Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Advantage (Dry)


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Product May Have Been Discontinued
See the Following Related Review
Hill’s Healthy Advantage (Dry)

Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Advantage dry dog food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.

The Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Advantage product line lists three dry dog foods.

Although each formulation appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we found no AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the Science Diet website.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Advantage Puppy
  • Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Advantage Canine Adult
  • Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Advantage Large Breed Puppy

Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Advantage Large Breed Puppy was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.

Hill's Science Diet Healthy Advantage Large Breed Puppy

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 31% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 44%

Ingredients: Whole grain corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, liver flavor, dried beet pulp, flaxseed, dried egg product, soybean oil, animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), fish oil, lactic acid, potassium citrate, iodized salt, choline chloride, dl-methionine, natural flavor, dicalcium phosphate, vitamins (l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), vitamin E supplement, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement), vitamin E supplement, l-lysine, minerals (manganese sulfate, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), l-tryptophan, taurine, preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid, l-carnitine, phosphoric acid, beta-carotene, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.3%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis31%17%NA
Dry Matter Basis31%17%44%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%36%38%
Protein = 27% | Fat = 36% | Carbs = 38%

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

What’s more, corn is commonly linked to canine food allergies1.

For these reasons, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.

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

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

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

In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.

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

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

This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

After the liver flavor, we find dried 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 sixth ingredient is 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.

The seventh ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The eighth item is 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.

The ninth item is animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals.

Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from almost anywhere: roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat, dead, diseased or dying cattle — even euthanized livestock.

For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With two notable exceptions

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

And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Advantage Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Advantage Dog Food looks like a below-average kibble.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 31%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 44%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 61%.

Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

In addition, when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten meal and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Advantage is a corn-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken by-product meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.

Not recommended.

A Final Word

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

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes and Updates

08/21/2014 Last Update

  1. White, S., “Update on food allergy in the dog and cat”, World Small Animal Veterinary Association, Vancouver, 2001
  • Coco and charles

    Shhawwnas high protein diet is proven wrong I could sing a song

  • Pattyvaughn
  • Diogenes

    All Hills Healthy Advantage products have an AAFCO statement on the LABEL where it belongs. Do you really analyze the labels or just skim websites.

  • Mihali

    Hills now has a Healthy Advantage Small Dog formula… meat is the biggest component and no by-products, so I hear.

  • Pattyvaughn

    There are 3 different formulas, so check to see if your’s is the same one, and Hill’s can change the formula whenever they want with no notice, so sometimes these things get a little behind. With over 3500 foods, it must be really time consuming for Dr Mike to keep up. If you find that your sample really is for the large breed puppy formula, then go to the contact us spot and let Dr Mike know and he will add it to his list to update sooner, otherwise it isn’t due to be updated until 8/18/2014.

  • Bryan Clark

    My vet just gave me a sample bag and the ingredients are totally different than stated in here…

  • Storm’s Mom

    A dog that is able to eat a wide variety of foods without upset is healthy. A dog that is not able to eat a wide variety of foods without upset is not healthy, period. Yours falls into the latter category. Simple as that.

    My dog can – and has/does – eat anything from a 2 to a 5 star food (I haven’t tried a 1 star food, mainly because the vast majority of them have chicken-ish stuff in them). He’s fine, basically, on anything chicken-free now.. he didn’t used to be (the first few switches were pretty awful). Some foods he seems to do better on than others, but that’s understandable/expected. It’s degrees of betterness, really. All good.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Ah! Thanks for clarifying about the 7 bags. What other ingredients is the allergic to?

  • beaglemom

    You have an interesting way of responding to people who are trying to help you. No one suggested you keep feeding what causes her problems. Bye.

  • somebodysme

    You know really, to continue to feed foods that are causing her one problem after another would just be stupid on my part. Yeah I fell for the whole “dog’s going to die if he eats Purina” line of nonsense! But you know, all my past dogs ate foods such as Purina and they were healthy and lived long lives. I’ve never had so much trouble with a dog as I have with this dog after trying to do something “better” for her diet. Honestly I think you all are falling for a whole bunch of BULL…I’ve given up on the high dollar dog foods and wipe my hands of all this nonsense. Y’all have good luck with it! I’m out of here!

  • somebodysme

    She is on food trials now and 7 bags is only 6 weeks or so for her, I’m talking small little 5 lb bags…give me a break! That’s barely even long enough to see if a food is working. It was, then on the new bag(bag 8) it wasn’t anymore. There was something drastically different.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Hi Somebody-
    I feel your pain. I have been through the same thing with one dog-super premium foods nearly doing her in. But, I will say, after a huge amount of time, I finally found one that works(Victor) I will say this-if it had been a one star food that had stopped her stomach issues, I would have fed it with out a second thought until she was stable. Good luck..

  • Storm’s Mom

    What are the other ingredients she’s allergic to?

    The smell could be different for any number of reasons, most of them having nothing to do with ingredients but more to do with storages, shelf life etc.

    There are also alternative explanations for having “her personality back” ..ie she’s on a sugar/carb kick..not good for her health in the long run. I totally get that you are euphoric about finally finding a food that your dog does/did well on, but, honestly, I would be far more interested in getting to the bottom of, and treating, the underlying problem(s) that are preventing her from enjoying a wide variety of foods, instead of trying to mask it with food (regardless of the perceived quality).

  • beaglemom

    Okay… but what are “meat by-products” “added color” and “animal digest” doing for her? I understand the frustration of allergies far more than you think… but if I was in your shoes I would be afraid that this “solution” would be at the expense of her overall well-being. Gotta do what you see is best though – best of luck. If I find a simple solution I will be sure to share 🙂

  • somebodysme

    AND wouldn’t it be wonderful if it were just that simple. Only thing is, peas are just one thing she’s allergic to. She has been on a food without peas for close to 2 months now, then THAT food began to cause problems when we opened a new bag. I called Natural Balance this morning to see if they’d changed the ingredients and of course they had not. But the smell of the food was completely different from the other 7 bags she’d eaten.

    You say poison? I say a freakin’ miracle dog food! Bag after bag after bag of these so called high end foods and nothing but misery for my poor baby dog!

  • beaglemom

    Didn’t you say your dog was only allergic to peas? Why not find a quality food without peas as opposed to feeding poison (which all the one star foods are) every day?

  • somebodysme

    Maybe some dogs do great on the designer dog foods but my poor dog’s gone from lovely to full of skin rashes on this stuff. Now that she is not on a super fantastic mega expensive food…all her issues are clearing up. She does not have huge piles of poo from eating what people here call cheap fillers. Her poo is down right perfect and HALF what it was on all the other super duper foods. All I know is I was killing my poor dog trying to give her the “best” dog food! She has her personality back, she minds better and acts like she feels fantastic. I won’t even mention the food she’s on now for fear of a thousand thrashes with a wet noodle, I’ll just say it gets one star here and gets a thousand stars in my book!

  • Bob K

    William – Do you have another website that offers better information on dog food? If so – please share. People have been paying a premium for some big name pet foods. Its all about the ingredients, quality, source, quantity etc…. This website is all about consumer education. Few vets have extensive pet nutrition backgrounds. Psst – Many vaccines for pets do not need to be administered by a Vet, you can buy them at Farm & Fleet, Fleet Farm and many farm supply stores.

