Hill’s Prescription Diet W/D Canine Dog Food Review (Dry)

Rating:

Hill’s Prescription Diet W/D Canine Dog Food is not rated due to its intentional therapeutic design.

The Hill’s Prescription Diet W/D Canine product line includes one dry product, a recipe designed to help support weight management.

Hill's Prescription Diet W/D Multi-Benefit

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 21% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 58%

Ingredients: Whole grain wheat, powdered cellulose, chicken meal, whole grain corn, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, cracked pearled barley, whole grain oats, chicken liver flavor, dried beet pulp, pork flavor, lactic acid, soybean oil, caramel color, flaxseed, choline chloride, potassium chloride, glyceryl monostearate, potassium citrate, iodized salt, l-lysine, 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), l-tryptophan, calcium carbonate, dl-methionine, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), taurine, l-carnitine, mixed tocopherols for freshness, natural flavors, beta-carotene

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 16%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis21%13%NA
Dry Matter Basis21%13%58%
Calorie Weighted Basis19%29%53%
Protein = 19% | Fat = 29% | Carbs = 53%

The first ingredient in this dog food 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 second ingredient is 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.

The third ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The next ingredient is corn. Corn is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as wheat (previously discussed).

The fifth item is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% 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 fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The seventh 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 eighth ingredient includes oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

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 6 notable exceptions

First, 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.

Next, 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.

In addition, caramel is 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.1

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?

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 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. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher quality dog foods.

Hill’s Prescription Diet W/D Canine Dog Food Review

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 W/D Canine Dog Food appears to be an average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 21%, a fat level of 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 58%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.

Which means this Hill’s product contains…

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 corn gluten meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a limited amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Hill’s Prescription Diet W/D Canine is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a limited amount of named meat meal as its main source of animal protein.

Hill’s Prescription Diet Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Hill’s. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

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

12/06/2019 Last Update