Hill's Ideal Balance Cat Food Ingredients

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Hill's Ideal Balance manufactures roughly 6 different cat food products. Each product utilizes a unique set of ingredients to achieve a desired nutritional profile.

In this article, we'll explore Hill's Ideal Balance ingredients and answer many of the most common questions.

As of right now, our records indicate that Hill's Ideal Balance uses roughly 71 different ingredients.

First 5 Ingredients

Cat food ingredients in the United States are listed in descending order of pre-cooked weight. The first 5 ingredients typically constitute a significant portion of the recipe.

For Hill's Ideal Balance, these are the most common ingredients found within the first 5 cat food ingredients.

  1. chicken
  2. yellow pea
  3. chicken fat
  4. pea protein
  5. carrot

As you can see, the most common first ingredient in Hill's Ideal Balance is chicken. The most common 2nd ingredient is yellow pea, followed by chicken fat, pea protein, and carrot.

Artificial Food Coloring Dyes

Hill's Ideal Balance does not use any artificial food coloring dyes. According to our records, none of the 6 Hill's Ideal Balance cat foods contain artificial food dyes.

Artificial food coloring dyes are unnecessary and potentially harmful ingredients. In general, we not not recommend feeding any pet foods that contain artificial dyes.

In 2010, the CSPI raised serious concerns regarding the safety of many artificial dyes. Most of the studies referenced by the CSPI involved prolonged or excessive consumption. Since most cats consume the same foods throughout their lives, concerns raised by the CSPI are alarming to say the least.

To read more about Artificial Food Dyes, click here.

Animal By-Products

According to our records, Hill's Ideal Balance does not contain any animal by-products.

Animal by-products are basically the leftover parts of the the carcass after its been processed for meat. AAFCO defines by-products as the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals.

Although by-products are still fairly nutritious ingredients, consumers have equated them with slaughterhouse waste. Therefore, most premium brands, including Hill's Ideal Balance have decided to remove by-products and instead use named organ meats (beef liver, chicken gizzards).

For further reading on the controversy over animal by-products, click here.

Anonymous Meat Ingredients

Anonymous meats are inexpensive low-quality ingredients that can come from practically any animal. These type of ingredients are often used to produce very inexpensive cat foods.

In general, we prefer ingredients which specify the animal source used to derive the ingredient. For example, ingredients such as duck fat are much better than animal fat or poultry fat.

In our analysis, we've looked through all 71 Hill's Ideal Balance ingredients. According to our data, Hill's Ideal Balance does not contain any anonymous animal-based ingredients.

Cereal Grains

Certain Hill's Ideal Balance cat food recipes contain one or more grains. The specific ingredients are listed below.

For cats, we typically recommend choosing a grain-free recipe. Cats are obligate carnivores and therefore grains are not species appropriate.

The kibble production requires a binding agent. Grains are commonly used for this purpose in cat food. When purchasing grain-free cat food, grains are often replaced with another starchy source. This is also not ideal.

To avoid grains and other starchy additions, consider feeding wet or frozen recipes.

Modified rice starch is a gluten free carbohydrate derived from rice. Typically, rice starch is used as a binder in kibble. The "modified" prefix indicates that the ingredient has been further processed to expose a certain property.

The following recipes contain modified rice starch:

Brewer's rice is the small fragments of rice kernel that are separated from the larger kernels of milled rice. The fragments do not contain the same nutrition profile of the whole kernel and therefore brewer's rice is a lower quality grain. Brewer's rice is typically regarded as an inexpensive and low quality filler.

The following recipes contain brewers rice:

Cracked pearled barley is barley with the outer husk and bran layers removed. Similar to regular barley, cracked pearled barley provides carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Cracked pearled barley is however not as nutritious as regular whole grain barley.

The following recipes contain cracked pearled barley:

Controversial Ingredients

In most cases, ingredients which are given the controversial classification can be substituted with higher-quality alternatives. You should evaluate each controversial ingredient independently to see if there is truly a valid cause for concern.

Keep in mind, certain sacrifices often must be made to produce cat foods at a reasonable price. In general, the more expensive the product, the fewer controversial ingredients you'll find.

In our analysis, we've identified 4 controversial ingredients inside Hill's Ideal Balance products. These controversial ingredients are listed below. Click on each ingredient for more information.

Pork plasma is the colorless fluid part of a pig's blood. It may sound disgusting, but it's actually very nutritious for cats. Regardless of the nutritional aspects, consumers are shocked by this ingredient, which is why pork plasma is considered a controversial ingredient.

The following recipes contain pork plasma:

Brewer's rice is the small fragments of rice kernel that are separated from the larger kernels of milled rice. The fragments do not contain the same nutrition profile of the whole kernel and therefore brewer's rice is a lower quality grain. Brewer's rice is typically regarded as an inexpensive and low quality filler.

The following recipes contain brewers rice:

Pea protein is produced by removing the starchy parts of peas. Pea protein is considered controversial because it provides a substantial plant based protein boost. This boost is undesirable because plant based protein is typically lower in biological value when compared to meat based proteins.

The following recipes contain pea protein:

Caramel color is a concentrated form of caramel, a natural food colorant. Caramel color has been linked to cancer in laboratory animals. Since our pets do not care about food color, caramel color is an unnecessary addition with possible health risks.

The following recipes contain caramel color:

Potentially Harmful Ingredients

Harmful ingredients are those which have been linked to adverse health effects. In general, we do not recommend feeding any product which contains any harmful ingredients.

There are certain situations where these ingredients may be necessary. We always recommend contacting Hill's Ideal Balance for further clarification regarding any harmful or controversial ingredient.

We have identified 1 harmful ingredient used in certain Hill's Ideal Balance recipes. To learn more, click on the ingredient's name.

Menadione sodium bisulfite complex is a synthetic version of vitamin K that has been linked to many health concerns. Research has suggested possible toxic reactions in liver cells and red blood cells among other serious problems. In fact, one large chemical supplier warns, "The substance is toxic to kidneys, lungs, liver, mucous membranes. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage."

The following recipes contain menadione sodium bisulfite complex:

Hill's Ideal Balance Cat Food Ingredient Lists