Wellness stews pretty well so I have a bit of that in rotation for the little guy.
    Wish us luck!

  • Osux

    I most definitely will. I have some ordered. Wish us luck! I ordered the Hi Pro Plus!

  • Crazy4cats

    Oh, I didn’t think it would necessarily solve the problem. It would just help supplement a mediocre kibble. This is at least a 3 star kibble. If you can improve it with a few fresh foods without digestive upset, it will greatly improve the diet.

  • LabsRawesome

    You’re welcome. If you do try Victor let me know how it goes. :)

  • theBCnut

    NutriSource is an easy to transition to food. I use it when I get dogs that come on lousy foods that I don’t want to go immediately to a really high protein food. Earthborn is another good food.

  • Betsy Greer

    C4C reminded me of a great little download that I had never read until Bobby Dog told me about. It’s only $2.95 and is written by Steve Brown, who many would argue is probably one of the authorities on raw feeding. It’s a great, easy way to add fresh whole food ingredients to your dog’s diet.

    Here’s the link: http://www.seespotlivelonger.com/home/sll/page_41_1/see_spot_live_longer_the_abc_way___electronic_down.html

    One other thought, have you ever tried a raw diet, and if not, is it something you’d consider?

  • Betsy Greer

    I get not trusting certain brands. I feel the same way about Diamond manufactured products and Blue Buffalo. I think there have been foods that we’ve all wanted to use, only to try them and have them fail, miserably in some cases; like me with the reformulated Orijen.

    Part of my note keeping about each food that my sensitive dog tries, is noting protein, fat and fiber. I’ve found that my sensitive dog does better on foods that contain more moderate (not high) protein, lower fat and moderate fiber. Also, keep in mind, his problem might not necessarily meat protein. Mine doesn’t tolerate lentils or chickpeas and oil think garlic may also be a problem, in addition to fish. Maybe your is sensitive to the fat or fiber.

    My Golden is my sensitive pup and, like your Rottie, my Cavalier gets all of his leftovers!

    It’s frustrating, very frustrating, I know. Through trial and error, you can figure it out!

  • Osux

    What are you feeding to your dog with the tummy issues if you don’t mind me asking?

  • Osux

    I haven’t tried eggs or lean meats- we think Chicken might be causing his upset. But I have tried Sardines and those didn’t really solve the problem but he loved them. I will definitely continue those.

  • Osux

    I have read probably every single review on this site. I have tried more than those as well- Merrick was one, California Natural, Holistic Select (I think)there were a few others. I don’t trust Natural Balance- for some reason- maybe it’s the Dick Van Patten thing. I will eventually find something he can eat without the upset. It’s very frustrating. Personally, I wanted Orijen to work really bad. LOL On the upside, my Rottie has been eating the ones he couldn’t and has never looked better. :-) He has been on a rotational diet his entire life so it works. Oh by the way, I’m a she- this is my hubby’s name. :)

  • Betsy Greer

    LOL! That’s hardly everything!

    I wouldn’t feed either Blue Buffalo or TOTW and one of my dogs can’t eat Orijen or Wellness because of he has food intolerance issues.

    Trust me when I say I’ve found lots of other foods to try besides those four and you can too. Those foods are absent of corn, wheat and more corn and have much more of the meat based protein dogs need and want.

    Try searching this site and take a look at the four and five start foods. When you try new foods, keep track of what you’re feeding and keep a record of the ingredients in each, the fat and protein levels and how your dog responds to each.

    You can find a better food for your dog that he can eat. I did. It took some doing, but I did; and you can also.

  • Crazy4cats

    Are you able to add anything such as eggs, lean meats or sardines now and then to the kibble to add some fresh protein without causing digestive upset?

  • Osux

    Thanks I will try that. I have never heard of that. I will check it out.

  • Osux

    Yes- I did. Orijen, Blue, TOTW, Wellness Core. Nothing worked.

  • LabsRawesome

    Yeah, he was on the Blue thread, saying that it gave his dog diarrhea.

  • Betsy Greer

    “Every” food?

    Did you keep a list of ingredients of each food and notes of your dog’s response to each to determine to which ingredients he was having an adverse reaction?

  • LabsRawesome

    Hey Osux, did you ever try Victor? Some people with sensitive stomach dogs have had good luck with it. It’s not expensive either. About $1 per pound. You can pick up a 20lb bag of Victor for around $20 if you can get it locally. Check out their dealer locator. They offer free samples. Or you can also buy a small bag to try. victordogfood.com

  • Osux

    What if your dog can’t eat other foods? I literally tried every single high end food on the market for one of my dogs and he was miserable. Diarrhea and gas all the time. He eats SD and is fine as well as (gasp) Purina. Not all dogs thrive on these trendy diets- I have one that does and one that doesn’t.

  • Osux

    Blue gave my dog gas and the craps, along with every other “fancy” food.

  • jacmin71

    This is what I feed my puppy as well. I got it from the vet but he didn’t recommend it. When I got her from the breeder at 8 weeks, she was eating pedigree puppy food then I switched her to something better, science diet. Personally, THE BEST food is Nutro however after comparing all the food and not listening to opinions (because just like azzholes, everyone has an opinion) I decided to go with this brand because of the price as compared to the Nutro. I actually read reviews where several dog owners say the Blue whatever gave their puppy horrible gas. Yes her stool is sometimes loose, but when that happens I mix this with nutro canned food and she’s fine. She has SO MUCH energy when she eats science diet.

  • Love my pets

    My Niece who is a Veterinarian told me they push Science Diet products, because the company provides scholarships for them to attend school, not because it is a superior dog food. Common sense will tell you dogs do not eat wheat and corn in the wild, they eat meat and maybe a little grass. Why would anyone think their dog food should have all these grains in them??? Research suggests today’s GMO wheat (frankenwheat), soy and corn products aren’t even good for us! But the FDA tells us genetically modified food is safe…wrong!!! They have companies like Monsanto paying our politicians to look the other way. But I digress. Short term any dog food will sustain a dog and they may have a shiny coat and appear healthy (most likely from the supplements added to the food), but they often develop avoidable diseases in the mid to later stages of their lives, which can cost us many $$$ to treat. Another win for the Vet who is making money for treating the animals with cancer, kidney failure, and joint problems just to name a few.. Some vets are in practice for the right reasons, but many chose that career for the money they can earn. Ask your vet what makes Science Diet such a good choice and question them on the high grain content of the food. I doubt they feed their own dogs SD. More importantly do the research yourself.

  • Alan P

    interesting read. My vet also recommended this food but having checked the ingredients i am not so sure. A locl pet store Highly recommended “Black Hawk” this food contains Emu oil which is supposed to be very good for skin conditions & joints. Not sure if this product is available in the states. I am based in Australia, have to say my 2 puppy’s loved it. & i looked at all the other ingredients which seem to be very good for dogs …..