  • Shawna

    Hi William,

    Melissa and Hound Dog Mom have made some excellent points. I also want to mention that a vet (since that is acceptable criteria to you) suggests corn not be fed as it is a food that per his research can cause “leaky gut” — which leads to allergies. That vet is Dr. John Symes. He doesn’t discuss corn as an allergen (which are actually quite uncommon) but rather discusses corn as an intolerance in his article “Corn – The Toxic Grain” http://dogtorj.com/appetizers/newest-appetizers/corn-the-toxic-grain/

    Veterinary nutritionist Dr. Meg Smart (who also taught clinical nutrition for over 30 years) is someone you really should read. Here’s her blog http://petnutritionbysmart.blogspot.com/2012/07/practical-advise-on-feeding-your-dog.html

    MANY MANY vets recommend limiting the number of vaccines given to our dogs. They KNOW that vaccines cause tumors, aggression, behavioral issues, autoimmune diseases and on and on. A vet however is not your best source of information about vaccines. Pathobiologist at the University of Wisconsin named Dr. Robert Schultz is the leading authority in the US on animal vaccines. AND, Dr. Schultz is one of three experts that developed vaccine recommendations for the World Small Animal Veterinary Medical Association. This is the guy to read if you want to know anything about dog and cat vaccines. He has an article on the University of Wisconsin’s website called “Schultz: Dog Vaccines may not be necessary” http://www.news.wisc.edu/8413

    One can be a sheeple or one can strive for a deeper understanding of the topics – such as those you’ve discussed in your post. Many of us here don’t agree on every topic discussed but we all strive to be independent thinkers versus sheeple willing to follow status quo because it is status quo…

  • Melissaandcrew

    Hi William-
    Sorry, I am going to have to disagree. First and foremost, one does not need to be a vet in order to analysis ingredients, especially based on information that is already out there. I could not care less what Dr Mike’s profession is-what I do care about is that he has brought together all the information, in one place, and summarized it in a logical, easy to follow manner. He makes very clear what his guidelines are in rating a food, and its a starting point for an owner to start deciding which food to feed.
    I personally do not have a problem with a small amount of corn in my dogs food from time to time, but not as a day in day out thing, And, gasp, my dogs go to the vet if there is the smallest indication that there is an issue of any kind. I do think vaccines are needed, just not every year, for their entire lifetime
    I choose to feed higher quality foods with great ingredients, and my dogs reflect my choices in their health and longevity.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi William –

    It’s fine to critique Dr. Mike’s site, but you may actually want to read the articles prior to posting your critique and not twist the words. You state that only 3% of animals have allergies to corn – this exact figure is stated in Dr. Mike’s article on corn. Also, just because very few dogs have allergies to corn doesn’t mean corn isn’t a common allergen. True allergies are very rare, yes, but of the few dogs that do suffer from true allergies corn in one of the most common culprits – this can be verified in the Merck veterinary manual where it’s listed (along with beef, chicken, eggs, milk, soy and wheat). There’s a distinct difference in meaning between the statement “corn is a common allergen” and “many dogs are allergic to corn.” In your praise of the benefits of corn you are also taking a rather parochial view of the ingredient by neglecting to mention the fact that the vast majority of corn in the US is genetically modified, corn is high in anti-nutrients such as phytic acid and lectins and corn is one of the ingredients most often contaminated with mycotoxins. I don’t believe Dr. Mike has stated anywhere that veterinarians get kickbacks from Science Diet – if so please point it out.

  • William Risner

    this site is silly. the person running this is a dentist not a veterinarian. if i want info on toothpaste i come to you but not dog food. searching for dog food is very key in your pets life. when searching you should look for clinical studies and optimal ranges of things like fat, carbs, protein, phosphorus and calcium. too much or too little can have serious affects to an animal. there is a bunch of untrue things said on this site which is an example of why the internet isn’t a reliable source for most things and anybody can write anything, true or false. that stuff about corn being bad and a lot of animals have allergies to it. that is wrong. when it is processed it is easily digested and only 3% of animals have side affects from it. hill does not give kickbacks to veterinarians. half the people that posted bad things on here probably don’t bring their pets to a vet to get regular check ups or vaccines b/c vaccines aren’t needed. they are just the drug company’s way to make more money. that was sarcasm. if you need advice about animals go to a VETERINARIAN not a dentist. just b/c i drive a car doesn’t mean i am a mechanic.

  • Heidi Baumgarten

    I bought the big sack for 64 euro and my puppy hates it! I have to mix it with scraps or I swear he’ll starve to death.

  • InkedMarie

    Exactly! When my Molly was very sick, I did have to use a veterinary nutritionist from Tufts, ended up feeding Purina HA. This was the end of 2005 into February 2006. Now, I know that I’d be heading to the holistic vet for a better food but it gave me a few more months with her, so….

  • Pattyvaughn

    When you realize your vet knows less than you do about canine nutrition, it is time to end the conversation, unless your vet is willing to learn from you. I have had great opportunities to talk to my vets about nutrition, but since I was a vet tech at their practice, they know I’m not just some ding dong spouting nonsense.

  • InkedMarie

    Ok, silly me. I’ve sort of had the conversation but when they have no idea about the foods I feed and tell me how great the food they sell is, I end the conversation.

  • Lynn

    Hills is not the only one tested with strict standards. As link above proves.

  • Lynn

    Did Hill’s sponsor your nutrition course?. Just asking.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Marie didn’t say anything about holistic pet food. And yes, that is a conversation you should have with your vet. You should ask your vet about how much training in canine nutrition he has had and who sponsored it. If he is honest, he will tell you that he had 3 hours or less of small animal nutrition in vet school, most likely sponsored by Hill’s or Purina and the curriculum was provided by Hill’s or Purina. Any additional nutrition training during continuing education was provided by Hill’s, Purina, and/or Royal Canin. He gets his food at wholesale prices from a company that indoctrinated him. That does not make it good food and that doesn’t make him knowledgable about dog food. Good luck with your choices.

  • InkedMarie

    No. If I fed what my vets wanted me to, I’d be feeding inferior food such as this. My dogs deserve and need a food that has lot of meat. Low carbs. They don’t need most of the crap in this food. You go right ahead listening to your vet about nutrition and I’ll stick with my holistic vet and our nutritional choices.

  • InkedMarie

    Big surprise there.

  • Suzi Martin

    Wow. I really think it’s a conversation that pet owners should have with their veterinarian. There are tons of sites on the internet (such as this) that misinform pet parents. P.S. Holistic is an unregulated term and means nothing when pet foods are labeled as such.

  • Suzi Martin

    My vet feeds it to their dog, so I’m good with it.

  • Pattyvaughn

    If your vet sells Science Diet, he is hardly impartial. Surely you don’t think he is going to tell you he sells garbage. Surely you don’t think Hill’s is going to tell you that they make garbage.

  • InkedMarie

    Your dog, your choice. I just don’t want people reading to think this is a good food for their dogs because it isnt

  • InkedMarie

    Vets know very little about nutrition, unless they are nutritionists or holistic vets.; those vets would not approve this food.

    It appears you don’t care to find a good food for your dog or even ow to tell a good food

  • Suzi Martin

    I’ve talked with my veterinarian and the manufacturer. It’s a great food. Always a good idea to check with your veterinarian. If you don’t trust your vet, you should probably get a new one.

  • InkedMarie

    This might be affordable but it’s not a good food, not “balanced nutrition”. Do some research, read the above review.

  • Suzi Martin

    I feed my two rescue Boston Terriers this diet and they LOVE IT. Their coats are beautiful, it’s great for healthy weight maintenance, and keeps their teeth clean. Also keeps their poops tidy and less offensive than other diets I’ve tried. Balanced nutrition + affordable price + happy pups = happy dog mom.

  • InkedMarie

    Lol, you know I read in email, I came here to ask that very question!

  • Pattyvaughn

    I think the idea of a sarcasm font has a lot of merit. You should spread the idea on FB and maybe somebody who knowns something about computers will pick up on it and make a million bucks. 😉

  • Betsy Greer

    LOL, Patty!

