Ingredients and Myths
Why is corn in certain products?
Corn is an excellent ingredient because of the benefits it brings to the product. Corn is a highly nutritious ingredient chosen as a source of protein (for muscle and tissue growth), carbohydrates (for energy), fiber, antioxidants (Beta-carotene, Vitamin E, Lutein) and linoleic acid - an essential fatty acid that promotes healthy skin and a luxurious coat.
Hill's uses grades 1 and 2 corn for our pet foods, which are the grades traditionally used for human food products.
While some individuals are concerned about allergies in pets, corn is NOT a common cause of adverse food reactions in pets. Studies have shown that corn causes no more food allergies than any other grain.
Most grains, including corn, are poorly digested before they are cooked. Once cooked, however, they become highly digestible. Corn is also highly digestible, higher than several other grains such as rice, wheat, barley and sorghum.
Some consumers are concerned that corn may be a filler. Fillers offer no nutritional value whatsoever. Corn, as mentioned above, is a superb source of nutrients.
We choose all of our ingredients for the nutritional value they contribute to each product we make.
Why does Hill’s use by-products in their foods?
By-products are common ingredients found in both human and pet food. In fact Vitamin E, gelatin, beef bouillon, beef liver and vegetable oils are all by-products. In many countries, "by-products" are very desirable human foods.
Chicken by-product meal is a high quality, concentrated source of protein. We use it due to its low ash (phosphorus) content. It is also very palatable. This ingredient consists of ground, rendered, wholesome parts of the chicken. It includes white meat, dark meat, liver and viscera. The chickens are sourced from human grade processing plants.
Meat by-products consist of the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat from slaughtered mammals. We specifically use beef or pork lungs, spleens, or livers in our products for consistency and optimal nutrient profile.
The truth about meat
Some individuals believe that meat-based foods are more natural and thus better. However, meat is not the only protein source. For example, corn gluten meal and eggs offer high quality protein, too. High meat diets are usually excessive in calcium, sodium and phosphorus which are not appropriate for older pets. Hill's is committed to the highest nutritional standards and has always made decisions purely based on nutrition, not on trends or fads, for more than 50 years.
Higher protein levels do not mean that a food is of higher quality. After the protein / amino acid requirements are met, additional protein provides no additional benefits. In fact, excess dietary protein can even be problematic for dogs and cats, especially when they get older. Protein intake needs to be carefully monitored.
Sometimes consumers question if dogs are carnivores. Dogs are omnivores by nature. They use both meat and plant-based nutrition. Dog food should have a balance of nutrients, not just protein, but also fats, carbohydrates, fiber, etc.
Hill’s believes consumers should focus on complete and balanced nutrition for their pet first instead of meat first.
What is meant by a "natural, organic, holistic or human grade" pet food?
According to the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), the term "natural" requires a pet food to consist of only natural ingredients without chemical alterations; except for added vitamins and minerals.
The term "organic" was legally defined for human foods by the USDA. While final rules have not yet been made, pet food companies can currently use the term "organic" if they follow the same rules as applied to human foods. Foods that are "100% organic" or "organic" will carry the USDA Organic Seal on the package. Currently Hill’s does not offer an "organic" pet food product.
Natural and organic are not interchangeable terms.
"Holistic" has no legal definition. There is no regulation defining what the word holistic means with regard to pet foods.
The term "human grade" was determined to be misleading by AAFCO. The use of "human grade" or "human quality" is not allowed in pet food marketing unless the food is made in a human food approved plant.
Why is fiber added to some pet foods?
Fiber is a complex carbohydrate. The primary function and benefit of adequate dietary fiber are to increase bulk and water in the intestinal contents to help promote and regulate normal bowel functions.
There are 2 types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is seen in ingredients like wheat, rice and corn. Insoluble fiber is seen in cellulose and may be used to replace fat in a pet food and thus decrease the calorie content of the food. Foods high in insoluble fiber are also appropriate for weight control or reduction by promoting a sense of fullness without adding calories. Fiber is not a filler. Fillers offer no nutritional value whatsoever.
Does Hill’s use peanuts or peanut products in their pet foods?
No, Hill’s does not currently produce pet foods using peanuts or peanut products.