Review of Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus Canned Dog Food
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus canned dog food receives the Advisor’s lowest-tier rating of 1.5 stars.
The Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus product line includes the 6 canned dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
|Science Diet Adult 7+ Beef and Barley Entree||1.5||M|
|Science Diet Adult 7+ Turkey and Barley Entree||1||M|
|Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken and Barley Entree||1.5||M|
|Science Diet Small Paws Adult 7+ Chicken and Barley||1||M|
|Science Diet Adult 7+ Savory Stew with Beef and Vegetables||1||M|
|Science Diet Adult 7+ Savory Stew with Chicken and Vegetables||2||M|
Recipe and Label Analysis
Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Savory Stew with Chicken and Vegetables was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.
Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.
Science Diet Adult 7+ Savory Stew with Chicken and Vegetables
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Water, chicken, pork liver, brown rice, carrots, rice starch, wheat flour, potato starch, dried beet pulp, pork plasma, potatoes, dextrose, green peas, spinach, chicken fat, chicken liver flavor, calcium carbonate, flaxseed, soybean oil, potassium chloride, guar gum, choline chloride, sodium pyrophosphate, disodium phosphate, sodium hexametaphosphate, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, folic acid), minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, potassium iodide), l-carnitine, l-lysine, taurine, caramel color
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.3%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||22%||11%||59%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||21%||25%||54%|
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 pork liver, an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fifth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The sixth ingredient is rice starch, a starchy powder extracted from rice and most likely used here as a thickening agent.
The seventh ingredient is wheat flour, a highly-refined product of wheat milling. Like corn, wheat is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider wheat a preferred component in any dog food.
The eighth ingredient is potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.
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 10 notable exceptions…
First, we find 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.
Next, we note the use of pork plasma. Plasma is what remains of blood after the blood cells themselves have been removed. Plasma can be considered a nutritious addition.
In addition, this food contains 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.
Next, chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
We also notice that there is flaxseed in this recipe. Flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
Additionally, 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.
This product also includes an item called sodium hexametaphosphate, a man-made industrial polymer with no known nutritive value.
HMP is used in making soap, detergents, water treatment, metal finishing and most likely here to decrease tartar build-up on the teeth.
Although some might disagree, we’re of the opinion that food is not the place for tartar control chemicals or any other non-nutritive substances.
In addition, dextrose is a crystallized form of glucose — with a flavor significantly sweeter than common table sugar. It is typically used in pet food as a sweetener and as an agent to help develop browning.
Without knowing a healthy reason for its inclusion here, dextrose (like most sugars) can be considered a nutritionally unnecessary addition to this recipe.
Next, with the exception of copper, 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.
And lastly, 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.2
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?
Based on its ingredients alone, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus looks like a below-average canned dog food.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 20% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 59% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 68%.
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 peas and flaxseed in this recipe, and the corn gluten meal contained in other recipes, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing only a limited amount of meat.
Our Rating of
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus
Canned Dog Food
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus is a grain-inclusive canned dog food using only a limited amount of named meats as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1.5 stars.
Has Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Been Recalled?
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Hill’s.
- 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)
You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.
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More Hill’s Reviews
The following Hill’s Science Diet dog food reviews are also posted on this website:
- Hill’s Healthy Advantage Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Healthy Advantage Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet B/D Canine Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet C/D Canine Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet D/D Canine Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet Digestive Care I/D Canine Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet I/D Canine Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet Joint Care J/D Canine Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D Canine Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet W/D Canine Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet W/D Canine Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet Weight Reduction R/D Canine Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet Z/D Canine Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Prescription Diet Z/D Canine Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Plus Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Science Diet Grain Free Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Cuisine Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food Review (Canned)
- Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food Review (Dry)
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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.
03/24/2021 Last Update