    I kinda thought she was replying to Eli and admittedly, I just quickly read the post before I ran out the door to work. Originally, I started to tell her that I agreed with the majority of what she was saying, but skipped that part altogether. See, this is another situation where a sarcasm font would’ve been useful. I shoulda used a ; ).

  • Crazy4cats

    I’m guessing it is a clever play on words from the post below?

  • Pattyvaughn

    You go to Certificate Maker and make yourself a certificate and then you find somebody to sign it. Your vet would probably be willing or maybe the next door neighbor or the guy at the store where you buy pet supplies. But I think she said that in response to Eli, only she should have replied to him. Then it would have been truly funny, because he’s so wrong and she’s so right. I think her point is that his certificate as a Veterinary Nutrition “Conselor” is worthless if that advice is the best that he can do.

  • Betsy Greer

    Just curious, how does one become a “certified” pet owner?

  • nansee

    as a certified pet owner of 50+ years, i always thought a vet purchased dog food meant better quality for my pet … all this means is the hand out and bottom line for HILLS comes before the pets true health! This food in particular ranks amongst one of the lowest ratings — no doubt your comments are salary derived and stem from the profit Hill makes. may as well feed your dog corn on the cob,…cattle grade that is
    I have changed over to Acana and Origen 5stars rating and the two 4star rated acana products serve as treats

  • kchick

    No they have not changed as the very first ingredient listed is still “CORN” Ingredients:
    Whole Grain Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Animal Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Liver Flavor, Flaxseed, Soybean Oil, Powdered Cellulose, Dried Beet Pulp, Fish Oil, Lactic Acid, Corn Gluten Meal, Dicalcium Phosphate, Dried Egg Product, Iodized Salt, DL-Methionine, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Natural Flavor, vitamins (L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Vitamin E Supplement, minerals (Manganese Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Tryptophan, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, L-Carnitine, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.

  • Red

    She really is great. She used to (I think she retired) teach nutrition at the WCVM here in Saskatoon. She comes into the pet store I work at from time to time to discuss new products and whatnot. I love her blog and book; they’ve definitely helped me help my customers! But the stories that she tells…it seems the uppers in the industry have tried to discredit her because she knows how to make her own decisions 😉

  • Shawna

    Yet another point of view…

    Vet Dr. Meg Smart, professor at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine

    ” (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.” http://petnutritionbysmart.blogspot.com/2012/07/practical-advise-on-feeding-your-dog.html#more

  • Red

    It’s posts like this that really discourage me about getting into an animal nutrition program. If you don’t agree with the big-wigs, you get discredited as a quack.

  • Shawna

    And by-product. 🙂

  • Shawna

    Food allergies are rare but food intolerances are very common…

    My dog, the one in my avatar, has had kidney disease since birth (polydipsia and polyuria noticed at 6 weeks of age). I wouldn’t feed her Hills KD (especially the kibble) if it was free to do so.. And the vets that I’ve talked to, minus one, don’t know jack about feeding a KD dog. Haven’t talked to them all of course but have talked to at least seven.

    “Brewers Rice, Pork Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Dried Egg Product, Flaxseed, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor” http://www.hillspet.com/products/pd-canine-kd-canine-renal-health-dry.html

    The above ingredient list should be insulting to anyone who knows anything about nutrition — ESPECIALLY in feeding a chronic kd dog!!! Are you honestly going to tell us that this is a proper food for a dog with chronic KD?

  • Pattyvaughn

    I believe that is pronounced con seller, means the same too.

  • LabsRawesome

    Yes, I agree, there is a lot of mis-information on the internet! And your post is a good source of bad info.

  • Eli

    As a certified Veterinary Nutrition Conselor, I can tell you that Hills is the ONLY dog food brand that I trust. Corn is an incredibly nutritious ingredient. In terms of the bio-availability of important nutrients, it is incredible. Chicken bi-product refers to the meat from things like necks etc. That doesn’t mean it isn’t nutritious – in fact it has been scientifically tested and proven to be. It means that people don’t like eating chicken necks. By-product does not mean that things like beaks, etc can be in the food. It’s important to understand labeling as it pertains to the actual regulation of food. In the exceptionally rare case of a food sensitivity, there are foods like Hill’s z/d out there.

    Hills Dog foods are the ONLY foods that are 100% tested to ensure proper nutrient availability and absorption in dogs. Formulated foods are the ones you have to look our for (blue buffalo)

    I get that there is a lot of disinformation on the internet, and breeders don’t help in terms of the contribution to these kinds of pseudo-scientific sites, but Hills is really one of the most ethical companies out there. I would encourage you to ask your local vet about it.

  • Poppy

    P.S. If you haven’t read the link provided below, DO SO! What an eye-opener. http://www.soggypaws.com/Documents/prescription_diet.pdf
    (Sorry, I’d like to give credit but I can’t seem to find the post again.)

  • Poppy

    The thing that seems to be missing in this whole discussion is the fact that dogs cannot tell us how they are feeling. You could feed an inadequate diet, and even if your dog felt horrible, she would do her best to hide it and to be your buddy and playmate. And maybe she would die at 12 when she could have lived to 14 or 15. You will never know for sure. It’s up to us to feed the best possible diet, and that is a varied diet without fillers. I feed a variety of combinations of Honest Kitchen, high quality grain free kibble and canned foods, home-made turkey/veggie/brown rice casseroles, and – horrors! – leftover table foods like fish and veggies. For all my Cavaliers – or ANY dog – can tell us, they could have stomach, liver, kidney, joint or head pain 24/7. But I can tell you for a fact that my dogs that live years beyond the “average life span” of just over 10 years for Cavaliers. I have a boy right now who is 14 years old!

  • Poppy

    Yes! Amanda, you are mistaken. Dogs require a quality source of meat protein, as well as the fruits and vegs that are likely found in the gut of the prey animals! Just because your vets feed Hill’s doesn’t make it good. Haven’t you ever seen an MD who was obese or a smoker?

  • Poppy

    I’ve never heard of a wolf eating corn or wheat! Maybe some prey animals eat these grains, but certainly not enough to make it a main component of the wolf diet. Vets make a
    nice profit off of Hill’s. Don’t tell me that’s not a consideration for them! I was a dental assistant for years. If I told you the things that SOME of them do just for $$$, you would probably never go near one again. Same with vets. If you just go along with what you know is a bad diet, and your dog dies prematurely, it’s too late for a do-over. Trust your instincts and your research.

  • Pattyvaughn

    You need to take some of those nutrition classes yourself. And read more current research. You are no more likely to harm your adult or senior dog by feeding ALS foods than you are feeding any other kibble, and maybe even less so since they a formulated more carefully. The argument that corn is better than rice and wheat is laughable since the people that object to corn generally are the same ones that object to grains. No grain is better than meat for digestability and providing essential nutrients. Carbs are not an essential nutrient. There is nothing that corn provides that can’t be gotten in a better form from something else. BTW, a lot of those nonspecific allergies that your vet is treating with steroids instead of properly diagnosing the cause, are grain intolerance. IBS and yeasty ears are also often grain intolerance. There are a host of issues that rarely get diagnosed by regular vets that can be caused by grain intolerance. How do I know? I was a vet tech. I worked for many vets over 14 years. I’ve been to those nutrition classes. I’ve read the books, pamphlets, etc. I’ve owned those dogs. Switching to grain free works.

