Dog Food Insider

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Light Dog Food Review

Analysis Of Dog Food

Dog Food Insiders Rating

1 1/2 Paws

1 1/2 PAWS

You can find detailed information about Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a subsidiary of the Colgate-Palmolive Company, the maker of Hill’s Science Diet Pet Food, in our main Science Diet Dog Food review. There, you will also find information about how the food is made, recalls, and their quality control measures.

Hill’s Science Diet provides more individualized foods for dogs with different health conditions and life stages than any other brand that comes to mind. If your dog has any kind of health issue, regardless of his age or condition, it’s very possible that Science Diet has a food for him, or your vet can prescribe one of their Prescription Diets for him. Their Prescription Diets are costly and even their regular foods are expensive. Many people question whether these are good foods when they look at the ingredients, but dogs who eat these foods seem to do well.


Ingredients in Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Light Dog Food

Chicken Meal, Pea Bran Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Wheat, Corn Gluten Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley,Whole Grain Corn, Powdered Cellulose, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Beet Pulp, Soybean Oil, Lactic Acid, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Iodized Salt, L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Oat Fiber, L-Carnitine, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Beta-Carotene, Phosphoric Acid,Natural Flavors, Dried Apples, Dried Broccoli, Dried Carrots, Dried Cranberries, Dried Peas


Special Information About Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Dog Food

The first five ingredients in this food are: Chicken Meal, Pea Bran Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Wheat,Corn Gluten Meal. As with other Science Diet foods, this shows a first ingredient that contains animal protein, followed by multiple sources of grains/carbohydrates. Peas, in the pea bran meal, are “pulses.”

Science Diet says that this food is recommended for large breed dogs that are prone to gaining excess weight. It is intended for large breed dogs between 1 and five years of age with an ideal weight of 55 to 110 pounds; and giant breeds between 1 and 4 years of age with an ideal weight of over 110 pounds.

Large and giant breeds require quality sources of protein and fat, just like all other dogs. Because of their size and weight, even ordinary daily activities can put extra stress on the bones and joints of these breeds. Like any other dogs, large and giant breed dogs can have metabolisms that work at different rates. Some dogs will have a faster metabolism and burn off calories. These dogs will be less likely to gain weight even if they only get moderate exercise. Other large and giant breed dogs can have a slower metabolism. These dogs are more likely to gain weight, especially as they get older, even if they get more exercise. Keeping your dog fit and trim is usually an individual matter since a dog’s needs vary from one dog to the next.

Read User Reviews & See Updated Pricing Here

Info For Owners Of Large Or Giant Breed Dogs

If you do have a large or giant breed dog who is prone to gaining weight, you can try reducing his portions. But he could still feel hungry if you feed him less. Many people recommend adding green beans or other vegetables to a dog’s smaller portions to help him feel full after eating. This works with many dogs. If you prefer to buy a weight control dog food for large and giant breed dogs, make sure that it contains adequate protein and fat and that these ingredients come from good quality sources just as with any dog food. In addition, many weight control dog foods will use filler ingredients to make dogs feel full when they eat these foods such as cellulose. Cellulose is a natural fiber that is often made from wood sources. It’s used in many weight control dog foods because it gives dogs a feeling of fullness without adding calories. But it also lacks much nutritional value and it can prevent dogs from digesting protein and minerals very well. It can also lead to diarrhea and flatulence. So, when choosing a weight control dog food for your large or giant breed dog, choose one that has more nutritious sources of fiber. Vegetables in the food are fine as a source of fiber, but if the fiber content is too high, your dog can have gastrointestinal issues.

When choosing a weight control dog food, it’s usually best to look for one that has around 25 percent protein. Remember that protein is good for all dogs, unless your dog has some specific illness that would prevent him from eating a good percentage of protein. In that case you should consult your vet. Also, although it may seem counter-intuitive, you should avoid foods that are too low in fat. Along with being important for your dog’s health, fat is very satisfying to your dog when he eats it in food. A food that is too low in fat will leave your dog feeling hungry and wanting to eat more food. Look for foods that have between 12 and 16 percent fat. With protein and fat percentages in these ranges, this will also mean that the carbohydrate percentage in the food is lower and that’s good when it comes to losing weight. If carbs in food aren’t converted by your dog and used as energy, they are stored as fat. So foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates can pack pounds on your dog if he doesn’t go out and actively exercise.

Read User Reviews & See Updated Pricing Here

Importance Of Weight Management In Dogs

It is important to keep your dog at a healthy weight. Many dogs in the U.S. and Canada are overweight or obese today. But when it comes to choosing a weight control dog food, make sure you choose one that is good for your dog.

