Hill’s Dog Food Review: Is it the Right Choice for Your Dog?

Hill's Dog Food

I tried different brands before finding the perfect dog food for my pets. Each promised great results. Initially, digestive troubles left my Labradors uncomfortable and me cleaning up more messes than I care to remember. Then there were the skin allergies, where even the most ‘sensitive’ formulas still led to constant scratching and discomfort.

That’s how I stumbled upon Hill’s. What initially drew me to this brand was its reputation and science-driven approach to pet nutrition—something I deeply appreciate given my background in animal science.

Hence, this Hill’s dog food review explores the unique features highlighted by pet owners, from their specialized formulations to their commitment to using natural ingredients. We’ll explore why these aspects are crucial for your dog’s health and well-being.

Hill’s Dog Food History in Brief

Hill's dog food

My journey with Hill’s started when I became curious about the story behind their scientifically formulated diets. I learned that this brand started in the late 1930s. A young visually impaired man named Morris Frank asked his vet, Dr. Mark L. Morris Sr., to create a special diet for his guide dog, Buddy, who was suffering from kidney failure. Dr. Morris believed that proper nutrition was vital in managing pets’ illnesses, which led to the development of the original formula, now known as Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d, which was first marketed to veterinarians in 1948.

Growth and Innovation

As my interest deepened, I learned that by the 1960s, Hill’s had established itself with the Prescription Diet product line and began introducing Science Diet. This line was specifically aimed at preventing health problems in pets, rather than just treating them. This innovative approach, focusing on life stage and size-specific nutrition, expanded globally, earning Hill’s a reputation as a leader in pet nutrition science.

Recalls History

In the spirit of full transparency, it’s important to acknowledge that even the best have setbacks. Hill’s has experienced a few recalls over the years. Notably, in 2019, they issued a voluntary recall for some of their canned dog food products due to potentially elevated levels of vitamin D that could lead to health issues in dogs. This incident reminds me of the importance of rigorous quality checks, which Hill’s reassured its customers were being reinforced to prevent issues in the future.

Commitment to Science and Nutrition

Through all its stages of growth and the occasional challenge, Hill’s has remained steadfast in its commitment to science-led pet nutrition. I deeply respect and align with this, as their ongoing research and innovation in pet health nutrition continue to pave the way for healthier, happier pets.

Hill’s Dog Food Review: Product Lines

The company’s dedication to combining scientific research with practical nutritional solutions resonates with me and many other pet owners. As we explore these product lines, I’ll share insights into how each line is designed to support and enhance the well-being of pets.

Prescription Diet

Hill's Prescription Diet d/d Food Sensitivities Potato & Venison Formula Dry Dog Food, Veterinary Diet, 8 lb. Bag

I’ve gained a deep appreciation for its meticulously crafted formulas. Each formula in the Prescription Diet line addresses the symptoms of specific ailments and helps manage the underlying conditions. This proactive approach to pet nutrition—focusing on high-quality, beneficial ingredients—has shown significant positive impacts on dogs, making it a vital tool for owners looking to manage their pets’ health conditions effectively. While some may find the cost a bit high, the benefits and results often justify the investment.

One of my Labradors had chronic urinary issues, and our vet recommended Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Multicare. This food is formulated to support urinary health with ingredients that help dissolve stones and reduce the risk of recurrence. It’s made with chicken, and my dog enjoyed the taste, which isn’t always the case with prescription diets. We saw a notable decrease in urinary problems and an improvement in his overall mood and activity levels.

Another formula I’ve tried is Hill’s Prescription Diet d/d Skin/Food Sensitivities Potato & Venison Formula Dry Dog Food. This came into our routine after dealing with incessant scratching and skin flare-ups with my other Labrador, who turned out to have food sensitivities. This d/d diet, with its limited ingredients—using venison as the single animal protein source and potato for carbohydrates—was a game-changer.

Science Diet

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Perfect Weight for Healthy Weight & Weight Management, Chicken Recipe, 28.5 lb. Bag

This range impressively caters to the various nutritional needs of pets. The main draw is its focus on using high-quality proteins as the primary ingredient, supported by a blend of natural ingredients. These formulations are designed to promote healthy skin, coat, and stool, and include clinically proven antioxidants to boost the immune system.

