Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Cuisine (Canned)

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Rating: ★★½☆☆

Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Cuisine Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.

The Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Cuisine product line includes 4 canned 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.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult Healthy Cuisine Braised Beef [M]
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult Healthy Cuisine Roasted Chicken [M]
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Healthy Cuisine Braised Beef (2 stars) [M]
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Healthy Cuisine Roasted Chicken (2 stars) [M]

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Healthy Cuisine Braised Beef was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Hill's Science Diet Adult Healthy Cuisine Braised Beef

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 48%

Ingredients: Beef broth, beef, red bell pepper, carrots, green peas, pork liver, rice, rice starch, chicken, wheat gluten, powdered cellulose, chicken liver flavor, soybean oil, dried beet pulp, whole grain barley, potassium alginate, flaxseed, calcium chloride, caramel color, chicken fat, dicalcium phosphate, guar gum, calcium lactate, calcium gluconate, monosodium phosphate, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, folic acid), choline chloride, l-lysine, taurine, sodium tripolyphosphate, minerals (zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate), beta-carotene

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.6%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis27%17%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%17%48%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%36%41%
Protein = 23% | Fat = 36% | Carbs = 41%

The first ingredient in this dog food is beef broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common addition component in many canned products.

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

Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The third ingredient includes red peppers, a carotene-rich member of the bell pepper family. Red peppers are high in fiber and antioxidants.

The fourth ingredient lists carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The fifth ingredient 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.

The sixth ingredient is pork liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The seventh ingredient is rice. Is this whole grain rice, brown rice or white rice? Since the word “rice” doesn’t tell us much, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.

The eighth ingredient is rice starch, a starchy powder extracted from rice and most likely used here as a thickening agent.

The ninth ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

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 seven notable exceptions

First, we find wheat gluten. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once wheat has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Although wheat gluten contains 80% 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, powdered cellulose is a non-digestible plant fiber usually made from the by-products of vegetable processing. Except for the usual benefits of fiber, powdered cellulose provides no nutritional value to a dog.

In addition, 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.

Next, we note the use of 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.

We also note this food contains flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

Next, caramel is a natural coloring agent made by caramelizing carbohydrates. It’s used by pet food manufacturers to impart a golden brown tint to the finished product.

However, the concentrated version of this ingredient commonly known as caramel coloring has been more recently considered controversial and found to cause cancer in laboratory animals.3

In any case, even though caramel is considered safe by the FDA, we’re always disappointed to find any added coloring in a pet food.

That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?

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 Cuisine Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Cuisine looks like an average wet 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 27%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 48%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 25% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 66%.

Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, wheat gluten and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a canned product containing a modes amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Cuisine is a meat-based canned dog food using a modest amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.

Not recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food
Recall History

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

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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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Notes and Updates

12/01/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  3. Consumer Reports February 2014
  • Cathy Koh

    How “healthy”! NOT!