According to Science Diet, this light dog food for adult dogs is 19 percent lower in calories than their Adult Large Breed formula. The company claims that they use “natural vegetable fiber” to help satisfy hunger between meals. You should note that a lot of the “natural fiber” in this food comes from peas – pea bran meal, for example. Many dogs have trouble digesting peas and peas in dog food can lead to flatulence and diarrhea. They are often regarded as a filler ingredient.

Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown

Chicken meal is the first ingredient and it’s a good ingredient for dog food. Chicken is about 80 percent protein and it’s a good source of Vitamin B6 and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Niacin and Selenium. It’s also a good source of glucosamine for joint health. Chicken meal is a concentrated form of chicken in which most of the moisture has been removed. It typically contains about three times as much protein as chicken.

The next four ingredients in the food are grains/cereals and the pea bran meal, adding a lot of carbohydrates to the food. They are all relatively high energy grains that are digested quickly and get in your dog’s bloodstream fast. Whole grains like some of these grains, however, are harder for your dog to digest.

The second ingredient is pea bran meal. Pea bran meal is an animal grade fiber made from pea hulls. It has a total dietary fiber content of around 83 percent and protein content around 7 percent. It’s used as a fiber additive in pet foods. As part of a pet diet it reduces blood sugar and provides roughage. However, pea fiber can be a problem ingredient in dog food for some dogs. Pea fiber isn’t always easily digested by dogs and can result in increased waste and some gastrointestinal issues. Peas in general can also interfere with the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the food.

The third ingredient is whole grain sorghum. While sorghum is currently touted as having a lot of health benefits for humans, such as being gluten-free and helping with some health issues (which haven’t been proven), it’s usually associated with livestock feed. Sorghum is about 3 percent protein, 8 percent fat, and 89 percent carbohydrates. It contains some B vitamins and a few assorted minerals, but not large quantities of anything, although it does have a lot of omega-6 fatty acid. One species of sorghum is the source of sorghum molasses. Other kinds of sorghum are used for grass/fodder and grains for animals.

Read User Reviews & See Updated Pricing Here

The fourth ingredient is whole grain wheat. Whole grain wheat is mostly carbs with some protein and fat (15 percent protein, 5 percent fat, 80 percent carbohydrates). It is considered to be a good source of dietary fiber, manganese, and selenium.

The fifth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Corn gluten meal is derived from corn but it’s not actually a gluten. It is a by-product of corn processing that contains corn proteins. It’s often used in pet food as well as livestock feeds. Let me repeat: corn gluten meal contains no gluten. It has nothing to do with the kind of glutens you find in breads or other foods that contain glutens. If your dog is allergic to corn, he will be allergic to corn gluten meal because of the corn protein. But it has nothing to do with gluten. Corn gluten meal typically contains higher amounts of protein than ordinary corn which is one reason why it’s added to pet food. It can contain as much as 60 percent protein on an as fed basis.

Thoughts About The Top 5 Ingredients

Overall, the first five ingredients in this food provide some good animal protein in the form of chicken meal as the first ingredient. They also provide some plant-based protein. However, many of these ingredients are primarily carbohydrates from grains. Of greater concern is the pea bran fiber, especially as the second ingredient, since this is mostly dietary fiber and roughage. Dogs eating this food will likely have some gastrointestinal issues.

Additional Ingredients of Interest

The sixth ingredient is cracked pearled barley. Cracked pearled barley has been polished to remove part of its hull and bran; and make it easier to digest. Keep in mind that the more it’s processed, the more nutrients it loses, even if it makes it easier to digest. It has a moderate amount of starch that can be slowly digested, along with soluble fiber.

The next ingredient is whole grain corn. Whole grain corn, along with the corn gluten meal as the fifth ingredient, means this food contains quite a bit of corn. Whole grain corn contains about 5 percent protein (this can vary depending on different factors), 9 percent fat, and about 86 percent carbohydrates. Much of the whole grain corn raised in the U.S. and Canada is sold for animal feed. Whole grain corn has a high glycemic load which means it will get in your dog’s bloodstream quickly and give him quick energy but it will also wear off quickly or be converted to fat if it’s not used.

Ingredients of Concern

We are concerned about some of the ingredients in the food. The food contains powdered cellulose. Cellulose in dog food usually comes from pine trees. It is mainly in insoluble fiber. Added in high amounts, it can have a negative effect on how your dog digests other ingredients in the food. It’s often used in light or “lite” dog foods because it doesn’t add calories to food. But it can cause dogs to have diarrhea and flatulence. We understand that weight control dog foods need to make dogs feel full without adding calories, but we think dog owners should be careful about foods containing cellulose (here’s an article with more detailed info).

