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Science Diet Puppy Lamb Meal and Rice Large Breed Dog Food Review

Different Dog Food Brands
4 Paw Rated Dog Food 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. 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.

In addition to this Science Diet Puppy Lamb Meal and Rice Large Breed Dog Food review, we you can also check our full review of Science Diet Dog Food. There, you will find more information about the ingredients used in Science Diet, the manufacturing process, and a review of their past recalls.

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Ingredients In Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Lamb Meal & Rice Recipe Dog Food

Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Sorghum, Corn Gluten Meal, Brown Rice, Egg Product, Pork Fat, Flaxseed, Chicken Liver Flavor, Pork Flavor, Fish Oil, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, Dried Beet Pulp, L-Lysine, Iodized Salt, Soybean Oil, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, 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 (Manganese Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Choline Chloride, Taurine, L-Carnitine, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene.


Ingredients Overview

The first five ingredients in this food are: Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Sorghum, and Corn Gluten Meal.  Lamb meal usually makes a good source of animal protein for dogs and puppies. Lamb is one of the common food allergens for dogs but most dogs can eat it without any problems. Food allergies don’t usually show up in a puppy before the age of five or six months. The other ingredients in the top five contain a lot of carbohydrates and some fiber. Some of these ingredients are also frequent causes of food allergies in dogs, such as wheat and corn. Again, most dogs and puppies can eat these ingredients without any trouble.

According to the company this food is recommended for large breed puppies (over 55 lbs when adult) up to 1 year old. Unlike most puppy foods, it is NOT recommended for pregnant or nursing female dogs. This is because of “a lower energy density and lower calcium content” compared to Science Diet’s other puppy foods that are not formulated for large breed dogs. They recommend feeding pregnant or nursing dogs Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Original or Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites.

According to the company, Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Lamb Meal & Rice Recipe dog food provides precisely balanced, easy-to-digest nutrition tailored for growing large breed puppies. They say that the food has ideal levels of calcium for controlled bone growth – something that is particularly important for large breed puppies. They claim the food has DHA – Docosahexaenoic acid, a specific kind of omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain, cerebral cortex, skin, sperm, testicles and retina. The company also says the food has optimal levels of vitamins C and E to build immune system protection. And, they claim the food has high quality lamb protein with natural ingredients. High quality protein builds lean muscle and helps puppies maintain ideal body condition.

We have no problem with these claims. These ingredients appear to be in the food and scientific research backs them up.

This food compares very favorably with some of Hill’s other puppy foods. It does contain corn, wheat, and soy which are problematic for some dogs. However, it does not contain pea protein concentrate which is featured in the Hill’s Ideal Balance food. The protein, fat, fiber, and carbohydrate percentages are very similar. Other elements in the guaranteed analysis are also similar.


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Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown

Lamb Meal – Lamb meal is the first ingredient so, by weight before cooking, 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.

Brewers Rice – 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 as a source of fiber in pet foods. Used in moderation it adds texture and structure to dog food.

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 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.

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.

Overall, these ingredients seem to meet some of the company’s claims about the food. They provide good meat protein in lamb meal and plant protein in corn gluten 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.

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Additional Ingredients of Interest

Aside from the top five ingredients, there are several other notable ingredients found in Science Diet Puppy Lamb Meal and Rice Large Breed Dog Food. Some of these ingredients include: brown rice, egg product, pork fat, dried beet pulp, fish oil, flaxseed, soybean oil, natural flavors and various supplements. 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.

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 pork fatchicken 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. You will also find fish oil in this food. 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.

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.

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The food also contains l-carnitine, 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. L-carnitine comes from the amino acids lysine and methionine. It helps the body turn fat into energy, among other things. It’s often added to weight control dog foods or to foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates. 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.

According to the guaranteed analysis for the food, it contains a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1.2 : 1 which fits with the slightly lower standard applied to large breed puppies. There is a slightly lower fat percentage in this food than in some of Science Diet’s other foods, presumably to help keep puppies slim while growing. However, the protein percentage is nearly 30 percent which is good for growth.

We note the presence in the food of Sodium Tripolyphosphate, possibly used here as a preservative or to help retain moisture, or as an emulsifier during processing. This ingredient is “GRAS” or generally recognized as safe by the U.S. government but there are concerns about it. Some governments regulate the amount that can be used. (Source)

Food applications

“STPP is a preservative for seafood, meats, poultry, and animal feeds.[5] It is common in food production as E number E451. In foods, STPP is used as an emulsifier and to retain moisture. Many governments regulate the quantities allowed in foods, as it can substantially increase the sale weight of seafood in particular. The United States Food and Drug Administration lists STPP as “generally recognized as safe.”

Health effects

“Polyphosphates are hydrolyzed into simpler phosphates, which in moderate amounts are nutritious. For example, ATP, a related derivative of triphosphate, is essential for life. Thus, the toxicity of polyphosphates is low, as the lowest LD50 after oral administration is >1,000 mg/kg body weight.[1][clarification needed] Similarly, no mutagenic or carcinogenic effects nor reproductive effects have been noted.[1] Salts of polyphosphate anions are moderately irritating to skin and mucous membrane because they are mildly alkaline.[1] ”

Guaranteed Analysis

(Science Diet already figures for dry matter basis)
Protein ….. 29.3
Fat ….. 16.2
Carbohydrate (NFE) ….. 45.1
Crude Fiber ….. 2.0
Calcium ….. 1.20
Phosphorus ….. 1.0
Sodium ….. 0.60
Potassium ….. 0.89
Magnesium ….. 0.107
Carnitine ….. 340 ppm
Vitamin C ….. 257 mg/kg
Vitamin E ….. 563 IU/kg
DHA ….. 0.192
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Total ….. 1.82

Calories Content

355 calories per 8 oz cup

Nutritional Adequacy Statement

Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Lamb Meal & Rice Recipe Dog Food provides complete and balanced nutrition for growing puppies.

Dry Matter Basis

On a dry matter basis, this food contains 29.3 percent protein and 16.2 percent fat. Fiber makes up 2.0 percent of the food which is a very low percentage. The food contains 45.1 percent carbohydrates which is lower than many foods.


We like the animal protein in this food, as well as the lower carb percentage and the calcium to phosphorus ratio for large breed puppies. We don’t like all of the ingredients, of course, but, overall, it looks like a good puppy food for large breed puppies. Recommended.

Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Lamb Meal And Rice Recipe has received our above average 4 paw rating, making this a high quality puppy food.

This review was last updated on 1/17/2016

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