Review of Hill’s Prescription Diet Derm Complete
Hill’s Prescription Diet Derm Complete Dog Food is not rated due to its intentional therapeutic design.
The Hill’s Derm Complete product line includes only one dry dog food, a recipe designed to help manage environmental and food sensitivities in dogs, and claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient guidelines for adult maintenance.
Hill's Prescription Diet Derm Complete
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Brown rice, brewers rice, egg product, rice protein concentrate, soybean oil, flaxseed, hydrolyzed chicken flavor, dried beet pulp, fish oil, coconut oil, lactic acid, dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, lipoic acid, iodized salt, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement), green peas, taurine, apples, cranberries, choline chloride, carrots, dl-methionine, natural flavors, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate), sodium selenite, mixed tocopherols for freshness, broccoli, beta-carotene
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.4%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||17%||17%||57%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||15%||36%||49%|
The first ingredient in this dog food 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 second ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The third 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.
The fourth ingredient is rice protein concentrate. Rice protein is made by removing the starchy part of the grain and leaving the protein.
Even though it contains over 70% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
And less costly plant-based product like rice gluten 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 fifth ingredient is soybean oil. 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.
The sixth ingredient is flaxseed, 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.
After the hydrolyzed chicken 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.
The ninth ingredient is fish oil. 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.
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 6 notable exceptions…
First, coconut oil is a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.
Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.1
Because of its proven safety2 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.
Next, we find 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.
In addition, 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.
Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
Also, 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.
And lastly, this recipe contains 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.
Although this is a prescription product, our review has nothing to do with the accuracy of claims made by the manufacturer as to the product’s ability to treat or cure a specific health condition.
So, to find out whether or not this dog food is appropriate for your particular pet, it’s important to consult your veterinarian.
With that understanding…
Based on its ingredients alone, Hill’s Prescription Diet Derm Complete appears to be an average dry dog food.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still prefer to estimate the product’s meat content before concluding our report.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 101%.
Below-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 rice protein concentrate and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a limited amount of meat.
Our Rating of Hill’s Derm Complete Dog Food
Hill’s Prescription Diet Derm Complete is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a limited amount of egg product as its main source of animal protein.
Hill’s Prescription Diet Recall History
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 Science Diet 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 Healthy Advantage Dog Food Review (Dry)
- 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 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.
- Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754 ↩
- Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9. ↩
02/08/2022 Last Update