Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus (Dry)


Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2 stars.

The Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus product line includes five dry dog foods.

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

  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 6+ Large Breed [M]
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Active Longevity [M]
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Active Longevity Small Bites [M]
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small and Toy Breed (1.5 stars) [M]
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 11+ Small and Toy Breed Age Defying [M]

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Active Longevity Small Bites was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Active Longevity Small Bites

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 20% | Fat = 15% | Carbs = 58%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, whole grain sorghum, cracked pearled barley, whole grain oats, pork fat, dried beet pulp, corn gluten meal, chicken liver flavor, soybean oil, lactic acid, pork flavor, flaxseed, potassium chloride, 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, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, biotin, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement), l-lysine, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), taurine, oat fiber, l-carnitine, mixed tocopherols for freshness, natural flavors, beta-carotene, apples, broccoli, carrots, cranberries, green peas

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis20%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis20%15%58%
Calorie Weighted Basis17%32%51%
Protein = 17% | Fat = 32% | Carbs = 51%

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

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

The eighth ingredient is pork fat, a product from rendering pig meat.

Commonly known as lard, pork fat can add significant flavor to any dog food. And it can be high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.

Although it may not sound very appetizing, pork fat (in moderate amounts) is actually an acceptable pet food ingredient.

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 product.

With six notable exceptions

First, this recipe contains 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.

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, 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, this recipe includes 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.

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. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

Hill’s Science Diet
Adult Plus Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus Dog Food looks like an average dry product.

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 20%, a fat level of 15% and estimated carbohydrates of about 58%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 20% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 57% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 75%.

Below-average protein. Near-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, flaxseed, and peas contained in this recipe and the soybean meal contained in some others, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a limited amount of meat.

However, with 32% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 17% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.

Bottom line?

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus is a plant-based dry dog food using only a limited amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2 stars.

Not recommended.

Those looking for a review of the rest of the kibbles in this line may wish to visit our review of Hill’s Science Diet Adult dry dog food.

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
Recall History

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

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
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A Final Word

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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.

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

Notes and Updates

11/12/2016 Last Update

  • Dori

    Actually Let’s use Common sense, my veterinarian sells Science Diet in her practice.

  • Let’s use common sense!

    I am a bit confused Smith. Hills Science Diet is usually sold in stores like Petsmart and Petco. Normally, Science Diet is not sold at the veterinarian’s office. Prescription Hills on the other hand requires a prescription and is sold through veterinarians. Were your dogs eating Science Diet or Prescription Hills products?

  • Crazy4dogs

    Shawna is absolutely correct!!! It’s not the protein but the phosphorous that needs to be restricted. I had a geriatric CRF dog and managed it by switching to and feeding him a fresh diet. I never use lower proteins on my senior dogs and only did so on my CRF dog when the Bun Creatinine numbers indicated it.

    If you are willing to do the research, there are many fresh or canned proteins that are low in phosphorus that can be fed to your dog. Dry dog food is a CRF dog’s worst enemy. It is only stressing the kidneys because kidneys need water to flush toxins out. If you slowly add some fresh food, it can possibly help to slow the progression of kidney failure.

    There is a dogaware kidney group that has a lot of information. Grandma Lucys is a dehydrated food that is low in phosphorus that you might want to look at. There is also a BalanceIt website that works with your dog’s medical issues to prepare healthy diets that vets often recommend.

    Here are the links:




  • Shawna

    There is amply data and research currently available discussing new findings about senior pets – they actually need MORE not less protein than their adult counterparts. Some research suggests as much as 50% more.

    Purina discusses it on their website
    “Protein requirements actually increase by about 50% in older dogs, while their calorie needs tend to decrease” https://www.purinaveterinarydiets.com/nutrition-myths-facts/senior-pets-and-protein/

    Additionally although it is often necessary to restrict phosphorus, restricting protein too early in chronic kidney disease can cause more harm than good. This has been known for over 20 years now — ample research on this topic. They now know that feeding moderate amounts of “high quality” protein is better than lowering protein. “Corn gluten meal” is considered a low quality protein and should not be fed to dogs with kidney disease. Kibbled diets are also counter indicated due to moisture content and lower quality of protein.

  • bearbetsey

    I use this for both my senior dogs. My one dog has early stage kidney disease and this food was recommended because of the it’s low phosphorous content and slightly below average protein content. Her creatinine level is 1.1 and not bad enough that she needs prescription dog food which I can’t afford anyway. She is going on 14 years old, so whatever extra time I can give her I will do what I can. I am even giving her distilled water now to drink which also was recommended because there are no minerals in distilled water. I use the Small Bites variety because it is easier for her to eat. Don’t believe everything you read here, remember these reviews are opinions.

  • Joan

    I used to feed Iams because I thought it was a good dog food. Then we switched to Merrick, they changed their formula and the dogs didn’t like it. Switched all around making my cairn sick so she went on a script hills diet. After it was getting so ridiculously expensive I went to hills active longetivity. Both liked it. My 16 year old just recently died but my 9 year old cairn is still doing great on this food. 16 years was a good run for a dog feeding it so called crap food. My cairn with the sensitive stomach is fine with this food. Not changing it and screwing with her stomach at this stage. Every dog is different. My friend has dogs that eat table food and 1 is 17 the other 16 so IMHO as long as you feed your dog you’re doing good.

  • Melissaandcrew

    I don’t know anout Shawna but my dogs are eating now 95 percent raw diet. All bloodwork has come back normal for everything. And these are dogs over 13yrs of age.

  • Shawna

    Oops, just thought of something else. You mention “Dogs not out burning off the excess protein for hours a day don’t need it.”

    Are you referring to the calories (which are the same, 4, as those in grains) or are you referring to the amino acids. If you are referring to calories, I’d like to refer you to two research articles in The Journal of Nutrition.

    “High-Protein Low-Carbohydrate Diets Enhance Weight Loss in Dogs” http://nutrition.highwire.org/content/134/8/2087S.full

    “Weight Loss in Obese Dogs: Evaluation of a High-Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Diet” http://jn.nutrition.org/content/132/6/1685S.full

    I might add, in the Purina Research paper mentioned in previous post they state “We established an association between hyperlipidemia and progressive renal failure in dogs, wherein loss of renal function in dogs with induced renal disease was directly related to plasma triglyceride and total cholesterol concentrations.”

    In the Purina paper they are discussing saturated versus polyunsaturated fats. HOWEVER, it has been known for decades (via research) that high trigylcerides can be a direct result of the carbohydrate content (and type) in the diet. The first paper on weight loss mentions it in dogs. “Several studies showed the potential benefits of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet on reducing body weight in humans (6,7). These diets are also associated with decreases in serum TG as compared to diets high in carbohydrates. The results of the study reported here suggest that these same benefits can also be obtained in dogs fed high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets.”

  • Shawna

    Unfortunately Christal your training has led you astray when it comes to kidney disease in dogs and cats. It’s unfortunate but many in the veterinary profession are misled just as you have been. Not all though. Like Dr. Kenneth Bovee

    Dr. Bovee’s credentials
    “Kenneth C. Bovée, DVM, MMedSc Department of Clinical Studies School of Veterinary Medicine
    University of Pennsylvania
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania”

    In an article titled “Mythology of Protein Restriction for Dogs with Reduced Renal Function”

    Dr. Bovee writes (bolded emphasis mine”
    “Evidence that high protein diets enhance renal function in normal dogs has led to confusion among veterinarians who have been told for decades that low protein diets may be beneficial for kidney function.

    Results of the 10 experimental studies on dogs have failed to provide evidence of the benefit of reduced dietary protein to influence the course of renal failure.

    Why Is Dietary Alteration Still Used if There Is No Proven Benefit?
    The continued use of protein restriction in the absence of scientific evidence deserves thoughtful consideration. I would suggest that the dogma and mythology of a possible benefit are so embedded in the thought process of veterinarians and owners that these cannot be easily dislodged despite the scientific evidence.

