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Hill’s Science Diet Ideal Balance Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Puppy Food Review

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4 Paw Rated Dog Food

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.

Check Out The Top Selling Ideal Balance Science Diet Blends Here



Ingredients in Science Diet Ideal Balance™ Natural Chicken & Brown Rice

Chicken, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Oats, Cracked Pearled Barley, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein Concentrate, Chicken Fat, Flaxseed, Dried Egg Product, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Beet Pulp, Lactic Acid, Fish Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Vegetable & fruit blend (Green Peas, Apples, Cranberries, Carrots, Broccoli), Iodized Salt, Potassium Chloride, 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, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Beta-Carotene, Natural Flavors.


Ingredients Overview

The first five ingredients in this food are: Chicken, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Oats, Cracked Pearled Barley and Chicken Meal. These ingredients would indicate a good source of animal protein and a lot of carbohydrates, with some fiber.

According to the company this food is recommended for puppies up to 1 year old and pregnant or nursing dogs. The company claims that the food has fresh chicken as the number one ingredient to provide lean protein for keeping your dog slim and trim. They say the food has brown rice to provide natural fiber for healthy digestion. Eggs supply amino acids, the building blocks of muscles and organs. They say the food has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to improve your dog’s skin and coat – guaranteed or your money back. And they say the food has no corn, wheat or soy, and no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Hill’s also says the food has vegetables as a source of vitamins and minerals, and fruit for antioxidants. They also refer to flaxseed as a source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to improve your dog’s skin and coat.

We have no problem with most of these claims. As for artificial flavors, the food does have “natural flavors” added which is often monosodium glutamate (MSG), though we cannot say with certainty that it’s MSG in this case. The added vegetables and fruit are found in a vegetable and fruit blend midway through the ingredient list. They may provide vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants, but we note that there are vitamins and minerals added to the food.

We note that this food has 393 calories per 8 ounce cup so it is a rich food. Puppies are active and use up a lot of calories so most puppies will easily burn up these calories. Be sure that you don’t overfeed your puppies since being overweight is not healthy for puppies or dogs at any stage of life.

Check Out The Top Selling Ideal Balance Science Diet Blends Here


Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown

The top 5 ingredients included in this Hill’s Science Diet Ideal Balance Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Puppy Food are: Chicken, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Oats, Cracked Pearled Barley, and Chicken Meal. Below you will find a brief explanation of each of these ingredients:

Chicken – This ingredient is usually whole chicken so it contains a lot of moisture. Without the moisture, this ingredient would come much farther down the ingredient list. Later in the list the food also contains chicken meal as the fifth ingredient. Chicken in general is a good source of Vitamin B6 and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Niacin and Selenium. This is a good animal protein for many dogs. Some dogs can be allergic to chicken, however. Obviously, if your dog has problems with chicken you’ll need to avoid this food but, combined, chicken and chicken meal seem to provide a lot of animal protein in the food.

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.

Whole Grain Oats – Oats are a good source of dietary fiber, Thiamin, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Manganese. They are 70 percent carbohydrates, 15 percent protein, and 15 percent fat. Whole grain oats can be harder to digest but they also stay in the digestive tract longer and provide a sense of fullness. They release their carbs slowly into the bloodstream.

Cracked Pearled Barley – Barley is about 90 percent carbohydrates, 3 percent fat, and 7 percent protein. It’s a good source of dietary fiber and Manganese. Barley is considered to be a good grain for regulating the body’s blood sugar.

Chicken Meal – Chicken meal is the dried and condensed version of chicken that has had most of the moisture removed. Chicken is normally about 80 percent protein and chicken meal contains even more protein, up to 300% more.

Overall, these ingredients seem to meet some of the company’s claims about the food. They provide good meat protein in chicken and chicken meal, and a mixture of both simple and complex carbohydrates which is good for blood sugar levels. There is not much fat in these first few ingredients. There is plenty of fiber.