  • lpizzato

    your vet told you to feed this because thats probably what he/she sells at their office? Thats what happened to me. I’m not real satisfied tho. My other 2 dogs eat Blue, I think I’ll switch my puppy to that.

  • kristin

    this is what my vet told me to feed my puppy

  • Pattyvaughn

    Would you stop!! I’m having a hard enough time trying to be good!

  • Shawna

    LOL!! So true, so true!!! :)

  • losul

    Well at least he didn’t call you something like uh “sugar” ;-)

  • Shawna

    OMGosh LOL Patty!!!!! You crack me up with almost every post you make….

    Thanked my dad, on his birthday last week, for giving me many of his characteristics but chastised him for sharing none of his wit.. Something I have very little of and admire in others like yourself!!!! :)

  • Pattyvaughn

    I kind of feel sorry for the guy. It must be terrible to be so condescending and so wrong at the same time.

  • Shawna

    “Sweetheart” — well that’s something I haven’t been called here on DFA before LOL!!!

    It’s actually the textbooks that that information is taken from Movet06, I even mentioned Waltham. However, if you’d like more info —-

    A Purina Research Report states “Dietary carbohydrates are not required by normal, healthy cats and dogs with two possible exceptions. Reproducing bitches may need some carbohydrate in order to produce and nurse healthy puppies, although even this is in question. 1-3 Hardworking dogs, such as hunting dogs and sled dogs, may benefit from carbohydrates after exercise to help restore muscle glycogen.” http://www.purinavets.eu/PDFs/ResearchReport_vol8-issue2.pdf

    And from Waltham

    “WALTHAM ® pocket book of essential nutrition for cats and dogs – Carbohydrates 28

    Cats and dogs can sythesise their own blood glucose from amino acids. Carbohydrate, therefore is not an essential macronutrient. However, if provided in their diet, cats and dogs can utilise carbohydrates and they are used in pet foods as sources of energy and dietary fibre. Carbohydrate levels tend to be higher in dry pet food than in wet pet food. http://www.waltham.com/dyn/_assets/_pdfs/waltham-booklets/Essentialcatanddognutritionbookletelectronicversion.pdf

    And the AAFCO guidelines have no minimum requirement for carbohydrates like they do for protein and fat. http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1659&aid=662

    Hope that helps clear up your confusion on the matter…

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Oh, really? Better go and read up on what the word “essential” actually means as they relate to the science of nutrition before declaring carbs to be an “essential nutrient”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_nutrient

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/canine-nutrition/dog-food-carbohydrates/

  • Pattyvaughn

    No, they aren’t. They aren’t an essential nutrient in your diet either. Dogs and people have the ability to breakdown fat into the glycogen we need for energy. That’s what aerobic exercise is all about, using up the glycogen that is stored in the liver so that you force your body to burn fat for energy. Dogs are really good at it.

  • Movet06

    That is so completely wrong. Carbs are most certainly an essential nutrient in the balanced canine diet. Better go read a few more textbooks, sweetheart.

  • Jessie Paden

    I will look into that, thanks!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Probiotics and enzymes may help with the gas and loose stools.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Dogs, much like people, do better and have more vibrant health when they eat healthier and less processed foods. Your dog may be doing well enough for you on this food, but until you try different foods, you will never know whether or not it could have been even healthier on another food. That was my experience.

  • Jessie Paden

    I really have no idea what they fed her, but it wasn’t SD. We got her from a shelter that was kind of low-end. The pebbles literally looked and smelled like fish food!

    Regardless, we haven’t tried anything different but after reading everything people have to say about it, it doesn’t sound like a bad idea. I know when she farts, it clears a room and her stools aren’t exactly completely solid. I never thought anything of it because, like I said, she is a lot healthier now than she was when we got her.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Jessie –

    Have you ever tried feeding a different product? If you actually tried a 4 or 5 star food you may find that you understand why people are opposed to foods like Science Diet. :)

    What did the shelter feed that the dog wouldn’t eat? I’m just asking because the majority of shelters feed Science Diet. I work for a shelter and we feed Science Diet.

  • Jessie Paden

    I do believe dogs handle food differently. I have a feeling all of the people who are bitter to this product, probably have had a bad experience with it. It does not make it a bad product. Dogs, much like humans, have reactions to different foods that other dogs may not have.

  • Jessie Paden

    Wow, I’m surprised by how many people dislike this food. I adopted my puppy when she was three months old, she is a blue healer. When we got her, she was frail, you could almost see her ribs and she refused to touch any food the shelter offered her. Of course, being a rescue dog, that makes sense. We decided to try Science Diet. Not only does she love it, she has developed amazingly (she is about nine months now), her weight is exactly where it needs to be, and the vets say she is very healthy for being a rescue dog. It may be pricey, but I don’t see myself giving her anything different.

  • Rosa

    Dont feed this sh*t to your puppy, i started feeding this to my 4 month old puppy on friday when my mom bought it and already threw up twice this week, my best bet is buffalo blue thats the best dog food to feed to both puppies and adult dogs

  • losul

    Erin,

    I was just using to prove a point. I would reject ANY research that used either mice or geese feeding habits in relationship to dogs as folly.

    It’s doesn’t matter that dogs and mice are more closely related as a class (mammals) than geese and dogs. It’s what they have adapted to eat and naturally do eat. Grains and seeds are both a large natural part of both mice and geese diets. In fact many would call both most mice, geese and many other birds, granivores (eaters of grains, seeds, nuts.) Neither mice nor geese dietary needs and habits are at ALL related to a canine’s.

    Even in the wild where birds such as parrots consume very large amounts of grains, seeds, nuts, these birds are known to regularly (everyday) eat clay (see clay “licks”) Most researchers believe they do so mainly to help cope and bind with all the toxins from these “specialized” food sources.

    I don’t think that lack of any nutrient for only 18 to 27 days would cause a goose liver to swell 8 times normal size with fat. This in an animal that is even “designed” to include grains as a part of their diet.

    I know nothing about whatever Dr. Biffa is selling, don’t care. Do you deny what he says about how foie gras is made? There’s PLENTY of other information out there on it.

  • Erin

    Losul,

    There is an error in your logic here- If you are rejecting research about mice applying to dogs, why would you cite something about geese-a family of species that are in a completely different class from Mammilia, the class containing both dogs and mice?

    Also, force feeding any species is not a balanced diet. So one cannot conclude the cause of the increased liver fat is a high starch diet. It could very well be caused by the lack of another essential nutrient.

    Another point to consider, Dr. Biffa’s weight loss books are based on a very low calorie diet. So his website “articles” are biased and, therefore, should not be taken as fact. He would never post something that would reject what he is selling, his blog functions as a marketing tool, to convince ignorant people to buy his product.