  • Amanda

    THANK YOU. These myths that corn and by-products are bad quality ingredients are driving me crazy. I work at an animal hospital and both veterinarians feed nothing but Hill’s to their own pets because they trust their research. No offense to this site, but you make certain ingredients look bad when they’re not. By products usually include organ meats like hearts, livers, and lungs, NOT hair, beaks, and hooves. Of course these are “unfit for human consumption”. How often do you go to a neighbor’s barbecue and they have lungs and hearts on the grill? We prefer skeletal meat. Dogs are not people. WOLVES eat organ meats. And you know what else they eat? The digestive tract. And what’s in the digestive tract of a vegetarian? GRAINS. GRASSES. BERRIES. There you go. Wolves are omnivores, not carnivores like most people think. Dogs aren’t wolves anyway. They are dogs. Corn is something else that is not bad. and it is NOT a filler. A filler is something that provides no nutritional value. Corn provides essential nutrients like fatty acids, carbs, etc. and it is highly digestible compared to other grains like wheat and rice. The only bad thing about corn is yes, it is related to some allergies, however, beef and fish allergies are far more common than grain allergies. (So because my aunt is allergic to strawberries, that means strawberries are bad for everyone?! Ridiculousness.) You just need to find the right dog food that best suits your pet’s needs. Take a nutrition class. Like someone mentioned before, Hill’s and Purina offer them. Don’t go getting “brainwashed” into believing these myths. I’m telling you, it’s all marketing. It’s the nutritional value of ingredients that matters the most. And learn the importance of the AAFCO statement!! If you have an adult or senior dog and you’re feeding a food approved for “all life stages”, you are potentially harming your pup.

  • Pingback: New or Recently Updated Dog Food Reviews | Jackie's Space()

  • on dog food analyzer said on science diet K/D said short term use only long term would led to malnutrition

  • RebelLou

    Hills, Royal Canine Medi-Cal and PVD all have online nutrition classes available to those who are working in a vet office. It is Free and counts for CE Credits. Take them! GET EDUCATED!

  • Pattyvaughn

    I can tell you for a fact that the CE classes for nutrition available in my whole region are put on by the big prescription diet companies and their so called nutritionists. In other words they are completely biased toward a particular food, not about good nutrition at all. They are strictly about learning how to “properly” use prescription diets, nothing more.

  • Shawna

    In that study they fed nothing but rabbit to the cats. Raw feeders know better than to feed one protein source to an animal… Nowhere in nature would you find that. Flawed data is the outcome of flawed studies.

    My dog was born with kidney disease. I wouldn’t put her on Hills K/D if her life depended on it.. Oh wait, her life does depend on her diet. Good thing I chose to feed her a raw diet from birth. She’ll be seven years old the end of June 2013 and still unmedicated, no food restrictions, no required vet visits or sub-q fluids etc.

    In fact, when she was diagnosed with k/d Hills was still using ethoxyquin in their foods (including their k/d food). Ethoxyquin is known to cause damage to the liver and kidneys..

    Did you know that there are at least four “nutritionists” that advocate a raw diet. Monica Segal, Lew Olsen, Mary Straus and Kymythy Schultz. Probably more.

  • Goldengirl

    Yes I have done other research of my own. Bought many books, talked with many trainers, dog owners, vets (whom I still can’t trust because the vet I work for has admitted that she never took any nutrition classes)… I have definitely found many other sources other than online, but it is definitely one of the most convenient ways to do research. Obviously you don’t believe everything you read, but in general most people are all giving the same kind of info.

  • realnutrition

    I wouldn’t only do online research, I would talk to a nutritionist and talk to the people that make the foods so you can get the whole story

  • realnutrition

    Thank you for the real nutrition info!

  • realnutrition

    I agree 100%

  • realnutrition

    Some vets will have continuing education classes where u can learn more about pet nutrition.some classes will even compare brands to show what is truly desired for different age groups of dogs and cats. I know they did a study with cats and being feed a raw diet, but before the study was complete one of the cats died. An autopsy showed heart disease due to lack of taurine from the raw diet. I will always stick with hills/science diet as they are always willing to answer questions and their foods have never let me down.

  • Pattyvaughn

    People fall for the marketing and are too lazy, or trusting, or whatever to research for themselves what makes a good dog food.

  • why would any buy science diet its all crap.

  • Melissaandcrew


    ALS means just that -suitable for all life stages and meets the higher nutritional requirements of puppies. The above poster stated “only puppies” which is inaccurate.

  • Nick

    All life stages DOES equal puppy food.

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    I so agree with Betsy and Patty!  A few years ago, I lost my beloved male Shih-Poo, Desi.  Unfortunately, losing him was the impetous to leave my current and non-forward thinking vet and find my new, wonderful holistic vet.  Please continue to pursue vet school because we need more holistic vets!  I travel about an hour, one way, to see my new vet but it is sooo worth it.  I should’ve sought them out sooner. 

  • Pattyvaughn

    Don’t give up your dream.  The world needs more vets that will be the kind of vet you want to be.

  • Hi Goldengirl,

    Don’t let this experience dash your hopes of a veterinary career for yourself! You’re already one step ahead of the game and I think that we frequently learn more from negative experiences than we do positive experiences. You’ve already learned how you don’t want to run your business when you become Dr. Goldengirl, now pursue that career with your holistic vet and follow your dreams!

    And, by the way, good for you telling people to go elsewhere for food, ask for samples and do their own research! It takes courage to do the right thing, even when it’s contrary to “policy.” That office manager should be thanking you ~ I trust a business so much more when it’s obvious that they have the interests of the customer in mind over that of the business.

  • Goldengirl

    Oh and should I add that employees can get Royal Canin or Hill’s Science Diet foods for 50% off! Hahaha… They truly are ripping people off! I am truly glad I originally took my puppy to a different vet in my area because I asked the vet on my first visit what they would recommend feeding her and they told me (just as I tell people) to go to the local pet boutique and they will guide me. That is when I originally started researching dog food nutrition, after the pet boutique gave me 10+ samples and told me to do research about them online. I wonder what would have happened if I brought my puppy at the time to the vet I work at now, they would have  recommended me to try Hills.. I am unfortunately already looking for a new job (for other reasons as well) and am trying to get into our holistic veterinarians office.

  • Goldengirl

    I recently started working at a vet (around 4 months ago) as a receptionist. I was really excited to learn new things, as I had already had done a ton of research of my own due to a new puppy (who is now almost 2 years old) with pet nutrition being at the higher of my interests. Only to find out, we sell Hills Science Diet! I asked a few of the techs about the ingredients and they told me they never took any nutrition classes so they could only “believe” corn is the first ingredient because it is nutritious and easy to digest? That’s funny because humans can’t even digest corn effectively. I am afraid to ask the vets who work there because they seem just as brainwashed as the rest of them, and always push new clients to try out different types of food we sell. 

    We actually are now switching most of our food over to Royal Canin, which is definitely better than hills, but it’s unfortunate because many of our clients are now convinced that Hills is it! Most of the employees who work there also feed their own dogs hills. I really wish I could speak up, but every time I have so far, I have only been put back down. I am only the “receptionist” for goodness sake, what do I know? It is definitely frustrating and when people come in asking me what I recommend to feed their pet, I always tell them to go to our local pet boutique (who carries some of the finest foods) and ask them because they will give out samples for your dog. (which is really sad, but unfortunately the local pet boutiques in my area know more about dog food nutrition than their own vets office!) My office manager has heard me saying this and got mad at me saying you can’t tell a client to try more than one new food at a time because it will only upset the dogs stomach, when in reality, if you give them a small sample at a time and see what they like best, you are only helping your pet out in the end. AND – my own dog, who is on a rotation of many different dry, canned, freeze dried, and cooked food, doesn’t have any digestive issues.

