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Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Review

Dog Food Nutrition April 1, 2020

Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Review

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Hill’s Science Diet is one of the brands made by Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Hill’s Science Diet has a multitude of formulas for dogs and cats.

The brand’s dog foods include formulas for puppies, adults, small/toy dogs, weight control foods, mobility foods, and more. Hill’s Science Diet is one of the brands frequently recommended by veterinary nutritionists and veterinary cardiologists because the company conducts canine nutritional research.

It also employs veterinary nutritionists on staff to formulate its recipes. If you are considering Hill’s Science Diet, our unbiased review can help you decide if this is the right brand for your dog.

Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food – Top 5 Recipes Reviewed

Product NameFood TypeProtein kcal/Cup/tray
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken Recipe Dry Dog FoodDry21%382 kcal/cup
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog FoodDry20%363 kcal/8-oz cup
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe Dry Dog FoodDry24%291 kcal/cup
Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken Meal, Barley & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog FoodDry15.5%353 kcal/8-oz cup
Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites Dry Dog FoodDry25%374 kcal/cup

Brand Score

Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food
Brand
Overall Score
Pros
  • Hill’s Science Diet makes a diverse range of foods for dogs of different ages, sizes, and health conditions
  • Hill’s Science Diet makes its own foods at its own manufacturing facilities
  • The company invests in nutritional research and has veterinary nutritionists on staff. Hill’s Science Diet foods have been recommended by veterinary cardiologists who are researching the dietary form of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs
Cons
  • Hill’s Science Diet uses ingredients for nutritional purposes; many of them will not appeal to customers reading the label
  • The company does not discuss where they source their ingredients
  • The company has had some serious recall problems at times – something you would not expect from a company that operates its own manufacturing facilities
Pros
  • Hill’s Science Diet makes a diverse range of foods for dogs of different ages, sizes, and health conditions
  • Hill’s Science Diet makes its own foods at its own manufacturing facilities
  • The company invests in nutritional research and has veterinary nutritionists on staff. Hill’s Science Diet foods have been recommended by veterinary cardiologists who are researching the dietary form of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs
Cons
  • Hill’s Science Diet uses ingredients for nutritional purposes; many of them will not appeal to customers reading the label
  • The company does not discuss where they source their ingredients
  • The company has had some serious recall problems at times – something you would not expect from a company that operates its own manufacturing facilities
Ingredients
Overall Quality
Customer Experience
Recall History
Formulation
Nutritional Standards
Research
Price

Our reviews are based on extensive research and years of professional knowledge of dog food brands. In order to remain objective, we do not accept gifts of free products or write sponsored posts on this site.

We’ve examined Hill’s Science Diet dog foods closely and graded the brand according to the PupJunkies.com standard. Our criteria include ingredients, quality, customer experience, recall history, working with veterinary nutritionists to formulate the food, nutritional standards, research, and price.

About Hill’s Science Diet

Hill’s Pet Nutrition is a subsidiary of the Colgate-Palmolive Company. Hill’s Science Diet was developed by Dr. Mark Morris Sr, a veterinarian, in 1968.

At that time the food was only available from vets and pet professionals. The company focused on life stage pet food formulas and foods that were condition-specific under the Science Diet and Prescription Diet brands.

Today the company has dozens of prescription foods and dozens of Science Diet foods. Hill’s also makes the Healthy Advantage and Bioactive Recipe product lines.

The Prescription Diet formulas are only available with a prescription, though they can be purchased online, as well as from your veterinarian Science Diet formulas can be purchased from pet specialty stores and online.

Hill’s is recognized for focusing on pet nutrition by employing veterinary nutritionists, food scientists, and other specialists to formulate their foods.

Sourcing and Manufacturing

Hill’s doesn’t provide information about where their ingredients are sourced. We did find this comment on Chewy.com: “Hill’s sources their raw materials from countries where there are reliable safety procedures in place, primarily the United States, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and several European countries.

Hill’s operates major manufacturing and warehousing facilities in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Topeka, Kansas, Emporia, Kansas, and Richmond, Indiana, USA. The primary research center is located in Topeka, Kansas.

