Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus canned dog food receives the Advisor’s lowest rating of 1 star.
The Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus product line includes the 4 wet dog foods listed below.
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.
- Science Diet Adult 7+ Beef and Barley Entree (1.5 stars) [M]
- Science Diet Adult 7+ Turkey and Barley Entree [M]
- Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken and Barley Entree [M]
- Science Diet Small Paws Adult 7+ Chicken and Barley Entree [M]
Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken and Barley Entree was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken and Barley Entree
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Water, chicken, cracked pearled barley, whole grain corn, pork liver, dried whey, dried beet pulp, soybean oil, corn gluten meal, chicken liver flavor, choline chloride, calcium carbonate, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, ascorbic acid (source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), iodized salt, potassium chloride, iron oxide color, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), taurine, l-tryptophan, beta-carotene
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.1%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||18%||15%||59%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||16%||32%||52%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.
The second 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.
The third item is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fourth ingredient is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The fifth ingredient is pork liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The sixth ingredient is dried whey, a by-product of the cheese industry. Dried whey consists of about 75% carbohydrate and can also contribute a limited amount of protein to a dog food.
It’s used in canned dog foods as a gelling agent and is an item with little nutritional value to a dog.
The seventh ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
The eighth ingredient is soybean oil, which 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.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this Science Diet product.
With 3 notable exceptions…
First, we find corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
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, iron oxide is a synthetic color additive used in industry to impart a reddish color to food — and paint. In its natural form, this chemical compound is more commonly known as “iron rust”.
We’re always disappointed to find any artificial 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. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher quality dog foods.
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus
Canned Dog Food Review
Based on its ingredients alone, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus looks like an below-average canned product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 19% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 59% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 78%.
Which means this Science Diet product line contains…
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to other canned dog foods.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten meal, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing only a limited amount of meat.
Additionally, with 32% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 16% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus is a grain-inclusive canned dog food using only a limited amount of named meats as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1 star.
Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Science Diet Dog Food. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
- Hill’s Prescription Diet and Science Diet Dog Food Recall Expands to Include 44 Varieties (3/20/2019)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet and Science Diet Dog Food Recall (1/31/2019)
- Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Market Withdrawal of November 2015 (11/29/2015)
- Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Recall June 2014 (6/3/2014)
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
09/16/2019 Last Update