Hills Science Diet dog food

October 8, 2008  
Filed under Dog Food Reviews, Science Diet

Hills Science Diet Dog Food Review

Science Diet dog food is manufactured by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, the same company which makes Hills Prescription Diet formulas. The different rations of Science Diet dog food have been tailored to meet the different nutritional and special health requirements of different life stages, although there is no mention that the products have met the AAFCO nutritional adequacy profiles required for specific breed size, activity level, life stage or lifestyle.

The first major ingredient in most Science Diet products may either be lamb, chicken, or turkey which are considered excellent sources of animal-based protein. However, these are utilized in its raw forms which means they contain high amounts of water (approximately 80%) which can be lost during the manufacturing process.

In an effort to increase protein levels, chicken by-product meal, soybean meal, and/or lamb meal was added. These ingredients are considered meat concentrates because they contain about 300% more protein compared to raw or fresh meat.

There may be some reservations on the use of chicken by-product meal because most by-product meals are made from beaks, feathers, feet and other parts from which the prime cuts have been removed and have been deemed unfit for human consumption.

One of the controversial ingredients of Science Diet is corn which is often listed as the first ingredient.  Although corn is a desirable source for the carbohydrate component of the feed, the question lies on the possible source and type of corn which was used. There is a big possibility that the corn used in the Science Diet formulations is of the feed grade like the one which is used in livestock feeds.  Corn, of whatever grade or type, has been linked to food allergies in dogs. This is another point which makes corn a controversial ingredient.

Science Diet dog food formulas also utilize soybean meal which is a source of plant-based protein, albeit an inferior one.  The addition of soybean meal will help boost the protein level of the dog food.

Soybean oil is another plant-based protein source but has been linked to food allergies in many dogs.

Animal fat which is preserved by mixed tocopherols and citric acid is also another controversial ingredient because the source has not been established. Animal fat is another by-product , which if the source is not mentioned, may come from anywhere including restaurant grease, euthanized animals, dead or dying livestock animals, or even from slaughterhouse waste.

Science Diet dog food products provide healthy sources of omega-3 fatty acids from chicken liver flavor and flaxseed.  However, flaxseed is almost indigestible in humans and since we have the same digestive systems with dogs, there is a high probability that it is also indigestible in dogs. Thus dog food manufacturers who want to take advantage of the omega-3 fatty acids present in flaxseed often use flaxseed oil or powder.

Unlike most top-rated dog food formulas, Science Diet dog food products apparently have not been coated with probiotics. These are friendly bacteria which enhance the integrity of the digestive system and boost the digestive process.

There is also no mention that the minerals present in the Science Diet formulas has been chelated, which means that minerals are not as easily absorbed and assimilated into the body as when they have been chelated.

Customer Reviews

Many dog owners decry the fact that Hills Science Diet is marketed as being recommended by veterinarians.  They also noted that the prices of Science Diet are comparable to some top-rated brands even though its ingredients are not top brass.

On the brighter side, there are also positive reviews from dog owners who switched to Science Diet and have not met any problems. Some also liked the fact that the dog food brand has been prescribed and/or recommended by their veterinarians.

Overall, we do not recommend Hills Science Diet and do not believe that it represents a good quality or good value dog food.

Science Diet Puppy Formulas:

Science Diet Adult Formulas:

Science Diet Mature Adult Formulas:

  • Science Diet Mature Adult 7+ Original Dog Food
  • Science Diet Mature Adult 7+ Small Bites Dog Food
  • Science Diet Mature Adult 5+ Large Breed  Dog Food

Science Diet Consumer Rating

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128 Responses to “Hills Science Diet dog food”
  1. laura says:

    Have read with interest! My boy has been on james wellbeloved, seems fine on it but thought I would read reviews on science plan as thats what our vet recommends. It seems that ALL reviews for dog food are bad, so I`m wondering if I should switch back to homecooked natural foods (poultry, brown rice and carrots) that i was doing him? I offered the dried food as i heard they need it for their teeth and all their nutrients?
    very confused!!!

  2. Anne says:

    My vet pushes Science Diet. Read the label! I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemies dog. After finding out what they put in dog food I make my own and add a little of the Blue Buffalo just to make sure they’re getting enough protein. They love the food and so far no ill side effects. It’s only been a month and am still weaning off the commercial stuff. Time will tell. Used to feed Iams until I read the full label. Have researched all the ingredients in Blue Buffalo, it seems like pretty decent food.

