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Hill’s Ideal Balance Crafted canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2 stars.
The Hill’s Ideal Balance Crafted product line includes three 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.
- Ideal Balance Crafted Shredded Beef Stew [M]
- Ideal Balance Crafted Braised Salmon Medley [M]
- Ideal Balance Crafted Simmered Chicken Stew [M]
Hill’s Ideal Balance Crafted Simmered Chicken Stew was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Hill's Ideal Balance Crafted Simmered Chicken Stew
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken broth, chicken, pork liver, carrots, potatoes, green peas, rice starch, rice, spinach, powdered cellulose, chicken liver flavor, quinoa seed, chicken fat, sunflower oil, potassium alginate, calcium chloride, flaxseed, calcium lactate, calcium gluconate, guar gum, dicalcium phosphate, choline chloride, monosodium phosphate, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, folic acid), cranberries, sodium tripolyphosphate, taurine, minerals (zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate), apples, broccoli, zucchini, magnesium oxide, beta-carotene
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||23%||18%||51%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||19%||37%||44%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.
The second ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.2
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 includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The fifth ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The sixth ingredient 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.
The seventh ingredient is rice starch, a starchy powder extracted from rice and most likely used here as a thickening agent.
The eighth ingredient is rice. Is this whole grain rice, brown rice or white rice? Since the word “rice” doesn’t tell us much, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.
The ninth ingredient is spinach. Due to its exceptional vitamin and mineral content, spinach exhibits a remarkably high nutrient Completeness Score3 of 91.
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, this recipe includes powdered cellulose, a non-digestible plant fiber usually made from the by-products of vegetable processing. Except for the usual benefits of fiber, powdered cellulose provides no nutritional value to a dog.
Next, we find quinoa seed. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is not a true cereal grain but a plant prized for its gluten-free seeds.
Compared to most other grain-type ingredients, it is high in protein (about 12-18%), dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.
In addition, this food contains sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.
Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.
There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.
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.
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 Ideal Balance Crafted
Canned Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Hill’s Ideal Balance Crafted Canned Dog Food looks like an above-average wet 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 23% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 81%.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, quinoa and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a wet dog food containing a modest amount of meat.
However, with 37% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 19% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.
Hill’s Ideal Balance Crafted is a plant-based canned dog food using only a modest amount of chicken, salmon or beef as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2 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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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
02/02/2018 Last Update
- “Last Update” field at the end of this review reflects the last time we attempted to visit this product’s website. The current review itself was last updated 7/16/2016 ↩
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- Completeness Score is a measure of a food’s relative nutrient content and is computed by NutritionData.com from the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference ↩