    The myth has been maintained even in the past decade despite negative scientific evidence because the dogma has persisted about its value for the past 40 years. If we as professionals are uncertain about the facts concerning a controversy, we are likely to put ourselves in someone else’s hands who appears to have authority. Power to command this authority is in the hands of commercial advertisements that promote these special products with misleading messages. Marketing is aggressively aimed at veterinarians and owners alike. There is a profit motive for veterinarians to sell these diets…. . The situation can remind us that we are part of an uncritical profession with little review or standards. When scientific proof failsto justify a practice, a false myth may likely live on.

    In conclusion, the continued existence of this false myth about dietary protein is an uncomfortable reminder of the lack of sophistication, lack of critical thought, and reliance on oversimplified and attractive dogma that persists in our profession.” http://www.dogaware.com/files/bovee.pdf

    Dr. Bovee’s is just one of many examples.

    PURINA Research also has a paper on the topic

    “When attention is focused on those experiments in which protein has been isolated as the only variable, the data are overwhelmingly indicative of a failure to demonstrate a protein effect on the functional or morphologic deterioration of kidneys of “remnant kidney” dogs. Older dogs have a higher incidence of chronic renal disease than young dogs, and restricting protein intake in these dogs has been advocated as a renoprotective maneuver. In a study designed to test this hypothesis, experimental dogs seven to eight years of age were divided into two groups. Dogs in both groups had uninephrectomy performed to increase vulnerability of the remaining kidney to any protein effects. One group was fed a low protein diet, and the other group received a high protein diet for the subsequent four years.12 Results of this study indicated that there were no adverse effects from the high protein diet (Table 1), and mortality was actually higher in the low protein group. A similar study was conducted in another laboratory and likewise no adverse effect from high protein diets was detected.13 In the latter study, however, increased mortality in dogs receiving the low protein diet did not occur.” http://web.archive.org/web/20070331231427/http://www.purina.ca/images/articles/pdf/NutritionAndRenalFunction.pdf

    Science Diet has an article dispelling the high protein myth as well but this post is long enough already. I can link to their paper if you are interested.

    I really hope you take this as an opportunity to educate the vets and other techs in your clinic as you could be doing dogs (and especially cats) a huge disservice by disregarding this and maintaining old ways.

  • Christal CVT

    High protein is not at all good on kidneys human or animal. My grandmother has 1 kidney left that has 1/3 function left. She is on a low salt low protein diet for 4 years now at age 83. If she was on high protein she would be dead by now. Dogs not out burning off the excess protein for hours a day don’t need it. May be you should have a kidney panel ran on your dogs blood to check their function to better determine “healthy”

  • Researcher

    Do not feed your animals this 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. People get educated on Pet foods and read ingredients, if it contains soy stay away from it, if you care about your animals!


  • Oliver Pilon

    grrr i closed pc yesterday but forgot to click submit on my reply.

    shorter version:
    pitbull + buldog. His weight is decent, can see a bit of his notches on spine, can see a bit his ribs.
    Hes not as tight and lean as when he was younger, he could probably do slightly better on the weight but it really doesnt show much in my opinion. probably just not as tight.(maybe could lose a bit, but i would have to see it to see if its necesarry cause im unsure).

    im not interested in the raw stuff because im broke and have little time.
    Im looking for 2-3 quality “straight out of the box) dry foods (to rotate) i can buy by the bag to feed him (since science diet is not recommended and potentially dangerous). The food can be priced at up to science diet prices.
    Later on i will add some supplements, when i ll be able to afford.

    I live in Canada.

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi Oliver,

    I responded to your post last night, but Discus appears to have swallowed my response whole. Grrr…

    Let me see if I can recall some of the key things I wanted to mention.

    First of all, how is your dog’s weight? I know you mentioned that he was a bully X breed, so I wasn’t sure if his weight was on target or not. Do the notches of his spine feel like your knuckles when you make a fist? Can you easily feel, but not see, his ribs? Does his waist nip in or does his belly hang low? Even a slight weight loss could ease the pressure on his aching joints.

    I’m not familiar with joint supplements, so maybe some others might weigh in on those as well. I recalled pulling up some conversations in the forum are of this site last night to read what others thought about joint supplements that they liked; here’s the search return from the forum using the term “joint supplement:” http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/search/?bbp_search=joint+supplement. I’ll also add that most foods that market themselves as containing glucosamine, don’t contain a sufficient amount of a quality supplement in order to be considered a therapeutic dose. So, if you feel you need glucosamine, you should add it as a supplement to a quality diet, rather than choosing a food because it claims to contain glucosamine.

    You seemed interested in a raw diet, and some wonderful natural sources of glucosamine would be chicken feet, chicken necks, beef trachea, duck feet and chicken frames / backs. I’ll tell you most dogs love to chew on all of those things I mentioned above and you have the added benefit of their helping to keep his teeth clean at the same time.

    A whole canned sardine is a fantastic source of Omega 3’s. For my dog that is reluctant to eat his sardine at times, I like to use Mercola krill oil. Here’s a good article about adding sardines to your dog’s diet: http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/sardines-for-dogs

    To help us make some recommendations for a good budget friendly food for you, can you please start by telling me if you’re in the US; and if not, where do you live?

  • Oliver Pilon

    Hey betsy,
    first of all i do love my dog but am clueless about all the dog heath stuff.

    My dog is a 12 years old mix of bulldog and pitbull, weighting 85 pounds.

    Health wise its hard to say how he is because its winter and its cold so hes mostly inside (winter not good as prolonged sleeping).

    He did started limping a bit(not sure if limping is the right word, am not english) like 2 years ago after only 5 second of running after a freesbie. Switched to science diet and he wasnt limping anymore. You can still see that hes older of course, hes not getting any younger, He does have arthristis and when the vet checked his leg extensions/movements, the dog at some point did have some pain. She didnt seem to say it was super bad but not good. When he sits against the couch it takes him like 5-10 seconds doing it slowly also, and when he gets up he seem to put some effort and feels heavier(as you see him put effort to get up).

    he takes science diet large breed food, which until today thought was top food.

    We are now tighter on money but really im open to any food ats up to the price of science diet(which is high, no?) but not more. And if theres something cheaper thats really good thats great as well.

    look, i have so much on my plate (including tons of web research on many other things for income etc) that i would be so happy if you could recommend 2-4 different specific bag of dog dry food that are really good, as you say maybe not perfect, but dont raise red flags like science diet.

    Without having to do ton of research.

    Beside this, would it be correct that the following tips i collected from people talking on ths site would eventually be good additions (if i can afford it eventually):

    -one fish oil pill per day(if i can find a way to give it to him?)
    -70mg of human Glucosamine/Chonroitin supplement /day
    -Wysong arthegic and wysong joint complext

    thanks so much!!!
    (its so great of you guys to help all the dogs enjoy a better life. its truly a wonderful thing. they are loyal to us, and its our duty to be there for them as well)

  • Shawna

    Hi Oliver,

    Veterinary Nutritionist Dr. Meg Smart writes on her blog

    “Variety is the Key (My conclusions after over 30 years of teaching veterinary clinical nutrition)

    Do not be afraid to add variety to your pet’s diet. Variety in the diet can include healthy table scraps (not leftovers often laden with salt and fat), homemade diets, kibble, canned, freeze-dried and dehydrated foods. Variety keeps a pet from becoming fixated on one diet with a special flavour. Variety also gives you flexibility in choosing pet foods and a selection of available foods while on vacation or when someone else is looking after your dog

    Choosing a Commercial Diet

    If you wish to feed a commercial diet find a company that is small, family owned and accountable. The company should instill confidence in you when you contact them and should be willing to share information on ingredient sources as well as the level of
    quality control they have in place.” http://petnutritionbysmart.blogspot.com/2012/07/practical-advise-on-feeding-your-dog.html

  • Ross C.

    Try a simple chicken and rice food with about 25% – 30% protein and don’t worry so much. Chicken, fish, egg covers all the bases. Stay with one food if or until you have an issue. Chances are you won’t. Nutrisource, Canidae Chicken & Rice, Precise’s standard foods are all good choices. Dog have very simple nutritional needs and extremely flexible digestive systems. I have had dogs live long happy lives stealling hog feed their whole lives.

