Dog Food Insiders Rating
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 Puppy Small & Toy Breed Dog Food
Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Pork Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, Whole Grain Sorghum, Corn Gluten Meal, Pork Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Beet Pulp, Fish Oil, Lactic Acid, Flaxseed, Pork Flavor, Soybean Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Iodized Salt, Potassium Chloride, 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, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, 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, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.
The first five ingredients in this food are: Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Pork Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, and Whole Grain Corn. These ingredients show two good sources of animal protein with the chicken meal and pork meal. The other top five ingredients contain plenty of carbohydrates and some fiber, as well as some plant protein. The chicken, wheat, and corn are often sources of allergens for dogs with food allergies but most dogs can eat these ingredients without any problems.
According to the company this food is recommended for puppies up to 1 year old that weigh up to 25 pounds when full grown. It’s also recommended for pregnant and nursing dogs. The company claims that the food provides precisely balanced, easy-to-digest nutrition for growing puppies. They say that the food has vitamins C and E to enhance immunity for a strong start in life. They claim that the food has DHA (a particular kind of fatty acid) that supports healthy brain development and learning ability in puppies. They also state that the food has calcium and omega-3 fatty acids for strong bone and muscle development. And the company says that it has high quality chicken protein with natural ingredients and no chicken by-product meal.
These claims seem to be accurate. The food appears to have these ingredients and scientific research supports these claims. However, we are less certain that there is anything about this food that makes it especially good for small breed or Toy puppies compared to other puppies. The food appears to have similar ingredients to to other Science Diet puppy foods for puppies and large breed puppies. The guaranteed analysis for this food is also very similar to other Science Diet puppy foods that are not for small breed or Toy puppies.
Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown
The top 5 ingredients included in this Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Small & Toy Breed Dry Dog Food are: Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Pork Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, and Whole Grain Corn. Below you will find a brief explanation of each of these ingredients:
Chicken Meal – Chicken meal is 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. As the first ingredient, the food should contain more chicken than any other ingredient. Chicken meal is the condensed version of chicken, with most of the moisture removed, so it contains several times as much protein as whole chicken.
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. It features about 7 percent protein, 3 percent fat, and 90 percent carbohydrates.
Pork Meal – Pork is used more often in dog foods than many people realize. Pork, in general, is 81 percent protein and 19 percent fat. It’s a good source of Vitamin C, Niacin, Phosphorus and Zinc, and a very good source of Vitamin B12, Iron and Selenium. In a meal form, it will have most of the moisture removed so it will be condensed and have several times as much protein as the whole form of pork. Most dogs love the taste of pork.
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.
Whole Grain 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.
Overall, these ingredients seem to meet some of the company’s claims about the food. They provide good meat protein with chicken meal and pork meal. There are carbs and fiber and an assortment of vitamins and minerals. Most puppies will be able to eat these ingredients without any problem. Even if your puppy has any food intolerances, they don’t usually begin to show until a puppy is 5-6 months of age. However, if you are opposed to grains on principle, you will need to look for another food.
Compare Our Review To These Customer Reviews
Additional Ingredients of Interest
Aside from the top five ingredients, there are several other notable ingredients found in Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Small & Toy Breed Dry Dog Food. Some of these ingredients include: whole grain sorghum, corn gluten meal, pork fat, dried beet pulp, fish oil, flaxseed, soybean oil, oat fiber and dried fruits and vegetables plus various natural flavors and supplements. 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 food also contains corn gluten meal. Corn gluten meal can have as much as 60 percent protein on an as fed basis. Corn gluten meal can often boost the protein percentage in a dog food but it’s a plant protein so it’s not always as easy for dogs to digest as animal sources of protein. However, corn isn’t a “bad” ingredient. It’s only when it predominates in a food, keeping the food from having enough animal protein, that it really becomes a problem. Or, if you don’t like grains in general, then you’re not going to like corn and some other grains, such as wheat. However, there’s no particular reason to avoid it in small to moderate amounts for most dogs and puppies.
The food also contains pork fat, chicken liver flavor and pork liver flavor. We don’t have a problem with these ingredients. Pork fat is a named fat and dogs love it. In fact, pork fat is 96 percent fat and 4 percent protein. It’s loaded with omega-6 fatty acid. We’re not crazy about flavors added to dog foods but chicken liver flavor and pork liver flavor are named and identified. They probably add some additional moisture to the food but, as far as we know, they aren’t harmful. On the other hand, natural flavors, at the end of the list, is often monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is also added to human foods. It’s much less desirable.
The food also contains dried beet pulp. 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.
The food also contains fish oil. Fish oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acid which is good for your dog’s skin, coat, joints, and many other nutritional needs.
The food also contains flaxseed. Flaxseed is a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid but it’s also a phytoestrogen and it can cause hormonal problems for dogs, especially for unspayed female dogs. If you are a dog breeder, you should be careful about feeding a food with heavy concentrations of this ingredient to a puppy.
The food contains soybean oil which can also be problematic. 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 interfere with your dog’s hormones to a certain extent. If your dog has thyroid problems (such as hypothyroidism), soybeans can also create trouble. If your dog takes a thyroid hormone or synthetic hormone for hypothyroidism, for example, soybean products can prevent his system from absorbing the medication properly.
Oat fiber is 100 percent carbohydrates and it’s very high in sodium. However, it is a good source of dietary fiber.
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. It’s also a natural antioxidant or preservative.
The food also contains taurine and l-lysine. 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. 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.
Finally, the food contains Dried Apples, Dried Broccoli, Dried Carrots, Dried Cranberries, and Dried Peas. These fruits and vegetables at the end of the ingredient list probably don’t add much in the way of nutrition but they could add some taste or act as antioxidants/preservatives or have other slight functions.
According to the guaranteed analysis for the food, it contains a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1.5 : 1.2 which is within the government’s recommended guidelines for puppies. The protein and fat percentages are similar to other Science Diet puppy foods, as are the carb and fiber percentages. The vitamin C and E amounts are also similar, as is the DHA total. The totals for Science Diet’s large breed puppy foods are a little different, but the guaranteed analysis of this food is very similar to the other non-large breed puppy foods.
Fat ….. 19.8
Carbohydrate (NFE) ….. 40.0
Crude Fiber ….. 1.7
Calcium ….. 1.58
Phosphorus ….. 1.2
Sodium ….. 0.50
Potassium ….. 0.80
Magnesium ….. 0.118
Vitamin C ….. 317 mg/kg
Vitamin E ….. 645 IU/kg
DHA ….. 0.173
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Total ….. 1.10
378 calories per 8 oz cup
Nutritional Adequacy Statement
Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Science Diet Puppy Small & Toy Breed Dog Food provides complete and balanced nutrition for growing puppies and gestating/lactating adult female dogs.
Dry Matter Basis
On a dry matter basis, this food contains 30.3 percent protein and 19.8 percent fat. These percentages are well above the government recommended percentages for puppies. Fiber makes up 1.7 percent of the food which is a very low percentage. The food contains 40.0 percent carbohydrates which is lower than many foods.
We like the animal protein in this puppy food and the protein and fat percentages, as well as the relatively low carb percentage. We like the guaranteed analysis for the food. There’s a lot to like here. This food for small breed and Toy puppies is very similar to some of Science Diet’s other puppy foods. If you don’t like grains, you won’t like this food. But we don’t mind grains as long as the puppy or dog isn’t allergic to them. Recommended.