Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light (Dry)


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

This Review Has Been Merged with
Hill’s Science Diet Adult (Dry)

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light dry dog food receives the Advisor’s lowest tier rating of 1.5 stars.

The Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light product line lists four dry dog foods.

Although we found no AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the Hill’s website, each product appears to be designed for weight management (adult maintenance).

  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light Small Bites
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light Large Breed
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light Small and Toy Breed

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light Small Bites dry dog food was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.

Hill's Science Diet Adult Light Small Bites

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 24% | Fat = 9% | Carbs = 59%

Ingredients: Ground whole grain corn, soybean mill run, chicken by-product meal, powdered cellulose, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, chicken liver flavor, soybean oil, latic acid, flaxseed, carmel color, iodized salt, l-lysine, choline chloride, potassium chloride, vitamins (l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), vitamin E supplement, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement), vitamin E supplement, dicalcium phosphate, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), taurine, l-carnitine, preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid, phosphoric acid, beta-carotene, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 12.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis24%9%NA
Dry Matter Basis24%9%59%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%21%56%
Protein = 23% | Fat = 21% | Carbs = 56%

The first ingredient in this dog food is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

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

The second item lists soybean mill run. Mill run is a by-product, mostly the hulls of soybeans remaining after processing the beans into meal. This is nothing more than a cheap, low-quality filler more commonly found in cattle feeds.

The third ingredient is chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed.

In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (real meat).

On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The fourth item lists powdered cellulose, a non-digestible plant fiber usually made from the by-products of vegetable processing. Cellulose is sometimes added to dilute the number of calories per serving and to give the feeling of fullness when it is eaten.

Except for the usual benefits of fiber, powdered cellulose provides no nutritional value to a dog.

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

Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in many of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.

This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein content reported in this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is soybean meal. Soybean meal is actually a useful by-product. It’s what remains of soybeans after all the oil has been removed.

Soybean meal contains 48% protein. However, compared to meat, this item is considered an inferior plant-based protein providing a lower biological value.

After the liver flavor, we find soil oil, 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 canola or flaxseed oils.

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 two notable exceptions

First, we find no evidence of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.

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 Science Diet Adult Light Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light dry dog food appears to be a below-average kibble.

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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 24%, a fat level of 9% and an estimated carbohydrate content of 59%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 24% and a mean fat level of 9%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 59% for the overall product line.

It should be noted that Hill’s reports a lower carb content of 49.6%. That’s because their figure is computed using NFE basis, which also allows for fiber content.

Below-average protein. Low fat. And above-average carbohydrates when compared to a typical dry dog food.

However, when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten and soybean meals, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a modest amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light is a plant-based kibble using only a modest amount of chicken by-products meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1.5 stars.

Not recommended.

Those looking for information about the rest of the adult product line may wish to visit our review of Hill’s Science Diet Adult dry dog food.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

12/27/2009 Original review
08/01/2010 Review updated
11/13/2011 Review updated

02/17/2013 Last Update

  • theBCnut

    The last time we had this conversation about enzymes, I came across suggestions that dogs with digestive disorders like IBS, IBD, and others did see benefits from added digestive enzymes. Yes, they produce what should be enough enzymes, but they don’t use them effectively apparently, due to the damage to the gut.

  • aimee

    Hi Laura,

    Fresh foods have enzymes… but other than the enzymes in fresh pancreas they aren’t meant for digestion. They function at pH levels very different from the GI tract and they are not useful for digesting food.

    Here is a piece written by a holistic veterinarian who is also boarded in nutrition.


    Why do people supplement enzymes to perfectly healthy dogs? “This is a very common recommendation, especially among raw feeders, that I have failed in understanding.”

    Like Dr Wynn, I fail to understand it. The pancreas is an organ of great reserve capable of making far more enzymes than would ever be needed.

  • aimee

    Hi JerermyScott10,

    I’ve concluded that unless your dog has EPI there is no need to add enzymes.

    The pancreas has great reserve. A former dog I had went through necrotizing pancreatitis in which she lost almost 90% of her pancreas… yet she had no digestive problems.

    I haven’t looked at many products but if you look at this Mercola product it is primarily just cellulose. Some people refer to this as sawdust.

    Primarily enzymes are protein and this product reports .05% protein (min). There could be more of course but even if doubled, out of every 100 grams of product there would only be 0.1 gram of protein (enzymes)

    Compared to a prescription product the supplement is very very weak. maybe 1-3 % ….rest is just filler.

