View Full Version : Hills Science Plan... Any good??

Peanuts mummy
3rd April 2010, 10:29 PM
My vet has highly recommended using Hills science plan so being me, I went out and brought a huge sack of it.
Now I have read somewhere it is no good for Peanut?
Does anyone know if it is ok to feed it him or not as I want to give him the best I can afford.
Thanks in advance

3rd April 2010, 11:56 PM
I work at a pet food store and strongly dislike Hills (maker of science diet) Most vets will push it on you since they get a large percentage of the profit. Also when vets go to school, nutrition is like 5% of what they learn and its taught by Hills reps. I 've worked in a vets office and how little they new about nutrition shocked me (which is why I only take my dog to a holistic vet). Good high quality food should not contain corn, corn gluten meal, cellulose or by-products and if you look on the label I bet you will find these at the top of the list. Heres a link for you that you might find informative..

[sorry, links removed by Admin. They make potentially libelous claims]

4th April 2010, 12:10 AM
I have seen a list of dog food that has been rated (given to my by my breeder) and Science Diet had a rating of F. I had been feeding my other dog Science Diet, but immediately took her off after seeing that rating and talking to someone at Pets Supplies Plus that sells all the high quality dog food. They sell it, but didn't recommend it.

Peanuts mummy
4th April 2010, 12:12 AM
That is very informative and useful, can anyone recomend a dog food that is good for the dogs?
I have heard good things about James wellbeloved, but again am unsure..............

4th April 2010, 03:35 AM
That is very informative and useful, can anyone recomend a dog food that is good for the dogs?
I have heard good things about James wellbeloved, but again am unsure..............

I'd love to help you pick out a food, but I'm in the US and am not sure if the ones I would suggest are available in the UK. I googled the James Wellbeloved food and checked out the label in that ( as we don't have that brand in the states) and its much better than Hills but lacks in certain areas in my opinion. I like to see the first 2-4 ingredients be a meat source, and this one starts with rice. It also does not list if this is white or brown rice (but it does say white rice on the cat food). Brown rice is much higher in nutritional value than white rice. We often suggest Orijen, Wellness, Taste of the wild, Nuti Source, Blue Buffalo, Solid Gold, Innova, Fromms, Halo, Nutro (not my top choice but decent) I ran across this food and checked out the label, it seems to be decent quality (and a UK food) esp their puppy formula as it lists meat as the first few ingredients. I did notice though that their adult has white rice at the top of the list.


I feed my dog a raw frozen diet (Nature's Variety) and am a strong supporter of feeding raw. I found this UK site for something similar


How to read a dog food label and what to look for...


Oh by the way, avoid anything that says it has "Maize" in it. Its another word for corn that dog food manufactures try to be sneaky about calling it Maize instead of corn. :*gh:

Hope this helps! :razz:

4th April 2010, 08:08 AM
I personally would never feed or recommend hill's. There's nothing wrong with feeding it to your dog (don't throw out what you do have), but once it's gone switch to something else. A new brand I just found is called holistic select, which has probiotics in addition to good meat sources. I'm in the US so can't really suggest any brands, since you have should have plenty of time before you buy food again feel free to post ingredient lists, brands, etc. for more specific advice.

4th April 2010, 09:54 AM
I have fed Hills Science Plan in the past but on of my dogs went right off it so I switched. They did very well on it and I had no complaints about it at all. Some people think it is amazing food while others think it is terrible, I personally think it's middle of the road and much better than a lot of the crap that is out there. I'm currently feeding James Wellbwloved and Royal Canin (which is a bit over priced for what you get but they love it!) - with multiple dogs it can be hard to accommodate all of their needs but so far so good - and both foods are good. Other good foods are Burns, Orijen (my, and my dogs, favourite - but is pricey), Arden Grange, Nutro and Acana. If you want to switch foods, just do it when you finish the current bag you have, no need to throw it out, and do it over a few days to prevent dodgy belly!

www.dogfoodanalysis.com has reviews of most food brands.

4th April 2010, 05:57 PM
I personally would never feed or recommend hill's. There's nothing wrong with feeding it to your dog (don't throw out what you do have), but once it's gone switch to something else.

Agree, also with Lorebringer's comments -- a so so food, but very pricy for what it is; and wouldn;t be my choice due to so so meat sources and additives. They do make a holistic food that has very good ratings at some of the dog food sites, however. I'd finish the bag then consider a change, but that is just my own preference for feeding. Yours may be different if your dog does well on what you are feeding. :)

I do think you have to take the 'ratings' with a rather large grain of salt. Says who? With what qualifications? And I bet the same raters are busy eating the occasional processed foods, snacks, cans of soda, ready meals etc with the exact same additives and ingredients they won't feed their dogs. :rolleyes: The issue of corn and grain applies to a tiny number of dogs. The biggest problem-causers for dogs for allergies are dairy products, chicken, beef... along with sometimes, grains.

