Hills Prescription Diet ID Dog Food ReviewHill’s Prescription Diet I/D dog food review did not rate this brand because this is a prescription dog food with a therapeutic formula design for very specific use in pet nutrition.

This dog food brand is prescribed by veterinarians only. It’s a highly recommended brand for the purpose it was designed.

The below NextGen Dog’s Hill’s Prescription Diet ID dog food review analyzes product’s ingredients and nutrition, sourcing and manufacturing, any certifications and marketing claims used. This dog food review was hand-written by a certified veterinarian and used an evidence-based evaluation approach for accuracy.

Hill’s Prescription Science Diet dog food is manufactured in the USA by Hill’s pet food manufacturers. All ingredients are sourced in the United States, New Zealand and Europe.

For this NGD Hill’s Prescription Diet I/D dog food review, company’s Hill’s Prescription Science Diet I/D Canine Formula was chosen to represent their line of dry dog foods.

ALL Recipes of Hill's Prescription Diet Dry Dog Food
  • Hill’s Prescription Diet a/d, n/d (recovery/cancer formulas)
  • Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d, s/d, u/d (urinary disorder formulas)
  • Hill’s Prescription Diet b/d (brain aging formula)
  • Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d (arthritis forumla)
  • Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d, d/d (skin formulas)
  • Hill’s Prescription Diet h/d, g/d (heart formulas)
  • Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d, r/d (weight loss formulas)
  • Hill’s Prescription Diet l/d (liver disorder formula)
  • Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d (kidney formula)
  • Hill’s Prescription Diet t/d (oral health formula)

Ingredient Analysis

Hill’s Science Diet i/d dog food exceeds AAFCO nutrient profile requirements due to it’s specifically designed therapeutic dog food formula design.

Ingredients: Whole grain corn, chicken meal, brewers rice, egg product, corn gluten meal, whole grain sorghum, pork fat, chicken liver flavor, powdered cellulose, lactic acid, soybean oil, pork liver flavor, potassium chloride, iodized salt, dried beet pulp, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, biotin, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement), choline chloride, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), l-tryptophan, taurine, mixed tocopherols for freshness, natural flavors, beta-carotene.

Most Important Ingredients

Whole Grain Corn: Corn is a high starch grain that provides a highly digestible source of complex carbohydrates.

It is high is linoleic acid, which is an important essential fatty acid that aids in healthy skin [1, 2].

The nutritious value of corn is hotly debated among pet owners, and is often viewed negatively in current popular culture.

However, most veterinary nutritionists agree that it can be a nutritious part of a healthy canine diet. Corn has even been shown to be higher in digestibility than many other ingredients in dog foods [3, 4].

Many people erroneously implicate corn and other grains in food allergies in dogs. But studies show dogs are much more likely to be allergic to an animal protein source, such as chicken or beef, than they are to grain [5, 6, 7, 8].

Since ingredients are listed by weight and raw chicken contains up to 80% water, this ingredient contributes much less to overall nutrition when cooked.

Chicken meal: A meal is produced once a meat product has been cooked down to a dry concentrated product.

This process is called rendering. The chicken used can include skin and meat and may or may not include bone, but should not include feathers, heads, feet and internal organs.

The inclusion of a meal in a dog food is beneficial as they contain much higher levels of protein (up to 4 times as much) than fresh meat [9, 10, 11, 12].

Concentrated protein from rendering is considered to be of high quality and nutrition [13].

The fact that the source of this meal is specified is an indication of a better quality ingredient.

Brewer’s Rice: The AACFO defines brewer’s rice as small fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the larger kernels.

It is nutritionally similar to white rice and can be considered a by-product of whole kernel rice [14].

Brewer’s rice is mostly starch and carbohydrates, and doesn’t contain the nutrients and fiber seen in the bran portion of the rice contained in brown rice, for example. It is safe and healthy for dogs, however [15].

It is a more highly digestible source of energy than whole kernel or brown rice is, which is advantageous in a diet meant for gastrointestinal (GI) tract health.

Scientific evidence on the health benefits of rice bran for dogs in still scarce [16].

However, in human trials, brewer’s rice has been shown to have very positive effects on colon cancer, kidney and liver disease [17, 18, 19, 20, 21].

Egg Product: Egg product is obtained from egg graders, breakers or hatchery operations that is then dehydrated and handled as frozen or liquid.

It is free of shells and other non-egg materials. It is labeled and governed by USDA regulations for eggs.

What this means is that the egg product is essentially eggs, but in a form that is more convenient to use in a manufacturing plant.

Eggs are highly nutritious and digestible and are an excellent source of protein and vitamins [22, 23, 24]. Research on egg consumption in dogs is still lacking, however.

