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Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Review 2024: Pros, Cons, Recalls & FAQ

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on April 17, 2024 by Dogster Team

Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food - Featured Image

Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Review 2024: Pros, Cons, Recalls & FAQ

Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food a rating of 4.0 out of 5 stars.

Most people are somewhat familiar with Hill’s Science Diet dog food, which has been around since the 1930s. That’s when Morris Frank—a man promoting the concept of using dogs to enable the blind—met Dr. Mark Morris, Sr.

Frank’s dog was suffering from kidney failure, and Frank was desperate for a way to save him. Dr. Morris discovered that the issue was a lack of proper nutrition and that the fix was a dog food he and his wife created in their kitchen. This dog food led Frank’s dog to recovery, and that’s when Dr. Morris realized that the idea of how nutrition affects health issues in dogs was one to explore further. So, in 1948, he decided to partner with Burton Hill to mass-market the dog food recipe he created for Frank’s dog.

In 1976, the Colgate-Palmolive Company (which you are also likely familiar with) purchased the company but carried on the tradition of nutritious dog food for pups with health issues. Each recipe is created with the help of nutritionists, vets, and scientists to ensure the best quality possible. Although Hill’s benefits dogs with specific health issues, the brand has a few downsides.

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At a Glance: The Best Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Recipes:

Rating Image Product Details
Most Popular
Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin
  • With prebiotic fiber
  • Supports healthy skin
  • Vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Second place
    Hill's Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Dry Dog Food Hill's Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Dry Dog Food
  • Support healthy mobility
  • High-quality protein and natural fibers
  • Keeps large dogs satisfied between meals
  • Third place
    Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed Chicken & Barley Dry Dog  Food Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed Chicken & Barley Dry Dog Food
  • Hill's Science Diet Adult Small Bites Chicken & Barley Dry Dog
    Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken Meal, Barley & Rice Dog Food Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken Meal, Barley & Rice Dog Food

    Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Reviewed

    Hill’s Science Diet dog food has been around for a bit, so you’re probably familiar with the brand (or have at least heard of it). It’s always a good idea to learn more about a formula before buying it. Hill’s focuses on making dog food recipes according to common health issues dogs face, so while it may be suitable for most dogs, it may not be ideal for every dog.

    Also, several of Hill’s formulas contain peas and legumes (which have been linked to heart disease in dogs) and grains that don’t necessarily add a lot of fiber.

    Who Makes Hill’s Science Diet, and Where Is It Produced?

    Hill’s Science Diet is made in Topeka, Kansas. They have a food processing plant, animal hospital, and nutrition center where they test and study how their food affects dogs. Their Global Pet Nutrition Center employs around 200 scientists who research the best foods for dogs’ dietary needs.

    Which Type of Dog Is Hill’s Science Diet Best Suited For?

    Hill’s is suitable for pretty much any dog. They make food for dogs of all ages, from puppies to seniors, and for all breeds. Their recipes are particularly good for dogs with health issues, and they carry a range of recipes meant to help with common health problems such as obesity, joint issues, food sensitivities, digestive issues, and more.

    Which Type of Dog Might Do Better with a Different Brand?

    While most dogs should do well on Hill’s, those that are overweight might do better with a different brand, if only because many Hill’s recipes contain grains, which can equal extra calories. If that’s your pup, they might do better with food such as Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Dog Food, which is grain-free.

    Dogs that don’t have health issues that need to be addressed might do well with healthier regular dog food, such as the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food.

    dogster paw dividerDiscussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good and Bad)

    Knowing what’s going into your pet’s food is vital, as some companies use less than stellar ingredients, so here’s a look at the good and bad of Hill’s Science Diet dog food.

    close up of a dog eating from the bowl
    Image by: Dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock


    Most Hill’s Science Diet dog food recipes use real meat as the first ingredient, which means your pup is getting an excellent source of protein. That’s always a plus! However, dogs with food sensitivities may have problems eating formulas with common protein sources such as chicken. Several of Hill’s recipes for dogs with sensitivities contain chicken. There are a handful of other options, such as turkey and lamb, to choose from.

    While most of Hill’s recipes list meat as the first ingredient, a few list meat meal (such as lamb meal) as the first ingredient instead. Meat meal is also a good protein source for your dog, but some dog owners prefer recipes with whole meats.

    Peas & Legumes

    A downside to Hill’s Science Diet dog food is that many recipes contain ingredients such as yellow peas, pea fiber, soybean meal, and other legumes. Peas and legumes have been linked to heart disease in dogs. More research is needed to determine how large of a link it is, but you should be aware of it when purchasing food for your pet.


    After the main ingredient of meat or meat meal, grains are the most common ingredients in Hill’s recipes. However, they aren’t necessarily the best grains that provide fiber. While several are whole grain ingredients such as whole grain wheat, there are also others such as sorghum and corn gluten meal. While not necessarily harmful, they provide more empty calories than fiber, so these ingredients could be improved. However, many recipes contain dried beet pulp, which will boost the fiber your dog receives.

    Targeted Recipes

    While targeted recipes for specific health and nutritional issues can be good, if your dog is generally healthy, they may not benefit from these recipes. Pups that don’t have specific health issues may find themselves better off with food with better grains and fewer legumes. However, dogs with digestive or urinary issues may benefit from Hill’s Science Diet dog foods.