I’ve found some products from this line particularly beneficial. For example, the Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light with Chicken Meal & Barley Dog Food has fewer calories. As such, it’s ideal for dogs that are less active, neutered, or prone to weight gain. It includes chicken meal as the primary ingredient, supplemented with barley, whole grain wheat, and pea fiber. This diet can help manage weight while maintaining muscle mass and includes antioxidants for immune health. Further, L-carnitine helps promote an ideal body weight and supports healthy mobility.

Another product worth discussing is the Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe Dog Food. It stands out for its focus on weight management, crafted to support lean muscle during weight loss. It contains a mix of chicken, vegetables, and other natural ingredients to satisfy hunger and ensure a nutritious, low-calorie intake to support a healthy lifestyle.

Nutritional Analysis: The Top Ingredients in Hill’s Dog Food

As a pet owner, it’s comforting to know that a lot of thought and science goes into what I feed my dogs, aiming to extend their health and happiness for as long as possible. Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional content of their products and my take on the quality and benefits of these ingredients.

Protein Sources

Hill’s Science Diet primarily uses high-quality protein sources such as chicken meal, lamb meal, and salmon. For instance, in their Adult Light with Chicken Meal & Barley Dog Food, we highlighted earlier, chicken meal stands out as the first ingredient, which is important because it indicates that protein forms the bulk of the diet. Chicken meal is a concentrated form of chicken, meaning it does not have moisture, resulting in a protein-rich ingredient. From a nutritional standpoint, these animal protein sources are crucial for muscle maintenance and overall bodily functions.

Carbohydrates and Fibers

Carbohydrates like barley, whole grain wheat, and corn in Hill’s Science Diet serve multiple purposes: they provide energy and fiber that helps in digestion and maintaining a healthy gut. For example, barley is a hearty grain rich in fiber and essential minerals. While grains are sometimes viewed controversially due to potential allergies, they can be beneficial for dogs that tolerate them well, offering a steady source of energy and helping to keep the gastrointestinal tract functioning properly.

Corn and corn gluten meal often appear in Hill’s ingredient lists and are sometimes considered controversial. Critics argue that corn is a filler with little nutritional value, potentially leading to allergies. However, it’s also a source of protein and carbohydrates. In a controlled diet, corn can play a useful role in providing energy for active dogs without causing harm.

Fats and Oils

Fats are another pivotal component, with Hill’s using sources like chicken fat and flaxseed, which are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are essential nutrients in dog food for healthy coat and skin, and they play a significant role in brain development and overall health. The strategic balance of these fats in Hill’s diets supports optimal health benefits, from reducing inflammation to enhancing cognitive functions.

Vitamins and Minerals

The addition of vitamins and minerals in Hill’s Science Diet is designed to round out the nutritional needs of pets. These include vitamin E, Vitamin C, and various B vitamins, all crucial for maintaining different bodily functions. Minerals like calcium and phosphorus are balanced to support bone health, particularly important for growing puppies and aging dogs.

Hill’s Dog Food Review Summary

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time researching Hill’s dog food, and here are the key pros and cons of using this brand as the primary diet for your furry companions:


  • High-quality protein sources like chicken meal and lamb meal support muscle maintenance
  • Formulated with the guidance of veterinarians and pet nutritionists
  • Specific formulations for various health needs, including kidney care, weight management, and digestive health
  • Includes clinically proven antioxidants like vitamins C and E for immune health
  • Made with natural ingredients, without any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Supports pet shelter programs with every purchase contributing to the feeding of homeless pets


  • Higher price point compared to many other dog food brands
  • Contains grains like corn and wheat, which can be problematic for dogs with allergies
  • Some recipes include chicken by-product meals, which might not appeal to all pet owners
  • Limited variety of grain-free options, which might be a concern for certain health conditions

Hill’s Dog Food Buying Tips

I’d like to share some tips on what to look for when selecting the best possible option for your pet’s health and well-being. Do the following:

Understand Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs

The first step is understanding your dog’s specific dietary requirements, which can vary based on age, breed, health condition, and activity level. Hill’s offers a variety of formulas tailored to different life stages and health needs, such as puppy formulas enriched with DHA for brain development, adult diets for maintaining optimal health, and specialized recipes for senior dogs with decreased mobility or other age-related issues. Ensure that the formula you choose matches your dog’s current life stage and health condition.

Check the Ingredient List

Always review the ingredient list on the dog food packaging. Hill’s prides itself on using high-quality ingredients, with proteins often listed as the first ingredient, which is a good sign of a diet’s quality. Look for named protein sources like chicken, lamb, or salmon rather than generic terms like “meat meal.” It’s also important to consider your dog’s specific needs and sensitivities—some Hill’s formulas contain grains like corn and wheat, which are fine for many dogs but can cause issues for those with allergies.