    Do your own research and don’t rely on what your veterinarian said, because in reality, in vet school, veterinarians take a limited amount, if any, nutrition classes. And if they did take any nutrition classes, most veterinarian schools are funded by pet food companies such as pedigree, and are only brainwashed in school as well. I am really saddened as I was hoping by working at a vet, I myself would hopefully want to go to veterinary school. I have lost all hope and am really upset of what I have seen with my own eyes after working there.

  • Karen Neri

    Don’t apologize for your sense of humor…I love it! And thanks for the dog food recipe recommendation. That’s exactly what I will do. I’m so glad I entered my comments here. I’ve ended up with constructive input. Thanks again!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Have your vet get on Balanceit.com and download a recipe for you to make a homemade diet that meets your dogs needs. You can make big batches and freeze it for convenience. Just defrost what you need.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I would have been furious too. It’s one thing when it;s an accident, but all together different when it was deliberate. Sorry for my sense of humor anyway. I have a friend who is a missionary to Africa and Thanksgiving can turn to the topic of nutritious bugs that are a staple of the Masai diet. Then bug humor slips into everything. I hope you can find a good food that works for your dog.

  • Karen Neri

    Patty, that’s frickin’ hilarious. Honestly, I was furious that this happened with a Prescription Diet — expensive as they are. I was buying 3 cases at a time. One time, every can in the case was dented in, and pretty badly too. It didn’t happen at the Vet’s and it didn’t happen during shipment to the vet’s. we knew it had to happen at Hill’s because the cans were all turned so you couldn’t see the damage from any side of the case and their normal shrink wrap heavy plastic was in disturbed on the case. It got so that it was like buying Cracker Jacks — I never knew what would be inside!

  • LabsRawesome

    lol!!! Funny but true.

  • Pattyvaughn

    The insects might have been an improvement on Hill’s nutrition.

  • Karen Neri

    I have found whole insects in Hills Science Diet GD that my dog was taking due to bladder stones and high triglycerides. The consistency of the food had become very gummy. I have changed to a Rpyal Canin product and my Doug’s runny eyes cleared up and his whitish crusty nose turned back to a nice moist black nose. The allergies he had been diagnosed with turned out to be his Hill SD food! I don’t know what has happened to their quality control but I’m done with Hills and will tell every one I know about the insect-infested case of food I had on two different occasions!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Great link and so true. Science Diet reps used to give us a nicely catered lunch every couple years to listen to their song and dance. And we weren’t even the vets.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    You’ve got that right betsy – HUGE difference between surviving and thriving. I came across this article the other day, give a pretty good explanation for Hills & Prescription diets – why they exist and why they’re so profitable.


  • Dr. Mike notes the dates of all of his reviews and subsequent updates as well. In the case of this food, the original review is dated 04/26/2011.

  • Carlreyedv,

    Certainly not to insult your intelligence, but you must not have done your research regarding Dr. Mike’s commenting policy. Please see a quote from the home page of DFA’s site owner, Dr. Mike Sagman:

    “A Word to Veterinary Professionals and Commercial Visitors

    In the interest of fairness, those who publicly claim to be veterinary professionals are kindly asked to post using their real names.”

    Yes, Hill’s reinvests a great deal into research, but have you ever stopped to wonder what it is that makes them so highly profitable? Inferior (read cheap) ingredients hawked by some (certainly not all, including mine) veterinarians and pushed by the corporation during “nutrition” training at vet schools.

    I could survive on a diet of nutritional supplements and water, but would that be optimal nutrition? Frankly, I trust a smaller company with full disclosure and that cares more about optimal nutrition and my dog’s thriving rather than just surviving.

  • Hi Guest123,

    Many pet food manufacturers change their recipes without making any effort to notify the public (including the editor of this website).

    With over 700 product lines representing more than 3,000 individual recipes, it is a challenge for us or any review-type website to be instantly aware of these changes.

    So, I rely heavily on tips reported by readers (like you) to be aware of important recipe changes.

    As a policy, The Dog Food Advisor intentionally re-visits each product at least once every 18 months or whenever we are notified of a change by one of our readers or the company itself.

    As reported in the footnotes of this article, this product was last reviewed and updated on April 26 of last year (2011).

    However, Hill’s has recently announced a major design and recipe change for nearly all its products effective December 2012 (next month).

    So, look for an update of many of Hill’s products in the coming weeks.

    Hope this helps. Thanks for taking the time to post your tip here.

  • Guest123

    The ingredients of this food have since changed very much- I recommend a reanalysis or removing the article.

  • Shawna

    I missed this post…

    But, they don’t use chicken by-product (at least in the food reviewed”.  They use chicken by-product MEAL 

    “Chicken By-Product Meal – consists of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidable in good processing practice.”

    Organ meat IS healthy but it doesn’t say anything about organ meat in the “meal” used in the SD product.

    Corn and corn gluten meal is one of four foods known to cause villous atrophy..  Not something I would subject my own dog to routinely (actually never but that’s just me).  I have a research paper on this if interested — not just some data I randomly pulled off the Internet.

    My dog was born with kidney disease..  I wouldn’t stoop for anything to putting her on KD..  By the way, she’s had the disease for 6 and 1/2 years and is unmedicated, NOT on a low protein diet etc.  I would bet a years salary that if I had put her on KD 6 plus years ago she wouldn’t have made it to her 2nd year of age.

    And, it is nutritionists and research articles on the web that helped the very most in my determining the diet my kd girl has eaten for the past 6 plus years..  My vet (actually multiple vets) didn’t even know what “nitrogen trapping” was..

  • BryanV21

    People/Vets like that are simply looking for a reason to justify the money they make. I believe they do care about what’s best for animals, but the almighty dollar can have that affect on people.

    Bil Jac users are some of the worst offenders in this area, as they spend a ton and most refuse to believe it’s a sub-par food.

  • BryanV21

    The last sentence says all you need to know about this person (and I say it like that, instead of addressing her, because chances are she won’t be back since it’s been a month).

    People come to sites like this to get information, and then decide for themselves what is best. We are not here to say “get this” or “do that”.

    The web is an incredible source of information, it’s just a matter of weeding out the fact from opinion.

  • Sdlong11

    I find it all together unnerving that veternarians actually buy this propaganda by the pet food companies and wholeheartedly stand behind these million dollar corporate industries. It’s pretty sad that veternarians just believe whatever their sales rep tells them or the company tells them without any further evidence or unbiased research to back up what the claims are. I guess if my nutrition books were written by the dog food companies in college I wouldn’t know any different either. It’s always good to hear both sides of the story before making an informed decision.  It’s just sad when they find out otherwise and they still refuse to weigh the facts against sales and customer service of Hills. 🙁

  • Hound Dog Mom

    And you’re obviously uneducated (about pet nutrition at least) and rude. 🙂

  • BryanV21

    Since you chose to be rude and disrespectful to Mike, I’m going to imply in kind…

    Your vet is probably happy as hell that you’re as ignorant as you are, so that you’re willing to pay out the nose for a clearly inferior food.

  • Carleyedv

    You’re an educated idiot.  That’s pretty special.

  • Carleyedv

    “red flags” according to whom?  The internet???

  • Carleyedv

    Your vet probably wishes you would find a new one.

  • beccadog

     Buy and read:

    Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats
    by Richard H. Pitcairn and Susan Hubble Pitcairn
    (Paperback – Aug 11, 2005)

    My animals over the years did well when I made my own pet food. This is not the same as leftovers, because pets need certain nutrients than human leftovers do not have. 

    Also, read my other post about genetically modified organims (GMO’s) which can damage organs in people and other animals, increase allergens and create new toxins in food previously safe. My last dog developed a bleeding stomach from what I thought was an organic pet food.  The pet food came from China where there are no regulations and contained glass! My vet told me to trash the entire bag and never to feed it to her or any animal again.