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi Oliver,

    In case she’s not here tonight, I’ll let you know that Hound Dog Mom feeds a properly balanced home prepared raw diet. She feeds a wide variety of whole foods. She takes great care to feed her dogs the highest quality, most complete raw diet possible.

    In fact, if you’d like to see what she feeds, here are some of her menus: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/menus/

    Home prepared raw is not for everyone. I do feed raw meaty bones not only for nutrition, but also chewing satisfaction and oral health; and use a balanced commercial raw product for complete meals, in particular Darwin’s.

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi Oliver Pilon,

    Are you currently feeding Science Diet? And if so, how long have you been feeding it?

    Does your pup have any health issues? What breed and age is your dog?

    And lastly, do you have a budget you need to work within and is ordering online an option if you aren’t able to buy locally?

    OK, all of those questions aside, diet rotation is one of the keys to avoiding prolonged exposure to problem ingredients and to compensate for nutritional deficiencies in the diet.

    Personally, I feed a very wide variety of foods from raw to kibble. Mine ate raw chicken backs for dinner tonight. I haven’t decided for sure what they’ll have tomorrow. When feeding kibble, I rotate proteins, binders and manufacturers with every single bag I open. I have a 77 pound Golden and a 17 pound Cavalier and I buy smaller bags (12 – 15 pounds) of kibble so that I can use it up quickly and often have more than one brand open at once. Right now, we have Wellness Core and Nature’s Logic open. No one food is perfect, thus the need for rotation ~ aim for balance over time. No one food delivers perfect nutrition rendering it suitable for exclusive use.

  • Oliver Pilon

    when you saw a high protein raw diet, you mean you prepare him food or you serve him a pet product(canned or dry food)?
    sorry im new to all of this and worry for my old dog

  • Oliver Pilon

    what do you recommend instead?
    you made me scared. i need an alternative!!

  • EMc2

    I switched to Blue Wilderness about 1.5 years ago. Recently, my 30 lb, 10 yr Golden Retriever/English Cocker mix (rescue) began wetting his dog bed while sound asleep. I checked with the vet and was told to take him off Blue Wilderness immediately (too much protein) and switch him to Science Diet Senior. The bed wetting stopped and his eyes cleared up. I am now switching my other 2 dogs back to Science Diet.

  • Shawna

    I had a dog live to 18 on Beneful — he wasn’t at all healthy but he had a long one.

    I have a dog now who technically shouldn’t be considered healthy as she has had kidney disease since birth. But, she is healthy. She’s now seven years old, not on any prescription medications and she eats a high protein raw diet. I wouldn’t feed her Hills KD kibble even if it was absolutely free to do so.

    You are correct that diet absolutely does contribute to ones life span. Diet also contributes, on a profound level, to ones ability to maintain health while alive. In fact, I just yesterday watched a video interview with neurologist, Dr. David Perlmutter. In the interview he states “the foods that we consume are instructing our genes and therefore that’s very empowering notion that we can change our genetic destiny based on the food choices that we make.” He suggests avoiding ALL processed foods and high carb foods — FOR HUMANS.. Imagine how inappropriate he would find high carb, processed foods for dogs. The interview is titled “The Author of The Grain Brain Discusses How to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease” if interested.

  • Dog Owner

    I had a dog who live until she was 16 and 1/2 years old and she ate only Hill’s Science Diet dry food. The dog I have now will be 15 in March and he also only eat’s Hill’s Science Diet dry food. Both my dogs are mixed breeds, but the food they eat has to on some level contribute to their life span.

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  • Smith

    We fed both our dogs science diet for 13 years. They both developed liver disease with elevated liver enzymes which ended up causing liver failure and we had to put them to sleep. After doing some research we concluded it was science diet that did it and we are not the only ones that have had this experience. Stay away from science diet. Funny it was our vet that recommended science diet to begin with and we used to buy it directly from the vet’s office.

  • LWyatt

    I just recently bought my dog Science Diet Mature Adult Active longevity “new and improved formula” dry dog food and he has experienced uncontrollable symptoms of diarrhea, gas and vomiting!! He has been on this type of food for a couple of years and this “new formula” isn’t right! This “new formula” left me with a sick dog and an expensive vet bill! I will not be buying this type again!

  • Pam Dalton

    We have Pugs. One is on Hills RX W/D or R/D (if they are out of W/D) because he has a repeated history of both struvite and oxalate crystals (urinary) and high protein food really would kill him. The other Pug, due to a few of these incidents, was for a time also on the same (it’s a pain to have to keep two types of food on hand so the vet said feed to both). However, his guts did not like either of these. We tried a number of other ‘premium’ foods, like Blue Buffalo, but these were too rich for him and he threw those up. We have been feeding one W/D and the other Science Diet Mature Adult Light (they are ages 9 and 7). They also get a large tablespoon of good quality canned food and a tablespoon of pumpkin with warm water mixed into the dry foods they eat, twice a day. In addition they each get one Fish Oil, one Glucosamine Sulfate, each get Prevacoxx (arthritis NASAID) and the one with the crystal issues gets a Benadryl (allergies), the one on the non-RX food gets a cranberry supplement daily (seems to be working fine – he has not had one more crystal issue in years since on this).
    The combination of these things – for OUR dogs – has been perfect. They are the right weights (not easy to do with Pugs! They love their groceries!), have gorgeous, low shedding coats (the one with the worst past crystal issues also had even as a pup itchy skin and flaky dandruff which is now gone with no re-occurrence) which I attribute in part to the Fish Oil supplement. One tip I received from a vet tech was to put them on a little pumpkin too; anal gland issues have disappeared!
    I don’t think it’s as simple as feeding one ‘perfect’ food. It took a lot of trial and error to find diets for them that a) didn’t make them throw up b) were nutritionally sound while keeping them at the right weight c) they would eat happily and d) addressed some special health issues.
    I liken this to my husband who takes Coumadin. The diet that one can eat while taking Coumadin, to prevent blood clots/DVT’s is not on its own the ideal diet (gotta watch the dark leafy greens, etc although you can adjust your meds to accommodate getting them). However, you are dealing with a complex blend of ‘give and take’ to address other health issues. I respect what has worked for others and their dogs, but there is no one-fits-all approach.

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  • Guest

    If you look at the trickery behind the ingredients order, you can see that “brown rice, brewers rice, whole grain wheat, whole grain sorghum, whole grain corn” have all been itemised so that chicken meal can be placed first, when in reality, it is something that should be placed further down the list since those mentioned itemised grains, are just that, all cheap cereal based ingredients that really makes up most of the content of this poor man-dubbed dog food.

    It’s interesting regarding what Shawna quoted from Dr. Ettinger on that dog cancer blog. ” I am not advocating an entirely raw diet for dogs by the way, and
    especially not for cancer patients. Raw from the grocery store is not
    raw out on the plains of Africa. Germs grow on the surface of meat in
    the store and dogs with cancer usually have immune compromise. That’s a
    bad mix……” I would somewhat agree with this. The other alternative are those sterilised (I’m not usually a fan of sterilisation) raw dog food patties of brands such as Primal and BARF. Commercial lamb BARF flavour patties have been known to aid as a good diet for dogs suffering cancer. But cooking meats in the state of rare is something I would support in those cases also. Less the bones. Only raw bones should ever be fed to dogs, suffering cancer or not.

    Having said that, this Hills Science recipe is not their worst, but bad nonetheless.

  • Guest

    Yeah, about thruthaboutpetfood2.com……Susan Thixton should have purchased the .net and .org domains when she or whoever purchased the .com one. I did with a purchase of a domain name 4 years ago, for the purpose so a competitor or enemy can’t. But then the particular domain provider advised this in their up-sell. Didn’t one of those anti-raw and anti-pet welfare pro-processed pet food companies buy the ,net and .org versions? Those sneaky snakes!

  • Pattyvaughn

    There are so many foods that help fight cancer. It’s a shame that your veterinary oncologist doesn’t think you care enough about your pet to even present you with the options of fighting with nutrition.
    People and dogs both love many foods that contribute to cancer.

  • Shawna

    Additionally, consider these words by Vet Dr. Khuly on the PetMD’s blog Fully Vetted

    “This is, we’re in the midst of a sea change in how we treat our pets now that so many of us consider our pets family members. And that means that what we view as OK to put in our pets has changed too.”