  • Diana Boscarello

    garbage plain & simple!!!!!!!!!Q

  • BorderCollieFriend

    If you’ve been feeding your pet the lower grade foods, it is harder to get them to eat the good foods, as they dont taste as good. It’s like having a child that’s been fed candy and fast food all their life, and then you try to switch them to broccoli and salad, they won’t be very happy. But you can add incentive, like a little bit of wet food, or some other additive that is good for your dog and will add to the flavor. Eventually he may start to like it, and eat it without the incentive, or just keep trying healthy dog foods until you find one he likes.

  • BorderCollieFriend

    Pedigree is a terrible terrible food. Its basically like you eating McDonalds every day. Science Diet may be a little better, but not by much. I’ve never understood why vets recommend it, even if they do gain from it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=734989236 Stacy Michele Kerness

    I had my puppy on Blue Buffalo and my vet told me to get him off asap and try science diet instesd. Well, its a month later and my dogs poop is always very soft and he hss the itchies really bad! There is something in thatf food that hes allergic to! So, im now trying him on Wellness Core. This same reviewer gives that food 5 stsrs! So hopefully this will be the best for him

  • Nancy

    What food did you change to?

  • aimee

    Hi losul,

    Since you said you heard there were differences I thought you’d have a reference easily at hand that explained what those were. I was interested. No biggie if you don’t have one.

    I’m always a proponent of looking at studies done in the species of interest, but also find the parallel findings between species of interest.

    Anyway in regards to foie gras, I read weights increase by 80-90% and due to obesity mobility declines significantly.

  • aimee

    Shawna,

    I wouldn’t interpret that to mean cats utilize carbs better than dogs.

    I copied some stuff from the study but my computer ate it and it is too late for me to rewrite the post. I found it interesting but you said you really weren’t interested in it anyway….

  • losul

    Dear Aimee,

    I have no inclination to look for a researcher that says, diets, metabolism, physiology, etc. is different in mice vs dogs, no more than I need to look for one that says mice and dogs are different animals.

    But I think I could do so easier than you could come up with some documentation that the reason they force feed the corn is primarily because of cost. Everything I have seen is that corn is the nutrient of choice primarily because of it’s high starch content. I somehow doubt that if excess cheap fats and/or cheap proteins, say such as tallow, lard, insects, worms, etc., were used it would have the same effect in such a short period of time, if at all.

    Proponents of foie gras claim that the geese themselves do not get massive weight gain or even get noticeably obese, just that their livers swell to about 8 times the normal size and are composed mostly of fat. All of this occurs in a period of 18 to 27 days. Any beyond that and too many more than what is acceptable, would die before slaughter

  • aimee

    Shawna,

    I’m not naive to how funding can influence what gets published. Yes the tobacco industry suppressed information, and independent research published at the same time showed an adverse effect.

    But what I’ve seen is that independent research funded by NIH etc that used dogs as models parallels the research that has been supported in part by those dog food companies that invest in research.

  • Shawna

    Afterthought…. Interestingly, I read something new while researching something else yesterday morning. I will say that I thought the data was ridiculous so I didn’t book mark it. Took me a bit to find it again.

    Per the Nestle Purina Research Report from the Nestle Purina Pet Institute cats are quite adaptable at efficiently utilizing carbohydrates.

    “Cats are carnivores. Are they able to use dietary carbohydrates?

    Cats may have evolved consuming low
    carbohydrate diets, but their digestive system
    and metabolism can readily adapt to higher
    carbohydrate intakes. The suggestion that cats may have difficulty adapting to high carbohydrate meals appears to be based on observations: cats lack glucokinase, an enzyme used to phosphorylate glucose inside cells; and, cats lack salivary amylase and have lower concentrations of the enzymes involved in carbohydrate digestion, compared to dogs.6,7…………Cats lack the enzyme
    glucokinase, relying instead on the enzyme
    hexokinase.8 Early studies suggested that
    reliance on hexokinase activity limited cats’
    abilities to utilize carbohydrates.9 However,
    more recent research indicates that in cats
    adapted to moderate carbohydrate intake, the activities of the rate-limiting enzymes involved in glycogenesis and glycolysis are actually greater than those found in dogs.8″ http://www.purinavets.eu/PDFs/ResearchReport_vol8-issue2.pdf

    So cats utilize carbohydrates BETTER than dogs… Anybody else find that to be a ridiculous notion?

    Okay aimee, so both of these thoughts were based on scientific evidence and the first has been believed for quite some time now. Obviously one of these is dead wrong. Maybe observation will tell us which is correct…?

    It’s late and I may be getting snarly. If I’m coming off as snarly it is not intentional and I am sorry in advance…

  • Shawna

    You don’t think that a cat gaining more weight on protein over carbs defies logic? Really?

    As stated, I attend seminars and webinars and read books etc. You don’t think one can learn new information from sources like this? I also get newsletters among other sources of material that I might be able to glean something new from… Research papers are not the only place to learn data.. Sometimes the other sources are more reliable than research to boot…based on the research you just sited regarding cats and protein/carbs.. I’ll even bet that people learn stuff right here on DFA every once in a while.. :)

  • aimee

    Jack eats Hills canned venison and potato as part of his restricted diet. I add fresh food to his diet as well as using the commercial canned and dry.

    Not sure why feeding a food that allows him to have good GI health makes you think that I think plant proteins are better than animal.

  • aimee

    Shawna,

    I’m not sure it does defy logic. Cats being true carnivore may just not be as efficient at digesting and assimilating carbohydrates as dogs and other omnivores/facultative carnivores are. This is the only cat study I know of that held fat constant and shifted protein and carb. Time will tell if it is replicated

    I read the study months ago and honestly don’t remember the details but the authors advocated for a high protein low carb diet for cats with the caveat that it not be fed free choice. (shrug)

    If you look for material to support that what you already learned than how do you learn anything new?

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi aimee, don’t you feed Hill’s? Then yes, you have said different.

  • Shawna

    This is off topic of dog food but I have to say it……How many years did the status quo state that cigarettes were not harmful. Wonder who paid for the studies that demonstrated no harmful affect to smoking cigarettes…???

  • Shawna

    That’s partially true aimee.. I definitely do go looking for data to support WHAT I’VE READ or learned in a lecture etc. That’s how I learned in depth info on apoptosis and antiangiogenosis and lectins etc. I read or heard it from what I believed to be a reliable source but I like to further research things. However, I don’t HAVE to have a research paper.. I believed in phagocytosis before I ever saw it in a research paper.. So yeah, I do look for material to substantiate what I’ve learned.

    The study you mention defies logic and nature. I’m not that gullible. My thought is PAID FOR by whom… Just my opinion though.

  • aimee

    Hi LabsRawesome,

    I’ve never said any different : )

  • aimee

    Shawna,

    I have no horse in this race. I think dogs can do very well on a variety of feeding methodologies.

    On another thread you wrote “we can both find data to support our views” This indicates you are starting with the “answer” and then trying to find data to support it.

    I form and modulate my views based on the available data.

    I recently was quite blown away by the Coradini study in cats. Holding fat content the same a higher weight gain efficiency was found by feeding a high protein/low carb diet vs a high carb diet.