    She refused most pet foods, even those which she had eaten before.  Wildlife, BTW, refuse to eat GMO contained crops and feed.  Perhaps, our pets are not so far removed from their wild cousins.

    I’ve found that by making my own pet food using books like Dr. Pitcarin, but from organically grown ingredients and wild sockeye salmon makes for nutrritious, well balanced food that both animals and people thrive on.  And, unlike the cheaper farm raised fish, there are less health damaging effects from wild salmon –just don’t over feed salmon because everything on the planet has been contaminated with dioxin and PCBs (compliments of Monsanto).

  • beccadog

    Aimee, This is good information, most of which I’ve read elsewhere in natural cook books for making one’s own pet food.

    I made my own pet food following the recommendations of veterinarian, .Richard H. Pitcairn D.V.M. 
    Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats. 
    This was before pet food became the first target for genetically modified organisms that enable the crop with resist vast amounts of herbicides and/or  become an insecticide in the gut of the animal and person who eats it.

    Now all commercial pet food and 80% of human processed foods have been altered to sell more herbicides. These altered substances called food increase the risk of allergies–some fatal; create new toxins to food previously safe to eat; new diseases and cancers, and more dangers.  The intense use of pest controls IS curruently poisoning rainwater, surface and groundwaters wherever the crops are factory grown in monocultures.

    Making your own pet food is a good idea, providing you can grow your own ingredients or purchase organic.  Some people purchase wild sock-eye salmon which is high in omega 3 fatty acids UNLIKE farm eraised salmon, which is high in omega 6 and causes cancer.

    Dogs and cats do well on wild salmon and homemade pet foods..Thus far, wild salmon is not yet genetically engineered. But, that can change based on the conflicts of interest at the FDA.

  • JStrider

    Thank you, Aimee.

  • aimee

    Sorry to hear about your dog. I don’t think there is one best diet for all dogs with kidney failure as the needs of one dog may differ from another.

    The best diet is likely a homecooked diet formulated by a veterinary nutritionist specific for your dog. In lieu of that, it is the thereupeutic diet your dog does best on.  

    Kidney diets have lowered phosphorous, higher omega 3, higher water soluble vitamins, buffering agents, and strive for a protein level that will meet needs without protein being used for energy. They are also usually higher in fat.    

  • JStrider

    I apologize. I feed him Purina Veterinary Diets NF. At the time we started him on this, I felt it was the lesser of two evils. I won’t feed my dogs Science Diet and never thought I would feed any of our dogs a Purina product.

  • Jstrider

    What is the best food to give to dogs with chronic kidney failure?I hate Hill’s Kidney Diet but don’t know what else to feed him. Also we feed our other dogs California Natural Chicken Meal and Rice Formula. Any input, people?

  • melissa

     Hi Guest-

    First, I think its wonderful that you have worked for a vet clinic for “several” years, and apparently feel that makes your opinion worth more than any other opinion here. If time worked in a vet hospital dictates knowledge, than I win, with 10 yrs plus at a vet hospital, lol. Oh, and I do not feed Science Diet, unless there is a medical reason, Hills/Science Diet does not enter into my home, and then only until I can find a substitute.

    Mike stated that there was no AAFCO statement on the website at the time of the review-never did he, nor does he state that there is no AAFCO statement “period”. Most companies/stores will guarantee the food-if your pet will not eat it, return it to the place of purchase. Nothing special about that statement.

    Please show us where “all life stages” equals puppies only. It simple means that it has ‘enough” for puppies to support growth etc. You are, imo, spouting opinion as fact with several statements. I own senior dogs, young dogs and middle age dogs-all eat “ALS” and not a single one of them is fat, or suffering from any  disorder you list. All dogs are different and while one senior dog may be a lethargic couch potato, not all of them are. A senior can get obese on any food, including the “senior” foods out there(which, fyi, please show me a link to the AAFCO standard and classification for “senior” and what dictates that a food is a “senior” product meeting the needs of seniors only. Most carry a statement of “adult maintenance”.)

    In closing, all are entitled to their opinions, and while I happen to not have a problem with some corn in the diet, I do have a problem with corn being the number one ingredient in a dog food. And please, before you decide to slam Mike for his reviews, learn how to properly spell and drop the profanity-it will make you seem much more intelligent and give some credibility to your rant. Now I am off to “educate”, not edjucate myself by reading more of Mike’s articles, not “artical’

  • Noahsark

    I am glad you saw that–and when I looked up BILJAC it say’s they like it but it is not recommeneded..I am so confused !! they are all bad give them table food oh wait that is bad to (pink slime) government we need label’s with pictures of where our food comes from and the whole story about the company I know we would not want to eat anything then…even vegetable’s are bad because the extremely harsh bug chemical’s !! (not just meat is bad) everything is 🙁

  • Jennifer Hahn

    My dog lab/chow mix had been eating science diet for i don’t know how long now and I recently started noticing her have blood in her stool. Now my mother’s dog who has been eating the same thing has blood in his stool. They were throwing up and originally I thought it was from eating grass or something and now to find out all of this information about the food after the fact I feel very deceived. I paid more for my dogs to eat healthier and now to find out it has been making them sick and possibly did further damage internally really just makes me outraged! I am going to have to take my pets to the vet and spend money I don’t have for things I shouldn’t have to be worrying about because I thought I was getting the good stuff for my dogs. I was basically just feeding them poison and science diet just tricked us all. I think there needs to be compensation for all the pets who have suffered because of this recall!!!!

  • Thanks Rich, were you aware that ‘powdered celluose’ is usually saw dust, or the equivalent…? Rice, wheat and corn being second, third and fourth are very unsettling. They cause huge problems! Jump over to DogtorJ.com and read his reports on the wheat corn barly, etc. if you research ‘chicken-by-product meal on the web, you’ll be appalled. I can see why it got 2 stars!

  • Rich

    Just wanted to share that the ingredients listed on “Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Advantage Adult” (product 7590) are significantly different than those listed above for the puppy food. In particular, there is no mention of corn until the fourth ingredient. The first five ingredients listed are Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewer’s Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, and Powdered Cellulose.

  • Michelle

    Carrie, AAFCO is a joke. Ol’roy meets their standards. So what! I wouldn’t feed that crap to my dogs, but at least it’s cheap. People pay a lot of money for this Hill’s crap. http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/ol-roy-dog-food-dry/

  • Carrie… Are you kidding me? Do you truly believe one must be a “veterinary nutritionist” to assess the content or nutritional value of a dog food?

    How much time have you actually spent on this website? How could you possibly have missed the numerous references to AAFCO? Every one of the 500+ reports on this site mentions AAFCO and links directly to an explanation of these standards within the opening paragraphs of each review.

    When you order others to “educate yourselves”, you may wish to heed your own advice. For your scientifically inaccurate and medically outdated explanation of protein and its relationship to kidney function did not go unnoticed.

    In an article entitled, “Mythology of Protein Restriction for Dogs with Reduced Renal Function” written by Dr. Kenneth C. BovĂ©e (DVM, MMedSc) professor of Clinical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and published in the Compendium on Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian (1998), the author states:

    “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. I would refer to this as the myth of dietary protein and characterize it as a negative myth.”

    Please be sure to check out that article. And of course, the numerous references Dr. Bovee uses to support his position.

    Carrie… you said:

    “The manufacturers who produce Veterinary lines of food (Hill’s, Royal Canin, & Purina) are the ones doing the research. They come to the Veterinarians and educate them on the TRULY important and nutritious factors in pet food. The Vets are NOT getting kickbacks! If your Vet is recommending a product to you it’s because they believe in the science behind it.”

    How naive.

    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

    Carrie… Since it’s obviously your opinion that only a veterinary nutritionist 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?