    Personally I don’t see how supplementing at such a level would have much effect.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Even if they are in the food, I’d still supplement. There’d never be anywhere near enough useful enzymes already in a kibble.

  • JeremyScott10

    Enzymes are fragile and destroyed by heat and food processing.

  • Laura Vonella

    I had no idea about dog food rotation..it makes so much sense though! How do you know the enzymes your giving them arnt already in their food?

  • JeremyScott10

    Yes, mine get probiotics and enzymes in every meal. Both are good for joints, digestion, food sensitivities, healthy weight, immune function and much more. I use mostly pet supplements for correct dosage, and they’re geared to a dog’s biology and taste buds as well. Here’s some good information about enzymes.

    I rotate supplements for the same reasons I rotate dog foods.

    And I always call the company to make sure they don’t use GMO’s and do third party testing. There are plenty of inferior pet supplements out there contaminated with heavy metals and toxic ingredients so independent lab testing is the only way to verify supplement purity.

    Also, when trying new supplements I start with much less than the recommended dosage and build up slowly to avoid stomach upset, especially with probiotics and enzymes.

    I would argue that you’re doing right by your dogs by learning, changing their diets and doing your best for them.

  • Pitlove

    Hi Laura-

    Consumer reviews and reports are not a good way to pick a food for your dog. It will give you a headache reading the back and forth comments. Some positive, some negative. Mostly because most pet parents don’t understand that what didn’t work for their dog might be a good fit for someone elses (and also vice versa). Instead they come on here and slander the food because of an incident with their dog. This happens not only with the lower rated foods, but with the 5 star foods as well. What might work for your dog could be rated high or low on this site, but this is just one site and one opinion.

    Regardless of what food you choose to feed, always make sure to feed for the weight you want your dog to be and not the weight are if they are underweight or overweight. And don’t forget that all treats (dog treats or table scraps) need to be factored in to their daily caloric intake, so that you don’t overfeed too many calories.

  • Laura Vonella

    Grain free might even help my corgi..she licks he feet a lot..in and out of the vet all the time for allergies…she on a new med for it..she has stopped licking but the med terrifies me since it hasn’t been on the market long..but since moving to tx shes had nothing but allergy issues…now shes taken to butt licking along with the feet licking…which I think is odd because she just started that..but the vet said allergies :…I think I’ll tey the wellness after reading all this about science diet…even if I’m wanting them to loose weight I want them to have the nutrients they need. Thank you so so much

  • Laura Vonella

    I do give him dasaquin every morning but I didn’t think of fish oil and I have a lot of liquid capsules… How much do you think he should get..at the moment he at about 79 lbs :/ and should be I think at 69 where he was before he was fixed..my corgi mix too she 50. And I do have probiotics powder….should I give that to him everyday…thanks so much for the insight. After all the research I did..then I read all this…my heart dropped. I just want them healthy and I think I’m doing it wrong

  • JeremyScott10

    Adding healthy protein toppers to kibble will reduce the carbs while adding adding a variety of nutrients to maximize health and longevity.

    Also, adding enzymes, probiotics and a quality fish oil (Mercola’s Krill or Nordic Naturals Pet) are about the healthiest additions to the diet. Probiotics and fish oil have been shown to help weight loss, and fish oil is also good for joints, heart and brain functions.

    Finally you may consider adding joint support. I’m very pleased with Mercola’s and Nature’s Farmacy because my dog’s will eat them, and they are pure. Nature’s Farmacy actually makes a supplement called Complete that combines enzymes, probiotics and joint support.

    I regret having fixed my dog as well but I’m making up for it by ensuring I do the best to keep her healthy and fit.

  • InkedMarie

    Hi Laura,
    I suggest Annamaet Lean or Wellness Core reduced fat. I used the latter with great success but I prefer Annamaet as a company. Both are grain free (grains can be inflammatory & it may help the hips). I fed the amount of food for their ideal weight.

    Good luck!

  • Laura Vonella

    Anyone still on here? My baby dozer has been gaining weight since being fixed..I wish now I wouldn’t had done it but I though it was best because of the risks of cancer and health…after reading these posts…omg..my vet said SD lite…now I’m reading these terrified…..were not rich…but I want my babies healthy..i have a pit bull mix and a Corgi mix I researched did all the math with the dry matter and percentages….now I dont know what to do or get. Their my everything. What are some good foods before getting fixed he was at 69 lbs…he also has horrible hips but good muscle now that he’s fixed he has gained 9 lbs…he still runs for his ball..but we had to fence in our 2 acres…the corgi kept running off…so the slowed his running some..the corgi could stand to loose too….I just a good food…we go on short walks and throw his ball but his hips only take so much….ughhhh…any suggestions….he gained 2 since eating this food!!!!

