Hill’s Healthy Advantage (Dry)

Share

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Hill’s Healthy Advantage Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Hill’s Healthy Advantage product line lists 6 dry 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 [M]
  • Hill’s Healthy Advantage Adult Small Bites [M]
  • Hill’s Healthy Advantage Puppy (3.5 stars) [G]
  • Hill’s Healthy Advantage Mature Adult (2 stars) [M]
  • Hill’s Healthy Advantage Puppy Large Breed (3.5 stars) [G]
  • Hill’s Healthy Advantage Adult Oral + Canine (2.5 stars) [M]

Hill’s Healthy Advantage Adult was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Hill's Healthy Advantage Adult

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 24% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 52%

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) = 2%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis24%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis24%16%52%
Calorie Weighted Basis21%34%45%
Protein = 21% | Fat = 34% | Carbs = 45%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% 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 fourth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth ingredient is soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.

Although soybean meal contains 48% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is 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. Oats 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 product.

With six 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.

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 Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Hill’s Healthy Advantage looks like an average dry dog food.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 24%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 52%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 25% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 66%.

Below-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-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 a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Hill’s Healthy Advantage is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat and by-product meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

Recommended.

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
Recall History

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.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
and Discounts

Readers are invited to check for coupons and discounts shared by others in our Dog Food Coupons Forum.

Or click the buying tip below. Please be advised we receive a fee for referrals made to the following online store.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

08/14/2017 Last Update