  • Gordon

    “They come to the Veterinarians and educate them on the TRULY important and nutritious factors in pet food.”

    What a load of the biggest nonsense I’ve read all week! Carrie, who are you? The billions of dollars the pet food industry including the veterinary lines of brands, is one of the biggest scams in the history of capitalism!

  • Gordon

    Carrie – Listening to brainwashed vets is a sure fire way of committing your pets to a life time of more vet visits. Scientific studies that contravene the laws of Nature is beyond all imaginable belief! Grain riddled high useless carb diets are amongst the worst imaginable long term diets for dogs and cats.

    Do not listen to your conventional vet in anyway shape or form re nutrition. They’re good for surgery and emergency medicine, which may including prescription pet foods for short term use until research is done by the client to use Nature as a prescription. Not for nutrition. If they were, they would be recommending not wasting your money on Hills, Purina, and the like, and buy raw meaty bones and carcasses from butchers, and meat places. They would be listening to vets like Dr. Lonsdale and Dr. Billinghurst and other pro-Nature vets.

    Dogs and cats require high protein, low fat and next to no carbs for a sustainable and thriving long and happy life! No pet food conglomerate funded study (In the name of making money) can dispute the laws of Nature. Not one, ever!!!!!!!!

    Dogs require a rich diet in meat and protein with essential amino acids and not carcinogenic cooked corn and other grain riddled poisonous kibbles. Yes I am a self appointed veterinary nutritionist for my dogs, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about that!!!!!

    Have a nice day. 🙂

  • Carrie

    Are any of you Veterinary Nutritionists? Or have you just learned by reading labels? (Which are all marketing.) Or learned by listening/reading what any person with a computer can say, without any knowledge, just their opinion, or regard to the health of the animal?

    The nutrients that come from the ingredients are FAR more important than the ingredients themselves. I don’t want to get into a war of words on here, but… LISTEN TO YOUR VETERINARIAN!!! They spend every waking moment of their lives working on your 4-legged family members. The manufacturers who produce Veterinary lines of food (Hill’s, Royal Canin, & Purina) are the ones doing the research. They come to the Veterinarians and educate them on the TRULY important and nutritious factors in pet food. The Vets are NOT getting kickbacks! If your Vet is recommending a product to you it’s because they believe in the science behind it.

    Do any of you know the importance of the AAFCO statement? There are 2 important statements to look for. 1. Is the food “formulated” or “animal feed tested”, and 2. is it for “all life stages” or for a “specific life stage.”

    1. If a food is formulated, then a computer calculated the minimum necessary ingredients needed to make up that diet. If it was animal feed tested, the company spent hundreds of thousands to a million dollars feeding the new diet, for a minimum of 6 months to a year, and conducting blood work and examinations on actual live animals to make sure the nutrients are bioavailable. Just cause it’s in there does not mean that it can be absorbed properly. With the minimum requirements you could use shoe leather and motor oil and call it nutritious!
    2. All life stages vs. specific life stages. What needs more protein, a baby or a senior? Why would you feed them the same way? A puppy or kitten needs more protein and calcium (just to name 2) than an adult or a senior pet needs. What does the body do with excess protein? It is processed through the kidneys and urinated out. So, any extra protein is peed out (waste of money) AND you are putting undue stress on the kidneys by feeding all this extra protein! DO NOT FEED DIETS THAT ARE MEANT FOR ALL LIFE STAGES! Read the bags! ALL maintenance foods (not prescription) MUST have an AAFCO statement if it is in fact a food. If it doesn’t have an AAFCO statement then the minimum ingredients (no matter how pure they are) are not enough to sustain your pets life.

    Remember that ALL manufacturers want to SELL their product. They spend millions on marketing! The color of the bag, the font, pictures, the cute puppy, etc. is all meant to sell their product! Just cause the picture on the bag is a boneless, skinless chicken breast does NOT mean that is what was used in the food. Educate yourselves!!!

  • melissa


    I have to disagree with a few things 1) Dogs lived longer-How do we know this? Ancedotal evidence? People saying “they remember” or “as a kid”? Since back then dogs had very little vet care, I would say that there is very little evidence beyond someone stating “as a kid”..And as we all know, the human memory tends to sugar coat things or recall them inaccurately-A child’s perspective is not necessairly reality. : ) And if you asked my Grandfather how he got to school, he would tell you how lucky the kids today have it taking a bus…because he “walked to school, barefoot and uphill-both ways” lol// Given that we know the longest life span of a grey wolf in captivity(with benefit of vet care and proper consistant diet) only lived to be 20, and the typical average is 13-15yrs in captivity(with benefit of vet care and proper consistant diet), and that is about equal to today’s domestic dog, (fed as owners see fit, and I am guessing there are more “baseline” kibble feeders than 5 star or raw etc) I fail to see the arguement that dogs need to be fed as their ancestors in order to achieve the average lifespan. I could easily say that my dogs are all achieving greater lifespans than of their ancestors based on being fed foods that are grain inclusive, and therefore feeding as the ancestors would seem to provide a shorter lifespan. This would be true of my particular dogs, not taking anything else such as environment, genetics etc into play : )

    Beef-Many dogs do have beef allergies, but I disagree that beef would have been the primary food source-Most places did not have leash laws back then, and as I recall beef was a very **rare and valuable** source of meat protein. It would seem that the dogs would have more likely eaten wild game that they caught or found or eaten scraps, no matter what they were. Dogs who made a habit of killing farm animals would have been shot. Therefore I would argue that the natural diets/sources of proteins would have been deer, squirrel rabbit etc. I don’t know how many here would remember, but when canned foods really “came on the scene” one of the biggest “sellers” was not beef or “high value” meat sources but rather “horse meat”. And as a result of less vet care and running loose, would have had lower survival times than today’s “housepet”, rather than longer lives.

  • L
    Does anyone else find it unusual that the “domestic” dog:

    * Who evolved about 4 million yrs. ago from 36 to 42 chromosome CARNIVORES into 78 chromosome CARNIVORES TOGETHER WITH the Gray wolf, Dingo, Coyote, African wild dog, Dhole, and a fox…

    * Who can interbreed with all of those 78 chromosome CARNIVORES that evolved at the same time, and their progeny can interbreed…

    * Who is closely related (99.8% identical Mitochondrial DNA) to a gray wolf and it is the Mitochondrial DNA that regulates cellular energy transfer and metabolism systems…

    * Who has only been “domesticated” for about 15,000 years which is an “eyeblink” in time where evolution is concerned.

    * Who have had their appearance, size and behavior patterns changed by man’s manipulation of their Nuclear DNA which is easily altered since each parent contributes one half the necessary chromosomes…but whose energy systems have remained 99.8% identical to the Gray Wolf because that is determined by the Mitochondrial DNA which is extremely stable over millions of years because it is passed on by the female only…

    * Who used to live much longer lives before humans started feeding them large quantities of grain after the war because grain silos all over the country were full and some genius figured out how to make use of them….

    * Who, while they could be described as omnivorous with a strong carnivorous bias, are still genetically primarily a CARNIVORE despite their willingness to eat grain that has been disguised as meat with meat flavors…

    * Who have flourished in almost all cases when given primarily a meat based diet…

    * Who have their PRIMARY allergy to..of all things….beef????

    So these primarily and substantially CARNIVOROUS animals are apparently allergic to their primary food source…meat..or “Beef”????

    I just want to know if there are other people out there that, using even a modicum of common sense, think this makes ANY sense at all?

    Have we turned over our minds to the marketing companies for these large multi-billion dollar mega companies to the point where it actually sounds half believable when someone tells you your primarily CARNIVOROUS (slightly omnivorous) pet will do better on corn than on beef?