    I would have thought the higher carb diet would have resulted in the higher weight gain as I’ve considered carbohydrate to be more efficiently converted to fat than protein. That is not what was seen in this study with this species. Interesting Huh?

  • LabsRawesome

    Good nutrition is not rocket science. It’s pretty much common sense. I don’t need a “researcher” to tell me that fruit and vegetables are better for me than candy. And animal protein is better for my dog than vegetable protein.

  • aimee

    Hi losul,

    I was referring to the species comparative paper by West and York. They reported that dietary fat is correlated to body fat in monkeys rats mice hamsters dogs and pigs but the same correlation hasn’t been documented in people.

    What researcher was it that you found that said mice and dogs handle fat differently? I’m always interested in reading and learning new things.

    In regards to Foie gras.. forced feeding induces massive weight gain and liver fat. The fatty liver doesn’t occur independent of weight gain. This is consistent with what the researchers that Shawna cited reported. I read in several places corn is used because of cost.

  • losul

    Aimee, I’m not sure how mice studies apply to dogs either, but I’ve heard that mice and dogs handle fats/carbs differently, evidently Purina doesn’t want you to think so.

    Dr. Biffa’s point was best explained in his last sentence;

    “Any of you wanting to remember that it’s carbs that cause fatty deposition in the liver can do this contemplating the making of foie gras. What is it that geese are force-fed to turn their livers into something that is mainly fat? The answer, of course, is grain.”

    Foie gras is traditionally brutally made by nailing the feets of ducks or geese to a board and force feeding them CORN through feeding tubes.

  • LabsRawesome

    I wish I could up vote your comment multiple times! We need a HELL YEAH vote!!!!

  • Shawna

    Aimee,

    “It has been known for decades that low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets can increase plasma triglyceride levels” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11082210
    If it’s been “known for decades” I wonder why someone like yourself, that is so dependent on science, wouldn’t already know this? Google it, there’s lots of data to be found.

    It’s exhausting trying to discuss the importance of a species appropriate diet to someone who doesn’t want to hear it!!

  • aimee

    Shawna,

    Hmm not sure why it would apply to dogs… maybe it would but I’ve read humans and dogs handle fat differently.

    I did make some time to read the original research and additional studies on this topic. The effect that reported was found to be short lived. While a difference was seen in the first 2 weeks of the low carb diet, after 12 weeks there was no difference between the study groups.

    In regards to the article by Dr Biffa, I don’t see how he drew his conclusions. While it is true that the test subjects ingested more carbohydrate while on the test diet, they ingested more protein and fat as well. Their total caloric intake was nearly tripled on the test diet.

    On a relative basis the test diet took a higher proportion of calories from fat and a lower proportion from carbohydrate when compared to the control diet.

    The researcher reported that there was no correlation between hepatic triglycerides and proportion of fat/ carb or protein in the diet. HTG were correlated with weight gain.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Try doing a little research into what dogs really need.

  • LabsRawesome

    lol. That is absurd.

  • Shawna

    This data is based on humans but it applies to dogs too.

    “The low-carbohydrate dieters, however, got only 20 percent of their glucose from glycogen. Instead of dipping into their reserve of glycogen, these subjects burned liver fat for energy.

    The findings are significant because the accumulation of excess fat in the liver – primarily a form of fat called triglycerides – can result in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD. The condition is the most common form of liver disease in Western countries, and its incidence is growing. Dr. Browning has previously shown that NAFLD may affect as many as one-third of U.S. adults. The disease is associated with metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity, and it can lead to liver inflammation, cirrhosis and liver cancer.” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090120074631.htm

    “Why carbs can turn your liver into foie gras” http://www.drbriffa.com/2008/02/15/why-carbs-can-turn-your-liver-into-foie-gras/

    “Fatty liver disease
    We are beginning to realize that inflammation as well as high circulating blood fats and glucose don’t just affect the heart — they affect all organs in the body. One organ that is particularly damaged is the liver.” http://www.precisionnutrition.com/lean-liver-with-low-carb

    Higher carb diets aren’t so good for a humans liver. Imagine the consequences of higher carb diets for a dog’s liver…..

  • Shawna

    Um, high protein does not lead to premature liver failure. What “other nasties” does high protein cause?

    I do think that dogs can benefit from the antioxidants etc in fruits and vegetables but it is well established in the teaching books, like Waltham, that they do not “require” carbohydrates in the diet. That is why the AAFCO nutrient profile does not have a minimum for carbs in order for a food to be complete and balanced. A food, such as canned, can be completely devoid of carbs and still be complete and balanced.

    Yes, cooking grains does make them digestible as it breaks down the cellulose but it does nothing to deactivate the phytates and other nasties in grains.

  • LabsRawesome

    lol.

  • Dog Lover

    There is very little “filler” dogs being omnivores are supposed to eat both meat and veg. The cooking and manufacturing process makes the grain highly digestible and releases vital nutrients that dogs need in a daily balanced diet. Similar to the stomach contents of herbivorous prey. Just to avoid any misconceptions, High protein diets in dogs can lead to premature liver failure and other nasty things.

  • LabsRawesome

    Hill’s is very over-priced for the ingredients that you are getting. It’s basically all grains with a small amount of meat and “animal” fat. Ugh, terrible “food” Period.

  • jr

    Horrible dog food. Switched our German shorthair and doberman over to this because of course our vet recommended it after our doberman had some allergy issues. After the first month or so they both just refused to even touch this food. They would have starved themselves to death before eating another bite. Of course every dog is different and this food may very well work well for you.

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  • Pattyvaughn

    AAFCO is not law. Foods are sold that don’t meet it and are labeled for supplemental feeding. Hill’s used to make a food called Mixit that was basically liver gravy to convince dogs to eat something less palatable. It didn’t have to meet AAFCO standards. Some raw foods don’t meet AAFCO standards because they believe AAFCO is wrong about what dogs really need. Their standards(AAFCO) are pretty low and the way they are applied by some dog food manufacturers, maybe even detrimental.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laurie.w.anderson.3 Laurie Whiteman Anderson

    heres a “real life”story for you,it made my puppy very ill &killed my sisters 8yr old dog.you got lucky.depending on what food you were using prior to the sciencediet,it may have been a food that had been recalled due to contamination.just out of curiosity,what food was it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/laurie.w.anderson.3 Laurie Whiteman Anderson

    actually,theyDO have things to gain asscience diet offers various programs to shelters rescues or vets for selling and marketing their food s.and itis a low quality corn based food that vets receive at a big discount with an agreement to promote and sell their foods.they also offer them other corporate perks for carrying and promoting this product

  • http://www.thegreedypinstripes.com/ BryanV21

    The FDA allows McDonalds to sell food, but would you eat it everday? That’s all that needs to be said when it comes to foods passing AAFCO regulations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laurie.w.anderson.3 Laurie Whiteman Anderson

    keep inmind that ANYdogfood sold legally in the US meets these standards,would you feel ok feeding box store no namebrands to your pet?just because it meets a”standard”created many years ago,doesnt mean it is in anyway an acceptable or healthy food.would or do youeat everything deemed acceptable for human consumption sold in your loal supermarket?

