Instinct vs. Hill's Ideal Balance

Instinct vs Hill's Ideal Balance

In this comparison article for Instinct vs Hill's Ideal Balance, we'll highlight the key differences between these two pet food brands. To properly compare Instinct and Hill's Ideal Balance, we'll use up-to-date nutritional and price information.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best pet food brand for your pet. Factors such as ingredient quality, guaranteed analysis, product safety, brand history, and cost are among the most important factors to consider.

Throughout this Hill's Ideal Balance vs Instinct comparison, we've utilized average data to make general comparisons. If you'd like to see individual product reviews, visit our Instinct Review Page or Hill's Ideal Balance Review Page.

Guaranteed Analysis: Hill's Ideal Balance vs. Instinct

According to AAFCO, all pet food labels must provide a guaranteed analysis of nutrient content. The analysis must provide guaranteed minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat, and maximum percentages of crude fiber and moisture.

All percentages used in this comparison are averages reported on a dry matter basis.

Instinct Dog Food vs. Hill's Ideal Balance Dog Food

Dry Dog Food Instinct Hill's Ideal Balance
Crude Protein 41.0% 23.5%
Crude Fat 23.7% 17.8%
Crude Fiber 5.3% 1.6%
Wet/Canned Dog Food Instinct Hill's Ideal Balance
Crude Protein 48.9% 26.6%
Crude Fat 28.2% 19.7%
Crude Fiber 11.1% 4.8%

Crude Protein Comparison For Dog Food

Dogs require twenty-two amino acids to sustain life. Twelve of these amino acids are synthesized naturally, the remaining ten are consumed. Protein is the nutrient which provides some or all of these ten essential amino acids.

The comparison table above shows that Instinct dry dog foods provide significantly more protein than Hill's Ideal Balance. More specifically, Instinct guarantees at least 17.53% more protein. Similarly, Instinct wet dog foods provide significantly more protein than Hill's Ideal Balance wet foods.


Crude Fat Comparison For Dog Food

Fats are an absolutely vital component of a balanced canine diet. Not only do fats provide energy, but they also serve important roles in the normal development and function of your dog's body. For example, fats help dogs produce prostaglandins, which reduce inflammation among many other significant functions.

There is a relatively large difference between the fat content of Instinct and Hill's Ideal Balance. On average, Hill's Ideal Balance dry dog food recipes contain 5.89% less fat than Instinct recipes. In addition, Instinct wet dog foods also provide more fat than Hill's Ideal Balance wet foods.


There is a small difference between the fiber content of Instinct and Hill's Ideal Balance. We can see that Instinct guarantees about 3.65% more fiber than Hill's Ideal Balance. In addition, Instinct wet dog foods also provide more fiber than Hill's Ideal Balance wet foods.

Instinct Cat Food vs. Hill's Ideal Balance Cat Food

Dry Cat Food Instinct Hill's Ideal Balance
Crude Protein 44.6% 32.7%
Crude Fat 22.3% 22.5%
Crude Fiber 4.7% 0.9%
Wet/Canned Cat Food Instinct Hill's Ideal Balance
Crude Protein 50.7% 43.6%
Crude Fat 23.7% 22.1%
Crude Fiber 12.2% 3.3%

Crude Protein Comparison For Cat Food

Cats require twenty-two amino acids to sustain life. Eleven of these amino acids are synthesized naturally, the remaining eleven are consumed. Protein is the nutrient which provides some or all of these eleven essential amino acids.

Instinct dry cat foods clearly provides more protein than Hill's Ideal Balance. In fact, the difference between the protein content is roughly 11.86%, which is a significant amount. For wet cat foods, Instinct provides more protein (about 7.08% more).


Crude Fat Comparison For Cat Food

There are many ways in which dietary fat contributes to the overall health of our feline friends. Here is a short list of benefits provided by fats (not exhaustive):

  • Fats help with the digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins
  • Reduce inflammation associated with arthritis
  • Slow the growth of yeast infections
  • Prevent or reduce the likelihood of certain heart problems.
  • Aid in the development of the retina and visual cortex.

There is a relatively insignificant difference between the crude fat content of the two brands. With regards to wet cat food, Instinct and Hill's Ideal Balance also provide roughly the same amount of crude fat.


According to our average data, Hill's Ideal Balance typically provides less fiber than Instinct. However, this difference is relatively small and doesn't represent a significant difference between the two brands. In addition, Instinct wet cat foods also provide more fiber than Hill's Ideal Balance wet foods.

Instinct Pet Food Ingredients vs. Hill's Ideal Balance Pet Food Ingredients

Instinct and Hill's Ideal Balance both use the following controversial ingredients in many of their products:

Canola Oil
Pea Protein
Tomato Pomace
Dried Tomato Pomace

Here are some of the controversial ingredients used only by Instinct.

Garlic
Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols And Citric Acid)

Here are some of the controversial ingredients used only by Hill's Ideal Balance.

Caramel
Pork Plasma
Brewers Rice
Caramel Color
Powdered Cellulose
Pea Protein Concentrate

We believe that certain pet food ingredients are linked to adverse health affects; these ingredients are classified as harmful.

Instinct and Hill's Ideal Balance both use the following harmful ingredients in many of their products:

Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex

Product Safety: Recall History of Instinct & Hill's Ideal Balance?

Instinct has been recalled 2 times.

  • July 24, 2015: Salmonella
  • Feb. 15, 2013: Pieces of clear plastic in bag

According to our records, Hill's Ideal Balance has never been recalled.

Price Comparison: Which Brand Is More Expensive?

Dry Dog Food Instinct Hill's Ideal Balance
Per Pound $9.44 $2.04
Per Calorie $0.0047 $0.0012
Dry Cat Food Instinct Hill's Ideal Balance
Per Pound $6.46 $2.91
Per Calorie $0.0033 $0.0017
Wet Dog Food Instinct Hill's Ideal Balance
Per Pound $6.52 $3.22
Per Calorie $0.0107 $0.0095
Wet Cat Food Instinct Hill's Ideal Balance
Per Pound $8.13 $7.57
Per Calorie $0.0171 $0.0163

The average cost-per-lb is heavily influenced by the varying amounts of moisture present in each brand's food products (wet vs. dry food, dry vs. freeze-dried food, etc). However, the average cost-per-kcal eliminates the influence of moisture. Therefore, the average cost-per-kcal is the better metric to consider.

If you'd like to calculate the average cost-per-day or cost-pet-year of feeding Instinct or Hill's Ideal Balance, input your pet's weight into our cost analyzer widget.

Averages price data can identify whether or not there exists a significant price difference between two brands. However, the actual price that you'll pay for Instinct or Hill's Ideal Balance will depend on your shopping habits.

Pet owners who use our price comparison feature typically save more than 25% off retail prices for Instinct and Hill's Ideal Balance. In addition, we currently have some great coupons for our readers.


Disclosure: PawDiet has an affiliate relationship with retailers featured in this article. We are compensated for referring customers. Thank you for shopping with our retail partners!

Where To Buy Instinct and Hill's Ideal Balance Pet Foods

You can purchase Instinct pet foods from the following stores:


You can purchase Hill's Ideal Balance pet food products from these retailers:

 

Type Of Pet Foods Available

Product Instinct Hill's Ideal Balance
Dry Dog Food 26 Recipes 6 Recipes
Wet Dog Food 19 Recipes 2 Recipes
Dog Treats 8 Treats 3 Treats
Dry Cat Food 14 Recipes 4 Recipes
Wet Cat Food 29 Recipes 2 Recipes
Cat Treats 2 Treats

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