Hill’s Healthy Advantage canned dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.
The Hill’s Healthy Advantage product line includes 2 canned dog foods.
Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.
- Hill’s Healthy Advantage Adult Chicken & Vegetable [M]
- Hill’s Healthy Advantage Puppy Chicken & Vegetable [G]
Hill’s Healthy Advantage Adult Chicken & Vegetable was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Hill's Healthy Advantage Adult Chicken and Vegetable
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Water, chicken, pork liver, brown rice, carrots, rice starch modified, wheat flour, potato starch, pork plasma, dried beet pulp, potatoes, dextrose, peas, chicken fat, chicken liver flavor, spinach, calcium carbonate, flaxseed, soybean oil, potassium chloride, sodium phosphate, titanium dioxide color, guar gum, choline chloride, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper proteinate, manganous sulfate, potassium iodide), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, folic acid), caramel color, taurine, l-lysine
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||32%||19%||40%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||39%||34%|
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 pork liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fifth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The sixth ingredient is rice starch, a starchy powder extracted from rice and most likely used here as a thickening agent.
The seventh ingredient is wheat flour, a highly-refined product of wheat milling. 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 eighth ingredient includes potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.
The ninth ingredient is pork plasma. Plasma is what remains of blood after the blood cells themselves have been removed. Plasma can be considered a nutritious addition.
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 eight notable exceptions…
First, 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.
Next, dextrose is a crystallized form of glucose — with a flavor significantly sweeter than common table sugar. It is typically used in pet food as a sweetener and as an agent to help develop browning.
Without knowing a healthy reason for its inclusion here, dextrose (like most sugars) can be considered a nutritionally unnecessary addition to this recipe.
In addition, peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
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.
We also note the inclusion of soybean oil, which 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, titanium dioxide is a white coloring agent. Although most claim the pigment to be a safe food additive, one international agency2 has classified titanium dioxide as a “Group 2B carcinogen” possibly linked to cancer in humans.
This food also contains caramel, a natural coloring agent made by caramelizing carbohydrates. It’s used by pet food manufacturers to impart a golden brown tint to the finished product.
However, the concentrated version of this ingredient commonly known as caramel coloring has been more recently considered controversial and found to cause cancer in laboratory animals.3
In any case, even though caramel is considered safe by the FDA, we’re always disappointed to find any added 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 Healthy Advantage Canned Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Hill’s Healthy Advantage Dog Food looks like an average canned 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 33% and a mean fat level of 20%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 39% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a canned product containing a moderate amount of meat.
Hill’s Healthy Advantage is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of named meat as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.
Hill’s Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
- Hill’s Prescription Diet and Science Diet Dog Food Recall Expands to Include 44 Varieties (3/20/2019)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet and Science Diet Dog Food Recall (1/31/2019)
- Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Market Withdrawal of November 2015 (11/29/2015)
- Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Recall June 2014 (6/3/2014)
To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.
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A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
08/21/2017 Last Update