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Dog Food Insiders Rating
3 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.
List of Ingredients Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed
Chicken, Whole Grain Wheat, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Sorghum, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Corn, Chicken Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor, Pork Fat, Dried Beet Pulp, Soybean Oil, Lactic Acid, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Iodized Salt, Choline Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, 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, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, 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, Whole Grain Wheat, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Sorghum, 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.
This food is said to be formulated for large breed dogs. It contains a slightly higher protein and fat percentage than many of Science Diet’s other large breed dog foods which we like. While it’s probably true that if your dog needs chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine that you are better off adding them to his diet in addition to his dog food, we note that this food has more of these joint supplements than other Science Diet large breed foods. The food still contains a very high percentage of carbohydrates, like many Science Diet foods.
Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown
Chicken 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. The food also contains chicken meal farther down the ingredient list. Chicken meal is also a good source of protein for dogs. It’s 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, 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 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.
Brewers rice, the third ingredient, is a by-product of the rice milling industry. According to AAFCO it is “the small milled fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the larger kernels of milled rice.” Brewers rice is a processed rice product that is missing many of the nutrients contained in whole ground rice and brown rice thus reducing the quality. It is often used in pet foods. Brewer’s rice is used as a source of fiber in dog foods. Used in moderation it adds texture and structure to dog food but it’s the third ingredient here.
The fourth 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.
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.
Overall, the first five ingredients in this food provide some good animal protein in the form of chicken as the first ingredient. They also provide some plant-based protein. However, many of these ingredients are primarily carbohydrates from grains. If your dog has no allergies or food intolerances, he can probably eat this food without any difficulty but this food can cause problems for dogs who have food allergies. Chicken, wheat, and corn, in particular, are often sources of food allergies for dogs that have a food allergy.
Additional Ingredients of Interest
The sixth 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 a couple of ingredients in the food. The food containsflaxseed. 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.
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.
The food contains pork fat as a named fat. This is a named fat source and dogs love pork. As far as we know, there’s nothing wrong with using pork fat in dog foods. Pork is used in dog foods much more than most people realize. 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. 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.
Fat ….. 16.1
Carbohydrate (NFE) ….. 52.3
Crude Fiber ….. 2.0
Calcium ….. 0.83
Phosphorus ….. 0.7
Sodium ….. 0.30
Potassium ….. 0.76
Magnesium ….. 0.099
Carnitine ….. 11 ppm
Vitamin C ….. 340 mg/kg
Vitamin E ….. 786 IU/kg
Chondroitin Sulfate ….. 1012 mg/kg (ppm)
Glucosamine ….. 779 mg/kg (ppm)
370 calories per 8 oz cup
Nutritional Adequacy Statement
Science Diet Adult Large Breed 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 24.5 percent protein and 16.1 percent fat. These are moderate protein and fat percentages for a quality dog food and slightly higher than the percentages found in some of Science Diet’s other large breed dog foods. Fiber makes up 2 percent of the food which is a very low percentage. The food contains 52.3 percent carbohydrates which is a very high percentage of carbs for any food.
We like this food more than some of Science Diet’s other large breed dog foods. It contains slightly higher percentages of protein and fat and a little more glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. It seems to be a good average dog food, if you don’t mind the high percentage of carbohydrates.
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