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Science Diet Dog Food Review

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2 Paws

2 PAWS


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Company Information

Science Diet pet food is made by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a subsidiary of the Colgate-Palmolive Company. Hill’s Science Diet was developed by Dr. Mark L. Morris Sr., a veterinarian at the Raritan Hospital for Animals in Edison, NJ, in 1968. At the time it was developed the food was only available through vets and pet professionals. Dr. Morris and his son, Dr. Morris Jr., continued with the food and created condition-specific and life stage pet food formulas under the Prescription Diet and Science Diet brand names. Today the company has more than 60 Prescription Diet brand pet foods, including prescription foods for cats, that are available only through vets or pet pharmacies. Science Diet brand pet foods are sold through veterinarians and pet specialty stores. In 1976 the Colgate-Palmolive Company bought Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Today’s Hill’s pet food products can be found in over 90 countries around the world and company sales reached $1 billion in 1999.


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Recall History

One line of Prescription Diet food and five of the Science Diet products were involved in the 2007 pet food recalls because they had melamine-tainted wheat gluten from China.

Manufacturing

Hill’s opened a new, 500,000 square foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Emporia, Kansas in 2010. They have three other facilities in Topeka, Kansas: the company’s global headquarters, the Pet Nutrition Center, and its canned pet food manufacturing facility. Hill’s currently operates seven manufacturing plants; five in the United States, one in the Netherlands and one in the Czech Republic. The plant in Hustopece, Czech Republic opened in 2009 and is LEED certified.

Product Overview

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 thrive.

Dry Foods

Prescription Diets

  • b/d Canine Aging & Alertness (For the nutritional support of cognitive function in older dogs)
  • c/d Canine Urinary Tract Health (Bladder Health)
  • Canine Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution (Weight reduction and lifelong maintenance for overweight dogs and dogs prone to excess weight gain.)
  • d/d Canine Skin Support Potato & Duck Formula (Skin Conditions)
  • d/d Canine Skin Support Potato & Salmon Formula (Skin Conditions)
  • d/d Canine Skin Support Potato & Venison Formula (Skin Conditions)
  • d/d Canine Skin Support Rice & Egg Formula (Skin Conditions)
  • g/d Canine Early Cardiac-Healthy Aging (For the nutritional support of senior dogs)
  • h/d Canine Cardiac Health (Heart Health)
  • i/d Canine Gastrointestinal Health (Digestive Health Support)
  • i/d Low Fat GI Restore Canine (Low Fat Gastrointestinal)
  • j/d Canine Mobility (Mobility)
  • j/d Canine Mobility Small Bites (Mobility)
  • k/d Canine Renal Health (Kidney Health)
  • l/d Canine Hepatic Health (Liver Health)
  • r/d Canine Weight Loss-Low Calorie (Weight reduction for overweight dogs)
  • r/d Canine Weight Loss-Low Calorie with Chicken (Weight reduction for overweight dogs)
  • t/d Canine Dental Health (Oral Health)
  • t/d Canine Dental Health Small Bites (Oral Health)
  • u/d Canine Non-Struvite Urinary Tract Health (Bladder Health)
  • w/d Canine Low Fat-Glucose Management-Gastrointestinal (Weight control, diabetic, and digestive support for dogs prone to excess weight gain)
  • w/d Canine Low Fat-Glucose Management-Gastrointestinal with Chicken (Weight control, diabetic, and digestive support for dogs prone to excess weight gain)
  • z/d Canine ULTRA Allergen-Free (Adverse reaction to food)
  • a/d Canine/Feline Critical Care (For the nutritional support of pets recovering from serious illness, accident and surgery)
  • c/d Canine Urinary Tract Health (Bladder Health)
  • Canine Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution (Weight reduction and lifelong maintenance for overweight dogs and dogs prone to excess weight gain.)
  • d/d Canine Skin Support Duck Formula (Skin Conditions)
  • d/d Canine Skin Support Salmon Formula (Skin Conditions)
  • d/d Canine Skin Support Venison Formula (Skin Conditions)
  • g/d Canine Early Cardiac-Healthy Aging (For the nutritional support of senior dogs)
  • h/d Canine Cardiac Health (Heart Health)
  • i/d Canine Gastrointestinal Health (Digestive Health Support)
  • i/d Low Fat GI Restore Canine (Low Fat Gastrointestinal)
  • j/d Canine Mobility (Mobility)
  • k/d Canine Renal Health (Kidney Health)
  • l/d Canine Hepatic Health (Liver Health)
  • n/d Canine (For nutritional support of dogs undergoing chemotherapy)
  • r/d Canine Weight Loss-Low Calorie (Weight reduction for overweight dogs)
  • s/d Canine Dissolution (Bladder Health)
  • u/d Canine Non-Struvite Urinary Tract Health (Bladder Health)
  • w/d Canine Low Fat-Diabetic-Gastrointestinal (Weight control, diabetic, and digestive support for dogs prone to excess weight gain)
  • z/d Canine ULTRA Allergen-Free (Adverse reaction to food)