Corn Gluten Meal: AAFCO defines corn gluten meal as the dried residue from corn after the removal of the larger part of the starch and germ.

Corn gluten meal is a highly digestible protein source [9]. Removal of the starch and germ means there is less insoluble fiber which can aid a sensitive GI tract.

Studies show that protein from plant sources can be as nutritious as animal sources in dog food diets [25, 26].

Whole Grain Sorghum: Sorghum is a gluten-free cereal grain that contains complex carbohydrates and is a good source of fiber. Sorghum is also a good source of B vitamins and iron.

Americans aren’t as familiar with this nutritious ingredient, but it is grown worldwide and used for human consumption as well [27, 28, 29]. Nutritionally it is similar to raw oats.

Research has shown sorghum to be healthy for both humans and animals, particularly in promoting cardiovascular health [30].

Older studies with rats showed that sorghum may be a source of mycotoxin contamination [31]. This has since been debunked [32].

Further studies have shown this to be slightly less better option than rice. Evidence on its digestibility for dogs is currently contradictory, but it remains a safe ingredient [4, 33].

Pork Fat: This fat is obtained through a rendering process to separate the fat from other portions of pork.

Fat is crucial to a healthy diet as it serves as a medium for fat soluble vitamins and provides essential fatty acids.

While pork fat doesn’t sound appetizing, it is a nutritious source of fat for a healthy diet.

Research of pork fat effects on dogs is currently scarce.

Chicken Liver Flavor: According to Hills, chicken liver flavor is hydrolyzed chicken protein used for flavor.

Hydrolyzing is a process that renders the proteins much smaller than in their original form.

It is unclear how much nutritional value this has, but likely it is an ingredient meant to enhance the palatability of the diet.

Powdered Cellulose: Powdered cellulose is the purified, mechanically disintegrated cellulose prepared by processing pulp from fibrous plant materials.

This is an added fiber source. The combination of insoluble and soluble fiber has been shown to help aid in changing GI transit time in dogs. It speeds up a slow constipated bowel and slows down a fast bowel prone to diarrhea [34, 35, 36, 37].

However, research on cellulose in dog food is contradictory, with some studies showing poor digestibility of cellulose among dogs [38, 39].

Lactic Acid: Lactic acid is used for food preservation and for flavor. It

It can modulate pH and can act as an emulsifier [40].

Lactic acid is safe and healthy for dogs, and its antimicrobial properties have been well demonstrated [41, 42].

Other Additives

Hill’s Prescription Science Diet ID dog food has added electrolytes and B vitamins, which is crucial for a dog that may be electrolyte depleted following a GI illness.

The diet has added soluble and insoluble fiber. Research has shown fiber to aid digestion.

Suspicious Ingredients

Hill’s Prescription Science Diet ID dog food has no ingredients added that could be harmful or unhealthy to canines.

The Bottom Line on Ingredients

Overall, the ingredients in Hill’s Prescription Diet ID dog food are average. However, combined in this manner, the ingredients are crucial to achieving the diet’s goal of being highly digestible.

Hill’s Prescription Diet ID dog food contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

The ingredient list is ordered by weight. Corn is first on the list since the animal protein source used in this diet is chicken meal, meaning the water weight has been removed from it.

Corn being listed first doesn’t indicate that it is the biggest contributor to overall nutrition.

Normally, it might be beneficial to have more nutritious whole grain brown rice in place of brewer’s rice, but in this instance, the more easily assimilated brewer’s rice is a better choice.

One important limitation of dog food labels is its inability to provide information on the quality of ingredients.

While the quality of the ingredients can’t be determined by the label, the ingredients themselves are all wholesome, nutritious, healthy and appear to be well-balanced.

Nutrient Analysis

Below is a guaranteed nutrient analysis of Hill’s Prescription Science Diet I/D Canine dog food recipe.

  • Protein: 26.5% minimum
  • Fat: 14.8% minimum
  • Carbohydrates: 49.5%
  • Fiber: 6.4%

Calories: 3,606kcal/kg (358 kcal/cup) calculated metabolizable energy.

Adult dog food protein content is typically in the range of 20-35% which is appropriate for most healthy dogs [43].

Crude fiber listed on Hill’s Prescription Science Diet ID dog food is higher than average for most dog foods due to its therapeutic formula and goal of the prescription diet to aid canine’s GI health.

Fiber is beneficial to dogs in many ways but further research is required on several health benefit claims [44, 45, 46, 47].

However, crude fiber listed on Health Extension dog food labels are not a particularly accurate measure of actual total dietary fiber content [48].

Label, Requirements Analysis

Dog food manufacturers can have their foods tested and certified to meet specific regulations.

