You know that proper nutrition plays an important role in your overall health and well being and the same goes for your pet. Understanding the complexities of nutrition goes well beyond merely reading a list of ingredients.

The Right Food

Would you feed a baby steak? Or eat salty potato chips if you had high blood pressure? Of course not. Just like people, every pet has special nutritional needs for example, a pet food formulated to meet the requirements of a growing puppy would not be appropriate for an older dog whose heart is stressed from age.

Too little or too much of certain nutrients can be detrimental to a pet’s health. And nutrients of importance, and the amount that is ideal, vary by life stage, activity level and health condition.

Nutrient control is the basis of all Hill’s products. Our foods are specially formulated to provide proper nutrition specifically for your pet based on age, activity level and physical condition. Read about Hill’s® Science Diet® brand pet foods or to learn about Hill’s® Prescription Diet® brand pet foods.To learn the optimum nutrient recommendations for your pet based on life stage and activity level, review our Life Stage Chart .

Ask your veterinarian to assess your pet’s health and recommend a food that provides the optimum balance of nutrients. Or, if your pet is healthy, visit our Product Selector to help determine the right food for your pet.

Dog Care

From puppy lovin’ to growing old together, Hill’s helps you make the best of man’s best friend. Learn more about keeping the quality of your pet’s life in tip-top shape.

Cat Care

Whether or not cats have nine lives is still a mystery. However, one thing is for sure – Hill’s can help your cuddly kitten stay healthy for at least it’s first one. Find out how you can contribute to your cat’s well-being.

Nutrition Basics

Pet nutrition can run the gamut from being something that sustains a pet’s life to foods that can actually help manage certain health problems. At Hill’s, we strive for the optimal balance of nutrients for your pet’s individual needs.

What Every Pet Owner Should Know

Pet nutrition can run the gamut from being something that merely sustains a pet’s life to foods that can actually help manage certain health problems. At Hill’s, we strive for the optimal balance of nutrients for your pet’s individual needs.

Nutrients vs. Ingredients

As in human nutrition, a body needs nutrients — from ingredients — like protein, fat and fiber to function. Ingredients are simply vehicles that deliver this mixture of nutrients to the body. When choosing the ingredients for pet food, it’s the total nutrient balance of ingredients that’s important.

A nutrient is any food constituent that helps support life. Each of the six nutrient groups plays an important role in your pet’s health:

Proteins Main element of body tissues like muscles, blood, skin, organs, hair and nails.
Carbohydrates Provide energy for the body’s tissues.
Fats Fats absorb, store and transport vitamins, moisturize skin and coat, make healthy pet food taste great and supply energy.
Water The most critical nutrient for survival.
Vitamins Assist in maintaining an animal’s metabolism.
Minerals Necessary to develop healthy skin and hair, proper skeletal support and development. Minerals are usually abundant in pet food ingredients.

Remember that more nutrients are NOT always better in pet nutrition — many nutrients are actually toxic in excessive amounts! And every dog and cat has unique nutritional needs based on age, health and activity level. Our product selector can help you determine the best food for your pet

Making Comparisons

The Best Way to Compare Pet Foods

Your best source for finding the ideal pet food is to talk with an expert, your veterinarian. But the choice is ultimately up to you, so be an informed consumer. A couple of tips to keep in mind when pet food shopping:

  • It is VERY important to compare foods on a dry matter basis, not by the Guaranteed Analysis on the package. Use interactive calculator to help you make the right comparisons. It’s best to obtain dry matter information from the manufacturer. If the manufacturer won’t provide the information, one can “estimate” Dry Matter by calculating from the Guaranteed Analysis, but actual amounts can very greatly.
  • Make cost comparisons on a “per feeding” basis using feeding directions rather than a cost “per bag”. This is important because pet foods recommend different feeding amounts based on the amount of energy in their food.
  • Talk with your veterinarian about nutrient control, quality of ingredients, clinical research, and get a professional recommendation.
  • Compare manufacturers’ expertise, as well as their commitment to delivering nutritionally superior products.

Understanding pet food labels

While not all nutrition information can be found on pet food labels, they are extremely helpful for knowing what kinds of ingredients are used in the food.

However, the ingredient list does NOT provide the nutritional content — it simply displays the ingredients that supply the nutrients. This list will not help you determine if the food is right for your pet’s age and breed, nor will it guarantee the quality of ingredients.

Also, understand the simple function of guaranteed analysis — its only real guarantee is that minimum or maximum amounts of the nutrients named can be found in the food. The actual amounts can vary widely. We recommend comparing foods’ dry matter value, which is not on the label, but usually available from the manufacturer. If the information is not available from the manufacturer, click here to learn how to calculate dry matter using information from the label.

Pet food labels and claims can be confusing, but Hill’s recommends taking the time to get to know the food you give your pets. We’re confident that when you do, you won’t have to look any further than Hill’s® products for your dogs and cats. Generations of veterinarians have trusted them. We think you will, too.

Sample Label

INGREDIENTS: WHEAT FLOUR, CORN GLUTEN MEAL, MEAT AND BONE MEAL, GROUND WHEAT, ANIMAL FAT (PRESERVED WITH BHA AND CITRIC ACID), SALT, DICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, CALCIUM CARBONATE, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, CHOLINE CHLORIDE, POTASSIUM SORBATE (A PRESERVATIVE), VITAMIN A ACETATE, D-ACTIVATED ANIMAL STEROL (SOURCE OF VITAMIN D3), VITAMIN E SUPPLEMENT, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, RIBOFLAVIN SUPPLEMENT, VITAMIN B12 SUPPLEMENT, BIOTIN, ZINC OXIDE, ETHYLENEDIAMINE DIHYDRIODIDE, SODIUM SELENITE.

GUARANTEED ANALYSIS

CRUDE PROTEIN 20.0% MINIMUM
CRUDE FAT 7.5% MINIMUM
CRUDE FIBER 4.5% MAXIMUM
MOISTURE 12.0% MAXIMUM

NOTE: ANIMAL FEEDING TESTS, USING AAFCO PROCEDURES SUBSTANTIATE THAT THIS PRODUCT PROVIDES COMPLETE AND BALANCED NUTRITION FOR GROWTH AND MAINTENANCE OF THE DOG.

Lifestyle/Lifestage

Most pet foods contain nutrition for a specific stage of your pets life. When selecting a food, make sure the product is appropriate for your pet’s age and lifestyle. Feeding your pet properly is more involved than following instructions on a bag or can. . Feeding guides should be used only as a starting point, and food amounts must be adjusted to meet the changing needs of your dog or cat.

The best way to find out how much food to feed your pet is to work with your veterinarian.

Start with a product designed for your pet’s age. Ages are broken down into these categories:

Kitten/Puppy – up to 1 yr
Adult Cat/Dog – 1-6 years
Senior Cat/Dog – over 6 years

It’s important to feed your pet food according to his or her age, because of the biological changes your pet will go through.

If you are unsure of your pet’s age or have questions about lifestages, contact your vet or call us at 1(800) 445-5777.

There are also lifestyle choices within the adult age groups:

Light or low fat – for cats and dogs that tend to gain weight easily
Active – for dogs that need more energy than the normal dog

Tasty varieties are often available within each age range group. These foods are formulated to be fed interchangeably as long as you feed the same brand, however if your pet experiences vomiting or diarrhea when switching foods, find the variety your pet likes best and stick with it.

Pet Diseases

Keep your pet healthy by keeping yourself informed. Learn about the warning signs and symptoms of many common pet diseases. You can also pick up a few recovery tips to help speed up the healing process.