  • http://www.thegreedypinstripes.com/ BryanV21

    Yeah, it’s actually not a good food. Way too much filler like corn, and not enough of the good stuff (meat).

  • davenbecky

    My puppy quit eating this. Was surprised it wasnt higher in reviews since we all hear all the time how good it it suppose to be.

  • Storm’s Mom

    If a pet hospital is selling this food, they have something to gain from it. It’s entirely possible that they get higher profits from this food than the others, hence their recommendation.  I would never buy dog food from a “pet hospital” or vet, ever. 

  • Ronnie Odom

    At a pet hospital that sells all brands of pet food this was highly recomended by doctors that nothing to gain in saying so ,this is what they feed thier pets.

  • Wizerguy

    Our dog whom was 13 years got really sick, we took him to our vet and was told he had kidney problems, along with some others. They suggested Hills SD for elder dogs, and amazingly he got much better. We kept him on the Hills and he lived to 19. We contribute this to Hills, anyone that’s says Hills is not good should take a better look at real life stories not what other people say. Thank you Hills!!

  • Shawna

    Mike simply doesn’t have the resources to purchase a bag of every food he reviews (especially when there are multiple products, sometimes with significant differences, within the same brands). Getting the data from the companies website is the only logical solution..

  • EvesHumanMom

    Hi Cawmomcow, 
    The review simply states that they didn’t find the AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements on the website, NOT that Hill’s was not in compliance.  In fact, they state that “… each formulation appears to be designed for puppies up to 1 year of age…” which implies that the food is probably formulated according to standards for puppy food.

    In any case, the food being recommended or not has little to do with AAFCO standards.  (AAFCO doesn’t rate food, but states whether a food has met MINIMAL criteria for a particular type of food: puppy, all life-stages, adult, etc.)

  • Cawmomcow

    LabsR…
    My knowledge of canine nutrition and/or what I feed my dog is not the issue. My concern is that Hill’s has been represented here as not complying with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards, which is not true and easily verifiable. It causes me to question all other representations made here.

  • LabsRawesome

    Cawmomcow, Yes, Dr. Mike bases his reviews on manufacturer’s websites. Do you really expect him to go to the store, and look at each individual food that is available for sale? That is just crazy, he does have a day job, you know? And while you are here, you should actually read the review. You can’t possibly know anything about dog nutrition, and feed Hill’s. For what you are paying, for this junk, you could buy your dog something much better.

  • Cawmomcow

    Hmm. I just received a sample bag of Hill’s Science Diet from my vet when I took my puppy in for her shots. On the side of the bag it says “AAFCO Statement: Animal Feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate thatScience Diet Large Puppy Breed provides complete and balanced  nutrition for growing puppies.”

    Above you state “… we found no AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the Hill’s Science Diet website.” This may be true, but the statement (which in your criteria for good dog food is the highest possible rating available from AAFCO) is on the actual BAG of food.

    Not sure what to make of your process of analysis…is AAFCO testing valid? Must the statement be on the website to be valid for the food?

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  • Guest

    I got Science Diet Large Breed Puppy (Lamb) based on research of healthiest dog foods. Unfortunately my dog refuses to eat it unless I cover it with something else (chicken scraps, cottage cheese, egg yolk, etc.). It is expensive and smells horrible. The pieces are really large and he initially had trouble breaking them down to eat. I recently switched to another brand of dry dog food and I can hardly put the bowl down before he starts to sniff and eat. It was such a relief to watch him enjoy eating rather than trick him into eating! No more science diet for us.

  • Laurieangel64

     my sisterinlaws maltese had exact same issue with her dog throwing up on science diet(and several other foods she tried)vet said it was food allergys causing the vomiting,something in the SD  she was allergic to.after trial and error she ended up with newmans own organic dry food ,feeding in several very small meals insted of 1 or 2 larger and dog hasnt thrown up since.

  • Shawn Beedham

    I have a 5 month Japanese Akita and he seems to thrive on this.  I have tried two different buffalo mixtures and they just don’t agree with my puppies stomach.  I gave both atleast a three week trial and all I did was waste money and give my pup diarrhea.  So now I am back to the SD puppy large breed. His stools are back to normal and still has plenty of energy.

    Royal Canin Lg Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

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  • Pquast

    Jessica, what part of the U.S.  did you buy this food in  and how long ago was this.  I have a lab puppy that i am concerned is getting Dhiaria from Science diet.  I am switching him today regardless however I am curious to know.

  • Jessica Lottering

    HiI had a four month old Daschund and the Vet gave her Hills Science Diet puppy food for a freee trial. A week into the food she became very ill and we took her to the Vet who diagnosed her with Pancreatitis. Two days later she passed away and I am heart broken, I am dead certain its the dog food!! Stay away!!

  • Jessica Lottering

    Hi

    I had a four month old Daschund and the Vet gave her Hills Science Diet puppy food for a freee trial. A week into the food she became very ill and we took her to the Vet who diagnosed her with Pancreatitis. Two days later she passed away and I am heart broken, I am dead certain its the dog food!!

  • Pevans_99

    My puppy was started on this and it did not agree with her at all. I have now switched it from this to orijen and things are a lot better.

  • hounddogmom12

    Have you tried topping a high quality food with canned? A quality canned food is actually more species appropriate than dry food, it generally has much more protein.

  • Laurieangel64

    i have tried 3 of the 4 and 5 star foods in these reveiws and my pup wont touch any of them,the vet wants me to use the science diet small bites puppy food,he loives it!but after reading this i am deeply concerned about his nutritional needs and health on it.iam at a loss as to what i should do.he wont eat the “good stuff”,hates most of it.any ideas???

  • Laurieangel64

     taste of the wild is manufactured by diamond in their sc plant and is recalled for salmonella

  • Cinthia Calderon01

     I have an 8month old westie that started throwing up once or twice a week at night. 2weeks before the throwing up began we changed to hills science diet as the vet recommended.. could it be the food?  any better food suggestions?

  • Jtrmx250

    Just weevils…a consequence of storage, not manufacture.

  • YorkieGirl

    When I bought my puppy Davis 8 months ago, I did a TON of research on the breed (Yorkshire terrier) and their was barely anything about what food to give him, so I went with what the breeder was feeding him (Hills Science Diet Puppy small bites).She told me not to change his food for the first few months anyway. After stumbling upon an article about the the bad quality of most comerical dog foods, we tried to change Davis to Call of the Wild(COTW), but he wouldn;t eat it. We were mixing it in with his Science Diet(SD),he would just pick out the SD and leave the COTW. It was the only food in our area (we live in a semi-remote area of Canada) that was well-rated, so I just started giving him chicken breast a few times a week with the SD. Well our local grocery store just started selling Holistic Blend and he seems to like it! Now its the SD left in his dish :P He’s 10 months old now, and just hit the 5 pound mark. I hope we didn’t stunt his growth with the SD lol.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Yes, Andrew Zimmern would agree – maggots are not all that bad – especially fried and spiced up!

