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Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus Dog Food Review (Dry)

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: June 24, 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

Rating:
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Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus dry product range is made up of 10 recipes with ratings varying from 2.5 to 3.5 stars. The average rating of the whole range is 3 stars.

The table below shows each recipe in this range including our rating and the AAFCO nutrient profile: Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken Meal, Barley and Rice 3 M
Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Adult 6+ 2.5 M
Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ No Corn, Wheat, Soy 3.5 M
Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Perfect Digestion Chicken, Whole Oats and Brown Rice 3 M
Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Perfect Digestion Small Bites Chicken, Whole Oats and Brown Rice 3 M
Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Senior Vitality Chicken and Rice 3 M
Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Senior Vitality Small and Mini 3 M
Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Small and Mini 2.5 M
Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Bites Chicken Meal, Barley and Rice 2.5 M
Hill's Science Diet Adult 6+ Large Breed No Corn, Wheat, Soy 3.5 M

Recipe and Label Analysis

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Bites Chicken Meal, Barley and Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Bites Chicken Meal, Barley and Rice

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

19%

Protein

13.7%

Fat

59.3%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Chicken meal, cracked pearled barley, brewers rice, whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, whole grain sorghum, chicken fat, dried beet pulp, whole grain oats, chicken liver flavor, soybean meal, soybean oil, lactic acid, pork flavor, flaxseed, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, iodized salt, choline chloride, 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-lysine, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), taurine, dl-methionine, oat fiber, mixed tocopherols for freshness, natural flavors, l-carnitine, beta-carotene, apples, broccoli, carrots, cranberries, green peas


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.4%

Red denotes any controversial items

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 19% 14% NA
Dry Matter Basis 19% 14% 59%
Calorie Weighted Basis 17% 30% 53%

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The second 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 third 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 fourth item 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 fifth ingredient is corn. Corn is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as wheat (previously discussed).

The sixth ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.

Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.

The seventh ingredient is chicken fat. This item 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 next 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.

The ninth 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 Science Diet product.

With seven notable exceptions

First, this recipe contains soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.

Although soybean meal contains 48% 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.

Next, we find 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.

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, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

Next, we note the use of taurine in this recipe. Taurine is 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.

This recipe also 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.

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.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus looks like an average dry kibble.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 18.7%, a fat level of 13.7% and estimated carbohydrates of about 59.6%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 20.7% and a mean fat level of 13.9%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 57.4% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

Which means this Science Diet product line contains…

Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to other dry dog foods.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean meal and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing 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 July 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 Plus is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meal as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

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Recommended with Reservations

A Final Word

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