    “When the very same conversation is taking place with respect to higher quality human foods, it’s no wonder foods like Science Diet (foods that have traditionally been viewed as the best of the bunch) no longer cut it compared to those that offer much more in the way of highly digestible animal protein and higher quality carbohydrate sources.”

    “Many of us now want to see more biologically appropriate, recognizable ingredients, a variety of them, more animal protein than veggie protein, and an obvious commitment on the part of the manufacturer to the kinds of ingredients we’d be willing to serve our human families, too.” http://truthaboutpetfood2.com/one-vets-stand-on-science-diet-pet-food
    My own pets deserve better than Science Diet and like foods. Including my dog born with kidney disease. She doesn’t eat SD or the likes either. Just my opinion though.

  • Shawna

    Not all vets and veterinary oncologists would agree with your Oncologist though.

    Dr. Demian Dressler of the dog cancer blog writes in his article titled “Dog Food: Is there a cancer risk” why feeding kibble alone can increase the cancer risk. Dr. Dressler is not an oncologist but the co-author of his book, Dr. Ettinger, is. He writes in the article

    “The take home message is that the folks pushing for less cooking may have a point. I am not advocating an entirely raw diet for dogs by the way, and especially not for cancer patients. Raw from the grocery store is not raw out on the plains of Africa. Germs grow on the surface of meat in the store and dogs with cancer usually have immune compromise. That’s a bad mix.

    But trimming the outside off and cooking red lean meats in low sodium broth at around 200 degrees while keeping the inside rare seems logical.” http://www.dogcancerblog.com/dog-food-is-there-a-cancer-risk/

    It is my understanding that processed foods do not support apoptosis which prevents cancer to begin with.

  • My dogs Oncologist recommends it. I trust her scientific knowledge and research methodology. I switched to science diet and my dogs love it.

  • Sonatherun, My 11 year old pug has been on Science Diet small bites for three months and I’ve seen his health drastically decline to include a UTI, pancreatitis, and almost paralysis in the rear end area. What did you switch your dog to? I need to try something different. Please message me at [email protected] – Thank you.

  • Frank

    Yes, when I make my own dog food, I give the older ones less meat, more veggie and carbs, healthy oils…it works….perfect bloodwork and they live to be very old….

  • Frank

    Yup, they don’t need the excess waste going through their kidneys…

  • Shawna

    Agreed 🙂

    I know you do your research but I think some would underestimate exactly how much phosphorus carbohydrates (grains especially) could add to the diet. The below is all taken from nutritiondata.com (assuming they are correct) and all based on 1 ounce of food.

    Grass finish beef has 49mg of phosphorus http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beef-products/10526/2

    Medium grain, cooked brown rice has 21.6mg of phos. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5710/2

    Oats (didn’t say whether cooked or not?) has a whopping 146mg of phosphorus http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5708/2

    Raw egg whites only contribute 4.2mg of phos http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/112/2

    Audrey will be getting lots of egg whites, high fat meats and tripe and lower phos veggies/fruits when I need to start limiting her diet.

  • InkedMarie

    First of all, you aren’t “mot” people so you on’t get to speak for them. I’m far from rich but feeding my dogs a high quality diet is very important to me so we scrimp to do so. I know people who can easily afford better than grocery store food but won’t. I know people who claim they’re poor yet they have an iPhone, money for partying etc. for some, it’s priorities. Fancy toys over a good dog food.
    Second, for me, asking my regular vets about dog food is laughable. Mine have no clue what ingredients make a good dog food. They feed the crap they sell. I do talk nutrition with my holistic vet, however.

  • Shawna

    Hmmm — none of my 8 dogs, including the one that has kidney disease, get flea/tick meds or heartworm preventatives. In fact I haven’t used either in my entire adult life, 26 years. And I don’t have a flea/tick issue and never had a dog diagnosed with heartworm. Also, Audrey has not had ANY vaccinations except her first set of puppy shots (adenovirus, distemper and parvo). Rabies vaccine is the law here but she has legally been exempted for life due to her kidney disease. She has NEVER had a rabies shot.

  • Shawna

    The kidneys have to be about 70% damaged before symptoms begin to appear. It can take years for that 70% damage to occur.
    Also they believe that vaccines cause kidney disease in cats. Same could be true for dogs?
    Some vets feel that a life time of eating highly processed kibbled foods are a major cause of chronic kidney disease. Kibbled diets are dehydrating and are less bioavailable.

  • Shawna

    Mine is LOTS of research. Only my research turned up significantly different results than did yours. And personal experience with a dog living, in excellent health, seven years with diagnosed chronic kidney disease on a much higher protein than all but one or two kibbles on the market.
    I know I am late to the table here and this has all been hashed out but this is a topic I am VERY passionate about and I post A LOT on here and other sites about it.

  • Shawna

    Please read the Hills link I posted just a few seconds ago… Just because your, or anyone elses, vet recommends Science Diet KD or another prescription food in the early stages of KD or worse yet to “prevent” KD doesn’t mean it is correct…
    By the way, I don’t sell dog food so I have nothing to profit from when I recommend high protein diets for ALL dogs (with a few minor exceptions)…

  • Shawna

    WRONG!! As I noted before, even dogs with active chronic kidney disease do not need to have their protein lowered. The “quality” of the protein is WAY more important than the quantity.

    Low quality proteins add to a kd dogs BUN. The kidneys have to filter BUN. On a low quality protein there is more work for the kidneys to do. When they can’t do the work the BUN increases in the blood and basically poisons the pet to death. HIGH QUALITY proteins create less BUN for the kidneys to have to filter. Also, by feeding probiotics and prebiotics you can create a “nitrogen trap” which allows the body to utilize the feces to remove some BUN sparing the kidneys from having to filter it.

    The ONLY time you need to lower the protein in a diet of a dog WITH kidney disease is

    1. if they have acute kidney disesase brought on by a bacterial infection, poisons etc.

    2. The dog has proteinuria (protein in the urine) which is caused by excess inflammation in the kidneys. Once the inflammation is under control the dog can go back on a higher protein diet however.

    3. Later stages of chronic kidney disease (stages 3 and definitely 4). Lowering protein at these stages doesn’t prevent further damage to the kidneys though. But it does lower the BUN so the dog feels better.

    PS — even Hills Science says that lowering protein doesn’t prevent kidney disease and is not necessary until later stages.
    “In contrast, multiple studies have failed to confirm a beneficial role for protein restriction in limiting progression of kidney disease in dogs (4, 5, 16).

    There are no randomised controlled clinical trials that address the role of diet therapy in dogs with stage 1 and 2 CKD.” http://www.hillsvet.com/pdf/confPro_TheRoleOfNutritionalManagementInDogsWithChronicKidneyDisease_en.pdf

    They do state that in stage 3 and 4 of kd a lower protein diet did play a role in overall health by lowering BUN. By the way, there ARE studies that show a beneficial affect of high quality (so not kibble) higher protein diets in dogs with early stage kd, like my Audrey.

    I’d love to talk with your vet!!!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I’m wasn’t saying plant based protein is low in phosphorus, I was saying animal based protein – in general – isn’t low in phosphorus. It is true that a higher fat cut of meat will contain less phosphorus, but that’s only because it contains less protein as well. Gram for gram – tripe being an exception – most animal based protein isn’t low in phosphorus.

  • Shawna

    Some are lower in phosphorus than some plants — green tripe as an example. Also the golden rule is to feed proteins higher in fat.. The higher fat adds calories and satiety requiring less food be fed. The ONLY grains that are recommended for dogs with later stages of kd where phosphorus would have to be severely restricted is cream of wheat (or farina) or glutinous rice (aka sushi rice). All others provide too much phosphorus without the optimal levels of biologically available protein. Sweet potato has lower phos than yams etc. Egg whites are relatively low in phos so the whites can be fed without the yolk.