  • Johnandchristo

    Shawna…..

    Thats too funny, a different protein in the rotation,
    lol

  • Shawna

    LOL ~~~ Don’t hate the maggot!!!  Science Diet could use a little extra protein in their foods :)…..

  • LabsRawesome

     Hi Ali, that looks like a maggot. So gross. Science diet is a 2*, with like 10 red flag ingredients. You should look around on this site at the 4 and 5 star foods.

  • Ali

    I bought a SCIENCE DIET bag of dog food and found tiny worms in it! I renturned it back to Pets Smart and opened two more bags and they also HAD TINY WORMS! DO NOT BUY THIS DOG FOOD!!!!!!! THESE WORMS EGGS LIVE IN THE FOOD AND THEN HATCH INTO WORMS THEN TURN ITO MOTHS!!! EVERYONE PLEASE CHECK YOUR DOGS FOOD!

  • dd

    My SD puppy food for large breed dogs bag has an AFFCO statement: animal feeding tests using AFFCO ……provides complete and balancec nutrition for growing puppies.
    So the post about not having the AFFCO  statement is incorrect. 

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  • Dave M

    Nor the person to buy dogs from.

  • Lucy

    Anita is clearly… not the person to take advice from.

    1. Unintentional breeding of dogs.
    2. Bragging about the size of unhealthy tea cup dogs.
    3. Using a site to sell undersized, unhealthy dogs.
    4. Dismayed by clear, unbiased research.

  • gerald

    This brand sucks. I reccomend Blue Buffalo or Taste of the Wild.

  • http://[email protected] Anita

    I have two darling Yorkies. Lacy just had 3 unexpected babies.
    I have feed my Yorkies Hills Science Diet because in Colorado the Breeder recommended Hills. I moved to Pa. and the Vet suggested Hills Science Diet. My Tiny Yorkies are 5 years old and have never been sick. I attribute that to Hills Science Diet.
    Thank You,
    Anita
    If its isn’t broken don’t fix it… I never give any table food.
    Any one want to buy Chloie, Oliver or Dasey please e-mail me at [poster's email removed by editor] Lacy the Mother is 3.5 lbs and father is 4.5lbs

  • Gordon

    ….And we can’t have that happening now can we?

  • Gordon

    Laura – They would even be out of complete business, if more listened to wise and educated people like Dr. Tom Lonsdale. Of who, advocate that manufactured pet foods, are nothing at all, but to only make money and nothing else.

    The very fact that truly fresh whole raw animal carcasses, raw meaty bones, and offal, with the minor occasional seasonal fruits and veggies added, plus human table scraps, is all our 4 legged pets ever truly need for the best health, vitality and life longevity!

    But pet food manufacturers don’t want you or anyone to believe this reality. Otherwise, they would truly be out of business.

  • http://www.HomestretchHounds.org Laura

    I absolutely agree with you Shawna…the sad part for me, the big manufacturers that claim to be doing so much, are in reality doing very little to help rescues and shelters…especially considering the marketing that they demand in return. Most of those same manufacturers offer much better programs and deals for breeders then for rescues, but the reality is, they are still using the programs to market overpriced junk food to unsuspecting pet parents. Their marketing slogans drive me crazy, claiming to care so much about pets…if they truly cared, they would manufacture at least decent quality foods for pets instead of crap. Well, enough of that soap box…but I am so thrilled to see this site and it is refreshing to see posts from caring and educated pet parents! Tail wags!

  • Shawna

    It’s been a LONG day… Sorry for all the errors in my posts!!

  • Shawna

    Laura,

    You are welcome! And, thank YOU for the information on you HS and SD.. My local HS also sells SD. I know Purina sponsors rescues too.. I foster for a local Boston Terrier group and Purina provides bags of dog food each year to the rescue. The rescue then hands out coupons and marketing material for Purina with each adoption…

    I know that rescues can use the support — we would lose some of our foster parents if they had to purchase the food they feed (even though it can be written off for those that do write offs) but I wish Purina and others would sink some of that monies into better quality ingredients… Celebrity spokes persons and tv advertising isn’t cheap I’m sure…

  • http://www.HomestretchHounds.org Laura

    PS Shawna, thank you for the links and for all of the information!

  • http://www.HomestretchHounds.org Laura

    Hi Mike! I just wanted to thank you for this incredibly informative web site! I found your site shortly after we lost a dear dog-kid to kidney failure at only 4 years old. The first question we were asked over and over, did he consume any of the recalled pet foods from a few years back. Sadly, I could never really answer that question because I wasn’t sure. It amazes and saddens me to see some of the ridiculously overpriced “premium” foods on the market. It is sad because for less money, you can provide better food for your beloved pets if you just know how to read the labels. I have learned so much on your site, thank you, thank you, thank you!
    We have a rescue and were on the Hills Science Diet shelter feeding program for a few years. Science Diet provides discounted food (a corn based food below even what they sell in the stores) and in return, we of course had to promote their, in my opinion, over priced $50 per bag junk food. Boy, am I ever happy to be off of that program…sometimes I felt we sold our souls to the devil in order to meet their program requirements. If I had to guess, I would say it is something similar with how so many of the vets promote Science Diet foods.

  • Shawna

    RD,

    The unfortunate answer to that question, imo, is because they can. These and other, just as bad, ingredients are legal – through loopholes.

    They can also add “4D” ingredients to dog/cat foods. — also from the FDA’s website — “*CVM is aware of the sale of dead, dying, disabled, or diseased (4-D) animals to salvagers for use as animal food. Meat from these carcasses is boned and the meat is packaged or frozen without heat processing. The raw, frozen meat is shipped for use by several industries, including pet food manufacturers, zoos, greyhound kennels, and mink ranches.” http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ComplianceManuals/CompliancePolicyGuidanceManual/ucm074712.htm

    “Diseased” — like maybe cancerous tissue..?? The problem with 4D ingredients is that it is much harder to detect the ingredients and manufacturers that use them..

    If it is known that diseased and euthanized animals are allowed in dog food can you imagine what else is allowed — moldy grains, sprouted (and therefore toxic) potatos etc…

    Many (if not most) of us that use the higher end (and consequently higher priced) foods do so in an attempt to avoid these types of ingredients.

    If you start investingating, you will find that the human food processing industry is not as clean as we would hope either. Example — a story broke several years ago that a company was selling meats from “downed” cattle (which is illegal) to a school district in California.. http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2009/May/09-civ-426.html

    If there is a buck to be made you can be assured that there are unethical (albeit sometimes perfectly legal) people out there that will attempt to make it..