  3. Sally says:

    Science diet is some of the worst food out there. Vets have no idea how crappy it is because they are taught that foods like Hills produces healthy pets. They are taught about food from the makers of either Purina or Hills so they can dupe the vets into selling it. I fed it once years back to a dog I had. She lost weight, lost condition and lost energy on it. Her coat was starting to dull and so were her eyes. I tossed the Science Diet out and bought some real food. Inside of two weeks I had my dog back again. Most of their vet diets read no differently than many products that do not require a vet’s prescription. Don’t waste your money or your pets health on these lousy products. Find a good meat based food that your dog not only likes, but will also promote proper nutrition and health. Science Diet isn’t the one, period.

  4. Bndyn says:

    It’s true, Science Diet is honestly a poor excuse for canine nutrition… read the back label… the first ingredient isn’t even meat. I got my dog from a shelter and I found out they were feeding all of the dogs Science Diet… it really made me want to adopt them all just to get them away from that horrible food. I immediately switched my dog over to Wellness gradually and she couldn’t be happier or healthier. Anyone feeding their dog Science Diet needs to be educated on proper nutrition for their dog.

  5. Carolyn says:

    All three of my chihuahuas were on Hills Science Diet WD formula, and all three of them died (at ages 9, 11, and 12) of devastating gastrointestinal disease. The progression of their illnesses were the same: they started with seizures and ultimately two of them had ruptured gall bladders and two of them also had severe pancreatitis. One of them also had a stroke. They were all on Hills Sciene Diet WD formula for weight control as recommended by their veterinarian. I contacted Hills and urged them to take this matter seriously. I pray they research this issue and perhaps they will determine that toy breed dogs cannot tolerate this food. Their veterinarian advised that two dogs with ruptured gall bladders is like lightning striking twice. Their medical bills were collectively nearly $35,000. I cannot say with certainty that this food caused their illnesses, but I urge anyone with a toy breed to steer clear of this food until Hills can do further research.

  6. Ann says:

    I tried to give 1-2 stars, but it wouldn’t slide down past 4 stars. My little dog lost 3 pounds before this “diet” for ph balance and gained most back in a week. Despite halving the quantity, weight loss is a real struggle. There has to be another way.

  7. In response to all of the concerns I do have to state that Science Diet is recommended by Vets because it is the only food that performs clinical trials on pet food. No other company has the research or the proper educational background as Hill’s. Hill’s knows the needs of pets because Hill’s has research and testing to prove proper nutrition is what is in Science Diet. Most of the “no corn” is bad fad along with the “grain free” fad is all just a big misconception based on misinformed consumers. Protein allergy to beef and chicken is much more prevalent in pets then grain or corn less than .001% of dogs are actually allergic to corn. Marketers love when they can exploit the misinformed and place a label that will mislead and fool consumers. Hill’s has stepped up to the plate and came out with an even better Hill’s® Science Diet®.
    Very soon, even more Hill’s® Science Diet® dog foods will feature
    quality protein as the first ingredient and will be made with natural
    ingredients, no chicken by-product and no artificial colors or flavors.
    Plus, new packaging will make it easier to find the right food for your
    dog and, as always, great taste is guaranteed.

    For Cats
    Highest quality natural ingredients
    with no artificial colors or flavors
    Precisely balanced with vitamins,
    minerals and amino acids
    High quality meat as first ingredient
    More fruits and vegetables.
    Great taste, guaranteed.
    We work hard to make sure all of our foods are
    nutritious, easy to digest and now, even more

    Feed with confidence
    We make every bag of our dog food in our own US facilities with highest quality natural ingredients from North America, Europe, Australia & New Zealand. These ingredients must meet our strict requirements for purity and nutrient content, which exceed industry standards.

  8. Mary Donnelly says:

    Vet has prescribed Hills C/D for my dog. She is 13 years old. Is their another dog food for her
    Urinary problems?

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Should you have a concern regarding the diet of your dog, you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is the opinion of the author, and is presented solely for informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving professional veterinary care for your dog(s).
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