Check Out The Top Selling Ideal Balance Science Diet Blends Here


Additional Ingredients of Interest

Aside from the top five ingredients, there are several other notable ingredients found in Hill’s Science Diet Ideal Balance Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Puppy Food. Some of these ingredients include: pea protein concentrate, chicken fat, dried beet pulp, flaxseed, vegetable and fruit blend, dried egg product, fish oil, and various vitamin and mineral supplements.

Pea protein concentrate contains around 45-55 percent protein, with fat and ash around 5-6 percent, and dietary fiber of 15-20 percent. This is a problematic ingredient. Some dogs have problems digesting pea protein concentrate, even though the nutrients it contains are in a very digestible form. There is also some evidence, especially from studies with other animals, that pea protein concentrates can prevent the body from absorbing some nutrients if there is too much of this ingredient in the food. In some animal studies there has been evidence that feeding a diet with pea protein concentrate resulted in enteropathy or inflammation of the intestines. There has not yet been much research done on pea protein concentrates and dogs and cats. Is it possible that Science Diet has done some of this research and found that this ingredient works in this food? Yes. We note that they have used feeding trials to gain AAFCO approval for this food which is a point in their favor. If your dog does have problems with the food, it might be because of this ingredient.

We also see potato protein listed. Potato protein is derived from de-starched potato juice from which the proteinaceous fraction has been precipitated by thermal coagulation followed by dehydration. In other words, although white potatoes are mostly carbohydrates (92 percent), they are also 1 percent fat and 7 percent protein. The protein can be removed from the potatoes and used separately. If a person or a dog has issues with some other commonly used plant sources of protein, such as corn, wheat, or soy, potato protein can be used, along with some other plant sources of protein. Is it a good source of protein? Compared to meat proteins, no, not particularly. It won’t provide you or your dog with essential amino acids. But it is protein.

The food also contains chicken fat and chicken liver flavor. We don’t have a problem with these ingredients. Chicken fat is a named fat and dogs love it. It’s loaded with Omega-6 fatty acid. We’re not crazy about flavors added to dog foods but chicken liver flavor is named and identified. It probably adds some additional moisture to the food but, as far as we know, it’s not 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 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 also has a Vegetable & fruit blend (Green Peas, Apples, Cranberries, Carrots, Broccoli). The company says these vegetables add vitamins and minerals and that the fruit adds antioxidants. This is possible but they are far enough down the ingredient list that it’s unlikely that they add much nutritional value. The food also contains dried egg product. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and they have great bioavailability for mammals. This means your dog can access the nutrients in egg products very easily. It doesn’t really matter here that this is dried egg product. They have the same nutrients as fresh eggs.

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. 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. 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.

Guaranteed Analysis

(Science Diet already figures for dry matter basis)
Protein ….. 30.0
Fat ….. 20.0
Carbohydrate (NFE) ….. 41.1
Crude Fiber ….. 1.6
Calcium ….. 1.35
Phosphorus ….. 1.1
Sodium ….. 0.45
Potassium ….. 0.80
Magnesium ….. 0.137
Vitamin C ….. 173 mg/kg
Vitamin E ….. 740 IU/kg
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Total ….. 1.39
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Total ….. 3.71

Calories Content

393 calories per 8 oz cup

Nutritional Adequacy Statement

Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Ideal Balance™ Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Puppy 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 percent protein and 20 percent fat. These are above average protein and fat percentages for puppies (recommended percentages for puppies are 28 and 17 percent, respectively). Fiber makes up 1.6 percent of the food which is a very low percentage. The food contains 41.1 percent carbohydrates which is lower than many foods.


We’re not fans of pea protein concentrate. That said, we like the chicken and chicken meal in this food and we like the guaranteed percentages here. We like the calories for puppies and the fact that the food passed AAFCO feeding trials. Overall, this looks like a good puppy food. If your puppy does have problems with the food, it could be due to the pea protein concentrate. In that case, look for another puppy food.

Science Diet Ideal Balance™ Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Dog Food has received our 4 paw rating.

This review was last updated on 1/17/2016

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