  • RD

    Shawna i read ur links u posted now i understand but why is the store keep selling this harmful product

  • Michelle

    Hi RD, Did you read the review at the top of this page? A dog food can not magically be better than it’s ingredient list. ;)

  • Shawna

    RD,

    I had to chuckle at your post.. I appreciate your passion :). However, I really think it has more to do with understanding ingredients then being a good or bad dog parent. For example — SD Puppy Food has the ingredient “animal fat” in it. Sounds innocuous enough however the FDA says this ingredient is known to be one of four ingredients that can be contaminated with pentobarbitol (the drug they use to euthanize animals). Here’s the link if you want to view for yourself http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/CVM/CVMFOIAElectronicReadingRoom/ucm129134.htm

    Some would say that the drug is no longer active in dog food or that there isn’t enough to be a problem. However the US Fish and Wildlife service disagrees. They state “Rendering is not an acceptable way to dispose of a pentobarbital-tainted carcass. The drug residues are not destroyed in the rendering process, so the tissues and by-products may contain poison and must not be used for animal feed….

    All pentobarbital-euthanized carcasses should be prominently tagged with one or more highly-visible “POISON” warning labels. Bagged animals should have a label affixed to the carcass itself and also attached to the outside of the bag.” http://cpharm.vetmed.vt.edu/USFWS/USFWSFPentobarbFactSheet.pdf

    Some people may not be bothered by this ingredient but many are and would not consider the food due to just this one ingredient. Let alone issues with other ingredients in Science Diet foods.

  • RD

    Hi i have a mix puppy three month old mix with 4 different dogs and i feed him Hill’s Science Diet Small Bites Dry Puppy Food and he loves it.But any way i remember when i first brought my pup home i brought him pedigree and some weird company food called Vet Choice and always left half of the food i fed him -_-. So i give a 5 star even though my Vet told me to keep on feeding him Hill`s Science Diet.So the people who wrote bad comments stuff about Hill`s food should shut up because maybe u people are bad owners :p

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Becki… I can understand your concerns about the Hill’s recommendation. Unfortunately, due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, I cannot provide customized reviews and product comparisons for each reader. For more help, please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers. Wish I could be more help.

  • Bob K

    becki – Golden Lab puppies need lots of exercise, they are rarely hyper but acting like they should as puppies. Do you exercise the puppy at least 4 times a day for 30 mins each? This is a 2 star food, for the same money you can easily find several 4 star large puppy formula foods that provide better nutrition and will leave more money in your pocket. Make sure you know what he is eating, drinking and chewing at all times.

  • becki

    hi therewe have recently got a golden labrador puppy and was wondering what food would be best for him the vet is recomending hills science plan large breed but after reading reviews from above i am nervous about purchasing it. He has been raised so far on hopewells working puppy complete but this is upsetting his stomach slightly and making him quite hyper active please help!!!!

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Meagan… Oops, that’s supposed to be Lamb Meal and Rice Large Breed. I’ve now corrected the typo. Thanks for the tip.

  • Meagan

    Dr. Sagman-Is that large breed lamb Meal and rice at the top of the formula list?

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  • Laleh

    Hi, the Feelwells dog food is produced by a small family run company in the UK, maybe this is why u guys never heard of them in the USA.
    I wish I could cook for my yorkie though as I don’t know how much to cook every day-I mean how many caleries she need stuff- I only cook treats like chicken breast, lamb heart and lamb liver with carrots and peas.

  • Kenya Maxile

    you are completely right…

  • Antonio

    Kenya,

    sad enough I’ve been working in corporate type work environments long enough to realize no matter the business nor the morals behind the company, if it don’t make dollars, then it doesn’t make sense. Basically at the end of the day ALL companies are in business for one reason “to MAKE A PROFIT”, the companies that are not in it for the money are generally none profit and struggling to keep doors open. But it’s good that students like yourself are coming out of school now days w/ the compassion to want to make changes for the better in the pet food industry.

  • Kenya Maxile

    Antonio,

    I wish I had a million dollars I would start my own dog food company, because a lot of the company’s have great marketing but fail to tell the pet owners the full truth about there dog food and put profits ahead of healthy happy dogs and dog owners… instead owners have to spend tons of money trying to figure out whats good and whats not… I have people that I talk to everyday that say they’ve tried everything…

  • Antonio

    thanks Kenya, I agree the animals, size, age, breed, and activity level is probably the most important factors regarding nutrient requirement and absorption.

  • Kenya Maxile

    you must take into account the size, age, breed of your dog… also make sure your dog is well bred because genetics plays a big role in health issues as well… Research is mostly done on the ingredients in the dog food… You can check the Journal Of Animals Science to see if there is any studies on a particular dog food… These studies will be more accurate…

  • Antonio

    Understood, I have been basically doing trial and error on my own, and finding what I feel gives optimum results, but my breed knowledge of these findings are limited to a handful of dog breeds.

  • Kenya Maxile

    Antonio,

    For my BS in Animal Science we learned about pretty much all animals from Nutrition, Genetics, Reproductive Physicology, Animal Behavior, etc… They school does not recommend a particular type of feed… Company’s may pay the school to do research on ingredients in the food… but there was never any research about this breed doing better on this diet rather than on this diet… Just like with people health issues vary between dogs…

  • Kenya Maxile

    And to the question about the demodex mange… demodex mange can be inherited… it is seen alot in puppy’s… Mange is when you have a form of mites the two most common are demodex and sarcoptic mange… on thing that may help as far as demodex mange goes is benezyl peroxide shampoo… I have not heard anything about a diet formulated for that but supplementing with the Omega Fatty Acids my improve the dryness…

  • Antonio

    Kenya,

    when taking courses and obtaining your BS in Animal Nutrition (small animal) I’m assuming, what type feed food did they recommend, and did they mention one particular breed doing better on diet “x” vs diet “y”? I think it’s great you have come to this website and care share some of your knowledge in this field with us. Thanks in advance

  • Kenya Maxile

    Hi Lisa, I just recommended my friend to try her yorkie on Halo dog food… the ingredients are really good I also feed it to my dog… I am Certified in Animal Nutrition, Graduated With a Bachelors degree in Animal Science from LSU… and started Graduate school for my masters in Non-Ruminant Nutrition… I’ve heard of Dogswell but never heard of Feelswell…

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Laleh… Searching the Internet I am unable to find a product called Feelswell. I have found products called Feelwells and Feedwell. But since they’re produced outside the US and Canada, and because they use different labeling standards, I’m currently unable to rate them. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  • Jonathan

    Feelswell looks like a decent kibble, but it’s no match for the Orejin you have already found!

