Review of Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dog Food
Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Hill’s Science Diet Puppy product line includes the 6 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
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Recipe and Label Analysis
Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Chicken Meal and Oats 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.
Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Chicken Meal and Oats
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, whole grain wheat, whole grain oats, whole grain sorghum, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, whole grain corn, chicken liver flavor, flaxseed, dried beet pulp, pork liver flavor, fish oil, lactic acid, iodized salt, dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement), choline chloride, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), taurine, oat fiber, mixed tocopherols for freshness, natural flavors, l-carnitine, beta-carotene, apples, broccoli, carrots, cranberries, green peas
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.1%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||16%||47%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||34%||41%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second ingredient is wheat. Like corn, wheat is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider wheat a preferred component in any dog food.
The third ingredient includes oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The fourth ingredient lists sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.
Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.
The fifth ingredient is 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.
The sixth item is chicken fat. 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.
The seventh ingredient is corn. Corn is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as wheat (previously discussed).
After the chicken liver flavor, we find 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.
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 5 notable exceptions…
First, fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.
Next, 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.
In addition, we note the use of taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.
Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher quality dog foods.
Based on its ingredients alone, Hill’s Science Diet Puppy looks like an average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 62%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten meal and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
Our Rating of Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dog Food
Hill’s Science Diet Puppy is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a notable amount of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
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Has Hill’s Science Diet Puppy 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 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 (Canned)
- 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)
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.
03/14/2021 Last Update