  • Heather Mueller

    If she is licking her genital area I would look into Bladder Stones. My mini schnauzer has just been diagnosed. Ironically after 6 months of Science Diet Light my dog has bladder stones. In her case I saw blood only in her urine after many times urinating on a walk. BUT I have been reading up and licking the genitals is a sign of bladder stones. Urinalysis and maybe an xray. Xray showed my dogs stones. I have read how Struvite stones can come from grain based food and food high in minerals etc. She is now on a special urinary food. The only thing she can have. No treats or table food. She goes back in 2 weeks to see if the new food has evened out her PH balance in the urine and dissolved the stones. I personally believe this unbiologically correct food caused the stones aka Science Diet Adult Light.

  • ApeRoll

    Most all vets recommend Science Diet because of the close relationship between Hill’s and vet schools. Many get a kick back (my uncle is a vet).

  • ApeRoll

    Chewy is great!

  • ApeRoll

    Same problem. I switched my chi’s to this and they both started scratching and licking. Just bought them Innova Nature’s Table after reading its review here.

  • theBCnut

    Dr Mike has a long list of foods still to be rated. Trader Joe’s canned is probably on it.

  • Heather Shayne

    I was feeding my rats 1 star food, now they currently eat 3 star food (per this site’s opinion) and now I’m considering going to Wellness, which the type I bought is considered 4.5 on here. I’ll see how this change goes… But yes, when I fed them the cheap crap from Walmart and then went to Blue I can see why we had issues but I’m over that brand for now.
    I guess I should also mention I mix in a little bit of Trader Joes wet dog food. The dogs go crazy over this stuff. I didn’t see this rated on this site (?) I see Trader Joes dry food but not the wet…

  • theBCnut

    Going from a 1 or 2 star food to a 5 star food is a huge change and that alone can make a food change fail. You need to try giving probiotics for a while when you change foods to help rebalance the gut bacteria.

  • Heather Shayne

    Thank you for this info. I am new to the site and the top portion of this page made me think several SD light products were all the same low rating. I didn’t realize you had to keep clicking. I feel much better knowing the product is rated 3 stars. I’m still going to give Wellness a shot but if it doesn’t work out then I’m switching back.

  • Storm’s Mom

    At the top of this page it says “This Review Has Been Merged with Hill’s Science Diet Adult (Dry)”, which you can find here:


    The ingredients for the Adult Light are not listed in that review because Dr Mike used a different recipe to represent the group, but Science Diet Adult Light is listed as the 3rd one down in the list above the yellow box, and is rated 3 stars.

  • Heather Shayne

    I have been feeding SD Light to my two rat terriers without any issues. A while back I was feeding them cheap stuff from Walmart (Kibbles and bits) and my vet scolded me so I switched to Blue Buffalo – my dogs had the worse gas ever on Blue so after a couple of bags and no improvement I did some research and switched to Science Diet’s light dry food. Now I’m finding this rating and I’m HORRIFIED! The crap from Walmart has the same rating! Well, instead of believing everything on the internet I decided to do my own research because I know I would NOT have bought dog food with the ingredients listed above (I stay away from all “by-product” crap) – I just got back from Petco and I took a picture of the ingredients – WHAT YOU HAVE LISTED ABOVE IS WRONG – PLEASE UPDATE IT!! The FIRST ingredient listed on SD’s Light dry food is “Chicken Meal” – NOT CORN as listed above! The 2nd is something with Peas, the third is Whole grain something… So PLEASE PLEASE update your rating!
    I did decide to buy Wellness based on this website’s rating but I’m very skeptical after seeing how WRONG this rating is!

  • Researcher

    Bad food! Why are people buying this food it contains soy and that is bad for your animal! The reason Vets recommend it is because Hill’s which is the brand, pays for Vet school so Vet’s have to recommend it.
    Read how horrible soy is and it is for your Pets too! Stop buying this food until they remove the soy from their formulas. The only line of Hill’s that is natural is Ideal balance which some have no soy so use that if you choose Hill’s. Read the article below on the effects of soy.


