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

Rating:

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

The Hill’s Science Diet Adult product line includes the 13 wet dog foods listed below.

Each recipe includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Use the links below to check prices and package sizes at an online retailer.

Science Diet Adult Savory Stew with Beef and Vegetables was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Hill's Science Diet Adult Savory Stew with Beef and Vegetables

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 30% | Fat = 21% | Carbs = 42%

Ingredients: Water, beef, pork liver, brown rice, carrots, rice starch, wheat flour, potato starch, dried beet pulp, pork plasma, potatoes, dextrose, chicken fat, green peas, spinach, chicken liver flavor, calcium carbonate, flaxseed, soybean oil, potassium chloride, caramel color, guar gum, sodium pyrophosphate, disodium phosphate, sodium hexametaphosphate, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, potassium iodide), choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, folic acid), l-lysine, taurine, iron oxide color

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.9%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis30%21%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%21%42%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%41%34%
Protein = 25% | Fat = 41% | Carbs = 34%

The first ingredient in this dog food is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.

The second ingredient is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1

Beef is naturally rich in all 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 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.

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 8 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, dextrose is 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.

In addition, this food contains 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.

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 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.

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

And iron oxide is a synthetic color additive used in industry to impart a reddish color to food — and paint. In its natural form, this chemical compound is more commonly known as “iron rust”.

We’re always disappointed to find any artificial 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?

We also find an ingredient called 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.

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.

Hill’s Science Diet Adult
Canned Dog Food Review

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

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 30%, a fat level of 21% and estimated carbohydrates of about 42%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 26% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

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

Which 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 modest amount of meat.

Additionally, with 41% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 25% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.

Bottom line?

Hill’s Science Diet Adult is a grain-inclusive wet dog food using a modest amount of named meats and named by-products as its main source 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 Science Diet Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Science Diet. 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

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Consumer Reports February 2014

10/12/2019 Last Update