Consider Specific Health Formulations

If your dog has specific health issues, Hill’s Prescription Diet line might be worth considering. These foods are formulated to address health problems such as kidney disease, digestive issues, and urinary problems. However, they should only be used under a veterinarian’s guidance. It’s crucial to consult with your vet before switching to a therapeutic diet to ensure it’s a suitable choice for your pet’s particular health needs.

Evaluate Product Reviews and Recalls

Researching product reviews and the brand’s recall history can provide additional insights into the quality and safety of the food. While Hill’s is generally well-regarded, it has faced recalls in the past, so staying informed about any potential safety issues is wise. User reviews can also highlight how well dogs tolerate the food and if they enjoy eating it, which can be helpful if your dog is picky.

Consider Cost and Availability

Hill’s products are often priced higher than many other brands, reflecting their quality and the scientific research behind them. Ensure the food fits within your budget and is readily available either online or at local stores to avoid any disruptions in your dog’s diet.

FAQs about Hill’s Dog Food

Is Hill’s dog food recommended by veterinarians?

Yes, Hill’s dog food is widely recommended by veterinarians, particularly their Prescription Diet line, which is formulated for dogs with specific medical conditions and requires a veterinary prescription.

Where is Hill’s dog food manufactured?

Hill’s dog food is manufactured in the United States. The company operates several manufacturing facilities that strictly follow FDA and AAFCO guidelines to ensure product quality and safety.

Does Hill’s dog food contain artificial preservatives?

No, Hill’s dog foods do not contain artificial preservatives. They use natural preservatives like mixed tocopherols and maintain high standards for ingredient quality and safety.

How does Hill’s test their dog food?

Hill’s conducts feeding trials that meet or exceed industry standards set by the AAFCO. These trials are part of their commitment to ensuring the nutritional and health benefits of their foods are scientifically proven and safe for pets.

Can Hill’s dog food help with specific health issues?

Yes, Hill’s Prescription Diet line is specifically formulated to help manage and treat various health issues in dogs, including kidney disease, digestive problems, urinary issues, and obesity. Each diet is designed to address specific symptoms and underlying health concerns.

Are grains included in Hill’s dog food recipes?

Yes, many Hill’s dog food recipes include grains such as corn, wheat, and barley. These ingredients provide essential nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, Hill’s also offers grain-free dog food options for dogs with specific dietary sensitivities.

What is the price range for Hill’s dog food?

Hill’s dog food ranges from moderately expensive to premium pricing, depending on the specific product line and formulation. Prescription Diet foods tend to be at the higher end of the price range due to their specialized ingredients and formulations.

How should I transition my dog to Hill’s dog food?

It’s recommended to transition your dog to new food gradually for 7 days. Start by mixing a small amount of Hill’s food with your dog’s current food, and gradually increase the proportion of the new food while decreasing the old food to help avoid digestive upset.

What is the shelf life of Hill’s dog food?

The shelf life of Hill’s dog food varies by product, but dry kibble typically has a shelf life of 12 months from the date of manufacture when stored properly in a cool, dry place. Always check the best-by date on the package and store the food according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Using Science to Boost Canine Nutrition Since 1939

After thoroughly reviewing Hill’s dog food, my verdict is clear: it is a trusted choice for canine nutrition. The brand’s commitment to science-backed formulations tailored to various health needs and life stages makes it a standout option for dog owners who prioritize their pet’s well-being.

Hill’s offers a wide range of products that cater to different dietary needs, from everyday health maintenance in the Science Diet line to specific medical conditions in the Prescription Diet range. One of the most compelling aspects of Hill’s is its strong endorsement by veterinarians, especially the Prescription Diet line, which is specifically formulated to address health issues such as kidney disease, obesity, and digestive problems.

Ingredient quality is another reason I hold Hill’s in high regard. The brand uses high-quality protein sources, and most of its formulations do not contain artificial preservatives, which aligns well with my preference for natural ingredients in pet food. The inclusion of whole grains and vegetables provides essential nutrients, supporting overall health from a holistic perspective.

However, it’s important to acknowledge that Hill’s products can be on the pricier side and may contain grains, which could be an issue for dogs with specific allergies. Despite these factors, the benefits of tailored, scientifically formulated nutrition generally outweigh the cons, particularly for owners of pets with special dietary needs.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.