The food also contains flaxseed. Lots of people like flaxseed and flaxseed oil for their dogs since it’s a great source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids (especially omega 3). However, flaxseed is also a significant source of phytoestrogen. These are plant-derived substances that mimic some of the effects of estrogen in the body. This can be especially true in females. Without going into the possible effects on humans, many dog breeders have reported that feeding dogs foods that contain flaxseed or flaxseed oil has interfered with conception and gestation. So flaxseed in a dog food is something that should be viewed cautiously, especially if you breed dogs. If you have an intact female dog, especially in a house with male dogs, you may find that foods with flaxseed causes males to think the female is in season. The same phenomenon often occurs with foods containing soy.

Read User Reviews & See Updated Pricing Here

This food contains soybean oil and it has many of the same issues as flaxseed.

Soybeans are a good source of protein and fat and they are low in carbs but they are a common cause of allergies in dogs. They are also a source of phytoestrogens which can play interfere with your dog’s hormones to a certain extent.

We also see chicken liver flavor in the food. Added flavors always raise a few eyebrows, but since this is a named source, it looks fine. However, the food also contains Natural Flavors which is not fine. Natural flavors in dog food could be almost anything approved by the FDA as GRAS (generally recognized as safe). It is frequently monosodium glutamate (MSG) – the same MSG that is added to human foods for flavor and color. Your dog doesn’t need MSG unless you are trying to discourage him from eating his own poop (a common use of MSG with dog owners). So, chicken liver flavor, okay; natural flavors, no.

More Ingredients Worth Mentioning

You also find dried beet pulp in the food. There are some misconceptions about beet pulp, probably because of the name. Dried beet pulp is a natural, fermentable source of fiber. It is a wonderful addition to dog food to help move fecal matter along in the intestines. It also acts as a pre-biotic to help good bacteria grow in the gut.

Like most other Science Diet foods, this food contains oat fiber. Oat fiber is 100 percent carbohydrates and it’s very high in sodium. However, it is a good source of dietary fiber.

Finally, we notice that the food contains some interesting additives toward the end of the ingredient list. L-Lysine is an essential amino acid in mammals. It’s a building block of protein. It also plays a major role in calcium absorption and the body’s production of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies. L-carnitine comes from the amino acids lysine and methionine. It helps the body turn fat into energy, among other things. It’s often added to weight control dog foods or to foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates. Taurine is an amino acid that is often added to dog foods today to prevent a deficiency that could cause heart problems and other health problems in some dogs. Mixed tocopherols are usually E vitamins, so they are a natural preservative. We also see beta-carotene added. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid from plants that forms vitamin A in the body. It’s good for vision, immunity, and other health benefits. You are probably most familiar with it in carrots. The food also has some dried fruits and vegetables added at the end of the ingredient list but these are probably added for flavor. It’s doubtful they have much impact this far down the list.

We also note that this food has more chondroitin sulfate than many of Science Diet’s foods but less glucosamine for some reason. These are supplements that are often added to foods for large breed dogs to help with joint care.

Guaranteed Analysis

(Science Diet already figures for dry matter basis)

Protein ….. 24.9
Fat ….. 9.0
Carbohydrate (NFE) ….. 47.1
Crude Fiber ….. 13.3
Calcium ….. 0.87
Phosphorus ….. 0.7
Sodium ….. 0.35
Potassium ….. 0.80
Magnesium ….. 0.134
Carnitine ….. 351 ppm
Vitamin C ….. 248 mg/kg
Vitamin E ….. 710 IU/kg
Chondroitin Sulfate ….. 1315 mg/kg (ppm)
Glucosamine ….. 341 mg/kg (ppm)

Calories Content

297 calories per 8 oz cup

Nutritional Adequacy Statement

Science Diet Adult Large Breed Light Dog Food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance of adult dogs.

Dry Matter Basis

On a dry matter basis, this food contains 24.9 percent protein and 9 percent fat. This is a moderate percentage of protein and a very low percentage of fat. Fiber makes up 13.3 percent of the food which is an enormously high percentage. The food contains 47.1 percent carbohydrates which is a high percentage of carbs, especially for a light dog food.


We do not recommend this food for weight control for large and giant breed dogs because of the pea bran meal and powdered cellulose in the food. We also think that a fiber content over 13 percent is excessively high and that dogs eating this food will be likely to have diarrhea and flatulence. The food is exactly the same as Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light. We don’t see anything here that would make it especially suitable for large and giant breed dogs.

Science Diet Adult Large Breed Light Dog Food has received our 1.5 paw rating.


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