  • Pattyvaughn

    It’s hard to find quality dog foods in grocery stores, though pet boutiques usually have good foods. I also live in the middle of nowhere, so I order online fairly often. And when I’m going somewhere different I check out the pet boutiques there and try to find a couple foods to try.

  • Lz

    If you don’t mind ordering online you can get any of the 4-5 star foods. I order Dr. Tim’s from chewy.com

  • Roz Lord

    I agree now to find a 5 or 4 star dry food brand that I can buy at a local store here in the sticks. I have a local grocery store Zkents and a IFA here as well as Walmart that I go shopping at anyone know of one of the 4 or 5 star brand dry foods sold at either one of these stores that can be recommended ?

  • Pattyvaughn

    It sounds like she may have a food intolerance to one of the ingredients.

  • Roz Lord

    Up until six months ago I had been feeding the S Diet Lite then they did new and improved my female dog started to lick her self constantly. So I changed her food and tried 3 other brands she didn’t care for the food and started to have a lot of gas. I bought the first S Diet Lite after six months a week ago and now she back to licking herself again. Anyone know why this is happening ? She’s spade and is 12 years old in good health no issues and she’s not over weight very active Healer.

  • fprandy

    My beagle went through 12, 5 pound bags of Science Diet. Refused to eat any ot the 13th bag. They changed something. I went back and returned the dog food, no problem. Dog is very happy now, and I’m switching to a 5 star food. Thanks!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi DenDad –

    On my shelter’s last shipment I noticed our puppy was was yellow as well (it’s normally brown). The adult dog food was normal in color. It didn’t cause any issues in our pups and the new batch is the regular color.

  • DenDad

    My 12-year-old Dachshund has been eating Science Diet Lite for years. The last bag I bought was different in color…more yellow. He is now having a problem with loose stools. Now I know why. They changed the recipe. I wish someone would suggest a substitute food.

  • bill p

    Bob, I was about to switch from Science Diet Lite (large breed) based on your analysis, however the following formulation is now found on the package and info from Hill’s website:


    Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Pea Protein Concentrate, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Corn, Pea Bran Meal, Powdered Cellulose , Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Dried Beet Pulp, Lactic Acid, Flaxseed, Iodized Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), L-Lysine, Taurine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Oat Fiber, L-Carnitine, Mixed Tocopherols added to retain freshness, Citric Acid added to retain freshness, Beta-Carotene, Phosphoric Acid, Rosemary Extract, Dried Apples, Dried Broccoli, Dried Carrots, Dried Cranberries, Dried Peas.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I thought Britta was just a carbon filter to take care of odors.

  • Shawna

    What all does Britta filter out Hoddie? I thought it left most contaminants behind? The water quality in my city is HORRENDOUS.. Top ten worst in the country based on findings by the Environmental Working Group. We’ve always used reverse osmosis for us and the dogs.

  • Oh, I don’t mean to say water quality is not important. Just that not all tap water is dangerous to give our pets.

    On that note, I didn’t mean to say that the “garden hose” thing is solid proof that tap water is fine. Just that it’s not always something to be afraid of.


    cant argue with your reasoning, but,regarding water that old addage i used to drink out of garden hose cracks me up my grandparents said the same thing the only issue I have is it takes use into our 50-70s to develop issues resulting from the garden hose, unlike our pets it can hit them at 5-8 yrs, not being argumentative but most of the dog foods of higher quality are pretty good but how often do you hear pet owners concern for water being talked about, Yet cancers, lypomas, etc can directly be linked into many of the cities drinking water across the water, you can test it one year its fine the next its not. Just saying as humans we can choose filtered water our pets can’t, yea and stay away from the garden hose lol

  • Not all tap water is the same, so to imply that all tap water kills humans is wrong. I grew up drinking water from the garden hose, like many people have, and we lived normal lives afterwards. Heck, water filtration devices were pretty much unheard of for the first 20+ years of my life.

    People should look into the quality of their tap water, and determine if measures need to be taken from there to ensure it’s healthy for themselves and their loved ones.

    But to say water quality is more important than food quality doesn’t sit well with me either. Logic would tell you otherwise, as you and your pets get more nutrition through their food than through water.