  • Shawna

    Here’s one instance where listening to our vets is BAD advice sonatherun.. My dog Audrey, the one pictured in my avatar to the left, was born with kidney disease. From birth kd is called congenital kidney disease. The life expectancy of a dog with congenital kd is up to 2 years of age. Audrey was weaned onto a HIGH protein raw diet. Her diet has always consisted of anywhere from 45 to 54% protein (much higher than most kibbles). Audrey will be seven (let me repeat that — SEVEN) years old this coming June and is still in excellent health. She is unmedicated except vitamins and neutracuticals, doesn’t require vet visits for any reason not even sub q fluids — has never had one etc..

    BELIEVE me, when Audrey was diagnosed with kidney disease I did A LOT of research. Not only does protein not CAUSE kidney disease but it is well known that once the dog HAS kidney disease it does not damage the kidneys even further. In fact, it helps the whole urinary tract including the kidneys.

    Phosphorus (NOT protein) is what can further damage the kidneys ONCE they are already damaged. But foods other than animal protein are also high in phosphorus — like grains. And some high protein foods, like green tripe, are low to moderate in phosphorus.
    I’m afraid that if I had taken my Audrey to your vet she’d be dead by now!!!!!!!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Since I’m making some homemade raw, I better have a better handle on it than I’m currently displaying. lol

  • Hound Dog Mom

    lol yeah I read that and was like hmm…I know patty know this.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Yes, I was having a major brain fart when I typed that, wasn’t I!! Nitrates, maybe. Increased BUN, I could see. But my brain locking on phosphous, if I didn’t know me better, I might ask what I was smoking last night. Good Grief!!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Plant-based proteins don’t tax kidneys because they have high levels of phosphorus, animal proteins are very high in phosphorus. You can’t avoid phosphorus by feeding animal-based proteins.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Which is why you should be aware that a lot of the research that promoted a low protein diet for seniors was done by the companies that were selling low protein foods, to justify what they were selling, and has been disproven by university studies that are not selling food, for over 10 years. New research is not promoting low protein diets for healthy senior dogs.

  • Marie

    That’s all well and good, but you essentially told me that I was lazy and a fraud for asking you to explain yourself, and that was uncalled for.

  • Marie

    No it’s not. Research can be legitimate as long as it’s from a neutral third party source that I can study for myself to see if it’s applicable.

  • sonatherun

    I care a great deal about motivation, because motivation is essential to knowing if research is legitimate or not.

  • sonatherun

    I’m not a scientist or a vet, and I’m not trying to convince you, Marie. I only wish to alert other owners trying to do their own research on this issue to look high and low and talk to their vets rather than just be swayed by those promoting the high protein foods as the be-all and end-all, which they aren’t, and particularly for most people who can’t afford to spend more on their dogs than on themselves even if were.

  • sonatherun

    Blue is a double entendre. I know 30% is middle of the road, 20% is low, I’m not going back to high.

  • sonatherun

    My vet does accept that, and I do wish I had passed the last round of vaccines, having minimized them as much as possible over the years and knowing the we aren’t really at risk of what they prevent, but most of us have our weak moments when it comes to authority figures. As for fleas, I’m considering. They had to have the last round a year ago because we were dealing with a flea infestation from outside, and it could easily return. How do you battle neighborhood fleas without chemicals of any kind? Not battling them is not an alternative, and the organic alternatives I know work in and under a house, but not in a yard. As for food, I’m sticking with what’s working.

  • beaglemom

    The only thing I gathered from your argument (which NEVER sited scientific evidence) is that you were looking to spend as little as possible on your dogs’ food. Veterinarians are frequently NOT a quality, trustworthy source of nutrition information. Just because your dogs SEEM to be doing well on this low protein low quality stuff does not prove ANYTHING — especially as it contradicts modern nutritional research and the experience of 99% of the posters on this site — with dogs that have benefited tremendously from consuming higher protein higher quality diets on a regular basis. You claim we are all supporting “high protein ripoffs” but you are supporting one of the biggest rip-offs of all in Hills. Talk about fraud.

  • InkedMarie

    Actually, no, you posted this “High protein kills older dogs because it kills their kidneys” and “My dogs have gone from dying to thriving after getting away from the high protein rip offs. Great for younger dogs, just not your seniors” so no, you did not make it clear that it was your own experience.
    I’m a little confused…..are you saying that 30% is high or low protein? It’s middle of the road, IMO and lastly, what the heck is a “blue master and dogs”?

  • InkedMarie

    replying to myself but if a senior dog is healthy, with no kidney issues, then a high protein food is needed.

  • InkedMarie

    You need to do your research, senior dogs NEED higher protein. I agree with PattyVaughn, you need to get a new vet.

  • sisu

    “I know, I’m torn over vaccines, but it seems to be part and parcel of getting vet care, and I really like this vet.”

    Rather to vaccinate or not is your decision, not the vet’s. Consider having titers done instead of vaccinations for a few years. It will help to assure you that repeated vaccinations are not needed. Before doing so educate yourself on the benefits and limitations of titers. You are not getting childhood vaccinations for yourself. You don’t allow a mechanic to do anything they want to your vehicle. Please do the same for your pets. Remember, the vet is your employee. Likability can be one of many factors in the selection of a vet. A vet who ignores the current research and insists on vaccinating before providing care is not one who would maintain my trust and confidence as it would lead to questioning the knowledge and motivation for recommended treatment.

    “but most pets haven’t made it much past 10”

    I suggest finding a vet who has the long term interest of your pets as a priority. You may need to visit several and make a drive that is not convenient to find one who accepts that you will consider what (s)he has to say but the final decision in regard to food, vaccinations and treatment is yours. Feed the best food you can afford in rotation. Eliminate vaccinations, pesticides (flea preventatives) and use natural products on your dog, in your home and yard.

    These things help. I am not 100% natural with my pets as I still give hearworm preventative. By doing the research and learning about the lifecycle I have been able to lengthen the number of times the preventative is given each year. My dogs are living 15-17 years when 12-15 years is average for the breed. I truly believe these small changes have contributed to the health and longevity of my dogs. It only took a willingness on my part to view current information and research with an open mind. The easiest place to begin is with food that is species appropriate. The rest falls into place when the goal is to have our dogs remain with us as long as possible.

  • Sonatherun,

    I’m sorry you feel the factual information about dietary protein presented here on my website is “claptrap”. For that is certainly not what I intended it to be when I took the time to write it.

    In addition to the numerous scientifically inaccurate statements you made here tonight, you also said, “High protein kills older dogs because it kills their kidneys.”

    Unfortunately for you, nothing could be further from the truth.

    The mistaken belief that high protein diets cause kidney disease in normal dogs is outdated and no longer accepted by most veterinary professionals.

    For proof, I’ll refer you to an important article by Dr. Kenneth C. Bovee, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania — an article most appropriately entitled, “Mythology of Protein Restriction for Dogs with Reduced Renal Function”.

    Dr. Bovee concludes this article by saying…

    the continued existence of this false myth about dietary protein is an uncomfortable reminder of the lack of sophistication, lack of critical thought, and reliance on oversimplified and attractive dogma that persists in our profession.

    This is only one example of many false myths, misinformation, and partial truths that are repeated from decade to decade.”

    The article was published in the respected (and peer-reviewed) Compendium on Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian in 1999 and includes not less than 47 scientifically referenced footnotes.

    I only hope you’ll take the time to actually read it.

  • Sonatherun,

    I’m sorry you feel the factual information about dietary protein preseented here on my website is “claptrap”. For that is certainly not what I intended it to be when I took the time to write it.

    In addition to the numerous scientifically inaccurate statements you made here tonight, you also said, “High protein kills older dogs because it kills their kidneys.”

    Unfortunately for you, nothing could be further from the truth.

    The mistaken belief that high protein diets cause kidney disease in normal dogs is outdated and no longer accepted by most veterinary professionals.

    For proof, I’ll refer you to an article by Dr. Kenneth C. Bovee,/a>, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania — an article most appropriately entitled, “Mythology of Protein Restriction for Dogs with Reduced Renal Function”.

    Dr. Bovee concludes this article by saying…

    the continued existence of this false myth about dietary protein is an uncomfortable reminder of the lack of sophistication, lack of critical thought, and reliance on oversimplified and attractive dogma that persists in our profession. This is only one example of many false myths, misinformation, and partial truths that are repeated from decade to decade.”

