Is science diet good dog food? – Full analysis and review

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In our new series of articles, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at several popular dog food brands to determine whether or not they are actually good for your dog. We’ll cover the ingredients, the nutritional breakdown, the brand’s recall history and any complaints from consumers.

In this article, we’ll be looking at the Science Diet brand. So, is Science diet good for dogs? Let’s find out! For the purposes of this article, we’ll be doing our brand evaluation based on Science Diet’s adult large breed formula.

Is science diet good dog food?

We can’t recommend Science Diet as a good dog food. We’ve come to this conclusion based on the fact that this food is absolutely packed full of carbohydrates. The meat offering here is honestly sub-par at best, and they feature a glut of wheat and corn products which often leads to obesity in pets.

At Beanietoes, we don’t like to see any corn or wheat products in the foods we recommend, and especially not so far up in the ingredient list! This is essentially meat flavored cereal for dogs, which as you’ve likely guessed, is not a great approach to canine health.

However, Science Diet doesn’t stop at one empty carbohydrate, out of the top 7 ingredients in this food, five of them are wheat or corn based! While some of them have fancier names, the truth is that you’re paying for a lot of junk instead of for meat and healthy veggies.

You might expect this abysmal level of quality from a generic dog food from a big box store, but considering that Science Diet is marketed as a premium brand, we can’t feel but help that pet parents are being tricked into thinking that they are buying healthy food for their dogs when they aren’t.

is science diet good dog food
Science Diet is a cheap dog food masquerading as a premium product.

Science Diet adult large breed ingredients

Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Pea Fiber, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum, Powdered Cellulose, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Dried Beet Pulp, Flaxseed, Lactic Acid, Pork Flavor, Potassium Chloride, L-Lysine, Iodized Salt, Choline Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Oat Fiber, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, L-Carnitine, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.

Science Diet also seems to have changed their formula, and the new ingredients for this food are somehow even worse. The more nutritious whole meat chicken has been removed and replaced with only chicken meat meal, which often carries a higher protein count but is not as good as whole meat ingredients.

While there’s nothing wrong with this ingredient, we prefer to see it as the second ingredient and not the main meat source. Meat meals are heavily processed, and this often robs them of nutritional value.

In short, Science Diet does not get our stamp of approval, and you can do much better for the price that you’d pay for this food. Want a dog food that’s not full of junk and empty calories? Check out some of our favorite picks below.

All of these foods offer great nutritional value, high-quality ingredients, are free from fillers and have excellent nutritional breakdowns. As a bonus, pups love them thanks to the higher meat content!

However, if you’re feeding your dog Science Diet because they need a specialty food, such as for kidney problems, then we can also recommend Dave’s Pet Food. They make some great alternatives for dogs who can’t eat normal dog food for health reasons.

Looking for a healthier option for your dog?

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american journey dog food
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$$ Moderately Priced

Get TOTW Here

$$$ Most Expensive

Get Halo Here

Want to save on your monthly dog food costs? Purchase your dog food online and you’ll not only get the best pricing, but many retailers will even give you 5-10% off every purchase for signing up for auto-ship! However, our favorite vendor Chewy will also give you 30% off your first auto-ship order.

Science Diet Nutritional Breakdown

It’s important to realize that the ingredients don’t tell the whole story. In some cases, the ingredients might look good, but if the nutritional ratio is off, then the food might still be unhealthy in the long run.

That’s why it’s important to check the nutritional information, so let’s break down Science Diet’s offering and see what kind of nutrition it’s offering to your pup.

Is Science Diet good for dogs nutritionally?

Below you can see a pie chart breakdown of the fat, protein and carbohydrates present in this Science Diet recipe. While there will be slight variances between different formulas, most manufacturers follow their base ratios pretty closely for each flavor.

That makes this a pretty good indicator of what you can expect to get from the brand as whole. So, let’s take a look at this recipe’s nutritional profile to see how balanced it is and if it’s healthy for your dog.

is science diet good for dogs
Is Science Diet good for dogs? Check the nutritional breakdown!

As you can see, the carbohydrate percentage for this food is near 50%. This is not good, and we avoid foods like this at all costs. Pet obesity is on the rise, and pet foods that are full of fillers are likely to blame.

There’s also a good deal of fat in here, and a diet that’s too rich in fat and carbohydrates equals an obese dog, unless they are insanely active, which most pets are not. Obesity leads to a host of health issues that shorten your dog’s life.

While exercise is an option, health starts with what you put in your body, and if you’re feeding your dog a high calorie food with low nutritional value, then you’re fighting a losing battle.

The protein percentage is also pretty paltry. While Science Diet is often marketed as a “premium” brand, they don’t really have premium nutrition or ingredients to back that up. In fact, this nutritional profile and ingredients list is similar to what you’d see in the worst dog foods at any discount store.

Has Science Diet ever been recalled?

Yes, Science Diet has faced numerous recalls over the years. Some of the reasons for the recalls include nutrient deficiencies, salmonella contamination and melamime contamination during the 2007 dog food recall.

While past recalls are not really an indicator of a company’s potential to be recalled in the future, sometimes this can reveal potential quality control issues. In Science Diet’s case, there may be cause for concern though, check the consumer complaints section below for more on this.

Science Diet recall history

  • January 2019 – Various dog foods recalled for elevated levels of Vitamin D
  • November 2015 – Products recalled for labeling errors
  • June 2014 – Toy breed dog food recalled for salmonella contamination
  • March 2007 – Multiple pet foods recalled for melamime contamination

Complaints about Science Diet

Some consumers have expressed anger at Science Diet’s quality control and the speed at which they issue recall notifications. Many dogs became ill, and some died due to the elevated levels of vitamin D during Science Diet’s last dog food recall, and some think that Science Diet did not do enough to warn pet parents of the dangers.

Other pet parents have also experienced issues with the food, even when it seems otherwise fine. This includes dogs experiencing vomiting, lethargy and other issues. If your dog is diabetic or obese, then they will also likely experience insulin spikes thanks to the high carbohydrate count.

In short, Science Diet is not a food that we’d ever recommend, and it’s baffling that veterinary offices continue to push it to consumers. It’s composed mainly of wheat and corn, which offer little to no nutritional value to your dog at best, and at worst will cause them to become obese, bringing on even more healthy issues.

We can’t recommend it, and even if your dog needs to be on a specialty diet, such as for diabetes or kidney issues, there are foods which are much better than Science Diet. If you have a dog that needs to be on a specialty or restricted diet, then Dave’s Pet Food offers some excellent options.

If your pup is on a normal diet, then these are our favorite options for dog foods that are nutritious, but won’t break the bank. They use high-quality ingredients, are free from empty filler calories, and provide excellent nutrition.

$Least Expensive

american journey dog food
Get American Journey Here

$$ Moderately Priced

Get TOTW Here

$$$ Most Expensive

Get Halo Here
Michelle Rei
Michelle Rei
Michelle is a pet parent turned amateur pet product researcher. After adopting a fur baby with digestive issues caused by bad pet food, she's poured hundreds of hours into research to find the best of the best to help him and other pets live happier and healthier lives.
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