    I have 2 dogs 14 yr old rott and a 15 yr old hot dog, both on science diet lite i agree there are other foods that stack up better ? maybe the pet clinical data out there sucks. I firmly believe that the water you feed your pets is the key never never never TAP water it kills humans imagine our pets I give filtered brita water forever, give a good food but better water, you will b happy with results, lot more data on water issues yet we never give our pets quality water, well at least not most that actually requires effort, dog food not so much

  • klickersnipps

    Yeah, I know. SD is such a crappy food. I can’t stand it and it’s WAY overpricedfor it’s crappy ingredients. You could get a dog food that is MUCH higher quality for the same price!

  • InkedMarie

    for future reference, the price of a bag of food doesn’t tell you anything about the quality of the food inside the bag

  • 12gs34

    I just bought this brand of dog food for the first time. I bought the adult light small bites. she just had dental surgery and I needed small kibble. I thought I was buying something healthy based on the price of the bag. Looking at my package, the ingredients are different than what’s listed above in your notes. But, after reading your review, I think it might be time to look for something new again.

  • InkedMarie

    This is why I don’t ask my vet for nutrition help but in my case, it’d be Purina vet foods, not Science Diet. Just as bad though.

  • RescueDog

    You recommend seeking your Vet’s advice on what food to feed if you are in doubt.  Well, Science Diet is the food my Vet recommends and my dogs are quite healthy thank you.

  • Hi Upphill,

    Watch this recently released video plant tour hosted by the president of Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

    Small companies would find this level of testing and quality control quite costly.

    Hope this helps.

  • Upphill

    Interesting point about higher level of safety in large manufacturers. I guess this is like statistical quality control or etc. OK, can you explain how you know, or how one analyses manufacturers’ claims about testing and quality control? Thanks!!


  • By the way, larger manufacturers (like Hill’s) typically practice a higher level of safety than smaller companies.

  • Hi Upphill,

    You make an excellent point. And let’s face it – we’d all like to know more about the safety of the food we feed our beloved (and innocent) pets.

    For example, many companies test for Salmonella and aflatoxin. However, most of them ship the product out BEFORE the results of the test have been returned.

    So, tainted products can be widely distributed before they can be identified. And that makes the entire recall process even more complicated and dangerous than it needs to be.

    In any case, without pressure from large, organized groups, it’s unlikely we’ll know about the safety practices of most manufacturers anytime soon.

  • Upphill

    Dr Mike, or anyone else in this dialog.

    I have been asking dog food manufacturers what their safety testing regimen is, and either they’re researching an answer thoroughly, or I’m not going to get an acknowledgment. After reading all about recalls and learning the risks in dog food makers’ supply chains, I’m convinced that organized consumer pressure is needed to get information out about testing for things such as aflatoxin, bad preservatives, the real nature of byproducts, etc. Any agreement? We could have a standard inquiry that interested people could modify as they wish, and send to various “premium” food makers. Any interest?

    Bill Hill, Richmond Va

  • Updog012

    I just wanted to post on here to say how great this site is, especially for those that may not be as knowledgeable about the ingredients in their dog food. I have a 1.5 year old Australian Cattle Dog, and recently he has been experiencing a bit of diarrhea, we took him to the vet to see if possibly had some giardia which he has had in the past, fortunately he did not. Then my vet asked which dog food he was on, Blue Buffalo Wilderness (dry) and, she said that was a low quality dog food because of the way they add the berries, and then get this, she recommended I try science diet. Glad I did my own research. Not sure why she recommended it to me, but don’t take the “advice” of others, do your own research. I just feel sorry for the others who don’t know better and follow her recommendations.

  • Shawna

    Current research shows that dogs lose weight more efficiently (while maintaining good muscle tone AND health) eating a higher protein food..

    This makes most “lite” foods obsolete…

  • InkedMarie

    The only “light” food I recommend for a dog losing weight is Wellness Core’s reduced fat. It’s the only “diet” food with what I consider to be good ingredients but a higher protein that dogs need, 30%. Fat is 10% which is better than most lite foods. It has a good amount of meat as well, which is important. You can give green beans and a limited amount of carrots to help a dog feel full.

  • Bob K

    Tara – Please read the ingredient list.  Is Ground whole grain corn, soybean mill run, chicken by-product meal, powdered cellulose, corn gluten meal, soybean meal a good diet for a dog?  How about more exercise?  Cut our the treats and extras?  Measuring portions?  There are better more nutritious lite dog foods out there.   And what do you sell a bag of this low quality ingredients for?  Sounds like goat or pig food from reading the label.  