  • Laleh

    sorry i meant feelwells dog food

  • Laleh

    My baby now eating Orejin puppy food- 5star without any red ingredient.
    I also came across Fellwells dog food. here is the information:
    ingredients:
    barley, duck meat meal(26% dry weight), pea flour, poultry fat, brewers yeast, poultry gravy, oats, minerals, fish oil, linseed, seawood, apple, cranberry, glucosamine, chondroitin, yucca extract, vitamins, rosemary extract, marigold extract, l-carnitine.
    typical analysis:
    protein 25%
    fibre 3%
    oil & fats 11%
    crude ash 7%
    moisture 8%
    calcium 1.35%
    phosphorous 0.97%
    vitamin A 18000 iu/kg
    vitamin D3 2250 ij/kg
    vitamin E 930 mg/kg
    copper 12 mg/kg
    energy 342kcal

  • Ray

    Laleh,

    Probably the best course of action then would be to look for a pet specialty store and find out what’s available in your area. Then when you shop, three things you should do, read, read, and read the ingredients. I got discouraged when I first found out how bad the conventional pet food here is and saw that the supermarkets didn’t offer much variety. But when I visited the pet stores and looked on line I found out there were many ways to find the right food for my precious little pooch. I wish you all the best in your search.

  • Laleh

    Thank Ray :)
    I live in the UK and these websites only cover the US :( some of the brands mentioned here don’t exist in the UK. but I am still looking now I know why my baby after finishing her meal comes to me and begs for more it’s becasue Hill food doesnt fill my baby’s belly :(

  • Ray

    Laleh, try a pet specialty store like Petco. That’s where I buy my dog’s Blue Buffalo wilderness food. Also Petfooddirect.com carries just about every dog food available.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Laleh… Not sure what you mean by the phrase “scripting her body”.

  • Laleh

    Thanks Mike for your reply. My vet recommended the hills to me.I have checked the 5-star food list none of them are familiar to my eyes. So need to check where I can buy them.
    Thanks again and I will keep u guys posted.
    It is hard seeing my baby scraches herself:( again and again.

  • Mike P

    Laleh, If you look at the top of the page you will see the ingredients. The first 3 ingredients are written in red. Red is not good . At the end of the review , in the “bottom line” part , the food is not recommended . In my opinion only , I would not think you would harm your dog with a change to a better food. Maybe upgrade to a 3 or 4 star food . If you do let us all know how it’s going . Good luck

  • Laleh

    Hi
    My 5months old Yorkshire terrier eats hill’s dry food. She has developed scripting her body, is it possible that the ingredients inthe food have cased her having allergy?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Art… The water question is an easy one. Never restrict fresh water. Use an extra large bowl and provide all she wants. For serving size for the kibble, follow the instructions on the bag.

  • ART KOZLOW

    I JUST ADFOPTED A 4 MONTH OLD PUPPY MIX, HALF I DONT KNOW AND HALF BLACKMOUTH CUR ….GOOD SIZE PUPPY …
    IM USING SCIENCE DIET DRY …HOW MANY CUPS A DAY SHOULD I FEED HER .
    ALSO DRINKS ALOT OF WATER HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD SHE HAVE A DAY AT THIS AGE
    THKS
    ART K.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Jenah… You do make a good point. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) isn’t as readily converted to the more biologically useful EPA and DHA types of omega-3 fatty acids in humans. But I haven’t yet seen any studies confirming this process would be any less efficient in dogs.

    In any case, it would probably be safe to say fish oil would be preferred as a source of omega-3 oils compared to ground flax seed (meal). However, I would highly doubt the fish oil used in making dog food is anything close to the triple-distilled pharmaceutical grade kind used in producing the best (human) fish oil supplements. Lower grade fish oils are commonly high in mercury and other unwelcome metal contaminants.

    Considering the overall view of omega-3 fatty acid sources, it looks like a toss up to me. No clear winner.

  • Jenah

    I was wondering about Omega 3′s. I love this website, but I often see flaxseed being honored here for being rich in omega 3′s; and while I agree, I thought that it was only EPA and DHA, found only in animal products, that contain digestable omega 3 and not ALA, as found in some plant materials like flax, soy and conola. Am I off base?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Beth… We only rate the labeled ingredients for quality and estimated meat content. As it says on every review I write, “our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits for your pet”. This would (of course) include life expectancy, too. For a better understanding of how we analyzed this product, please be sure to read our article, “The Problem with Dog Food Reviews”. If you believe it was the Hill’s dog food that gave your dog an extended, high quality life, you may be better off sticking with it. Hope this helps.

  • Beth

    Just a little testimonial for Hills. We had a bassett lab mix who ate Science Diet her whole life. She was 75 lbs. and lived for 17 years- WELL past her genetic life expectancy. I feel that had to be in part because of the diet we fed her. She was healthy her whole life and had arthritis in her hips at the very last, but no back issues, which by rights she should have had. She was LONG, and big and much taller than a regular bassett hound. People thought she was a breed, but were unsure what!! Now I have a 7 month old rescue border collie lab mix, but will try one of the 4-5 stars to see how he does. Guess I’ll let you know in (hopefully) about 15 years!

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Lisa… Since I’m not a veterinarian, it would be misleading for me to assure you a particular food will provide the results you’re looking for. In any case, it’s my understanding that mange is spread by contact with another infected animal and the infestation would have nothing to do with your dog’s food. This explanation would also be in keeping with your history of leaving your dog with a boarding facility (a far more likely cause of demodetic mange).

    To answer your second question, the only immune-focused dog food I’m aware of is called Artemis AGARx Immune Support. However, I have no experience with this food and cannot assure you it will offer any real help to your dog. Hope this helps.

  • Lisa

    Also, do you have any other advice for foods that help boost the immune system to fight off demodex?

  • Lisa

    I’m so disappointed in Hill’s and don’t understand why all of the veterinarians recommend and sometimes exclusively sell Hills when it is such a poor dog food. We live in Thailand, but buy dog food from an import store and were feeding our puppy Hill’s because we didn’t have a lot of other options. She did okay, but when we recently switched her to Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul, her energy level went WAY up which was overwhelming at first, but we just needed to get her more exercise.

    We were out of town for a month and had to board her at a place where they fed Hill’s and came back and she had an outbreak of demodex mange! We’re guessing it’s because of being back on Hill’s, and are glad to be switching her back to the CS4TPLS food. We also want to start supplementing with some raw food but are afraid it will spoil her against eating dry foods. Have you seen this happen with raw food diets?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Jaci… I’m so sorry to hear about your dog’s problem. Unfortunately, you have asked a question I don’t feel qualified to answer. Like with us humans, each dog responds to a particular food (or an ingredient) in its own unique way. And many times, the signs and symptoms you see are not even related to the food in the first place. So, it would be impossible for me (or anyone) to assure you feeding a specific product would deliver the results you’re looking for. Wish I could be more help.

  • Jaci

    Could “Hills Science Diet” Large Breed Puppy food cause my 18 week old yellow lab to have a change from good bacteria to bad bacteria – causing diarrhea? He’s been on this food for 5 weeks now and we’ve had two emergency trips to our vet for vomiting and diarrhea. We can’t think of what can cause this – and the vet didn’t have any answers.