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    A Quick Look at Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food

    • Good for dogs with specific health issues
    • Most recipes use real meat as the first ingredient for quality protein
    • Wide range of recipes
    • Contains peas & legumes
    • Not the best grains are used
    • Healthy or overweight dogs may not fare well on Hill’s

    Recall History

    Hill’s Science Diet dog food has been around for a while, which means it has also had a few recalls in its history.

    In March 2007, Hill’s was part of the melamine scare that caused multiple recalls. Thousands of animals died from eating pet foods containing this chemical found in plastic, but it’s unknown how many consumed Hill’s formulas.

    The next recall came in June 2014, when 62 bags of Adult Small & Toy Breed Dry Recipe were recalled due to potential salmonella contamination (only in Nevada, California, and Hawaii). Though it wasn’t a true recall, Hill’s did do a market withdrawal in 2015, where they pulled a few canned recipes. The reason is unknown, but it’s thought to have been because of a labeling issue.

    Hill’s Science Diet’s most recent recall was in 2019. Over 30 canned recipes were recalled due to the massive (and toxic) amounts of vitamin D in them. Hill’s company blamed the amount of vitamin D on a supplier. Though an exact number is unknown, it is believed that hundreds of pets died due to this, and a lawsuit soon followed.

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    Reviews of the Best 3 Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Recipes

    Here, we’ll take a more in-depth look at the three best Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food recipes.

    1. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Dog Food

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

    This Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken Dry Dog Food is for adult pups who have digestive issues or problems with dry, itchy skin. It promises to deliver easier digestibility for your dog by featuring real chicken as the first ingredient and added fiber from beetroot pulp. There’s also a wealth of omega fatty acids and vitamin E to improve the look and feel of your pet’s skin and coat.

    Yellow peas are listed as the third ingredient, so you should weigh the implications of peas and heart disease when making your decision.

    • Designed for pups with sensitive stomachs and skin
    • Real chicken as first ingredient
    • Added fiber for digestibility
    • Contains peas
    • May not be suitable for dogs without digestive or skin issues

    2. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Dry Dog Food

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

    If you have a doggo that needs a little help getting their weight under control, this might be the food for you! Hill’s designed the Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Dry Dog Food to be lower in calories and higher in protein to help your furry friend stay at a healthy weight while maintaining lean muscle mass.

    Real chicken and chicken meal provide the protein boost, while fiber keeps your pup feeling fuller for longer. However, the formula contains pea fiber and green peas, so take that into consideration before purchasing.

    • Should help dogs maintain a healthy weight
    • More protein to promote lean muscle mass
    • Added fiber
    • Contains peas

    3. Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Dry Dog Food

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

    If you have a large dog, the Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Chicken & Barley Dry Dog Food could be the perfect fit. As with most of Hill’s recipes, it features chicken as the main ingredient for a quality protein. It also provides an antioxidant blend proven to support your pet’s immune system and general health.

    Since it’s designed for large breeds, this large-breed recipe also contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support the strength and health of joints and cartilage so your dog can stay mobile for a lifetime. It also contains green peas, soybean meal, and soybean oil.

    • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints
    • Antioxidant blend supports the immune system
    • Not suitable for small breeds
    • Contains legumes

    What Other Users Are Saying

    The previous information should help you decide whether Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food is best for your dog, but nothing beats hearing what other pet parents say. Here are some examples of what people think of Hill’s Science Diet.

    • Chewy: “This food has changed my 9-year-old lab back into a puppy. Previously, he was on really cheap food and just moped around and ignored my 5-year-old heeler, but now he plays with her (and they play hard). I can’t believe the difference that this food has made, not only in his demeanor but also in his coat, which is so smooth and shiny. I get compliments on how good he looks now, and I can’t help but respond with, “Thank you. I feed him Hill’s Science. It’s expensive but totally worth it.”
    • Hill’s Pet: “I have two bulldogs, one with moderate allergies (what we think is environmental after testing). My French bulldog came from a puppy mill, and she had urinary issues (crystals) when she was first adopted. Both girls have to watch their weight as well. This food has helped my Frenchie lose a few pounds and have no further urinary issues. It also has seemed to help with my dog’s allergies (which I assume has to do with the high-quality ingredients). We use the chicken flavor. I think this food is an important choice, especially with a breed such as the bulldog, which has the potential for several health problems.”
    • Amazon: Amazon is always an excellent source of pet owners’ reviews. You can check out what others think of Hill’s here.

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    Final Thoughts

    Overall, we give Hill’s Science Diet dog food four out of five stars for its nutritious formulas, which target dogs with health issues such as joint problems, digestive troubles, and more. However, Hill’s may not be best for dogs that are already healthy or those that are overweight. Many recipes have nutritious ingredients, such as real meat as the main ingredient, but they also contain peas, legumes, and grains that don’t provide much fiber.

    We recommend reading reviews from other pet parents to see how their dogs fared on Hill’s, weighing your decisions carefully, and consulting your veterinarian if your dog has any health conditions before making changes to their diet.

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