  • Kurz5

    vets that sell science diet must be getting a kick back or known nothing about canine nutrition.

  • It’s about the human equivalent of slugging down a Slim Fast and popping a couple of Dexatrim instead of eating from fresh fruits, veggies, some lean protein and a bit of whole grain.

  • Tara_devine

    Apparently this review has missed the point that this dog food is designed to help the dog feel full while reducing calories – SD light is by far the most effective light dog food I have sold for 20 years

  • Beata Siwinski

     Hi Bob, my dog started loosing weight immediately after switching from kibble to raw/fresh foods . . . so I  understand Jen’s problem of a dog who just couldn’t loose weight.

  • J Hohman

    I am so sorry for your loss.  My vet also is pushing Science Diet.  For the life of me I do not understand why Science Diet has a “prescription” dog food…there is nothing special in it.  There is a rumor going around that the line Science Diet makes for digestion issues has a medication in it – totally false.  This is just another way for a dog food company to charge a lot of money for a totally useless dog food.  One of the measurements I use to see if my dog is gaining any benefit from a particular dog food is waste output; the more waste the dog produces, obviously the less his body is absorbing and making use of.  My dog was always hungy on Science Diet, and my vet can’t figure out why. 

  • Jenlraines

    We weren’t feeding her anything else.  We followed the recommendation of our vet with the Science Diet Light.  They were fed the recommended amount on the package and ran and played throughout the day.  These foods are somewhat pushed on you by any vets office I’ve ever been in as “the best” and “vet recommended” so I thought I was doing the right thing.  

  • Bob K

     Jenlraines – Its not hard to control a dogs weight.  A little more exercise and less food.  Too bad you did not read the ingredients that is printed on the bags years ago.  What else were you feeding the dog? 

  • Jenlraines

    I’m very upset by reading this.  I had a cocker mix who “adopted” us several years ago.  She gained quite a bit of weight after joining our family and along with my jack russell mix, was put on the Science Diet light.  They were on this food for 5+years without ever losing any weight.  We had all sorts of tests run on her to find out if something else was causing her to be heavy (diabetes, thyroid, etc.) but never got any answers.  About a year and a half ago, she became very ill and had to be rushed to an out of town vet.  I practically got into an argument with this vet in his office because he told me she had pancreatitis and the only way she could’ve got it was from long term feeding of table scraps.  I told him I know she is fat but all she eats is Science Diet light (which he also promoted in his office) and has for several years…he again stressed that the only way she could’ve become like that was table scraps…maybe now I have my answer.  Too bad it was too late and at the cost of a family member.

  • Victoria

    Barry- what did you feed when your dog was on raw? too much organ can lead to diarhhea, as well as not enough bone in diet.
    Orijen is a very rich food, loose stool is often a sign of overfeeding. But some dogs never really get adjusted to such high calorie food. I prefer acana for that reason. There are hundreds of grain free and grain inclusive brands out there that are significantly better then SD and will work for you dog.

  • Barry Bedford

    Great info. I have to disagree with some comments though. I can’t argue how “good” the food is but I can say it’s saved my dog. I have a 4 year old boxer who for the first year was fed raw. It didn’t work as he consistently had the runs. I switched to orijen and the diarhea remained. I was told to try canned and orijen for a couple months, nothing changed. It was then a friend recommended sd with Merrick canned. In 2 days his stool was great and he has more energy.

  • Kathleen Munsch

    Hi. I am not sure right now what I agree or disagree with when it comes to SD. I have a dachshund that became blind 3 years ago. Before this, she had many health problems starting at the age of 1. I have purchased so many different brands of dog food over the last 9 years for her seeing what she enjoyed that did not affect her intestines that could, at times, become a problem for her. Willow gained weight like crazy after she went blind. I started her about 6 months ago on SD for 7+. She is slowly dropping weight. Drinks a lot more water, but the weight is coming off. She has not developed any problems eating SD for 7+. I am happy to see the weight come off and her more active than she has been in a long time.

  • Hi Roger… The phrase “caramel color” has always been treated as a Red Flag item by our software. However, I noticed in a few instances, when just the word “caramel” is used on a label, our software ignores it. So, I’ve now added the “caramel” by itself to our system. You should notice it’s now red flagged. Thanks for the tip.

  • Roger Prows

    Shouldn’t caramel color be flagged?