Some companies often use obscure or undefined statements. Below, we analyze all certifications and claims made by the company for accuracy and definitions.


Hill’s Prescription Science Diet ID dog food has no specific certifications to evaluate.

Nutrition Claims

On their website, Hill’s company claims that their Hill’s Prescription Science Diet ID dog food supports the healing of the dog’s gastrointestinal tract (GI tract).

Its formula has been designed to be easily assimilated by pets with malabsorptive or maldigestive issues.

They claim this diet is very digestible, so it’s easy for the patient canines to get nutrients from the dog food. In here, they claim studies have proven clinically that i/d dog food can settle GI upset in as few as 3 days.

We were unable to find any references to the specific clinical trials referred on the page.

However, research does show that dogs with GI related disorders (below) will benefit from a highly digestible prescription diet such as this i/d dog food [49, 50, 51, 52].

The most common disorders for which this diet may be prescribed include:

  • Irritable Bowel Disease
  • Pancreatic insufficiency
  • Food sensitivities
  • Chronic active pancreatitis
  • Colitis or diarrhea related disease

The term “Highly Digestible” isn’t defined in a regulatory sense, but in general this term is reserved for diets with over 87% protein digestibility. Regular diets usually have between 78% and 81% digestible proteins.

“Highly Digestible” canine diets have greater than 90% digestible fats and carbohydrates (typically 77-85% and 69-79% in regular dog diets, respectively).

AAFCO requirements

The nutrition standards set by the AAFCO are voluntary.

The presence of a statement by the AAFCO on the dog food’s label is the most important indicator of dog food’s nutritional adequacy.

Nutrient Requirements: Hill’s Prescription Diet ID dog food meets AAFCO nutrient profiles based on the therapeutic formula requirements when evaluating their diet using food composition tables of the ingredients.

Feeding Trials: Hill’s prescription pet foods do go through trial feeding tests on real dogs to meet AAFCO’s highest standard, proving it provides complete and balanced nutrition for adult and puppy maintenance.

Diet trials are the most stringent and costly AAFCO standard, and the highest AAFCO standard that can be met.

Other Evaluations

Other factors are taken into consideration for the final assessment of this dog food brand.

“Best Use By” Date on the Label

When considering dog food’s quality control, it is important to have a “Best Use By” date present on the label to ensure proper shelf life.

Hill’s Prescription Diet ID dog food includes a “Best Use By” label on their packaging.

While seemingly inconsequential, the presence of this date is an important indicator of a dog food’s quality and the company’s commitment to safety.

Manufacturer and Brand

Hill’s is one of the largest veterinary prescription pet food diet manufacturers and have shown a consistent commitment to research in veterinary nutrition.

The company employs many board certified veterinary nutritionists that help to formulate these canine and cat food diets and offer support to veterinarians.

Hill’s has an excellent reputation in the veterinary community.

All of Hill’s Prescription dog foods are only available through a veterinarian, and must never be purchased without consulting with a veterinarian beforehand.

Testing, Safety and Quality Control

Hill’s manufacturing plants comply with FDA regulated Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) to ensure all their pet food products are produced in clean and sanitary conditions.

Each ingredient is tested not only for safety, but for nutrient content prior to being used.

They have annual quality systems audits of all their manufacturing facilities to ensure quality and safety.

Final checks are performed daily and final products are all inspected prior to being sold.

Hill’s has an excellent reputation for being committed to quality and safety.


Hill’s has had several recalls over the years. The most recent in the fall of 2015 was due to labeling issues – an ingredient was missing on the list.

As a result, the food was recalled. However, the recall was not filed through FDA since there were no issues with the food itself.

Recalls can seem negative, but generally indicate a commitment to quality and safety of the product.

Summary of Hill’s Diet Prescription ID Dog Food Review

This diet is not scored on our Dog Food Rating System due to its therapeutic formula design.

However, Hill’s Diet Prescription ID Dog Food rates as an excellent brand for its specific use.

Owners must keep in mind that while this seems like an excellent brand for the purpose it was intended, in no way does this imply that this diet is perfect for all dogs.

This is a prescription canine diet that achieves its goal of aiding patients with GI disorders only.

While it is labeled for healthy nutrition for maintenance use, it is likely not appropriate for all dogs or even the majority of dogs.

It has AAFCO’s highest possible standard of feeding trials and being tested on actual dogs. The ingredients are all nutritious and part of a healthy dog diet.

Ingredients are sourced in reputable countries and made by a manufacturer with over 200 veterinarians, food scientists and nutritionists on staff.

The manufacturer has proven a commitment to safety and quality and undergoes stringent safety testing.

As always, ingredients listed are limited in giving insight to their overall quality, and the best indicator of an appropriate diet is how healthy the dog seems on it.

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