Hills Science Diet Dog Food Review

Science Diet dog food is manufactured by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, the same company which makes Hills Prescription Diet formulas. The different rations of Science Diet dog food have been tailored to meet the different nutritional and special health requirements of different life stages, although there is no mention that the products have met the AAFCO nutritional adequacy profiles required for specific breed size, activity level, life stage or lifestyle.

The first major ingredient in most Science Diet products may either be lamb, chicken, or turkey which are considered excellent sources of animal-based protein. However, these are utilized in its raw forms which means they contain high amounts of water (approximately 80%) which can be lost during the manufacturing process.

In an effort to increase protein levels, chicken by-product meal, soybean meal, and/or lamb meal was added. These ingredients are considered meat concentrates because they contain about 300% more protein compared to raw or fresh meat.

There may be some reservations on the use of chicken by-product meal because most by-product meals are made from beaks, feathers, feet and other parts from which the prime cuts have been removed and have been deemed unfit for human consumption.

One of the controversial ingredients of Science Diet is corn which is often listed as the first ingredient.  Although corn is a desirable source for the carbohydrate component of the feed, the question lies on the possible source and type of corn which was used. There is a big possibility that the corn used in the Science Diet formulations is of the feed grade like the one which is used in livestock feeds.  Corn, of whatever grade or type, has been linked to food allergies in dogs. This is another point which makes corn a controversial ingredient.

Science Diet dog food formulas also utilize soybean meal which is a source of plant-based protein, albeit an inferior one.  The addition of soybean meal will help boost the protein level of the dog food.

Soybean oil is another plant-based protein source but has been linked to food allergies in many dogs.

Animal fat which is preserved by mixed tocopherols and citric acid is also another controversial ingredient because the source has not been established. Animal fat is another by-product , which if the source is not mentioned, may come from anywhere including restaurant grease, euthanized animals, dead or dying livestock animals, or even from slaughterhouse waste.

Science Diet dog food products provide healthy sources of omega-3 fatty acids from chicken liver flavor and flaxseed.  However, flaxseed is almost indigestible in humans and since we have the same digestive systems with dogs, there is a high probability that it is also indigestible in dogs. Thus dog food manufacturers who want to take advantage of the omega-3 fatty acids present in flaxseed often use flaxseed oil or powder.

Unlike most top-rated dog food formulas, Science Diet dog food products apparently have not been coated with probiotics. These are friendly bacteria which enhance the integrity of the digestive system and boost the digestive process.

There is also no mention that the minerals present in the Science Diet formulas has been chelated, which means that minerals are not as easily absorbed and assimilated into the body as when they have been chelated.

Customer Reviews

Many dog owners decry the fact that Hills Science Diet is marketed as being recommended by veterinarians.  They also noted that the prices of Science Diet are comparable to some top-rated brands even though its ingredients are not top brass.

On the brighter side, there are also positive reviews from dog owners who switched to Science Diet and have not met any problems. Some also liked the fact that the dog food brand has been prescribed and/or recommended by their veterinarians.

Overall, we do not recommend Hills Science Diet and do not believe that it represents a good quality or good value dog food.

Science Diet Puppy Formulas:
Science Diet Adult Formulas:
Science Diet Mature Adult Formulas:
  • Science Diet Mature Adult 7+ Original Dog Food
  • Science Diet Mature Adult 7+ Small Bites Dog Food
  • Science Diet Mature Adult 5+ Large Breed  Dog Food
Science Diet Consumer Rating