    The article was published in the respected (and peer-reviewed) Compendium on Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian in 1999 and includes not less than 47 scientifically referenced footnotes.

    I only hope you’ll take the time to actually read it.

  • sonatherun

    I know, I’m torn over vaccines, but it seems to be part and parcel of getting vet care, and I really like this vet. No, not up north, south central, where flea and mosquito seasons are long. As I said, one application of revolution can keep them flea free over a year some years, but fleas are inevitable with roaming cats, God love ’em, too. I’m not perfect about yard chemicals, though I mostly use corn gluten where they are, and we all drink the same tap water. Far far from perfect, death is inevitable for us all, just do my best helping them helping me enjoy life, as we’re all over the hill. Had a 24 year old cat once, but most pets haven’t made it much past 10, and I am trying to nurse these along a little longer.

  • Pattyvaughn

    You must live up North. Here it’s always flea season and nearly alway mosquito season. At your dogs’ ages, they will not be dying of heartworms, especially if you are careful when you let them out. Think about talking with your vet about stopping the HW prevention and while you’re researching, look for natural, nontoxic flea remedies. You’re vet should be able to tell you what specific types of chemicals that are commonly used around the house are most harmful to dogs with kidney disease. It’s been too many years since that was part of my job description for me to remember every detail, sorry. I do remember that tap water was one of the things to replace, if yours is treated. Basically, anything that is eliminated through the kidneys should be cut back or cut out if possible, household pesticides and fertilizers were big ones.

  • sonatherun

    It’s not a check up without blood tests, it’s just someone looking at your dog. As for chemicals, I’m afraid that’s one of those lesser of two evils things, neither they nor I can live with fleas, and there’s no living with heartworms at all. I do employ the chemicals, just not on their schedule, that is, I won’t apply until I see a flea, and I make sure never to have standing water anywhere outside during mosquito season. Sometimes a single application keeps them flea free for over a year, and reducing mosquito bites is primarily a factor of what time of day to let them out.

  • Pattyvaughn

    The problem is dogs(and people too) only need 1/4 of one kidney to have normal blood values, so by the time the bloodwork is showing anything, the kidneys are pretty much gone. So most never know there is a problem at all until it is very advanced. So you really don’t know at what point your dogs started having problems or even what really caused the problems to begin with. It could have been the old food or any number of things. See why people want proof.

  • Pattyvaughn

    What should be determined by each dog’s vet? If you mean late stage kidney disease, it’s a blood test. If the kidney values are at a particular level then the dog is in late stage. BTW dogs in late stage kidney disease placed on K/D are only expected to have a short time on the diet. Most only live less than a year. If they recover then it wasn’t late stage kidney disease, it was an insult to the kidneys, usually toxicity. I hope you quit using heartworm prevention and flea chemicals on your dogs. And you also might want to consider the chemicals you use in and around the house. Pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and cleaning agents, all can insult the kidneys, causing or exacerbating kidney problems.

  • sonatherun

    My biggest regret is that I shifted to a high protein food without a checkup and consultation.

  • sonatherun

    Which should be determined by each dog’s vet.

  • sonatherun

    What crosses my mind, in addition to how well my dogs are doing on it, is that vets do recommend it, and for most people who can’t afford to spend way more per pound to feed their dogs than they feed themselves, it fits within a family budget. It was very nice to discover, too, that I could get a very similar profile to the prescription version at less than half the price.

  • Marie

    I don’t care about your motivation. All I care about is scientific documentation to back up what you had been stating and you couldn’t provide that.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Kidney diets are only supposed to be prescribed for LATE stage kidney disease, by their own labeling. Current research shows that protein does not need to be limited in the early stages of kidney disease and in fact, that limiting protein too early can actually adversely affect health.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Yes, it should cross your mind, what is Science Diets motivation for formulating their food the way they do? I’ll tell you, greed. They use the cheapest ingredients to do the job the cheapest way they can and then they charge as if there is something expensive in the bag.

  • sonatherun

    Pardon, all the kidney prescription foods…and that is based on research.

  • Pattyvaughn

    They don’t. Research!!

  • sonatherun

    It should, it should cross anyone’s mind anytime they read anything online, what the motivation is behind the post. Is it opinion, or is it promotion?

  • Marie

    I’m certainly not accusing you of such. It never even crossed my mind.

  • sonatherun

    Oh yes, and the simple fact that all the mature prescription dog foods have less protein.

  • sonatherun

    The information I’ve provided is just my own experience, having been mislead by the trade group shills.

  • sonatherun

    All I know is $90 for the same amount of SD I can get for $37 on Amazon if you tweek it almost killed my dogs, and it’s the SD that has them behaving five years younger.

  • sonatherun

    PS I am neither a shill for any pet food manufacturer or trade group, nor a vet, whereas a great many we read no doubt are. I’m just a simple dog lover.

  • sonatherun

    Yes, when I read something that can lead someone else down the same path I regret following, I admit I can respond with the same lack of balance that I’m responding to, but I will repeat what I’ve said over and over, google google google (generic for research research research), and talk to your vet.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Science Diet charges as much as some of the more expensive foods, but they use cheap ingredients. They are the ones making huge profits.

  • Marie

    Actually, meat protein in dog food is the most expensive part of the ingredients, so high-protein foods aren’t as much of a money maker as a low-protein corn filled formulations are – and that’s the only ‘science’ Science Diet’s got nailed down.

    And from the start, you clearly made the blanket statement: ” High protein kills older dogs because it kills their kidneys.” That looks like you’re talking about ALL older dogs, not just your own experience.

  • sonatherun

    I’ve made it clear from the start it is my own experience I am referring to, and I’m only bothering because I don’t want anyone bothering to look to have the same experience of a blue master and dogs. Anyone who googles enough will find plenty of research and opinion consistent with my experience, else there would not be a whole range of prescription foods out there with around a 30% reduction in protein as part of the remedy. To all those who love their pets enough to bother reading, a lot, beware those who are adamant about high protein for senior dogs. The profits are huge.

  • Pattyvaughn

    There is no reason not to name the dog food. Second highest according to whom? And what was the “quality diet” before that? Sorry, I’m not buying it. You are chosing to listen to ancient flawed research and a completely out of touch vet and that’s your choice, but that doesn’t mean that is where the kidney disease came from.

  • sonatherun

    Not quite. What I’m saying is my dogs were fine, then as they were growing older I thought I should improve the quality of their dog food though they were on a quality diet, so put them on a very expensive high protein dry food, because that’s what so many were saying online, and in a little over a year, they had kidney disease, which was then controlled with a low protein diet. My vet surmises, and some online who are not selling expensive high protein foods seem to agree, that at their ages, about ten then, the high protein was a factor in bringing on the kidney failure. I won’t name the food, but it was the second highest ranked food out there, and I chose it because there happened to be a promotion that made it more affordable than normal. It ended up costing me a great deal more in both money and my pets’ health. All I’m saying is people need to consult with their vets and do a lot more reading than just from the shills.

  • Pattyvaughn

    So what you’re actually saying is your dog had kidney disease, severe enough to be dying from it and that you put him on a reduced protein diet and he got better. A dog with kidney disease is not the same thing as a healthy dog, and protein doesn’t cause kidney disease. Makes me wonder what you think is a high protein diet, because if you were feeding a bunch of plant protein, you might have a case. But that isn’t what we think of when we talk about a high protein diet. Animal bases proteins do not tax healthy kidneys, plant bases proteins have high phophorus and may. So what food were you feeding?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hmm…I just supplied 5 articles written by veterinarians stating that older dogs need more protein than adult dogs (and I can come up with dozens more if you’d like). I don’t see one shred of factual information you’ve produced. Oh wait…that’s because there isn’t any current research showing older dogs need reduced protein diets.

  • Marie

    I repeat: Why should *I* look for sources to support YOUR claim? I made a reasonable request and you implied I was lazy or a fraud because I didn’t automatically agree with you. That is ridiculous and you know it.

    Edit: It appears as though reduced protein, for whatever reason, worked in your individual circumstance and that’s great. But to call a high-protein approach inappropriate for ALL older dogs because of your experience is disingenuous and wrong. You cannot give us research and sources because you have none, you only have your one experience.

