Hill's Science Diet line of dry dog foods states that it is balanced for every stage or need in a dog's life. Today's pet owner wants to know what the food they give their pet contains because they want the best for them. Science Diet Adult Grain Free dry food and Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Original dry foods are two of the foods available from Hill that can be fed a puppy as it grows into adulthood. The ingredients they use run from those usually found in commercially made dog food to the controversial.
Proteins: Adult and Puppy Kibble
Proteins make up the first most important part of a dog's diet. The higher up in the list an ingredient sits, the more of it the food contains. For the adult formula dry food, chicken is the first ingredient, with other types of protein listed in fourth position (pea protein concentrate), sixth (chicken meal), and 13th (dried egg product). In the puppy formula, however, only two forms of protein are listed: chicken meal in first place and pork meal in fourth. The grain free dry food for adults would therefore score higher for having better quality and quantity of proteins, unlike the puppy formula. Meal products are not necessarily pure meat, given the laws surrounding its creation: Companies are not allowed to post the quality of their meals, which means "chicken meal" may be 100 percent chicken breasts or the bodies of whole chickens at the ends of their lives. Low ash content is the signifier of quality in meat meal products given it shows that the amount of bone is low compared to meat. Puppies require more protein for growth and the puppy formula is deficient in this ingredient.
Vegetables: Adult and Puppy Kibble
Dogs require some vegetables and fruits in their diet to maintain their health, though no more than a fourth of their overall diet. The adult formula contains potatoes, yellow peas, potato starch, green peas, apples, cranberries, carrots and broccoli as major components and is balanced out by the proteins. It also contains dried beet pulp, an ingredient that the puppy formula shares. The puppy food also contains vegetables; however, the apples, broccoli, carrots, cranberries and peas are all dried. Beet pulp is not actually a bad component in foods and is gentle and easily digested by dogs. Once again, because the puppy formula is low on proteins, the vegetables take up too much of the diet.
Vitamins and Minerals
Because dry dog food is dehydrated during its creation process, many of the ingredients may lose much of their nutritional value. The result is that companies often add vitamins and minerals into their food to put back what might have been lost. In both formulas, the same set of vitamins and minerals is listed: vitamin E supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (a source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, calcium panothenate, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate and sodium selenite. Though these words may seem poisonous, each and every one of them is in some way required for a healthy dog's coat, sight, blood and other factors.
Grains and Other Ingredients
A growing number of dog owners cite grains in dry food as a concern. Many dogs seem to develop allergic reactions to this form of ingredient, and many foods use them as fillers. Science Diet Grain Free adult dry food has no wheat or corn products listed, which is highly beneficial. It does have other things inside it, such as powdered cellulose and chicken fat, that are not healthy for dogs due to contamination risks or outright unsuitability -- powdered cellulose is dried wood, after all. The puppy formula contains a great deal of grain products: cracked pearled barley, whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, whole grain sorghum, corn gluten meal and oat fiber. The barley is healthy; however, the wheat, corn, gluten and oat fibers are definitely not. Both formulas include chicken liver flavor, flaxseed, soybean oil, lactic acid, iodized salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, taurine, mixed tocopherois and beta carotene. The puppy formula even has L-lysine, pork liver flavor and dicalcium phosphate, which the adult formula does not. "Flavor" is not a welcome addition to any good dog food, and too much salt can harm a dog just as it would a human.
Dondi Ratliff is a certified secondary English teacher in Texas. Her articles typically cover topics regarding animals both wild and domesticated. Ratliff holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Tarleton State University, a Master of Arts in teaching from Texas Woman's University, and a Master of Arts in English from Tarleton State University.