NOTE: This food is identical to Hill’s Science Diet Adult Advanced Fitness Lamb Meal & Rice Recipe. We have added some information to this review about this food and small dogs.
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 Advanced Fitness Small Bites Lamb Meal & Rice
Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, Brown Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Sorghum, Pork Fat, Cracked Pearled Barley, Chicken Liver Flavor, Flaxseed, Lactic Acid, Dried Beet Pulp, Soybean Oil, 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), Taurine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Tryptophan, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, L-Threonine, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Natural Flavors
The first five ingredients in this food are: Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, Brown Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Wheat. You can see from reading these first few ingredients that the food has some good animal protein (lamb meal) and a lot of grains/cereals that provide a lot of carbohydrates. Many of these ingredients can be triggers for allergies and food intolerances in dogs: lamb, corn, and wheat, for example. At one time lamb was considered to be a novel protein but it’s so common now that it’s a frequent allergen among dogs that have food allergies. If your dog does have an allergy to any of these ingredients, you’ll obviously need to find another food.
This food is supposedly formulated for small dogs but you can see from looking at the ingredients and the guaranteed analysis that it is identical to Hill’s Science Diet Adult Advanced Fitness Lamb Meal & Rice Recipe. As far as we can tell, the only real difference is that this food comes in smaller kibble pieces. Small and Toy breed dogs do have some nutritional needs that are different from medium and larger dogs so this kind of advertising seems deceptive. Toy breeds, in particular, can have problems with hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and can require slower-digesting carbohydrates to help keep their blood sugar at a steady level. Many of the carbs in this food, for example, are simple carbs, such as brown rice and corn gluten meal. They will get in your dog’s bloodstream quickly, giving him quick energy, and then they are gone, leaving a sugar low. Toy breeds will do better on more complex carbs, though they can be harder for some dogs to digest.
One good way to keep your small or Toy breed dog healthier and eating well is to feed him several smaller meals during the day. Don’t feed him more food than you normally would, but spread his normal amount out over multiple meals. This will help him maintain a good blood sugar level throughout the day.
Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown
Lamb meal is the first ingredient so, by weight, the food contains more of this ingredient than anything else. It’s a good ingredient for dogs. Lamb is about 60 percent protein. It’s a good source of Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B12, Iron, Zinc, Copper and Selenium. It also contains lots of omega-6 fatty acid. Since this is a meal, most of the moisture has already been removed prior to cooking and the protein is very concentrated.
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.
Brewers rice, the second 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.
The third ingredient is brown rice. Brown rice is often used in dog foods. From a dog food viewpoint, rice is a cereal grain. Brown rice is higher in fiber than white rice, and less processed. It can also be a little more irritating to the stomach than white rice. It’s a simple carbohydrate that can give dogs quick energy. Used in conjunction with more complex carbs in a dog food, brown rice is a good ingredient.
As for concerns about arsenic in rice, and thus in dog foods that include rice, the FDA has not made any recommendation for pet food companies to stop using rice or for dog owners to avoid feeding foods that contain rice. Nor has the FDA suggested that people stop eating rice. If you are uncomfortable about the possibility of minute amounts of arsenic in rice or dog food, you should avoid this food or any dog food that contains rice.
The fourth 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.
The fifth 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.
Thoughts About The Top 5 Ingredients
Overall, the first five ingredients in this food provide some good animal protein in the form of lamb meal as the first ingredient. They also provide some plant-based protein with the wheat and corn. 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.
Additional Ingredients of Interest
The sixth 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 food also contains cracked pearled barley as another grain source. 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.
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 (read more on Wikipedia). 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 (read more here). 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. 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.
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.
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 contains L-Tryptophan and L-Threonine. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid and it’s commonly found in lots of foods such as red meat, dairy products, and some fruits and other plants. It’s a building block for protein biosynthesis and a precursor for serotonin, Niacin, and Auxin. I really don’t know why it’s been added to this food.
Threonine is another essential amino acid that helps build protein. It’s easily found in poultry, fish, and meat, among other foods. Again, I don’t know why it’s been added to this food. The addition of Tryptophan and Threonine strike me as gimmicks, to be honest. I doubt if anyone has ever had a dog diagnosed as being deficient in these amino acids.
- Protein ….. 24.2
- Fat ….. 16.4
- Carbohydrate (NFE) ….. 51.5
- Crude Fiber ….. 2.0
- Calcium ….. 1.01
- Phosphorus ….. 0.8
- Sodium ….. 0.32
- Potassium ….. 0.82
- Magnesium ….. 0.099
- Vitamin C ….. 264 mg/kg
- Vitamin E ….. 592 IU/kg
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids Total ….. 0.67
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids Total ….. 3.33
367 calories per 8 oz cup
Nutritional Adequacy Statement
Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Science Diet Adult Advanced Fitness Small Bites Lamb Meal & Rice Recipe Dog Food provides complete and balanced nutrition for maintenance of adult dogs.
Dry Matter Basis
On a dry matter basis, this food contains 24.2 percent protein and 16.4 percent fat. These are moderate protein and fat percentages for a quality dog food.. Fiber makes up 2 percent of the food which is a very low percentage. The food contains 51.5 percent carbohydrates which is a very high percentage of carbs for any food.
This is an average lamb meal and rice food with moderate amounts of protein and fat and lots of carbs from grain. There is nothing about it that makes it particularly suitable for small or Toy breeds except it has smaller pieces of kibble.
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