Science Diet Dog Food Reviews (Ratings, Recalls!)
About the Company
In 1948, Dr. Morris first had Burton Hill of the Hill Packing Company can his dog food, under the name Canine k/d®. That was the beginning of the Prescription Diet® line of pet products and Hill's® Pet Nutrition.
Veterinarians and pet professionals have distributed for the Hill's company since 1968, as Hill's® Science Diet®. The Colgate-Palmolive company bought Hill's Pet Nutrition in 1976.
Hill's says Science Diet® is Vets' #1 Choice To Feed Their Own Pets™
The Hill's company website proudly states this as a fact, but they don't give specific information supporting that claim. I was also quick to notice that this is a trademarked phrase. It looks like nothing but an advertising ploy to me, and a bad one. It's an example of everything I hate about big pet food giants and how they treat pets and their families, if not the advertising and food industry in general.
Hill's® Science Diet® is one of four Hill's pet food lines, along with Ideal Balance™, Prescription Diet® and Hill's® Healthy Advantage®. All together, the American company website lists 320 pet products including, dry food, canned food and treats. There are 75 dog products alone listed in the Science Diet line.
I found a lot of low dog food Science Diet reviews. The overall rating for reviews on Science Diet dog food was only a star and a half with Consumer Affairs. Out of more than 300 consumers, 62 percent gave the company one star, and an additional 9 percent gave it two stars. Only 6 percent gave five stars to their reviews of Science Diet dog food, so the negative feelings out there are pretty strong.
In my opinion, it's also very telling that Science Diet Pet Food has a history of going to the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division (NAD) complaining about their competitors' statements about Hill's ingredients. Apparently, they don't like how companies like Blue Buffalo make a special point of raising awareness about how certain big pet food companies use chicken by-product meal as their first ingredient. Hill's argues that no evidence is given that, “meat by-product meal is not a high quality ingredient or that it is not nutritious, or that products which include meat by-product meal are less nutritious.”
Shouldn't Hill’s take responsibility for their own products and the quality of their ingredients? Why would companies that don’t use meat by-product meal have to prove it’s scientifically, less nutritious? It looks like bullying smaller, better-quality companies to me, and as a consumer and pet-lover, I don't appreciate it. The Science Behind Happy™ apparently informs the Science Diet Dog Food line, according to the Hill's company website, but I'm not sure it's always the happiness of dogs or dog-lovers.
The Hill's website says their Science Diet Dog Food has natural ingredients and that the recipes use high-quality protein. They specifically point out that real chicken, lamb and salmon are always the first ingredient, but they don't mention that sometimes that's a meat meal, instead of the natural, whole form. Hill's adds vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants too, but not artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or chicken by-product meal.
The ingredients for Science Diet® pet food products come from North America, Europe and New Zealand. The products are also made in the USA.
There are both dry dog food formulations and canned dog food recipes made specifically for overall health, weight management, skin health, food sensitivity and oral health, according to the Hill's website. They also make recipes for small and large breeds, as well as puppies.
There aren't a lot of grain-free options. That makes the best dry dog food in the line a pretty easy to pick for me, as Hill's® Science Diet® Adult Grain Free. The first few ingredients are Chicken, Potatoes, Yellow Peas, Pea Protein, Potato Starch, Chicken Meal and Chicken Fat. Potatoes and peas are both split up in the ingredient list, and green peas are listed again further down. It's difficult to know how much of the 25 percent protein in the food comes from meat, rather than plant sources. Whole potatoes are a pretty simple carbohydrate too, never mind adding extra potato starch. I'm concerned about blood sugar spikes.
Hill's® Science Diet® Adult 7+ Active Longevity Small Bites Dog Food is the highest rated dry dog food on Hill's own website, with 19.6 percent protein. That's just over the amount of protein generally required by dogs, which is between 18 and 25 percent. Chicken Meal is the first and main ingredient, followed by Brown Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, Whole Grain Sorghum, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Oats. That's a lot of grain for a carnivore.
Chicken Liver Flavor is in both of these dog food recipes, as well as other products in the line. If your dog food needs added flavors, that's not a good sign. If real meat is the main ingredient, and it's prepared properly, dogs should be able to smell and taste it strongly enough without additives.
Both these examples and other Hill's® Science Diet® pet products use Soybean Oil which is a source of natural estrogen. Soy is also under scientific investigation as a contributing factor in a host of health problems in people and animals.
Science Diet Dog Food Recall History
In May 2016, Hill's voluntarily recalled some single-serving cat food pouches in the United Kingdom for too much iron because of an ingredient supplier's mistake. These Hill's products should be returned to their place of purchase:
- 2109PA sku, Science Plan Feline Adult Light Ocean Fish 12x85g, Expiry Date Code 07-2017
- 2110PA sku, Science Plan Feline Mature Ocean Fish 12x85g, Expiry Date Code 10-2017
- 2119V sku, Science Plan Feline Adult Light Favourite Selection Multipack 4(12x85g) Expiry Date Codes 04-2017 & 07-2017
- 2120V sku, Science Plan Feline Mature Adult Favourite Selection Multipack 4(12x85g) Expiry Date Code 08-2017
- 2742U sku, Prescription Diet Feline c/d Stress Reduced Calorie Chicken 4(12x85g) Expiry Date Code 09-2017
- 3766V sku, Science Plan Feline Young Adult Sterilised Cat Multipack 4(12x85g) Expiry Date Codes 06-2017 & 10-2017
- 2190V sku, Science Plan Feline 11+ Healthy Ageing Chicken & with Salmon Multi Pack 12 x 85g Expiry Date Code 09-2017
Hill's last American voluntary recall was on June 2, 2014. The bags were part of a single production run. They were only distributed to a small number of veterinary clinics and pet stores in California, Hawaii and Nevada, between April 24 and May 13, 2014. Hill’s contacted the 17 affected customers, and there were no problems reported.
Science diet's ratings for dogs reviews are great on their own company website, but not everyone seems to agree on the food's quality and nutrition. I definitely don't like some of the company's advertising practices, and that only increases my general distrust. That has a big impact on my opinion for my own Science Diet for dogs reviews.
It's unbelievable that Hill's has complained to the NAD about their competitors dishonesty. I'm not really looking for a company with hundreds of pet products. I want quality and scientific pet nutrition. With so many pet food formulas and other unrelated products, how can Colgate-Palmolive focus on research and best practices for dogs? I think it leaves a lot of room for things to fall between the cracks. I'm not sure I want the same people that make dish soap and toothpaste making my dog's food anyway.