  • Meagan

    Clarinda- My friend had her lab on SD lite becuase he was about 20 pounds overweight. He would dig in the garbage. She has since switched him to Halo about a month ago. She says that he is still digging through the trash and acting hungry. I just suggested to her today to maybe add some wet food on top of his Halo dry.

  • Clarinda Robertson

    Wow…..I had no idea. But now I see the connection. I adopted my pug a month ago and I bought him SD light thinking this was the best food for him. But, a few days ago he developed a hot spot. He chewed a patch of hair off of his tail. And he seems to be constantly hungry, even though I feed him two cups a day. He’s always trying to go through my trashcan. I’m throwing out this dog food and buying something else. Thanks for the info and all the comments.

  • Jonathan

    Good point, Melissa. Especially about the “minimum” that AAFCO states. I think it’s funny that many lower quality dog foods say on the front of the bag in big bold font “complete and balanced nutrition!” as if that were a feature. That’s the MINIMUM, Purina! Minimum! Got that, Hill’s? for something to be a dog food it must be AT MINIMUM “complete and balanced”. That doesn’t mean anything more than “this food contains the correct amount of vitamins and such to keep your dog alive.” It doesn’t make the food special, and it does NOT make the food good. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits is “complete and balanced” according to the very low bar set by AAFCO.

  • melissa


    Is not just SD. Dog food is a business, big business and companies will continue to produce what people will buy. As in any business its about producing a product while making a profit. The minimum they have to meet is the AAFCO guidelines and what differentiates the products is how they get there. If the public did not buy foods loaded with artificial colors/preservatives, the companies would rethink what they do. Educating the public will change what the public buys and therefore will affect what is produced-Take a look around-many companies are now starting to ditch the ethoxyquin and other chemical preservatives, and others are making an entry level foray into grain free. Its a start in the right direction..

  • Naomi

    Hi. I have a german shepard And she had nothing but problems ever since she been on sd..u would think the makers of this so called vet recommended food would change what there putting in it. I’ve never had a dog with so meny allergies in my life and she is the third Shepard I’ve owned… I feel horrible as a owner reading the ingredients that vie ever feed this to her

  • Norah

    And so are you


  • Jonathan

    Yes, Norah. Dogs are remarkable creatures.

  • Norah

    My dogs do great on this food!!!

  • Mathilde

    My 8 year old English Springer Spaniel has been on this for several years. I thought I was doing the right thing so that she wouldn’t gain a lot of weight. My German vet started me on SD products. She is now being tested for liver problems. I wonder if it is because of this food. I contacted her breeder and there are no liver problems in her blood line. I just hope on a better food the liver will repair itself.

  • Ray

    Money is the word. It appears to be the driving force here. I will let our vet treat our dog, give our dog shots, etc. But they will NOT provide our dog food for there is a big “Hill’s Science Diet” sign right under the sign for the vetinary clinic. They’re pushing it and making commissions as distributors. No thanks. I’ll stick with the 4 and 5 star canned foods and Blue Buffalo kibble.

  • Melissa

    We had adopted Jillian, a black lab when she was about 6 months old. They gave us SD. We already had another dog on different food so we used that for her also. But we used the SD when we were low on their dog food. It gave both dogs diarrhea. After looking at the ingredients, I have wondered why vets and animal shelters recommend that garbage. I guess it is so they can make money. If they truly care about animals and the benefit of the animals health, they wouldn’t recommend dog food that would harm your dog. For a vet to recommend this dog food is to care more about money than the health and quality of your loved ones life. They are not just a dog, they are apart of your family.

  • Hi Mimi… Lower-rated dog foods (like this one) aren’t necessarily “harmful”. But they certainly do appear to contain lower quality ingredients. And less meat.

  • Jonathan

    Because, Mimi, only a small percentage of dogs have an immediate reaction to low quality ingredients, and there is a ton of money to be made by using low quality ingredients.

    Plus, the vet gets the benefit of having more frequent visits from the dogs that slowly develop life-long problems because of the food, thus again, making more money.

    If everyone’s dogs were eating the best foods possible, the vet industry would be severely hurt.

  • Mimi

    Thanks to everyone that posted a comment about the Science Diet. My dog is 11 weeks now and I’ve been feeding him the science diet. Like the comment Chad posted; my puppy is now suffering from an ear infection and he constantly licks his paws and other areas in his body. I began wondering if it was something in my home he was allergic to and even quested if it was the food. He sleeps quiet frequently and now I’m seeing red spots on his skin. I can’t believe Veterinarians would recommend such crap to our animals. If I never came across this site while reading these wonderful comments my dog condition would have probably gotten worse. My question is why is this product still on the shelves of pet stores and why are Vets still recommending this harmful product to our animals?