We found 14 locations in the U.S. for Hill’s factories and/or warehouses. Hill’s also has manufacturing facilities in the Netherlands and in the Czech Republic.

Recall History

Hill’s has had a number of recalls for Science Diet and for their Prescription Diet lines.

In January 2019, the company issued a recall for many of their canned dog foods because of potentially elevated levels of Vitamin D in Science Diet and Prescription Diet foods. This recall continued for several warning letter to Hill’s. Lawsuits have been filed against Hill’s over the food and the recalls.

In November 2015, Hill’s had a quiet market withdrawal of certain Science Diet canned foods because of labeling problems. According to Hill’s, there was nothing wrong with the food.

In June 2014, Hill’s recalled 62 bags of Science Diet Adult Small & Toy Breed Dry Dog Food in California, Hawaii, and Nevada because of a potential for Salmonella contamination.

And, in 2007, Science Diet, along with more than 100 other brands, had some foods recalled due to melamine. All Science Diet Savory Cuts canned cat foods were recalled.You can read details of these recalls here.

What kinds of dog food does offer?

Hill’s Science Diet offers a wide range of dog foods. We found 65 Hill’s Science Diet dog products on the company web site at this time.

  • Foods by age (puppies, adult dogs, mature dogs, seniors)
  • Foods by product type (cans and trays, dry, stews)
  • Foods by health conditions (seven conditions listed)
  • Grain free
  • Large breed
  • Small and mini breed
  • Dogs that are pregnant or nursing

Hill’s Science Diet Top Five Recipes Reviewed

We’re taking a look at five of the top-selling Hill’s Science Diet dog foods as found on Chewy.com so you can have a good idea what some of these different formulas are like.

Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 21% Min
  • Fat – 12% Min
  • Fiber – 4% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max

Ingredients:

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food this is the bestselling Science Diet dog food on Chewy.com. It’s formulated for dogs with sensitive digestion and skin issues.

Here are the ingredients in this formula:

Chicken, Brewers Rice, Chicken Meal, Yellow Peas, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Sorghum, Egg Product, Chicken Fat, Soybean Oil, Brown Rice, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Liver Flavor, Lactic Acid, Pork Liver Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Flaxseed, Iodized Salt, vitamins… , minerals … , Oat Fiber, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.

You will notice that this food has yellow peas as the fourth ingredient. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently investigating a possible link  between peas, lentils, and legumes in dog foods and a dietary form of canine cardiomyopathy (DCM).

They have recommended that it’s best not to feed foods that have large amounts of these ingredients, such as might be found in the first five-10 ingredients listed.

According to the dry matter basis (DMB, this food has 23.3 percent protein, 13.3 percent fat, and 4.4 percent fiber. This formula has 52.7 percent carbohydrates. It has 392 kcal/cup.
We do need to call your attention to the very high carb percentage in this food. More than 50 percent of the food is carbohydrates.

Our rating for this food is 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 20% Min
  • Fat – 11.5% Min
  • Fiber – 4% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max

Ingredients:

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food is another bestseller on Chewy.com. This recipe is made for adult large breed dogs. These are dogs that weigh more than 55 pounds as adults.

Here are the ingredients in this formula:

Chicken, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, Whole Grain Sorghum, Corn Gluten Meal, Soybean Meal, Chicken Fat, Brewers Rice, Chicken Liver Flavor, Chicken Meal, Dried Beet Pulp, Soybean Oil, Pork Flavor, Lactic Acid, Calcium Carbonate, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Iodized Salt, vitamins … , minerals … , Oat Fiber, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.

Most of the ingredients look good. Soybean meal and soybean oil can be problematic for dogs. Soybeans are a source of protein but they can also interfere with the endocrine system.

This food has 22.2 percent protein and 12.8 percent fat, according to the dry matter basis (DMB). It has 4.4 percent fiber. Our estimate of the carbohydrates in the food came out to 51.7 percent, DMB. It contains 363 kcal per cup.

Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

Hill's Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 24% Min
  • Fat – 9% Min
  • Fiber – 5% Max
  • Moisture – 13% Max

Ingredients:

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food is designed to help dogs lose weight.

Here are the ingredients in this formula:

Chicken, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brown Rice, Pea Fiber, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Meal, Dried Tomato Pomace, Oat Fiber, Chicken Liver Flavor, Flaxseed, Dried Beet Pulp, Coconut Oil, Pork Flavor, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, L-Lysine, DL-Methionine, Carrots, Iodized Salt, Lipoic Acid, vitamins … , minerals … , Natural Flavors, L-Carnitine, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Cranberries, Green Peas.

Low in calories and fat, this food should help your dog lose weight. It gets many positive reviews on Chewy.com.

We do call your attention to the pea fiber as the fourth ingredient. This food contains a lot of fiber but the fiber is used to help your dog feel full.

According to the dry matter analysis for this food, it has 26.7 percent protein, 10 percent fat, 10 (estimated) percent fiber, 46.2 percent carbohydrates, and 291 kcal per cup.

Our rating for this food is 4 out of 5 stars.

Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken Meal, Barley & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 15.5% Min
  • Fat – 10.5% Min
  • Fiber – 4% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max

Ingredients:

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken Meal, Barley & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food is designed for older dogs of all breeds and sizes.

Here are the ingredients in this formula:

Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Oats, Chicken Fat, Dried Beet Pulp, Soybean Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Lactic Acid, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Iodized Salt, Choline Chloride, vitamins … , minerals … , Oat Fiber, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, L-Carnitine, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.

Compared to some other foods for older dogs, this Science Diet formula is lower in protein and fat. It is also very high in carbohydrates.

According to the dry matter analysis for this food, it has 17.2 percent protein, 11.7 percent fat, 4.4 percent fiber, 60 percent carbohydrates, and 353 kcal per cup.

Our rating for this food is 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Hill's Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 25% Min
  • Fat – 15% Min
  • Fiber – 3% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max

Ingredients:

Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites Dry Dog Food is formulated for puppies of small breeds/mixes.

Here are the ingredients in this formula:

Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Corn, Chicken Fat, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Beet Pulp, Pork Liver Flavor, Fish Oil, Flaxseed, Lactic Acid, Soybean Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Iodized Salt, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, vitamins … , minerals … , Oat Fiber, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.

Most of the ingredients look good with the exception of the ones we have already mentioned.

According to the dry matter analysis for this food, it has 27.8 percent protein, 16.7 percent fat, 3.3 percent fiber, 44.4 percent carbohydrates 374 kcal/cup.

Our rating for this food is 4 out of 5 stars.

How much does Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food cost?

Hill’s Science Diet foods are priced comparably to many other premium dog foods.

What do customers think of Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food?

People seem to love or hate Hill’s Science Diet. Science Diet has many enthusiastic, positive reviews online from people who buy the food and feed it to their dogs.

This is especially true of people who have dogs with any special health issues. Many of the critics of Science Diet are people who don’t like the ingredients – and may not have tried the food.

Overall, is Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food a good choice?

Science Diet has upgraded some of their ingredients in the last few years. A meat ingredient, such as chicken meal, is now the first ingredient in most or all of their kibbles.

Hill’s Science Diet foods contain no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. We think there is less for critics to complain about now, especially with veterinarians and others advising a return to grains for some dogs.

Many of the foods are high in carbohydrates but, looking at the calories and fat in the foods, your dog probably won’t get fat. Hill’s recall problems are troubling but, overall, we do think that Hill’s Science Diet dog foods are good foods, especially if your dog has any specific health issues that require a special food.

Where is Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food sold?

You can buy Hill’s Science Diet dog foods from Chewy.com and other online retailers as well as many pet stores.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta Cooper is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine DN Dog News. She's the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, a Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) award winner. In addition, she is an American Kennel Club Gazette breed columnist and is the author of several books about dogs. She has been reviewing pet foods and writing about dog food for more than 10 years.
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