  • sonatherun

    I’ve done my own research, hours and hours of it, and I’m not going to go back and do it all over again for someone who won’t do it for themselves, but I almost killed my older dogs following the advice you’re peddling and only saved them with a vet’s advice and enough googling and comparing opinions and data to get them off the high protein onto a prescription kidney diet then HSD Active Longevity with its similar profile at half the price, one of the considerations for many dog owners. All I know for sure is my dogs did go from dying to acting like puppies again, and people trying to decide for their own pets need to research a lot, consult with a vet, and not give too much credence to people who do nothing but look at a lable and apply hard and fast rules that a just plain wrong.

  • Pattyvaughn

    That’s exactly what I read.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Maybe you don’t understand how Google works. I just googled “protein levels for senior dogs” and this was first http://www.aspca.org › Pet Care › Dog Care After that were several more along the same vein. I didn’t need to even go to the next page…

  • Hound Dog Mom

    lol I believe I read somewhere that the old studies showing high levels of protein caused renal failure were done on rats and for some reason vets thought that would translate over to dogs..

  • Pattyvaughn

    You seriously need a new vet, one who has read something more recent than 10 years ago. The research on protein needs of seniors has been out for quite some time. The old studies were extremely flawed. But you wouldn’t know that, since you haven’t done your own research.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    BTW – My senior eats a high protein raw diet (45-55%) and is thriving. He’s lean, has no arthritis, goes for 2 hour long walks per day and still keeps up with my 8 month old and 2 year old dogs.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    sonatherun –

    That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a complete myth that senior dogs need less protein. As dogs age they become less efficient at metabolizing protein however their dietary requirement for amino acids doesn’t decrease. For this reason, senior dogs need up to 50% more protein than adult dogs. Hill’s is behind on their research, if you check out companies such as Purina (not endorsing Purina) that are a bit more up to date on their research, you’ll see that their senior formulas contain more protein than their adult formulas. It’s now well known that protein does not contribute to renal failure in any way and reducing protein will not help “prevent” renal failure, it will only deprive your dog of essential nutrients. Here are some articles written by veterinarians so you can start your research.






  • Marie

    Who’s being lazy? All I asked was written, scientific sources to back up YOUR claim. You made a statement that you apparently aren’t willing to back up. That’s fine, of course, but in failing to do so, you haven’t convinced me that your original comment is correct. That is not how debate works.

  • sonatherun

    My vet, google, and the best proof of all, my dogs. Now don’t be so lazy, or such a fraud, and do it yourself.

  • Marie

    You made the claim, so you would need to back that claim up, not me. Sources?

  • sonatherun

    Do your own research, and talk to your Vet, as I did, anyone reading the claptrap on this site. My dogs have gone from dying to thriving after getting away from the high protein rip offs. Great for younger dogs, just not your seniors.

  • Marie

    *facepalm* Please detail to us how protein, the main source of nutrition for canines, kills older dogs.

  • sonatherun

    My old dogs love Active Longevity, and thrive on it. This guy’s nuts. High protein kills older dogs because it kills their kidneys.

  • Lynn

    For older dogs, a veggie kibble is actually best because of the slowed kidney and liver function (which is part of the aging process). Dog foods that are being given high stars on this site are actually harmful for a mature dog because the liver breaks down the protein, and the kidneys get rid of the metabolic by-products from the protein. The dogs do need protein, but too much as they get older is actually harmful for the dog. The reviews here need to take into account the age and needs of the dogs. I am not sure that the review on this dogfood takes the age of the dog into the account of their review. (I am also not sure just how much they truly understand about physiology in relationship to nutrition based on what I have read thus far). It is interesting that the reviewer states the reason for the low rating is because of the low protein content … which is actually a plus when looking for the best dogfood for your aging dog.

  • klickersnipps

    My friend feeds her dogs this food and doesn’t understand why her Spaniel mix is falling apart. I told her to get her dogs off this crappy and she won’t listen because “her vet recommends it”.
    I feed the prey-model-raw diet. 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, and 5% other organs. My dogs are SUPER healthy and I would never put them on kibble! 🙂 Dogs don’t need processed, preservative-filled food.

  • Shawna

    Hi Sharon ~~ Does Flint River have any plans to your knowledge to up the protein content of the Senior food/s?  They’ve known for 10ish years now that seniors need more protein then adult dogs but it seems manufacturers of senior foods (most) are slow to make changes.

    Also curious if they are or have considered using something other then wheat?  Gluten can be so problematic for some dogs.

  • Hi Lisa
    Would you like to give Senior Plus a try I would send you a sample to try.  The kind of food I sell doesn’t have the corn in it and it has done miracles for the pets.  I am so glad that I have found this product that does help the pets.

  • Hi Cindy
    With telling people about FRR and massage you can do for pets with problems walking and getting up I helped to save 3 dogs that they were considering putting down because of their problems.  Just saw one of the ladies the other day and her dog had gone all the way to the top of the hill running up it instead of being carried and another two that was able to go with  them when they went 4 wheelin.  If you would like to know how to do the massages just email or call me.
    304 613 9088
    [email protected]

  • sandy

    You might want to start here if you haven’t already.


    and then here…

    I would just try to pick 4 or 5 star. Preferrably grain free, but not absolutely necessary.  If you pick one with grain, preferrably gluten free grain – rice, millet, quinoa. And pick one with fewer red flag ingredients.  I’ve probably been through 10 brands myself in the last 2 years searching for the best ones.  And if possible, include some canned and raw foods as they are actually all better than kibble.

  • Mike P

    Nichole I would recommend feeding not just one dog food but several dog foods.Give Mike’s article about rotation feeding a read.

  • Nichole

    What dog food would you say is okay, SAFE and HEALTHY to feed our four legged best friends???? I’m looking at getting a dog soon and I am all for not giving them that crud. What would you recommend??? please help it’s kinda nerve racking. 

  • Victoria

    Even when they do pursue continued ed, its very biased and is often sponsored by Hills and Purina

  • Anonymous

    Vets get one course on animal nutrition and it’s not dog specific. Unless they pursue canine nutrition after graduating, then they are dispensing what they received from the “big supporters” of the vet school – Hill’s.

  • Anonymous

    Vets are doctors, not nutritionists. Heck, even nutritionists aren’t always that up on nutrition. I work in the sports/exercise/supplement field, and the nutritional ignorance of the mainstream medical community is appalling. Don’t eat eggs because they’ll raise your cholesterol? Don’t eat saturated fats? Ridiculous. I’m sure the veterinary field is exactly the same; great doctors, horrible nutritionists.

  • Lucy

    The problem with vets recommeding foods is that vet are usually not nutritionist. So, like everybody else they believe the adds. Now, that does not mean all vets no nothing about dog food, but any vet that reccomends purina, hills, pedigree, beneful etc… is just telling you what they were taught.

    Also, I am sorry to here about your dog.

  • Ken, I’m so sorry for your loss! Please forgive youself, you know your dog would have wanted you to. Your dog knew you loved her and did the best you knew how. She’d never hold that against you. I think the fact that you are educating others is great. 🙂

  • Ken

    I fed my dog Hill’s Science Diet products because the Vet told me it was the best dog food for her. That was lie she died at 12years old and I know now it was the poison i was giving her . I can’t tell you how terrible I feel I wish could back and change things but I cant other than to tell people if you love your pet DO NOT FEED YOUR DOG SCIENCE DIET IT WILL KILL THEM.
    I look back on my dogs medical problems and I believe it was all food related I dont understand how a Vet can recommend this crap

  • Gordon

    J Aaron – I don’t think Samantha is Pat Moore. Pat Moore has some old posts on this website. However, it’s possible that Pat Moore could be Samantha and his or her grammar improved in that ‘Penny’s Tragic Story”s thread posting. Who knows?

    Pat Moore – Have you not compared ingredients? It actually doesn’t take Einstein to figure it out!

  • Pat Moore… How “sad” folks like you actually believe one needs a veterinary degree to be able to read and interpret a pet food label.