    How has an animal that is primarily a CARNIVORE managed to become primarily allergic to its primary food supply?

    This country used to be about substance but now it seems that “perception” or an illusion created by marketing is more important than real content. I suggest you do a test – feed your dog meat for three months then feed them corn (or any mixture of grains) for 3 months (but you will need to flavor the grain to create the illusion for your dog that it is actually meat to get them to eat it) and let us know what your dog thinks about the “illusion” of “corn for carnivores”.

    Ok I admit that I may have gotten a bit carried away about this but I stay under control most of the time so give me a little slack here. his is about the health and wellbeing of your pet – the pet who relies on your for more than some flavored “illusion”. OK I’m done for a month or so.

  • L… You said, “The top three food allergens for dogs are beef, dairy, and wheat. Corn is rarely ever linked to a food allergy.” Please post a link to a peer-reviewed scientific study proving your claim. In the meantime, I’ve already done my own research and suggest you read my article, “The Truth About Corn in Dog Food“.

  • L

    The top three food allergens for dogs are beef, dairy, and wheat. Corn is rarely ever linked to a food allergy. check your research

  • melissa


    SD puts “more vitamins and minerals” than other brands? Dogs only require so many, and all foods have to put the minimum required to ensure its complete and balanced. Some vitamins can be toxic in too high a quantity, so that comment would not impress me much.

    Everyone has their own opinion on corn. For me, I have no problem with some corn in the diet, and I do believe some dogs seem to do better with it. But thats me. However, I do not think all corns are equal and companies, so while I accept the corn from one does not mean I would trust the corn content of another.

  • Captain America


    I found this site set up pretty good. FYI to find a list of all dog foods fit for all life stages click on Articles at the top left, then scroll down & look for Tag Cloud, click on it, then you should see ALL LIFE STAGES that you click on to get the long list of all life stage dog foods. Hope this helps.


  • Catey

    I get this for my senior dog. I pay $31 for 15lbs. the pieces are huge. I’ve never liked science diet because of the ingredients, don’t like feeding my dog corn products. My vet said that corn products arn’t as bad as people think and that science diet puts more vitamins and minerals than other brands and they give vets more information about thier foods than other Brands. But even though I adore my pets vet, I still feel weary about buying it.
    we adopted a puppy from the humane society acouple months ago, they gave us a bagof science diet puppychow , he absolutly refused to eat it. But he’ll eat my senior dogs Healthy advantage. My mom feeds her dogs Iams and TOTW. I hate Iams, heard horrible things about thier testing practices. I’d love to get both my dogs on the same food. My senior is 10 1/2 and my puppy i adopted is about 7 1/2 months (or so we think, he was taken to Humane society as a stray). What brands offer foods for all life stages? I stopped at a natural pet food store today and got acouple sample bags of TOTW and Precise, had my two little boys with so couldn’t as the shop keeper the questions i wanted about the food he had in the store. found this website when looking up reviews on the samples I got. I really like what i’m hearing about TOTW everysite I’ve been too, but it’s sooo expensive. Can any of you recommend any all life stages brands??? thank you!!!

  • Pat Moore – Not everyone posting comments here take Mike’s reviews and red flags as gospel. It is a website of wealth in information in the right steps toward better canine health through nutrition. You too, could create your own review type website and choose to red flag what you want. No one claims this site as gospel, but it does contain a host of informative articles.

    You have a right to question any red flags stating the reasoning behind your questioning. It’s a forum for all to state their opinions, post questions and hopefully take some worthwhile information away and applying same to improve your dog’s well being.

    I for example, don’t believe that garlic should be red flagged at all. But I understand the reasoning behind Mike’s decision to red flag it. I wouldn’t though, but then this isn’t my website.

    Get the picture? Just discuss what red flags you don’t agree with and why?

    Anyway, I’m off, as my boring non-event surveillance shift is over this morning.

  • Pat Moore

    Whose “red flags,” Jonathan? Yours and Dr. Sagman’s red flags. Everyone on this site has adopted Dr. Sagman’s star system and red flags as gospel. Get a life, people. Hill’s has VETERINARY NUTRITIONISTS on their staff. Not dentists. Not pet food store workers. You are so tunnel-visioned. People like Bow and others will never take you seriously but have fun anyway.

  • Jonathan

    Yeah, Mike P, that’s a good rule of thumb. I personaly look at it as “up to the fat”. All the ingredients up to and including the fat make up the vast bulk of the food. So looking at it like that, this food has 9 ingredients up to and including the listed fat, and of those 9 ingredients, 6 of them are red-flags.

  • Mike P

    The rule of thumb is always check out the first five ingredients of a dog food . This food has four ” red flag ” items in the first five .

  • Jonathan

    “their kibble is designed by SCIENTISTS!”

    So? since when are scientists infallible? Further more, what other “foods” has science given us? High-fructose corn syrup and aspartame come to mind… I try to avoid “foods” that required SCIENTISTS to make. Has food come to this? we can’t just trust real ingredients? I am aware of how nice Hill’s facility is. And how well their dogs and cats are kept. None of that changes the fact that these ingredients are remarkably low quality. Three of the main ingredients in this food are leftovers of other industries. I assure you that, no matter what they tell you, Hill’s does not use corn gluten meal, chicken by-products, and corn because these are some how great for dogs. Even excusing the chicken by-products (the only actual meat in this food), the corn gluten meal is a plant-based protein filler, and the “whole grain” corn (which cracks me up) is a carb filler and binder for the kibble with low nutritional value.

  • Bow

    I’m sorry, but I believe that some of you are mistaken. Hill’s is a fantastic company. They have amazing conditions in which their product is made, the animals that test their diet live a luxurious life, and their kibble is designed by SCIENTISTS! [not made from chemicals as someone claimed above…] You all should actually do your homework and realize that the contents of this product are actually not bad. There are many other diets that are WAY worse for your furry friends, but that is what you purchase because someone told you that chicken and corn are bad? Whoever can buy a bag of dog food in 2011 for $20 and claim that it is a good choice for their pet is sadly mistaken… it would be like if we ate at the china buffet every day for every meal… Gross! Do your homework before you comment next time, you will sound way less uneducated. GO HILL’S!

  • Tina

    I think it is crazy that my vet is pushing this food on me to buy do they get a share or some perk fir selling expensive crap food. My Vet advised me that my puppy has high potassium and enemia due to her poor diet and switching her to hills would fix the problems. I am seriously considering a new vet. I purchased President’s choice extra meaty puppy food after readign the ingredients at least the first ingredient is Chicken! I am still researching the best food but is a tedious process.

  • Gordon

    The thing is, these marketing giants have so much money to throw around in convincing many pet owners that the dearer the product, the better it is, and unfortunately succeed in this agenda, and then that profit goes into more marketing and the cycle continues. Not to mention that they have most Vets under their deceptive spell.

    I’m sick of the BS!

  • Jonathan

    Exactly. If Science Diet was $20 bucks, I wouldn’t be nearly as offended by the product. Sportmix is about as good as most Science Diet products, and it’s $14 for 40 pounds.

  • Melissa

    What I find insulting about alot of these foods is the price that is charged. Many people figure if its expensive, its got to be good. I have no problem paying for a quality product, I do have a poblem watching people pay top $$ for these types of foods.

  • Mike P

    It’s a shame when people think they are doing the right thing by feeding this stuff, because their vet told them to .

  • Jonathan

    HAHAHA! yeah, this is a hot pile of trash. And what “advantage” does the name imply this food to have? lol

  • erin c.

    EEWW! What kind of “science” is Hill’s Science using?
    Maybe the term “science” means lots of chemicals = food. Soylent Green comes to mind.