Canned Foods

  • Adult Beef & Chicken Entrée
  • Adult Gourmet Beef Entrée
  • Adult Gourmet Chicken Entrée
  • Adult Gourmet Turkey Entrée
  • Adult Light with Liver
  • Adult Savory Stew with Beef & Vegetables
  • Adult Savory Stew with Chicken & Vegetables
  • Adult Savory Stew with Turkey & Vegetables
  • Ideal Balance Beef & Vegetables Dinner Adult
  • Ideal Balance Chicken & Vegetables Dinner Adult
  • Ideal Balance Chicken & Vegetables Dinner Mature Adult
  • Ideal Balance Chicken & Vegetables Dinner Puppy
  • Mature Adult Gourmet Beef Entrée
  • Mature Adult Gourmet Chicken Entrée
  • Mature Adult Gourmet Turkey Entrée
  • Mature Adult Savory Stew with Beef & Vegetables
  • Mature Adult Savory Stew with Chicken & Vegetables
  • Puppy Gourmet Chicken Entrée
  • Puppy Savory Stew with Beef & Vegetables
  • Puppy Savory Stew with Chicken & Vegetables
  • Small & Toy Adult Gourmet Beef Entrée
  • Small & Toy Adult Gourmet Chicken Entrée
  • Small & Toy Adult Light with Liver
  • Small & Toy Adult Savory Stew with Beef & Vegetables
  • Small & Toy Adult Savory Stew with Chicken & Vegetables
  • Small & Toy Mature Adult Gourmet Beef Entrée
  • Small & Toy Mature Adult Gourmet Chicken Entrée
  • Small & Toy Mature Adult Savory Stew with Chicken & Vegetables
  • Small & Toy Puppy Gourmet Chicken Entrée
  • Small & Toy Puppy Savory Stew with Chicken & Vegetables

Snacks

  • Ideal Balance Fruity Snacks with Apples & Oatmeal
  • Ideal Balance Fruity Snacks with Cranberries & Oatmeal
  • Ideal Balance Jerky Strips with Real Beef
  • Ideal Balance Jerky Strips with Real Chicken
  • Ideal Balance Jerky Treats with Real Beef
  • Ideal Balance Jerky Treats with Real Chicken
  • Ideal Balance Soft & Chewy Training Treats with Real Beef
  • Ideal Balance Soft & Chewy Training Treats with Real Chicken
  • Ideal Balance Veggie Chips with Pumpkin & Yam
  • Ideal Balance Veggie Chips with Sweet Potatoes & Carrots
  • Simple Essentials Treats Light Adult Large Biscuit with Real Chicken
  • Simple Essentials Treats Light Adult Medium Biscuit with Real Chicken
  • Simple Essentials Treats Mobility Adult Large Biscuit with Real Chicken
  • Simple Essentials Treats Mobility Adult Medium Biscuit with Real Chicken
  • Simple Essentials Treats Oral Care Adult Medium Nugget
  • Simple Essentials Treats Skin & Coat Adult Medium Biscuit with Real Chicken
  • Simple Essentials Treats Small & Toy Light Adult Small Biscuit with Real Chicken
  • Simple Essentials Treats Small & Toy Oral Care Adult Small Nugget

 

Review of Science Diet Healthy Advantage Canine Adult


Ingredients In Science Diet Healthy Advantage Canine Adult

Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, Powdered Cellulose, Soybean Mill Run, Animal Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Dried Egg Product, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Lactic Acid, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Iodized Salt, Dried Chicken Cartilage, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, L-Carnitine, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.


 

It was hard to choose a food to represent Hill’s Science Diet. I didn’t want to choose a food for a special health condition since it might not interest many readers so I’ve finally chosen a food for adult dogs without health problems – Science Diet Healthy Advantage Canine Adult. It seemed like an ordinary food and it had good reviews on the Science Diet web site.

Before I begin I want to give credit to Dr. Christopher Lee DVM CVLS who wrote a very interesting article about Science Diet and their foods. I agree with much of what he says – not all, but much. I do believe that some foods are more nutritious than you can tell simply by glancing at the ingredient list. I particularly like his discussion of corn and how its preparation and quality can make a difference in nutrition.


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Ingredients Breakdown

The first five ingredients you note in this food are chicken by-product meal, brewers rice, whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, and powdered cellulose.