    As I state on every one of the more than 500 reports on this website, my reviews are based upon an analysis of the company’s published label information only. And nothing more. My reviews are accurate. And based on fact. Not on their appropriateness for specific conditions. And never designed to be a substitute for sound professional advice.

    Like some physicians who routinely receive much of their drug prescribing information from the pharmaceutical industry, many veterinarians get a significant amount of their own pet food education directly from pet food manufacturers themselves. And much of that that information can be notably biased and scientifically flawed.

    For proof, I refer you to this recent comment posted on our review of Hill’s Prescription Diet I/D Canine formula by a practicing veterinarian…

    Hi Mike,

    I am a veterinarian. Though I see that you are not, I share your views regarding the low quality ingredients in Hills’ foods. This was not always the case. Once upon a time, they were a great, much smaller company. However, in veterinary school most of our nutrition education comes from these big companies who “brainwash” us and schmooze us by offering free food for reading their “educational material” and taking quizzes. I think what you have done here is a good thing in trying to make people more aware of these ingredients. I personally try not to recommend any food that I would not feed to my own pets and this includes all of Hill’s diets and most of the other highly commercialized brands. Most holistic veterinarians have taken extra time to become more knowledgeably about food since what an animal eats can have a tremendous impact on their health, much the same as humans.

    Elisa Katz, DVM

    Pat Moore… Since it’s obviously your opinion only a veterinarian could have the knowledge needed to judge the quality of a dog food product, don’t forget to check with your family physician before you buy your next box of corn flakes. After all, he went to school to be able to do that. Right?

  • Jonathan

    Hey Cathy, I had some people in the store today looking for a food for a diabetic dog and their $%!& vet told them to AVOID canned foods and get a kibble… because CANNED FOODS ARE HIGHER IN CARBS! WTH????

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    Hey, I missed the April 29th posts since I was on vacation then. Glad that Pat Moore brought our attention back this way.
    Gordon – too funny of a website, for sure –

    Pat Moore – I don’t think it’s so sad that we mortals know more about canine nutrition than a vet, or most vets. That’s a good thing for us. Sad for the vet.

    Similar to Medical Doctors in that most won’t have a conversation about nutrition. Their mantra is typically ‘eat what you want, and then we have a prescription medicine for your ailments’. $$$ The M.D. doesn’t disclose to you that they received a $10,000 lecture fee promoting Rx.

    Nutrition Isn’t Rocket Science
    Real Food Rules
    Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

  • J Aaron

    By the way, I never ignore the advice of medical doctors, but I also do research on my own and look at life style changes and things I can make that may get me off some of drugs and junk they recommend, and have a better life because of it. I know people who have been helped like this.

    Pet nutrition is not junk science, there is solid research behind it. It’s your choice if you wish to remain ignorant, and there are many ignorant people with degrees.

    Karen Becker is a veterinarian, why don’t you listen to people like her?

  • J Aaron

    I wonder if “Samantha” is posting under different names?

  • Pat Moore

    How sad that you think you know more about canine nutrition than a veterinarian.

  • Gordon

    linda – I have a Jack Russell as well. They’re so intelligent, cute and make great watch dogs. My suggestion would be to find a food very low in fat for dogs suffering pancreatitis. This Hills product according to the website’s dash board shows an average fat content level of which you want even lower. You also want a food product to specify what animal fat the fat comes from. This is also neglected with Hills. The evidence of how crap this brand is, is piled like a receipts for the tax man.

    Check this website out for 4 or 5 star foods that contain low fat levels, named fats, and named meat sources. Low fat from what sources I read, that all correlate, recommend very low fat foods to feed dogs with pancreatitis.

  • Gordon

    Cindy Campbell – Personally I believe that most misinformed Vets are just that and therefore recommend crap like this product most likely due to getting free bulk samples to their clinics and not so much a commission. This accompanied with the fact they Vets were brain-washed at uni to believe such Hills products are the best when this couldn’t be further from the truth.

    Another example of misguided Vets is a particular on line Vet store that I’ll buy some pet products (not food) from time to time and their on line store only provide Hills Science Diet foods and nothing else the last time I checked. Gosh this gets my blood Boiling. Anyway to prove my point (Not that most need such exampled proof), just check out http://www.vetshopaustralia.com.au/Dog-Food-C236.aspx?p=0.

    What a joke!

  • linda

    My 10 year old Jack Russel has Pancreatitis. I have him on Science Diet Adult Small bites.(Vet recomended) He seems to never be satisfied and we also give him treats and they are Hills Prescription Diet Hypoallergenic Treats. I read the reviews of this dogfood so I am really concerned if this is the kind of food /treats he should be eating. Any advice anyone can share I would much appreciate it. Should I change his food gradually ? But to what ? Also where he has Pancreatitis I am afraid to even give him carrots or anything? Is there anything he can safely eat.

  • Kimberly

    We put my dads dog on Hills Healthy Mobility… definitely see a difference… and he acts more puppy-like now, it’s wonderful. Makes me so happy to see him jumping around. I just can’t say anything bad about this food. This dog food is the best! Bottom line! Worth every penny.

  • Cindy Campbell

    I just wanted to concur with what Jonathan said about the Glucosamine and Condroitin in dog food. When my eleven-year-old, seventy-five pound lab mix started having occassional limping, my vet suggested I purchase a regular, human Glucosamine/Chonroitin supplement at Costco. I expressed concern about overdosing him, since he already consumed that in his Science Diet. Her response was that the amount in his dog food was minimal, and that I should still give him a 750mg supplement each day.

    Unfortunately, she never suggested I change his food! I’ve been paying a lot of money for Science Diet for twelve years now, believing it was the best food for my dogs, because all my various vets told me to buy it, and the bags always say it’s the number one choice of veterinarians. Now that I look at the ingredients, I realize it’s NOT a good choice. Do these veterinarians get some sort of kick-back or something for getting people to buy this stuff?

    Anway, thank you for this website. My dogs thank you too. Now I know that there are so many far, FAR better choices out there. Several cost less money than Science Diet, and some are not that much more. I have no intention of EVER buying another bag of Science Diet!

  • Hi Gerry… Toys need smaller kibble. But nutritionally, adult toys are nutritionally no different than most other adults. Please see our FAQ page and look for the topic, “How to Feed a Dog”.

  • gerry

    Which dog food do you recommend for Mature adult small and toy breed?

  • Jonathan

    The amount of Chondrotin and Glucosamine in ANY dry dog food is almost negligible. The Parts Per Million or Milligrams Per Kilogram that dog foods list G and C in are too small of an amount to have any net effect. You need an actual supplement source to be giving them a medicinal level.

    And never mind corn, what about euthanized pets? You okay with that?

  • Lisa

    Switched from IAMS to Science Diet for my two older dogs, ages 10 and 11. Reason for switching was the Chondrotin and Glucosamine. Noticed a significant difference in dogs mobility within a week. At this point it is more important to see my dogs moving around comfortably than worrying about corn.

  • Hi Libby… No, we do not currently check each item in the minerals and vitamin supplements. We assume the products match the AAFCO nutrient profiles they claim to meet. You may want to visit my recent article about low protein dog foods where we address the the controversial opinions regarding kidney function and older dogs. Hope this helps.

  • Libby

    I’ve been thinking about switching my senior dog (with mild arthritis) from this to Newman’s Own advanced adult dry dog food. But, I noticed this product has glucosamine and chondroitin added and newman’s does not. Also, the science diet website claims that “the sodium and phosphorus levels are controlled in order to promote optimal organ function.” My other senior dog recently died from chronic renal disease, so I’m pretty concerned about organ function. I know main ingredients are really important, but do you also consider included supplements and overall electrolyte/vitamin/mineral content and balance when doing your reviews? I’m trying to get all the information possible before making a decision. Thanks for this website and all the work you put into it!

  • Hi Kelli… I have not yet reviewed Hill’s J/D dry dog food. But the product is corn-based, very low in protein (17%) and loaded with inferior (cheap) animal and plant-based by-products. So, it is not likely to receive a very favorable rating. There are much better dog foods out there… especially when you consider price. Sometimes this job makes me feel like a real dog food scrooge. Sorry for the bad news.

  • Kelli

    What about Hill’s J/D dry dog food???