Hills, like even the most mediocre supermarket brands, all meet federal requirements for minimum nutritional standards in the US. Most dogs will do perfectly fine on all of them -- indeed many of us who grew up in a time when all you got was supermarket cheapie food for your dog will testify that, ahem, some of us had very long lived healthier dogs than what you see today, belonging to people who fuss endlessly about what the dog gets (yet the dog still has stomach problems, allergies, hotspots, etc... :lol: Maybe breeds/crosses were healthier then generally, but all these elaborate foods didn't exist. You bought Skippy or Purina Dog Chow or if you had more money, Alpo.

It is untrue that vets nutrition classes are all taught by Hills reps. I know people who went to vet school and it patently isn't true. However nutrition definitely isn't a major focus of vets (nor is it of human GPs! With dogs as with people, there are specialists who focus on such areas and are the people to see if you have dietary health issues with a dog -- or person!). Given all they have to learn, nutrition is only going to be part of a teaching year, but check out some course schedules and there are classes every year and many others would included aspects of nutrition as it effects many diseases. It is the case that vets, like anyone selling products, make a profit on what they sell -- and Hill's, because they also are one of the ONLY sources of specialist medical diets (Royal Canin is the other), already had an existing relationship with vets anyway and thus, flogging regular dog food must have seemed an obvious revenue source for both Hills and vets.

There are an awful lot of myths out on the internet which get repeated so often that they are now believed to be true. There are also enormous differences of opinion nd food for cats/dogs is one of those hotspots where people can feel strongly. So always read widely and make your own mind up. :)

My own recommendation is that unless you are into dog food as a lifestyle issue, to find a medium-priced dog food, the simpler the ingredients the better, and use that as the base for meals but also enhance with healthy table scraps, quality tinned, quality premade raw, or homecooked meals. eating nothing but kibble is pretty dreary.

At the end of the day, kibble is basically a doggie equivalent of a breakfast cereal style option -- it will provide a balanced diet but is a processed food and most vitamins/minerals have to be added back in as they disappear from the ingredients themselves in the manufacturing process.

If you are in the UK/Ireland, I tend to recommend (of dry foods), James Wellbeloved, Royal Canin, Arden Grange, Burns or Robbie's/Luath's (the latter made by another of the Burns brothers). Most are easily found in pet shops. Buying largest bags is most cost effective. Worth getting an airtight plastic storage bin that will hold a full bag's contents to keep it fresh. :) I feed James Wellbeloved myself, sometimes RC.

4th April 2010, 06:55 PM
Just to add: here's info on the major causes of allergy and food intolerance, from vet school researchers. Note wheat rather than corn causes the most problems in dogs that have problems with grains but it is actually common meats and dairy that cause most problems, along with wheat.

What proteins most frequently cause food allergies?

Ten scientific studies have shown that certain proteins in beef, dairy products and wheat account for two-thirds of the reported cases of cutaneous food allergy in dogs.

From UC Davis vet school:

The most common proven allergens in the dog are beef, chicken, milk, eggs, corn, wheat, and soy;

Given how many people will worry about grains while advocating giving dogs cheese or yoghurt or eggs as 'healthy' -- shows that a lot of received opinion is not very well informed by actual evidence as to what causes dietary problems. But keep in mind cavaliers are not among the allergy-prone breeds and allergies and food problems do not bother the majority of dogs.

I've found more food problems are influenced by owners, than originate with the dogs... ;)

Brian M
4th April 2010, 09:34 PM

Fully agree with Karlin on all those kibble recommendations.:)

5th April 2010, 12:25 AM
I think there has definitely been some good advice given here! I absolutely believe that keeping the kibble simple and adding a variety of meats and veggi's is a great idea. Personally, I believe that grains and corn have a larger impact on canine allergies than a tiny percentage. I work full time at helping people figure out nutrition for their pets and I can't even begin to count how many people I have had come in at their wits end with a dog having allergies and once they switch to a grain free food they tell us it's like they have a different dog. Chicken also seems to be a high allergen, my dog definitely cannot handle it, it gives her terrible tummy issues. It's definitely a huge trial and error process and can be overwhelming! icon_nwunsure

Perhaps vets are not all taught by the same methods in other parts of the world, but I know that Hills has a HUGE impact on what the vets learn around here. The vet I used to work for in Michigan attended MSU (michigan state university) for his veterinary studies and even he admitted that almost all the nutritional information they received were from Hill's. The following info is from MSU itself which is pretty interesting.

MSU Presents Partnership Award

"Topeka, Kan. - Michigan State University (MSU) College of Veterinary Medicine recently presented the 2004 Partnership Award to Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc.

"The award recognizes the working relationship between the MSU and Hill's.