Chicken by-products are not what you serve on your table to dinner, most likely, but they are things that your dog likes: the stomach, intestines, heart, liver, head, and feet of the chicken. According to Dr. Lee’s article (and he works for Hill’s Science Diet), all of the company’s meat comes from the U.S. So, that’s chicken by-product meal – a rich source of protein – from American sources. However, in case you don’t like chicken by-products, Hill’s says on their web site that in the future they are eliminating this ingredient from their foods in favor of some other quality protein source as the number one ingredient. But for now, this food contains chicken by-product meal as the first ingredient.

Brewers rice is the second ingredient. Brewers rice 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. Does this kind of milling make it easier for dogs to digest? Do we know how the brewer’s rice has been cooked or prepared to go in the dog food? Nope. Brewer’s rice is used as a source of fiber in dog foods. The kindest thing I’ve been able to find about brewer’s rice is that if it’s used in “moderation” it can add structure and texture to pet food – but not nutrition – and it should appear low down on the list of ingredients. But here it’s the second ingredient in the food.

Whole grain wheat and whole grain corn are the third and fourth ingredients in the food. Dr. Lee’s excellent article notwithstanding, whole grains are hard for your dog to digest. This doesn’t say “ground wheat” or “ground corn” or other forms of grains which might be easier for a dog to digest. If these whole grains are slow-cooked all day at low temps then they might be easy for your dog to digest, but we don’t know that.

Finally, the fifth ingredient is cellulose and, again, despite Dr. Lee’s explanation, I have a problem with cellulose, at least as provided by Science Diet. Dr. Lee explains that Science Diet uses cellulose from maple trees. But regardless of the source, cellulose is another fiber, in addition to the fiber already provided by the brewer’s rice. That’s a lot of fiber in a food.

The next ingredient is soybean mill run and that’s just not a good ingredient. Soybean mill run is composed of soybean hulls and such bean meats that adhere to the hulls and such bean meats that adhere to the hulls which results from normal milling operations in the production of de-hulled soybean meal. In other words, it’s the hulls from soybeans and whatever soybeans happen to stick to them while they’re being milled. I don’t even like to give my dogs food that contains soybeans or soy anything, much less the leftover hulls and beans sticking to them. Not good.

The remaining ingredients look typical of most average foods. The fat in the food – low down on the list at this point – is animal fat. This is an unnamed source of fat so you don’t know what animal(s) it comes from.

Quality Of Ingredients

The quality of ingredients looks disappointing, especially for a food that is sold by vets and which is rather expensive.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Protein: 24.6
  • Fat: 15.2
  • Carbohydrate (NFE): 44.6
  • Crude Fiber: 10.6
  • Calcium: 0.80
  • Phosphorus: 0.67
  • Sodium: 0.26
  • Potassium: 0.80
  • Magnesium: 0.101
  • Carnitine: 352 ppm
  • Vitamin C: 225 mg/kg
  • Vitamin E: 743 IU/kg
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids Total: 0.46
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids Total: 3.53
  • Chondroitin Sulfate: 1498 mg/kg (ppm)
  • Glucosamine: 831 mg/kg (ppm)

Science Diet Healthy Advantage Canine Adult provides 24.6 percent crude protein (Minimum), which is above the government’s recommendations (18 percent for adult dogs). Much of this protein probably comes from the first ingredient listed – chicken by-product meal – and from the whole grain wheat and whole grain corn. The 15.2 percent fat in Science Diet Healthy Advantage Canine Adult also meets the government’s recommendations (9 to 15 percent for an adult dog).

Calorie Content Metabolizable Energy (ME): 270kcal/cup

The calories supplied by this food are rather low for an adult dog. You should follow the label feeding directions but keep an eye on your dog’s weight and condition. You may have to increase his portions.

Company Reputation And Quality Control Issues

Hill’s Science Diet has a mixed reputation. Many people like and respect the food based on their veterinarian’s recommendation but looking at the ingredients in the food will shake your confidence in them, as will reading opinions about the food online. However, there are many dogs with various health problems who eat Hill’s Science Diet foods and their Prescription Diets and do very well, despite what the ingredients look like.

Bottomline

The ingredients don’t look good, for the most part, but there are lots of people who are happy with this food. It looks like just an average or even below average food but if your vet recommends it, you might want to try it.

Science Diet Dog Food has received our 2 paw rating.


 

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1 CommentLeave a comment

  • i wouldn’t feed my dogs this product…..look at the ingredients……not what dogs should be eating……i received a sample of HSD ……i put it in a bowl, left it in the middle of the living room unattended…….my 5 dogs were due to be fed……they sniffed it….and left it untouched……they eat grain free…..not even rice….no soy…..i didn’t feed them on time…..let them wait…..still, didn’t touch it……..i put it out on the picnic table for the birds…….finally, bagged it and took it to the trash….

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