Hill's Science Diet Kitten Healthy Development Review
Review of Hill's Science Diet Kitten Healthy Development
This product is manufactured by Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc..
According to our data, this Hill's Science Diet recipe provides complete & balanced nutrition for growing kittens and pregnant/nursing cats. In other words, this formula is AAFCO approved.
Hill's Science Diet Kitten Healthy Development Chicken Recipe is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for growing kittens and pregnant/nursing cats.
We'll begin this review of Hill's Science Diet Kitten Healthy Development Chicken Recipe with a detailed discussion of the ingredients.
The first ingredient is chicken. Although chicken is an excellent protein source, raw chicken contains more than 60% moisture. After cooking, the relative meat contribution of chicken is dramatically reduced. Therefore, it's important to ensure that other meat sources are included within the first few ingredients to ensure the product derives most of its protein from meat.
The second ingredient is whole grain wheat. Whole grain wheat contains the entire grain of wheat (the germ, bran, and endosperm). Wheat is the second most-produced cereal grain in the world (corn is the first). Although wheat is a controversial ingredient, it is not necessarily undesirable because it provides dietary fiber and many other nutrients. However, wheat contains a notable amount of plant based protein, which is inferior to meat based protein and therefore an undesirable substitution.
Wheat is also one of the most common ingredients to cause food allergies or intolerance. However, grains such as wheat are typically low offenders in comparison to certain protein sources (such as beef).
The third ingredient is corn gluten meal. Corn gluten meal is a by-product from the production of various corn products (corn starch, corn syrup, etc). It's very high in protein (nearly 60% protein) and therefore can significant boost the protein content of the product. Because plant based proteins such as corn gluten meal are inferior to meat based proteins (lack many essential amino acids), they are not suitable substitutes.
The fourth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is typically collected while cooking chicken using a process called rendering. Chicken fat is a relatively high quality source of essential fatty acids. In particular, chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an important omega-6 fatty acid.
The fifth ingredient is whole grain corn. Whole grain corn is the entire corn kernel (the germ, bran, and endosperm). Corn is a cereal grain which provides a modest amount of vitamins, minerals, and plant based protein. It also happens to be one of the most controversial ingredients in cat food.
Proponents of corn claim that corn is highly digestible and an excellent source of protein, energy, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.
Opponents however believe that positive claims in regards to corn are either half-truths or completely false, we'll discuss a few of the opposing arguments.
In regards to digestibility, the claims of "highly digestible" are only true if corn is processed into a meal or flour and subsequently cooked. In regards to the protein contribution, we must note that corn is a plant based protein which does not contain all of the necessary amino acids required by cats to sustain life. Therefore substituting corn for meat is an unsuitable substitution and actually degrades the overall protein quality of the product.
Finally, we'll discuss the claims about vitamins and minerals in corn. Although corn does provide many vitamins and minerals, it not necessarily an exceptional ingredient in this regards. There are many other ingredients which are more complete and biologically appropriate. Therefore the usage of corn as the primary ingredient in cat food should certainly warrant further questioning.
Because ingredients are listed in order of pre-cooked weight, the remaining ingredients in Hill's Science Diet Kitten Healthy Development Chicken Recipe are not as important as the first five ingredients.
However, collectively they still have a significant impact on the overall quality of the product. Therefore, we'll continue discussing the remaining ingredients in this Hill's Science Diet recipe.
Next we have natural chicken liver flavor. As the name implies, natural chicken liver flavor provides chicken liver flavor to the product. This particular flavor is derived from natural sources which may or may not include real chicken liver.
The next ingredient is dried beet pulp. Dried beet pulp is the by-product which remains once sugar has been extracted from sugar beets. The primary contribution of beet pulp is dietary fiber.
We'd also like to note that beet pulp is fairly controversial in pet food. Proponents claim that beet pulp can promote intestinal health and regulate blood sugar. However, opponents claim that beet pulp is an inexpensive filler.
Then we have soybean oil. Soybean oil is an omega-6 fatty acid source. Unlike other oils (flax, canola, etc), soybean oil does not provide omega-3 fatty acids; However, the balancing omega-3 fatty acids are most likely supplied by another oil or fat source in the product.
Moving on, we have dicalcium phosphate. Dicalcium phosphate (misnomer for dibasic calcium phosphate) is commonly used in pet food and treats as a dietary calcium supplement. It can also be found in breakfast cereals, enriched flour, noodle products, pharmaceutical tablets, and toothpastes.
Moving on with this review, we have fish oil. Fish oil is defined by AAFCO as "the oil from rendering whole fish or cannery waste." It is typically rich in omega-3 fatty acids and therefore a good fat source. However, the specific fish used to obtain the oil is not specified and therefore we cannot make any specific claims.
The next ingredient in this review is calcium sulfate. Calcium sulfate is a food additive that helps control acidity levels and functions as a firming agent. It's not a desirable ingredient, but it is considered safe by the FDA in small quantities.
Our next ingredient is lactic acid, which is an organic compound. Lactic acid is most likely used in this recipe as a preservative.
egg product is the next ingredient in this recipe. Egg product consists of shell-free eggs which are easy to digest and contain high quality protein. Egg protein is often given the highest biological value (BV). The BV metric measures the usability of the ingredient's protein.
Next on the list is flaxseed. Flaxseeds are an outstanding source of omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber. They also provide a notable amount of protein, B vitamins, and various minerals.
The next ingredient in this recipe is choline chloride. Choline chloride is member of the B-vitamin complex (vitamin B4).
Next we have powdered cellulose. Powdered cellulose is produced from minuscule pieces of wood pulp and plant fibers. Other than its fiber content, powdered cellulose lacks any nutritional contribution.
The remaining ingredients in this Hill's Science Diet Kitten Healthy Development recipe are unlikely to affect the overall rating of the product.
Our analysis of the ingredients show that this product derives a substantial amount of protein from non-meat ingredients. This is an undesirable property because plant based protein often lacks many of the necessary amino acids required by cats. This property is typically found in lower quality products.
In summary, we recognize that this product does not contain any artificial colors, artificial preservatives, or anonymous meat ingredients.
The official PawDiet rating for Hill's Science Diet Kitten Healthy Development Chicken Recipe is 1.0 out of 5.