"Hill's provides financial and educational support to nearly every veterinary college in North America, as well as to veterinary students attending those institutions. This commitment to the profession includes Hill's sponsored teaching programs, residencies and faculty programs in veterinary schools and teaching hospitals all over the world.

" 'Hill's is incredibly responsive to anything students or faculty have asked of them,' says Dr. Lonnie King, dean of the college of veterinary medicine at MSU. 'Their steadfast support, generosity and collaboration in advancing the college's mission is recognized as a vital part of our veterinary medicine program.'

"Hill's has shown its commitment to the partnership with MSU by providing support to many student groups and student activities; covering costs for students to attend the SCAVMA Symposium; providing students with the textbook Small Animal Clinical Nutrition and other various handouts; providing employment to student representatives; and by supporting the awards banquet for seniors graduating from the program."

—DVM News Magazine, August 2004 (emphasis added)

5th April 2010, 12:23 PM
That is not however what you claimed: that *all the nutrition classes taught to vets are taught by Hills reps*. They are not -- they are taught by vet school staff at vet colleges. Corporate sponsorship is the norm for prizes and scholarships in just about every field -- drug company support enabled both the Uk SM conferences to be held, for example, and pet food and drug company support has underwritten many of the research projects done on dogs, including cavaliers. Food sponsorships enable all the major dog shows. That doesn't mean every breeder goes off and feeds Eukanuba or Purina Dog Chow. :)

Sponsorship is the norm for conferences, dog shows, universities, etc.

For many ill dogs, Hills foods have kept them alive as they are the largest supplier of specialist medical foods in the market. Royal Canin picks up a small subsection after purchasing a small company that also provides this corner of the market. There is a direct vet/medical connection for vets and these products. They are all nutritionally balanced -- so in my book, who cares if a small number of vets sell Hills food. Others sell Burns, Royal Canin, etc etc etc. Mine also sell rabbit food, cat litter, and litter boxes. The main issue I personally have with Hills is simply that, excepting the well-rated natural food, it is quite expensive for what is in it and I like something more simple and less costly, like James Wellbeloved. At the same time, I think people waste a heck of a lot of money on designer dogs foods that are supposedly 'natural; and 'what wild canids would eat' yet I've not ever seen a wolf eating kelp extract, brown rice, thyme, etc. :lol: Incidentally not one of my dogs has allergy problems or stomach issues (except for Lilys occasionally growly tummy, after she eats hideous things off the pavement from time to time... :rolleyes: ).

But let's have a little context here. I sure wish breeders and pet owners got half as concerned about breeding practice and health, as they do about somethin as innocuous as food choices. For 95% of dogs, the latter is really of minimal impact on a dog's health as long as it is getting any of the maasive range of foods approved as nutritionally balanced. Throw in safe table scraps, and you've got a pretty good mix of food that will keep a dog happy and healthy. I can tell you for a fact (as I am older than some here! :lol: that dogs did not used to have all these allergy and stomach and health issues in the 60s, 70s etc when fed a pretty mediocre supermarket diet. Never even heard of dogs on tablets, special diets etc when we first had dogs (back when *everyone* had dogs). So what has changed...hmmmm.

Well, let's look at the biggest problems that have the greatest effect on health and lifespan in cavaliers. Every day, breeders continue to breed dogs outside the MVD protocol, condemning this breed to what is already an average lifespan three to five years shorter than typical of a toy dog breed (average lifespan for cavaliers is 7-10 years, statistically: appallingly short. It should be pushing 13-15 years). Few scan, and thus continue to breed dogs that may be hideously affected by syrinxes without their knowing. Amazingly, many still dispute whether the condition is even a serious issue in the breed, while every study shows about half of *younger* cavaliers, including dogs with no symptoms, have syrinxes. If research samples only included dogs over 5, you can bet the number would be well over 50%.

Most of us will end up with cavaliers affected by one or the other or both of these very serious health issues; at least one could have been reduced to a minimal problem in the past decade had breeders followed the MVD protocol.

So really: what a red herring for breeders in particular to ramble on about Hills and vet education while they breed whatever way they please. Meanwhile, puppy buyers would do far better by their dog to work with health-focused breeders as that is going to make a much bigger difference over the lifetime of a dog than whether it eats Purina, Hills, Orijen, or a raw meaty bone (and I do know of dogs that have died from rectal rupture and impactions on a raw meaty bone diet...it isn't exactly as raw advocates like to claim either).

On food, I firmly advocate reading widely, questioning statements of supposed fact, being cautious about internet claims, carefully thinking through risk and benefit, then make a decision. For most people, I think a medium price range balanced dry diet is a good cornerstone and then supplement with real food. :) Others may like an all raw diet, a homecooked diet, etc. Or a mix! (that is what I go for). :) There are a lot of good thoughtful choices.