  • Jonathan

    Science Diet has managed to take a bad product and make it worse.

    My store just got in their new “weight management” system.
    Here is how stupid Hill’s thinks enough people are to make a decent profit…

    The “system” is a nearly $50 box with pre-measured amounts of the standard SD Lite in little plastic packages and two tiny little treat bones in another entire plastic wrapper. All this box manages to do is make a bad food more expensive, and make a company (and the individuals that actually will use this) more wasteful to the environment.

    People are going to be paying tons extra so that they won’t have to measure. Is it really that hard? You know, to scoop out food with a measuring cup?

    By the way, it says on the box that the AAFCO only recommends this food for intermittent feeding.

  • gint

    My bag of science diet went straight in the garbage can after 12 hours, it made my dog constipated then soft stools..wtf?

    its bad, dont buy that garabage.

  • Chad

    Mike, I just wanted to thank you for this site. I have a 6 year old Pembroke Welsh Corgi (Kirby) who weighs 25 lbs. I have always heard about this breeds tendency to gain weight and was obsessed at keeping him at the 25 lbs mark for his own good. (especially with such a long back!) I have been feeding him this Science Diet Lite for 3 1/2 years now thinking I was doing good for him. My vet had recommended the science diet brand to me when he was a puppy and trusted the brand 100%. Probably 3 years ago Kirby started to get frequent ear infections and occasional hot spots. Along with this came frequent licking of his paws. I didn’t think it could be the food, I just assumed it was from environmental allergies. I’ve had him on prednisone to help with his allergies for the last 2 years. Above all, his his mood has been steadily going down. He used to be very happy and playful, but he had become lethargic and slept most of the time. He did like science diet lite though, gobbled it down every time. I somehow stumbled across this website and started reading your reviews, and started to educate myself on the ingredients used for dog food. I was appalled at how low quality this dog food was. (Especially for what you pay for it!!!!) I read a lot of your reviews and decided to switch him over to Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice. He has been eating this for the last 2 1/2 months now and his doing great!! My old dog is back!! He’s got energy again, his hot spots are gone, and his allergies are much improved!! He’s been off his prednisone for over a month now and is doing fine. I was a bit worried that he would start packing on the pounds because this BB chicken had quite a bit more calories, but he hasn’t. I just feed him a little over a cup a day and he’s doing fine. I used to feed him 2 cups a day of Science Diet Lite, so I’m saving almost a full cup of food each day. I’m sorry I didn’t discover how bad Science Diet Lite was earlier. I feel like I threw away 3 good years of his life due to my own ignorance. Why do vets recommend such a poor quality brand as science diet? Thanks again, Mike!

  • Hi Eric… I am so sorry to hear about your sweet beagle. As pet owners, we all reluctantly (and eventually) share the heartbreaking experience of losing a dog we love. Thanks for sharing your story and your thoughts.

    Regarding the P&G purchase of Natura… Don Scott will remain the president of Natura and he has addressed the skeptical public with this note posted on the company website:

    “Natura’s nutritional philosophy will not change; we know that the foundation of our success is rooted in our products and their performance. Our approach to formulation and product design will remain the same, and we will continue to position our formulas on the cutting edge as we evolve and improve our market leading products. Importantly, all Natura dry products will continue to be produced in Natura’s plant in Fremont, and our ingredient selection philosophy is unchanged. We will not compromise our standards.”

    I find these comments somewhat reassuring. But only time will reveal the true result of the buyout.

  • Eric

    I fed Science Diet to my beagle for 8 years. I had him on SD adult light for around 5. He will be 9 next Monday, and this will most likely be his last Birthday, because he has recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer. I always went out of my way to buy SD thinking it was really good for him (“#1 Vet recommended”), and I had no problem paying the premium price for it. I always told the Vet during his exams that I fed him SD, and he or she never questioned it or suggested any other brand. I’m not saying this garbage is to blame for my beagle’s cancer, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t help him. He’s been off SD light for 8 months now, and has trimmed down a few pounds once switching to Natural Balance. He is now EVO 95% meat (canned) since he has cancer and needs a high protein / high fat diet. I’m not sure I’m sticking with EVO since P&G bought them. The pet food industry sucks.