Review of Hill’s Healthy Advantage Dog Food
Hill’s Healthy Advantage Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Hill’s Healthy Advantage product line includes the 6 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
|Hill’s Healthy Advantage Adult Small Bites||3||M|
|Hill’s Healthy Advantage Puppy Large Breed||4.5||G|
|Hill’s Healthy Advantage Puppy||4||G|
|Hill’s Healthy Advantage Adult Oral+||2.5||M|
|Hill’s Healthy Advantage Adult 7+||2.5||M|
|Hill’s Healthy Advantage Adult||3||M|
Recipe and Label Analysis
Hill’s Healthy Advantage Adult was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.
Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.
Hill's Healthy Advantage Adult
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, brown rice, whole grain wheat, cracked pearled barley, soybean meal, chicken meal, pork fat, whole grain oats, egg product, chicken liver flavor, soybean oil, lactic acid, dried beet pulp, iodized salt, flaxseed, green peas, calcium carbonate, apples, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, biotin, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement), cranberries, carrots, choline chloride, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate), sodium selenite, broccoli, taurine, mixed tocopherols for freshness, natural flavors, beta-carotene
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.9%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||24%||15%||53%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||21%||33%||47%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains up to 73% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.
After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The second 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 third ingredient is wheat. Like corn, wheat 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 wheat a preferred component in any dog food.
The next ingredient is barley, which 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 chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The seventh 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.
The eighth ingredient includes oats, which are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The ninth ingredient is egg product, an unspecified (wet or dry?) form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
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 Hill’s product.
With 8 notable exceptions…
First, 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, 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.
In addition, 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.
Next, this recipe includes peas. 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.
We find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
Additionally, we note the use of taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.
This recipe also includes sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.
And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher quality dog foods.
Based on its ingredients alone, Hill’s Healthy Advantage Dog Food looks like an average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 25% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 66%.
Which means this Hill’s product line contains…
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean meal, flaxseed and peas in this recipe, and the pea protein contained in another recipe, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing just a moderate amount of meat.
Our Rating of Hill’s Healthy Advantage Dog Food
Hill’s Healthy Advantage is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat and by-product meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus receiving 4 stars.
Hill’s Dog Food
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Hill’s.
- 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)
You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.
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More Hill’s Dog Food Brand Reviews
The following Hill’s dog food reviews are also posted on this website:
- Hill’s Healthy Advantage Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet B/D Canine Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet C/D Canine Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet D/D Canine Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet Derm Complete Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet Digestive Care I/D Canine Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet I/D Canine Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet Joint Care J/D Canine Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D Canine Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet W/D Canine Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet W/D Canine Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet Weight Reduction R/D Canine Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet Z/D Canine Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet Z/D Canine Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Review
- Hill’s Science Diet Grain Free Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Cuisine Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food Review (Dry)
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.
02/27/2022 Last Update