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Hill’s Science Diet Adult Dog Food Review (Canned)

Mike Sagman  Karan French

By

Mike Sagman
Mike Sagman

Mike Sagman

Founder

Dr Mike Sagman is the creator of the Dog Food Advisor. He founded the website in 2008, after his unquestioning trust in commercial dog food led to the tragic death of his dog Penny.

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&
Karan French
Karan French

Karan French

Senior Researcher

Karan is a senior researcher at the Dog Food Advisor, working closely with our in-house pet nutritionist, Laura Ward, to give pet parents all the information they need to find the best food for their dog.

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Updated: May 7, 2024

Verified by Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Pet Nutritionist

Laura studied BSc (Hons) Animal Science with an accreditation in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham, before working for eight years in the pet food and nutrition industry.

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Laura Ward

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Our Verdict

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Hill’s Science Diet Adult wet dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Hill’s Science Diet Adult product line includes the 9 moist dog foods listed below.

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile: Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Hill's Science Diet Adult Chicken and Beef Entree 2.5 M
Hill's Science Diet Adult Beef & Barley Entrée 3 M
Hill's Science Diet Adult Chicken & Barley Entrée 3 M
Hill's Science Diet Adult Light with Liver 2.5 M
Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken & Vegetable Entrée 3 M
Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Salmon & Vegetable Entrée 3 M
Hill's Science Diet Adult Small & Mini Savory Stew with Chicken & Vegetables Tray 3.5 M
Hill's Science Diet Adult Small & Mini Savory Stew with Beef & Vegetables Tray 3.5 M
Hill's Science Diet Adult Turkey & Barley Entrée 2.5 M

Recipe and Label Analysis

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small & Mini Savory Stew with Chicken & Vegetables Tray was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Hill's Science Diet Adult Small & Mini Savory Stew with Chicken & Vegetables Tray

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

29.2%

Protein

18.5%

Fat

44.3%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Chicken broth, chicken, pork liver, brown rice, carrots, modified rice starch, wheat flour, potato starch, dried beet pulp, pork plasma, dextrose, potatoes, flaxseed, chicken fat, green peas, spinach, calcium carbonate, hydrolyzed chicken flavor, guar gum, soybean oil, potassium chloride, choline chloride, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, cobalt proteinate, potassium iodide), sodium pyrophosphate, disodium phosphate, sodium hexametaphosphate, 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), l-lysine, taurine, caramel color


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.2%

Red denotes any controversial items

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 29% 19% NA
Dry Matter Basis 29% 19% 44%
Calorie Weighted Basis 25% 38% 37%

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common component in many wet 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”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the 10 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 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 fifth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The sixth ingredient is rice starch, a starchy powder extracted from rice and most likely used here as a thickening agent.

The seventh ingredient is wheat flour, a highly-refined product of wheat milling. Like corn, wheat is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider wheat a preferred component in any dog food.

The eighth ingredient is potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.

The ninth ingredient is 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.

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, we find dextrose, a crystallized form of glucose — with a flavor significantly sweeter than common table sugar. It is typically used in pet food as a sweetener and as an agent to help develop browning.

Without knowing a healthy reason for its inclusion here, dextrose (like most sugars) can be considered a nutritionally unnecessary addition to this recipe.

Next, 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, 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, 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.

We also note the inclusion of sodium hexametaphosphate, a man-made industrial polymer with no known nutritive value.

HMP is used in making soap, detergents, water treatment, metal finishing and most likely here to decrease tartar build-up on the teeth.

Although some might disagree, we’re of the opinion that food is not the place for tartar control chemicals or any other non-nutritive substances.

Next, 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.2

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.

Also worth mentioning is the inclusion 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.

Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.

And lastly, with the exception of copper, 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.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Hill’s Science Diet Adult looks like a below-average wet product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 29%, a fat level of 19% and estimated carbohydrates of about 44%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 25% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 49% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 70%.

This means this Science Diet product line contains…

Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed in this recipe and the corn gluten and soybean meals and pea protein contained in some others, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing just a moderate amount of meat.

Hill's Dog Food Recall History

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Hill's through May 2024.

No recalls noted.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.

Our Rating of Hill's Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet Adult is a grain-inclusive wet dog food using a moderate amount of named meats and named by-products as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

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Recommended with Reservations

Sources

1: Association of American Feed Control Officials


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